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Homepage. This page: A Vanguard van photographed at the Castle Bromwich airfield, circa 1960.

Standard Vanguard van.

Recently, a number of photographs featuring Standard Vanguard pickups, serving with the RAF, were added to OCC (link). The following pair of photographs, this time of a Vanguard van, also have an aviation link to them. The location is the former Castle Bromwich airfield, which began life many years before - 1909 to be exact - as the first privately-owned civilian aerodrome in the country. Both the Royal Flying Corps, and later the Royal Air Force, would also operate from its runways.
Keith provided both photographs of the van, a company vehicle used by his grandfather who is shown with it. He ran a business from one of the buildings on the Castle Bromwich site. Nowadays, companies such as Jaguar Cars may be found occupying part of the site.
Keith's grandfather is shown with a number of other workers, stood with the signwritten Vanguard. A "parrot-nosed" Dodge Kew, a vehicle made famous by the "Hell Drivers" film of the 1950s, is parked to the right of shot.
(Please click the thumbnail to view the full-size image.)
Standard Vanguard van, at Castle Bromwich
The Castle Bromwich site had a link to the Standard Vanguards of the era. Shortly after WW2, production of Spitfire aircraft ceased at Castle Bromwich, and car body makers Fisher & Ludlow took over the facilities, in which they installed their body pressing equipment. And it was inside this factory, that the bodies of post-war Standard saloons were produced, before being transported to Canley for vehicle assembly (bodies for the other variants of Vanguard, including the vans, were built by Mulliners of Birmingham).
The second of Keith's photos allows a closer look at this particular van, in the livery of W.J. Hulbert, Heating & Domestic Engineers.
Side view of the Standard Vanguard van
Over the years, the Standard Motor Company produced a number of light commercial vehicles, alongside their family cars. Larger, and a little later than the Vanguards, was the slightly dumpy Atlas panel van. Contemporary to the Vanguard though were the smaller 7cwt vans and pickups, a lightweight duo based on the Standard 10 & (later) Pennant saloons.

Estate-car conversion of a van.

My thanks to Michael for this next old photo. In it, features the Vanguard van that he performed an estate-car conversion to, by neatly adding in rear side windows to the previously plain flat panels. Nowadays, the "cherished" numberplate set would get very excited by its TEL registration, Tel being a common abbreviation of the name Terry. I much prefer to see the number in its correct home though, not adorning a German 4x4 or a Korean hatchback, for instance. TEL was a Bournemouth registration series introduced early in 1956. Extra lamps, wing mirrors and a radio aerial are the other, visible, modifications that have been made to this example.
Regarding TEL 112, Michael adds: "This is my lovely 1956 Standard Vanguard Van. I put windows in the side and an American Buick front bench seat so that 3 people could sit in the front. I did everything to it in the time I had it. Wonderful times. This was taken on a trip to Cornwall with a few mates."
Converted van

Press photograph.

The Vanguard van shared its running gear with the saloon, and made for a useful and reliable vehicle. Below is a press photograph of just such a machine, showing its clean lines and suitability for appropriate signwriting.
Press photo for the van version

A "barn find" Vanguard.

In 2008 I found myself in an old brick building, which I think had been stables in a former life. An old Morris was the reason for my visit, but it came as a very pleasant surprise to stumble across this van parked close by. Unfortunately it wasn't for sale at the time. I remained in touch with the owner, and was surprised to spot it on eBay a few years later. Someone else had been able to buy it, and advertised it shortly afterwards. Where it is now I'm not sure, but hopefully it'll go on to be restored to the road.
A barn-find van in 2008
I've owned a few Standards myself, although never a Vanguard van or pickup. A search of the site will bring up many pages relating to this long-gone manufacturer. Here, for example, is a page that features Standard-Triumph's (as it was later known) in-house magazine, titled the Standard-Triumph Review, my copies dating to the early 1960s.
Return to Page 19 in the photographic archive, or visit the main index here.

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