Today we said farewell to an old member of the family. Arriving in this world in 1937 she didn’t become part of the family until 1939 when war broke out, a travelling salesman joined the army and no longer needed her so she was sold to my grandfather who just happened to be in the right place at the right time for a bargain. Of course, I’m talking about a car, a 1937 Standard Flying Ten first registered in Middlesex as CML 410.
Registered in the name of my uncle as my grandfather didn’t drive, the car was used by him and my father as family transport and here we see it sometime in the mid 1940s with my father in the passenger seat and his friend Ken driving. At some point in the late 1940s the car was used exclusively by my father as his brother had moved away and was married by this time and it was used regularly for family trips, I even have a 1950 photo somewhere of me as a one-year-old sitting in the passenger seat. The car was last registered in March 1950 for just three months.
Then my father had this bright idea, he was going to rebuild it. Work commenced enthusiastically and the car was stripped of all its removable parts and sanded down prior to re-spraying. He made a good job of the sections he got around to doing but slowly enthusiasm dwindled as other commitments got in the way of working on the car. I vaguely remember some work being done in the mid 1950s but soon afterwards the car was left to slumber in the garage, the new paintwork slowly peeling away. In 1962 we moved house, only about a half mile away, and the car was started up to move it out of the garage so it could be towed down to the new house. That was the last time it was started that I can recall and the car was pushed into her new home and all the removed parts stored in and around the car.
The garage was a dumping ground for all manner of things and over the years it became more out of control until in 1975 my brother and I thought we would do a good deed whilst Dad was in work and clean it all up and put it back tidily, by this time we were 23 and 26 respectively. Dad never quite forgave us for that, for years afterwards whenever he couldn’t find anything his stock remark was “I used to know where it was before you cleaned up the garage!” and this became a family joke. During this clear-up Geoff and I pumped up the tyres and pushed the car out into the fresh air where I took a few photographs.
When Dad passed away in 2005 we had a large amount of stuff we needed to get rid of, he was a bit of a hoarder and the things I didn’t know what to do with were simply transferred to my own garage, including the removal of the Standard from her place of slumber for the previous forty three years. By this time the tyres were perished and she was resting on the wheel rims. Difficult to get at, two of the wheels against the wall necessitated wriggling in between the wall and the car to remove them to find new tyres. I soon discovered they were an odd size and not easily available but a local tyre dealer fixed me up with used Ford Transit tyres, right rim size, just a little larger in diameter and then I had my nephew and his friends to push the car early one Saturday morning the quarter mile to its new home.
It was to be my retirement project but I knew deep down I’d never get round to doing it so it was with some reluctance on my part that my brother and I agreed a new home should be found, with an enthusiast who would lovingly rebuild her and not simply use her as a source for making money to sell as spare parts. Our Mum had been wanting to be rid of the car for years so she was also happy with our decision. I contacted a few specialist car clubs but no-one from them were interested and I was beginning to think I was going to be taking her with me to my new home when I move early next year.
A week ago I spotted an old Mini in a garage in our back lane and remembered I had a few Mini spares which might be made use of so stopped to chat. I knew the one person, he lived there, but the other I didn’t know, he was the owner of the mini and also the owner of another elderly vehicle or two so I casually mentioned I had a 1937 Standard Flying Ten in the garage down the lane. So, just seven days later, the car has left home, the new owner very delighted with his acquisition but I’m somewhat sad that I was not able to fulfil my father’s dream of one day proudly driving the car which had been in the family for seventy three years.
As the transporter disappeared from my view I must confess to shedding a tear or two; farewell old thing!