Monday, March 14, 2016

Automobile History : The Standard * 70

Standard herald car

Some distance from my house I have noticed a dilapidated old Standard Herald car lying. It was badly rusted and had no engine as it had been sold. Now the car also has disappeared, sold for scrap.
It is hard to imagine, but this car was one of 3 Indian cars (Fiat and Ambassador being the other two) that made history. The car the Standard Herald was a remake of the English Standard-triumph car. The car was produced in India for almost 30 years, but was sold only in small numbers. It had a 948cc single carb engine that gave it a top speed of just 115km an hour. The car was manufactured in Madras and had a stream lined look.  It had better acceleration than the other two Indian models, but somehow it never caught the fancy of the Indian public.

The Standard two door car was a better model than the 4 door one. But as the Standard Company wanted to compete with the Fiat and Ambassador, which were both 4 door models, the company thought that in case they converted the 2 door to 4 doors it would be a success. But such hybrids always fail and the car even then sold only in small numbers. Its engine was fine, but the body was weak and prone to rattle just after 6 months of use. It also had a problem with the shaft connecting to the differential. 

The shaft was prone to breaking, but I am told the engine was smooth and noiseless.

The car was discontinued in 1988 and in 2007 the car company was dismantled down and sold. The standard Herald was initially a 2 door model, which was converted to a 4 door model, but it never met with much success. The car however remains part of the Indian Auto Industry. Now one does not see a Standard Herald on the road in India, as Japanese cars have flooded the roads.  The standard Herald was the only Indian made car which came without a retractable roof. The roof had to fix down manually and was a bit of a bother.  A normal model was also available.  All said and done the Standard Herald does have a place in the history of the car in India.