1936 Standard 12 Drophead Coupé


・Beautifully crafted, bespoke aluminium body.
・Just two UK keepers since 1992.

The Background

The Standard Motor Company Limited was a motor vehicle manufacturer, founded in Coventry, England, in 1903 by Reginald Walter Maudslay. 

Through the 1930s, new models such as the Standard Nine and Standard Ten addressed the low to mid-range market, with the Standard Twelve being directed at a far more middle class audience.

Although there had been an 11.6hp 1,087cc Standard from 1921 to 1923, and an 11.4hp 1,307cc ohv four from 1923 to 1927, the first 'Twelve' was a 6-cylinder 'Little Twelve' from 1932 to 1933, and also a 'Big Twelve' 1,497cc car. The R12 (the model here) was launched in 1934 with a 1,608cc 4-cylinder and continued to sell into 1936. Standard gave its models new bodies for the 1934 year, although in fact many of the bodies were shared across the brand with only longer or shorter bonnets to differentiate them.

Later, Standard launched the 'Flying' Standards in 1935 and included a Twelve in the 3-car spread. This was not successful because the 1,608cc engine was too small for the heavy body. A shorter, lighter Flying Twelve was launched in 1937, now called the 'Light Twelve' and the larger car picked up the epiphet of 'Heavy Twelve’.

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The History

This very fine example is presented in light cream, trimmed in cherry leather and matching soft furnishings with a black mohair hood.

The car was believe to have been built for an English Lady in 1936 and has a unique aluminium body mounted on an R12 chassis supplied by the Standard Motor Company. The body was said to be manufactured by coachbuilders Salmons & Sons of Tickford, but the current owner has expressed doubt regarding that provenance.

The car spent much of its early life in India. Eventually returning to England and now under new ownership, the car was promptly dispatched to a privately-owned island off the coast of Sweden where it underwent a full nut-and-bolt restoration during the 1970s.

It remained on the island until its return to the UK in 1992, taking up residence at its new owner’s substantial estate in Haywards Heath, West Sussex, from where the current owner acquired the car in April 2000.

The car has been occasionally but lovingly driven during the intervening years – including an outing for a family wedding – but always in dry weather. When not out and about in the sunshine, the car is housed in a heated garage as is evidenced by its truly remarkable condition.

This Standard 12 is part of an eclectic collection of cars and is a reluctant sale. However, needs must and room is to be made for the imminent arrival of new members of the collection.

For those wondering why a car of this seemingly delicate nature has a tow hitch fitted. Well, the owner used to tour with a small vintage caravan. So, now you know.

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The Paperwork

Along with the V5C, the car comes with a box-file of paperwork covering its provenance over the years. Also included is a book published by Pitman’s on the Standard Car from 1930 to 1940, part of their Motorists Library series from 1941.

Much service and maintenance work has been carried out over the years by its current owner to keep the Twelve in tip-top condition. Running into many thousands of pounds, work includes the refurbishing of the water pump along with a few niggly-naggly issues needed to keep on top of a grandiose old lady such as this.

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The Interior

Given that the car was fully restored more than fifty years ago, the interior presents in remarkable condition. The furniture and door cards are trimmed in cherry leather with all soft furnishings in a matching hue, making the interior a very elegant place in which to while away some old-school road time.

The varnished wood trims on the dashboard and atop the doors are showing their age but add to the interior’s genuine period charm as do the quaint air vents at the front of the cabin. All instruments are original as are the supporting knobs and buttons. The windscreen opens out Land Rover-style from its bottom edge, affording a greater through-flow of refreshing air when on the move.

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The Exterior

The condition of the exterior matches that of the inside and is indicative of the love and care afforded the car over the years. The exterior is finished in cream with a contrasting black mohair hood and looks dramatically elegant. The running boards and wire-spoked wheels shod with a set of white-walled crossply complete the classic aesthetic.

A studious walk around the car reveals no blemishes and a cursory glance down each flank shows no evidential repairs to the body work. Some of the brightwork shows signs of light pitting, but overall the exterior is in exemplary condition.

There really is little more we can say about the truly stunning exterior. Have a good look through the pictures. When you’re finished…pop the kettle on, break out the Hobnobs – and do it again.

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The Mechanics

At the photo location near Andover, Hampshire, the car fired up at the first task and the engine ticked over sweetly with a distinctive four-pot burble emanating from the exhaust.

Repositioning the car for these photographs, the gearbox engaged smoothly and the clutch connected with no drama, requiring a just gentle rev to get underway.

The car underwent and passed its last MoT in May, 2011 at 9,315 miles, which contained three minor advisories. In the intervening ten years, the car has been driven less than 500 miles.

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The Appeal

Here we have a truly beautiful car from a bygone and more romantic era. Fully restored almost fifty years ago, its condition suggests that those skilled craftsmen completed their stunning work only in the last few years.

There is little doubt that XSK 165 will be a worthy addition to any collection or new home willing to keep it in the manner to which it has evidently become accustomed over the past five decades.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1936
  • Make Standard
  • Model 12 Drophead
  • Colour White
  • Odometer 9,798 Miles
  • Engine size 1608
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Location Hampshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
37 bids
  • Ro•••• £14,250 08/11/21
  • ba•••• £14,000 08/11/21
  • Ro•••• £13,750 08/11/21
  • ba•••• £13,500 08/11/21
  • ba•••• £13,250 08/11/21
  • Ro•••• £13,000 08/11/21
  • ba•••• £12,750 08/11/21
  • sp•••• £12,500 08/11/21
  • ba•••• £12,250 08/11/21
  • Ro•••• £12,000 08/11/21

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