Charles and John Macartney

The story of two men who both worked for the same company – by one of them. The book is divided into two parts.

The first part deals with the life and career of Charles Macartney, who joined The Standard Motor Company in 1921 as a mechanic in the Coventry Service Department. After two years, he became ‘mobile’ on his 1915 Triumph motorcycle, visiting customers around the country and repairing or servicing their cars at their homes. This was long before the days of a franchised dealer network to undertake such work. By 1928, Charles became the Company’s Service Manager.

In the mid-1930’s and in the early days of Captain John Black’s managerial tenure, Macartney then became Chief Inspector and responsible for all aspects of build quality with this position taking him into the realms of Standard’s ‘Executive’ – or senior management function. More responsibility was to follow with him adding the function of Works Manager to his already extensive area of responsibility. This role was to prove especially demanding with the onset of World War II in which period Standard became a major player as a manufacture of aircraft and aircraft components. As with so many men of his age, the stresses this job imposed, saw Macartney having to take emergency medical leave in 1945 following the diagnosis of him having no less than seven substantial duodenal ulcers. He returned to work in 1954 after major surgery and a short spell with the Rootes Group as Standard’s Quality Engineer. He remained in this job until 1961 when he retired following the company’s acquisition by Leyland.

John Macartney, Charles’ son, joined Standard in 1966 in the Export Department and soon progressed to Standard’s only showroom in the West End of London where he sold the complete range of Triumph cars to overseas visitors, British emigrants and members of foreign embassy staff. With the arrival of British Leyland in 1968, John found himself as one of two Personal Assistants to Leyland’s Chairman, Donald Stokes. The rest of John’s career continued in the motor and allied industries and he spent many years living and working overseas.

This book has been described by many as a saga of stories the PR people would rather forget. Many of them extremely humourous, the book went into its second printing just two years after first appearing and has sold well throughout the world – and especially in Canada and the United States.

It costs £12.50 plus P&P and can only be obtained from the author.

To purchase a copy, email the author at

John Macartney is now retired but is still busily occupied in writing other books about the company. These will be published in due course.

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