Standard Triumph, Standard or Triumph or Both?

Interesting letter by JR Davy, 1978

I can hardly let 1978 go by without writing to you in the form of a reminder that the marque Standard celebrates its 75 years of existence this year, passenger cars having been manufactured to the last “Ensign” in 1963, although a few Standard to vans were made after this to be registered in 1965.

The Standard Register, which I formed in 1959, continues to record survivors under my guidance and to delve into the history of the marque, while the Standard Register Trust administers the spares side and arranges the field and social events. Since 1945, when Sir John Black bought Triumph and saved the name for posterity, the two marques have been inescapably intertwined and associated in most people’s minds. But recent research which I have carried out in the Midland Daily Telegraph (now the Coventry Evening Telegraph) suggests that Triumph money saved Standard in 1912!

Late in 1911 R. W. Maudslay, founder of Standard, came into opposition with Sir Charles Friswell (who had successfully arranged the  supply of Standard cars to the Indian Government for the royal entourage at the Durbar Coronation ceremonies) about the design of the cars. Friswell offered to buy out Maudslay entirely, but Maudslay was naturally reluctant to part company with the firm he had struggled to make a success and made a successful counteroffer for the shares which Friswell held. The capital was raised through C. J. Band, a Coventry solicitor, who was also connected with Barclays Bank, and Sigfried Bettmann, who was Managing director of the very profitable Triumph Cycle Company. Bettmann became Chairman of the Standard Motor Company in 1912 and Mayor of Coventry in September 1913. Although he had been in Coventry for 23 years, Bettmann was a native of Nuremburg, and upon the start of the Great War, he dropped out of political life and relinquished some of his manufacturing interests for obvious reasons at this time. This earlier circumstance has not been well documented before and I do not believe those who negotiated for Triumph in 1945 were aware of the way in which their actions caused the wheel to turn a full circle.

On September 17th, the 3rd Standard Triumph International Rally will be held at Rousham Park, near Steeple Aston, Oxfordshire, and this is organised by all the Standard and Triumph Clubs in the UK and by the Vintage Triumph Register of the USA. Over thirty of their members, led by Dick Langworth, are crossing the Atlantic to be there. On hand too, and now in his eighties, will be Walter Belgrove, Chief Body Engineer of the Standard Motor Company, who was formerly with the pre-war Triumph Company and who designed the Renown, the Vanguard and the now legendary TR2. No one scents to want to take responsibility for the shape of the Triumph Mayflower by the way, I am anxious to find someone who knows about the fate of any of the handful of Mayflower dropheads made in  1950 and would appreciate news from any of your readers.


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