Rare car a lifetime love
NOT many of us still own the same car we had when we were 15 years old, but for Maleny's Dennis Douglas, his 1954 Standard Super 10 has been too important a part of his life for him ever to consider parting with it.
“Back when I was 15 I completed a mechanics course and my mum wanted me to look for a car to fix up,” Dennis said. “We were on our way back from looking at a car in Brisbane when I spotted the front headlight of the Standard, and I made my mum turn around so we could look at it.
“It was about to go on a truck to the dump as it had been unsold for two years, but I offered $750 for it and spent the next six years using it as a run-around on our farm.”
Age eventually ravaged the little 1954 Standard Super 10, so six years ago Dennis began a comprehensive rebuild of the British rarity.
Over the course of its restoration he bought five other Standard 10s that were in a state of disrepair, giving him a large resource of spare parts to call upon.
A company in Brisbane and some good contacts in Maleny helped with the rebuild, with the result being a beautiful pale blue and white classic that is unlike virtually anything else found on our local roads.
“I've never seen another one on the road in Australia, so it makes a lot of people turn their heads to admire it,” Dennis said.
“I just like the cuteness of the design and how much chrome it has. I feel it has a lot more character than the likes of a MorrisMinor for example.”
It's certainly not a big car, and a peek inside reveals a dashboard that redefines the term “minimalist”. A steering wheel, speedo- meter and control stalk seem to suffice, but as this is the ‘Super' version of the Standard 10, luxury interior items for 1954 included a radio, fold-down rear seats and ash trays in the door panels.
A tiny four-cylinder 948cc engine resides under the Standard's shapely bonnet, but Dennis insists its enough to propel the lightweight little classic up to impressive speeds.
“It can cruise at 110kmh if I ask it, but I'm usually happier at around 90 so as not to put to much stress on it. The steering can be a bit heavy, but once on the highway it is great. I'm lucky if it sees 40kmh going up hills though.”
Dennis admitted that he is a bit too tall to drive it as he squeezed himself into the beautifully restored and re-upholstered cabin, but he still likes to use it regularly for personal pleasure and as a treat for his family and kids.
The 57-year-old Standard is also used as part of Dennis's wedding photography business (www.standardweddings.com), where the car makes the ideal classic companion to a bride and groom's special day.
Owner: Dennis Douglas, Maleny.
Model: 1954 Standard Super 10.
Details: Four-door saloon produced between 1954 and 1960.
Number produced: 172,500 (all Standard 10s).
Engine: 948cc four-cylinder overhead valve.
Transmission: Four-speed manual.
Value today: About $20,000.
Did you know? The Standard Motor Company produced over 1000 de Havilland Mosquito combat aircrafts during the Second World War in its Coventry factory.
For more motoring check out Drive.com.au.