The Standard Motor Company was founded in Coventry, England in 1903 by civil engineer Reginald Walter Maudslay, who early on saw the potential of the new horseless carriage. The company was aptly named: early Standards incorporated such future standard features as shaft drives and oversquare piston engines. Driving the first Standard entered in competition, Maudslay took part in the inaugural RAC Tourist Trophy race, finishing 11th in a field of over 40 enrants. The company expanded at a frenetic pace, supplying fleets to British Royalty and other affluent customers, but Maudslay's competitive spirit meant that a sporting model was always part of the lineup. In WWI Standard built more than 1,000 aircraft before resuming car production in 1919. When Standard's fortunes ebbed in the late 1920s, the company standardized its offerings and began supplying chassis to external coachbuilders such as Jensen, Avon and Swallow Sidecar Company, which later became Jaguar (in fact, a Standard chassis formed the basis for the original Jaguar SS).
In 1930, Standard partnered with Avon to produce sports cars based on the Standard chassis and running gear. The initial design was created by the Jensen Brothers who later went on to build their own sports cars carrying their name. This Standard Avon Boattail Speedster is a wonderful example of the fruits of that partnership. It well fits the description of the Standard Avon proffered in the May 9, 1930 issue of Motorcar as "a business-like job well on its way to being a proper sports motor car. The two-seater body is extremely well built; the panel work is indeed excellent - especially in the tail of the body - the finish first class." This extremely rare car's performance is also impressive thanks to the 9.9 HP inline 4 engine that was the core of the Standard's reputation for sturdy reliability.
This very rare Sport or Boattail Speedster is one of less than a handful Stateside and maybe a dozen or so survivors. The car has an interesting history having been purchased at a Bonham's Sale in November of 1965 by Bill Harrah, one of the most prolific and discerning early Car Collectors. The car was displayed at Mr Harrah's large National Auto Museum in Nevada for many years before being sold at the first Pebble Beach Auction in 1986 to the Current Owner. An extensive history of Mr. Harrah's acquistion and ownership of the car accompanies the sale. According to the librarian a tthe National Auto Museum, the file on the Avon is massive that includes the auction in London where the Avon was purchased with other, mostly Bentley and Rolls Royce cars, the arrangements for shipping, arrival at the Harrah facility, restoration of the Avon, cataloging, display of the car and finally the sale of the car at Pebble Beach. The file contains several pictures, letters from Mr Harrah, detailed restoration work, technical information on the Avon and various background information that brings the reader to the excitement of Mr Harrah as he amassed his magnificent collection. This collection is being reproduced and bound.
Finished in a desirable BRG over Burgundy color combination this jockular little Speedster features a Side Mounted Spare, Wire Wheels, and Stone Guard. The car is in excelllent running and driving condition- it starts right up, shifts well, and stops well. A top frame is included, but the canvas will need replaced.
This rare little Sports Car is the perfect thing for Historic Rallies and Hillclimbs, and certainly will be most welcome in any collection of English cars.