Motoring Monday: 1956 Standard Vanguard

Vanguard 1

Disclosure: This site may receive compensation from some link clicks and purchases.

For those of you that don’t know, Standard was the parent company of Triumph, having purchased the remnants (really just the name) of the Triumph Motor Company immediately after World War II. We in the US didn’t get many Standards, with only a few Vanguard Mark I’s ever officially imported, along with a single Vanguard Sportsman later on (more about that later). The Triumph name “took hold” in the US, and anything that was brought in from the company after about 1956 was a Triumph sporting model. In the UK, things were different, with Standard’s being sold until the early 60’s and Triumph always offering sedans (saloons) and wagons for a very full range lineup. They even sold something that would now be called a minivan, the Standard or Triumph Atlas. I have a friend who really wanted an Atlas, but the only way he could purchase one was as a package deal with two Standard Vanguards. He’s decided to keep the Atlas and one of the Vanguards, but this second one is up for sale. It’s a 1956 Standard Vanguard Series III. It’s located in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is for sale for $2,000 or best offer. If you’re interested, contact my friend here.

vanguard 4vanguard 6

This Vanguard runs, but needs brake and clutch hydraulic work. My friend has a clear title for the car. Part of the reason I’d love to see a Barn Finds reader buy this car is that I happen to own and drive (and autocross) a 1956 Vanguard Sportsman, the upscale version of this car! In case you are worried about owning an orphan like this, I’ve had very good luck getting parts from Kip Motor Company, eBay and the Standard Motor Club. It wasn’t that long ago that a complete set of Vanguard Series III wheel cylinders were on eBay for ~$120, so it might not be very hard to find what this one needs.

vanguard ad

As you can see, hyperbole is not limited to current advertisements! “Magnificently miles ahead,” indeed! And when you consider that 34 mpg claim, remember that those are Imperial gallons, roughly 1.2 US gallons each.

The engine in these cars is very closely related to the Triumph TR2/TR3 powerplant, but in a slightly lower state of tune and displacing 2088cc. It’s a very robust wet liner engine. This car has some rust, but panels are really simple and most are single curvature. If I didn’t already have our Vanguard, I’d be buying this one (I’ve already bought one car from this gentleman and been very happy; we’ve been friends for a very long time and have raced together on the same team). It’s tremendous fun to show up at a British car meet and have no one else have the slightest idea what it is you’re driving. If I take ours to a general car show, Ford lovers are quick to point out the resemblance to mid-50’s Fords, especially from the rear. It’s fun to  drive as well, as long as you aren’t in a tremendous hurry! The three-on-the-tree takes me back to a time where driving was the event, not just a way to get to the event. I’d love to hear that one of you has purchased this car; you can count on me for support and help if you do!

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. MikeH

    Your friend having to buy all three cars in order to get the one he wanted reminds me of the time I wanted a Morris convertible but had to take an Austin Healy Sprite as a package deal. The Sprite was a rare rear engined model. The engine was in cardboard boxes in the trunk. Paid $75 for the two.

    Like 0
  2. Jamie Palmer JamieAuthor

    @ Mike: Wow, what a deal!

    I actually wish I could afford this one right now; it would make a great companion to our Sportsman…

    Like 0
  3. Andrew S MaceMember

    I wouldn’t mind having this one (truth is, I could have had it some time ago, but I didn’t have the funds then…or now)! It would make a nice complement to the fleet of Heralds, the 10 wagon and the Standard Pennant.

    I’d love to know more about sales of Vanguards in Canada, where this car originally came from and where, apparently, a fair number were sold.

    Like 0
    • Jamie Palmer JamieAuthor

      Andy, I wish we could get all our Standard-Triumph oddballs together at the same time!

      Like 0
  4. kem Jones

    I am also into vanguards .I have 3 Phase 1 Vanguards plus a 1949 Triumph roadster and a 1966 Triumph Herald convertible

    Like 0
    • Jamie Palmer JamieAuthor

      Cool, Kem! Thanks for sharing!

      Like 0
  5. MeToo

    Love the early ad. Notice how big they made the car look compared to the people. The top of the guys head barely reaches the roof line. LOL

    Like 0
    • Ross

      Those be little people….

      Like 0
  6. Ross

    That Atlas is a trip; were those for commercial use, or set up as campers?

    Like 0
    • Jamie Palmer JamieAuthor

      Ross, they used them for both purposes; it was intended as a commercial vehicle, but I have seen pictures of several used as campers. There was a pickup version as well. A friend of mine just bought one and is importing it from the UK.

      Like 0
  7. Keith Irwin

    I now own this car. I have great plans for it. I also own a 1949 triumph 2000 with 23000 original miles on it. It was a garage find you can see it in Tom Cotters 50 Shades Of Rust book. I also have a 1953 MG TD with 23000 original miles on it also was a garage find. I have a restoration shop in concord NC looking forward to getting started on the vanguard project this summer.

    Like 0
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie PalmerAuthor

      Terrific, Keith!!! I need to stop by sometime and say hello!

      Like 0
  8. mikeH

    Great news. I’m glad it went to someone who will restore it.

    Like 0
  9. Kem Jones

    My 1950 Vanguard , a semi Sportsman, it has aTR 6 overdrive transmission . It is a 10,000 mile car with a. complete cosmetic restoration . We have it in Texas with us for the winter

    Like 0
  10. mikeH

    That’s beautiful. And LHD. I didn’t know these were ever imported to NA.

    Like 0
  11. Kem Jones

    There were a large no of Vanguards imported into Canada . A number trickled down into the States

    Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.

Barn Finds