If you’re into historic motorsports and have an appreciation of that whole era, which all those involved with the sport are trying to replicate – or relive even – then you probably also find historic race car transporters fabulously cool. I know I do.
After all, there are few things more disappointing than a gorgeous battlescared open-cockpit late-fifties Ferrari Testa Rossa being loaded into a huge modern Volvo truck with all the kit, amenities and luxuries of the 21stcentury. Equally, there are few things more pleasing than the very same Testa Rossa being carefully driven onto the back of a Fiat 642 RN2 open-deck race car transporter. Sadly, very few of us have the means to splash out on an Ecurie Ecosse Commer TS3 transporter. Luckily less should suffice to put a smile on your face.
Enter this week’s Prime Find of the Week: a 1952 Standard Vanguard race car transporter. Granted, it’s not as big and imposing as a vintage Fiat or Commer truck, but on the flipside, you can drive this transporter on a normal driver’s license and it’ll also be a lot easier to reverse into the old pit garages at the Nordschleife.
In the mid-fifties, British race driver Mike Anthony built his own transporter using a Standard Vanguard. He extended the chassis a not insignificant 5 ft. to create a flatbed, tuned the engine a little using a cam from a Triumph TR2 and installed an overdrive resulting in five gears and a 100 mph topspeed. He toured most of Europe with his Lotus Eleven piggy-back-riding the Standard Vanguard. There’s not much information to be found on Mike’s homebuilt race car transporter, but this very small and grainy black and white photograph is rather inspiring:
Clearly, classic car specialist I.K. Classics (actually residing just up the road from me) were equally inspired. More than fifty years after Mike Anthony built his, they decided to build I similar Standard Vanguard transporter based around a Phase II saloon. It’s not a 100% exact copy, with the bodywork around the extended flatbed differing somewhat. To further enhance the usability of this hauler, the four-cylinder 2-litre Standard engine has been replaced by a much stronger six-cylinder 2.5 litre Triumph engine resulting in easy and stress-free cruising. A few modern upgrades have found their way onto the race car transporter as well, such as air suspension and an electrical winch for easier loading. All in all it’s a charming and great looking workhorse. See for yourself:
It’s clearly too old to look right with my Green Devil of a BMW 2002 strapped to the back. Besides, I pride myself in driving it to and from any hillclimb I participate in. Arguably it would look much better hauling my project Rochdale Olympic around from one workshop to the next during its complete restoration. But the financial aspect of said restoration rules out the prospect of owning a classic car transporter as well. Should any of our readers feel just a tempted as I do, you might want to have a closer look at the H&H Classics and Motor Sport Hall of Fame Auction at Woodcote Park in Surrey on the 5thof June. The Standard Vanguard transporter is up for auction with an estimate of £ 15.000 to 20.000: 1952 Standard Vanguard Transporter
With our Saturday instalment of Prime Find of the Week, we’re offering our services to the classic car community, by passing on our favourite classic car for sale from the week that passed. This top-tip might help a first-time-buyer to own his first classic, or it could even be the perfect motivation for a multiple-classic-car-owner to expand his garage with something different. We’ll let us inspire by anything from a cheap project to a stunning concours exotic, and hope that you will do the same.
Just remember – Any Classic is Better than No Classic! We obviously invite our readers to help prospective buyers with your views and maybe even experiences of any given model we feature. Further to that, if you stumble across a classic which you feel we ought to feature as Prime Find of the Week, then please send us a link to firstname.lastname@example.org