My (Sub) Standard Herald

The Standard Herald was one of the great lightweight cars made in England generally meant for pleasure/recreational driving.

It was extremely popular in its lifetime.

(Photo Courtesy :the internet)

In our school days it was the cheapest of the three cars then manufactured in India. The other two cars being the Ambassador and the Fiat which later came to be known as the Premier.

The Herald had a great engine and a superb gearbox that would put many modern cars to shame and early retirement.

I speak from experience. In 1986 I became a proud owner of a 1964 model Standard Herald, two-door, convertible car.🚘

The metal top could be unscrewed in five minutes, to convert it into an open tourer, ideal for the UK summers.

Here I must confess that I had bought the 22 year old piece, omitting to perform a proper due diligence check before purchasing it .

Naturally, the dealer who palmed it off to me took advantage of my enthusiasm and ignorance.

it was a very good looking car with nice lines as you can see from the photos. The cosmetics were very good too . Nice body paint, all tyres freshly painted black to make them look like new, etc.

However, it was not possible to take it out for a proper road test in a congested place like Mullick Bazar /Park Street crossing (Kolkata ).

In my enthusiasm, I paid whatever money the thug of a dealer had asked for, and took it home to Salt Lake as soon as the paperwork was ready.  

Unfortunately our relationship didn’t last very long.

By the time I came to own it, the car was already beyond its Sell By date and was suffering from old age symptoms like “multiple organ failure”.

Unpredictable and expensive break downs were frequent. Leaking petrol tank, broken tie-rod ends, burnt out wheel bearings, malfunctioning self starter (because of a worn-out Bendix Pinion) , worn out dynamo contacts, leakage of lubricant from the engine, malfunctioning engine thermometer, defect in the fuel gauge, worn out threads of all the wheel bolts… all added to my woes. It seemed to me that all parts of the car made a noise except the horn!

And to cap it all, I discovered that that the insulating partition separating the engine compartment from the passenger compartment was long gone and had been replaced by a thin black cardboard. As a result it became extremely hot inside the car every time the engine was in operation.

It gradually became a matter of great tension, adventure and embarrassment to take it out anywhere for any important work at all.

Spurred by necessity I bought a copy of the Penguine Car Handbook and consulted it often everytime something went wrong.

After a few months of hair raising emergencies I had to let the car go, with utmost reluctance and at a great financial loss…

In the process I became an almost qualified automobile engineer due to my frequent association with the Penguine Car Handbook. 😎

But I would still say it was a very good car in its lifetime.

PS. I bought a limited edition Premier Padmini BU, with bucket seats, stereo and floor shift gear, in 1988. It was better to be safe than sorry.. 😁

The Elements poem

The Sun, the moon, the stars, the wind, the grass… all the elements coming together to form a word picture, no, a gossamer landscape spreading from horizon to horizon with faint moonlight bouncing off the dew drops that had formed in the cold and serene evening on the leaves, on the long blades of grass and the spiders webs tucked away between thin branches of the evergreen trees creating silent concerts which only the sightless can hear, for the others hear the rustle of the rustic leaves and the cicadas endlessly calling out to their mates throughout the pastoral scene…

I could go on and on, but I exercise restraint as I wish to allow my readers a chance to record their own thoughts, impressions and feelings which would no doubt add to the enjoyment of all lovers of poetry…