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The Vanguard was made by the Standard Motor Company in England and shipped to Australia where it was assembled locally. The UTE was only made for Australia and I believe only around 1100 UTE’s were made between 1949 and 1953. The Australian versions had a kangaroo as a bonnet ornament. The Vanguard UTE is pretty rare these days. I don’t know how many are still registered in Australia, but it would be a handful at best.

Our Vanguard UTE was purchased in 1953 from Standard Cars Ltd in Surry Hills by Joseph Keogh from Mumbil, near Wellington in NSW. He kept the UTE until around 1994 when at age 87 he surrendered his driver’s licence.

The engine in the Vanguard is a 2088cc 4 cylinder engine developing 68 BHP @ 4200 rpm. It is a “wet sleeve” type engine, and the same engine was found in the Triumph TR4 sports car, and a low compression version was used in the old grey Ferguson TE20 Tractors.

In 1999 we bought the UTE to restore for advertising. Apart from the flashy paint, mag wheels and sports exhaust, we kept it stock for quite a while. The engine was on the way out and none of the local mechanics knew what a wet sleeve engine was, so we decided to repower it with a 2 litre Isuzu engine with a 5 speed gearbox. With a 4.8:1 standard Diff it accelerates fast and cruises on the freeway quite well.

Driving it was a handful, as it liked chasing grooves in the road. New or refurbished steering components weren’t available, so we changed the front end to a HR cross member, Commodore steering rack, collapsible steering column, and a HQ Disc brake setup. So now it steers and brakes quite well.

   
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