Car enthusiast sets up the Standard

Bideford restoration expert brings a 73-year-old British classic back to life.

AT 76 years of age most mechanics would have hung up their spanners.

But not Bill Mitchell, whose love affair with a car almost as old as he is has kept them both in top shape.

The retired builder from Bideford is now casting his eye for his next challenge after lovingly restoring a 1939 Standard Eight De Luxe to its former glory.

A quick look at last week’s North Devon Gazette motoring classifieds would have revealed the 73-year-old car up for sale, returned to full roadworthy condition after two-and-a-half years of work.

His efforts could well have saved a piece of motoring history from the scrapheap after buying the car as ‘a box of bits’ from a fellow enthusiast – and the owner before that kept it shut up in a barn for more than 30 years.

Bill constructed his own garage at the bottom of his garden to accommodate his passion and he is now working on a Standard 10 1958 and a 1960s Daimler.

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“I started by restoring old tractors 30 years ago but they become to heavy for me as I got older, so have moved on to old cars,” he said.

“I’m selling it because I need more money to do up the other cars I’m working on – that’s how it works.

“It’s become a hobby and I come out here every day. When you retire you want something to do and it’s ideal that you can do these things and not be in the house all the time.”

He stripped the Standard Eight down to the basic chassis and completely rebuilt it – steering column, seats, sun roof and all. There is even a wicker picnic basket and secret tool compartment in the boot.

The car was produced by the Standard Motor Company, founded in Coventry. Bill’s model was purchased new by Florence Barrington of Willtown in Langport in 1940.

It was bought by someone else in 1983 and stored in a barn for the next 31 years. Bill bought it from a fellow Standard Motor Club member in 2009.

Anyone interested in buying his Standard Eight, up for �5,000, can call Bill on 01237 429241.

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