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History of Standard 2000, India's forgotten luxury car

Standard 2000 India's ultimate luxury sedan

By RBPublished 3 years ago 3 min read

Standard motor products of India was a Madras based car manufacturer which sold cars in India from 1951 to 1988. It was formed by Union motors ltd along with British company Standard Motor company. Their first car was the standard Vanguard which was launched in 1951. They also sold cars like Standard 8, Standard 10, Standard Herald(later Herald was renamed as Gazel in 1972), a light commercial vehicle called the standard 20 and finally the Standard 2000.

Standard 2000 was launched in 1985 by Standard Motor Products of India. It was a time when imported cars like the Honda Accord, corollas and Mercedes were gaining popularity in India. Indian automobile market was regulated in those days and there were only very few car manufacturers. The increasing demand for imported cars like the accords and corollas made the Indian government think of manufacturing a luxury car in India. This mission was taken by Standard motors.

Managing director of Standard Motor Products of India, C V Karthik Narayanan approached Austin Rover in the UK to make a deal to manufacture one of its cars in India . Initial contact was made during 1981, but it was not until March 1984 that C V Karthik Narayanan and Mark Snowdon hammered out a deal, in which Austin Rover decided to supply 12,000 sets of Rover SD1 body panels. Standard motors bought the license to manufacture Rover sd1 in India. When the sd 1 became Standard 2000, it lost the powerful v8 engine, which was replaced by a 2000cc petrol 4 cylinder engine mated to a 4-speed manual transmission. The standard 2000 was launched in 1985 at a hefty price of 2,12,000Rs. This was the time when the Indians most luxurious car of the time the HM Contessa was sold at just 85,000Rs. Maruthi 800 was launched at 45000 Rs.

Though the car was pricey, it was highly equipped for the time. It had a lot of features that were not seen in any other Indian cars in those days.

Equipment list of standard 2000

Air conditioner, Rear wiper, defogger, power window, power steering, central locking, tachometer, etc, and the car had a Ferrari Daytona-inspired design. Which made it a head-turner.

More about the vehicle

Kerb weight: 1335kg

Cylinder: 4

Engine capacity: 1991cc

Maximum Power: 83 bhp at 4250 rpm

Gearbox: 4 -speed manual

Fuel tank capacity: 69 litres

Top speed: 145 Kmph

What went wrong with the car?

There were a few things that went wrong with standard motors. Though standard motors replaced the original v8 engine with a 2-litre petrol engine considering fuel economy, it didn’t turn out to be fuel-efficient. Though the claimed fuel efficiency was around 10 to 12 kmpl the reality was disastrous. The car returned just around 5 to 8kmpl for most users, Customers started filing cases against the company for wrong mileage claims, which had a devastating impact on the company. This was one of the reasons for the closure of standard motors. Another reason was the poor quality of parts of the car, cars that were sold initially had all the parts imported from the UK, eventually they localized the parts which led to lower quality considering the price of the car. There were also complaints about the cranky gearbox.

People use to replace the 2litre engine with Nissan, Peugeot and Isuzu diesel engines due to the fuel economy problem. It is very rare these days to find a standard 2000 with the original 1991cc petrol engine. Though the car was a flop due to false milage claims and high price, it is a part of the history of the Indian automobile market. The looks of the car is something that is still classic and eye-catchy.


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