THE sports estate is a potent contender in today's car market, but the term is not as modern as might be thought.
Back in the 1960s there were some impressively powerful estates around, not the least of which was the Vanguard Six from Standard.
The Vanguard estate traced its lineage back to 1946 when the first modern saloon and estate named Vanguard rolled off the production line.
The original, which had the look of an American Plymouth, was a far cry from the much more attractive Phase III Vanguard of later years.
The more powerful model of the range, the Vanguard Six, available in saloon and estate form was a familiar sight in the early 1960s.
It was powered by a six-cylinder 1,998cc engine with push-rod overhead valves - this was the engine subsequently installed in the better known Triumph 2000.
The compression ratio was 8.0:1, and twin Solex carburettors were fitted giving an output of 80bhp at 4,500rpm. Externally the only differences from a former Vignale model were the badging but the interior was updated.
A Vanguard Six was tested by a well-known motoring publication in 1960. It recorded a top speed of 87.2mph, with acceleration from 0-60mph in 17.0 seconds and a fuel consumption of 24.9 miles per imperial gallon.
Well they nearly got it right. I can vouch that this powerful estate could do much better after accepting a lift from a funeral director who was running late.
Seeing the needle pass the 90mph point on a straight road made me realise that the Standard marque still had quite a sting in its tail.
Access to the rear on the estate model was by a horizontally split two-piece tailgate and there was stacks of room. It also looked good when compared to the saloon.
The problem was the price. You had to shell out more than £1,000 which was more than a Ford Zodiac, so sales were not exactly racing away. It also just did not have that visual 'wow' factor that some competitors possessed.
The six-cylinder car was, in my mind the best of the Vanguards and was driven with pride into the history books when the production of Standard models ended in 1963.