Henry the ‘8’ is St Andrews student’s king of the roads

Gillian Carrmoodie with her beloved vintage Standard car.
Gillian Carrmoodie with her beloved vintage Standard car.

STANDARDS are vitally important for St Andrews undergraduate Gillian Carmoodie.

For the 26-year-old fourth-year zoology student uses one every day to come to university from her home in Glenrothes.

The died-in-the-wool classic car enthusiast is the proud owner of a green, 1957 Standard 8 four-door saloon which, for obvious reasons, has been christened ‘‘Henry!’’

It’s a rare sight on today’s roads. After deciding it was what she wanted, Gillian and her partner, Chris Russell launched an exhaustive search before finally discovering Henry in Milton Keynes.

She told the Citizen: ‘‘The story with Henry - he was given that name by the previous owner - has been far from simple.

‘‘We travelled to Milton Keynes, paid £1200 for the car and then drove back to Scotland - all in the journey amounted to 14 hours on the road.’’

However, it was over a year after making the purchase before Gillian was able to drive the 54-year-old vehicle on the road after sorting out car insurance, driving lessons and passing her test!

Apart from the Mini in which she learned and took her test, the only other ‘‘modern’’ car she has driven has been Chris’s every day vehicle - a 1995 Fiat Cinquecento.

However, that’s alright with her as Henry is a long-term project.

She explained: ‘‘Just prior to purchasing him I joined the Standard Motor Club in September 2009 - both for advice and spares for my car.

‘‘As I got more involved in the club, including writing ‘‘Henry & I pieces,’’ I became frustrated that there never seemed to be any Standard Club events up here in Scotland. After a year of membership, I decided things needed to change and so volunteered to start a local group up here in Scotland. The Scottish Standard Group has been running since November 2010 and currently has 26 members - most of whom have Standard cars themselves.

‘‘The group is run for both Standard car owners and enthusiasts - ownership of a Standard vehicle is not necessary - and our first ever meet was a ‘‘Drive It Day’’ event on April 17 which the St Andrews Citizen covered and was organised by myself and Chris.’’

The couple have been involved in organising group stands at a number of summer events including the Glamis Extravaganza in July, at which Gillian won first in class (1956 - 1966) for the Navigational Regularity Rally and first overall in the Period Dress and Drive Competition.

She added: ‘‘Most people are very surprised that the group is being run by a young woman, particularly a student, as I don’t think it’s generally expected for someone like me to be a classic car enthusiast.

‘‘However, it hasn’t caused any difficulties in being a busy classic car group organiser. The group is run as part of the bigger Standard Motor Club and all my activities are done on a voluntary basis and unpaid.’’

Gillian is convinced that classic car motoring is the way to go and has no plans to move to a modern vehicle.

She explained: ‘‘Henry has simple mechanics, is easy and pleasant to drive, enjoys free road tax and manages around 40mpg.

‘‘What more could I want?’’