Stanley Sears

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Bill Boddy

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Stanley Sears died at the age of 84 in the Algarve, where he had lived in his later years.

He had a profound knowledge of cars, especially of the veteran and vintage ones of which he was so fond and many of which he subjected to meticulous restorations. Indeed, he set fresh standards of excellence in this pursuit, as I well remember from going through the 1954 Veteran Car Run to Brighton on his immaculate 1901 Type E 15hp Mors, to be met at Bolney, where he then resided, by admiring friends and members of his family.

Stanley Sears was a President of the Veteran Car Club and it was he who helped materially to form the guidelines and dating parameters that have served the old-car movement so well ever since. His painstaking rebuilding of the more important veteran and Edwardian cars resulted in a fine personal collection, which numbered the 1904 Mercedes formerly run by CR Abbott, the 20hp 1905 four-cylinder Rolls-Royce which he bodied as a replica of the TT-winning car, his rebuild of the only surviving pre-Ghost 30hp six-cylinder and several other Rolls-Royces — who will ever forget his P1 with its interior a copy of a Louis XIV salon?

Sears’ appreciation of such fine motor cars must have been fostered when, as a boy, he would advise his mother on the next family purchases, gaining in knowledge of the rare Leyland Eights before they turned to Lanchesters and Rolls-Royces. At Cambridge he got a degree in engineering, which aided him in later rebuilds of more exciting cars, such as a 1914 TT Sunbeam and a GP Opel of the same age, for which a new cylinder block had to be cast. He was also associated with the 1914 GP Mercedes.

After the death of Forest Lycett he gave the famous McKenzie-modified Lycett 8-litre Bentley a home, and the Sears family still owns it. Indeed, Sears drove many Bentleys, from Mk VI to R-type Continental, winning the 1957 Kensington Gardens Championship and clocking over 125 mph with a blower-41/2 at Antwerp in 1959. It was a life not completely free from tragedy, but Stanley Sears remained a staunch motoring enthusiast to the end; it is hardly surprising that his son Jack followed in his footsteps and rose to high esteem in the world of motoring sport, as well as driving his father’s vintage cars fast in competition events. To Mrs Sears, Jack and Eric, our sympathy. WB

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