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Sir John Black (1895–1965), Managing Director of the Standard Motor Company

© the artist's estate. Photo credit: British Motor Industry Heritage Trust

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John Black started his motoring career at Hillman. He joined Standard in 1929 as joint Managing Director and quickly made an impression on the company. In only two years he had completely reorganised Standard’s production methods, leading it to be one of Britain’s ‘Big Six’ car makers. He was knighted in 1943 for his work on the Joint Aero Engine Committee. In 1945 he oversaw the company’s acquisition of struggling Triumph. Once described as “extrovert and exciting, if a somewhat controversial personality” some found Black dictatorial and conceited, yet he was also known for a softer approach to industrial relations. Following a series of board disagreements, Black resigned from the company in 1954 on the grounds of ill health, leaving almost as quickly as he had arrived.

British Motor Museum



Sir John Black (1895–1965), Managing Director of the Standard Motor Company




oil on canvas


H 96 x W 76 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

gift, 1986

Work type



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British Motor Museum

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