Standard Beaverette

Standard Car 4x2, or Car Armoured Light Standard, better known as the Beaverette, was a British armoured car produced during the Second World War.

Standard Car 4x2
Beaverettes of 53rd Reconnaissance Regiment on manoeuvres in Northern Ireland, 1941
TypeArmoured car
Place of originUnited Kingdom
Production history
ManufacturerStandard Motor Company
MassMk I: 2 tonnes (2.2 short tons; 2.0 long tons)
Mk III: 2.6 tonnes (2.9 short tons; 2.6 long tons)
LengthMk I: 4.11 m (13 ft 6 in)
Mk III: 3.10 m (10 ft 2 in)
WidthMk I: 1.60 m (5 ft 3 in)
Mk III: 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)
HeightMk I: 1.52 m (5 ft 0 in)
Mk III: 2.16 m (7 ft 1 in)

ArmourMk III: up to 9 mm (0.35 in)
Mk IV: up to 12 mm (0.47 in)
0.303 (7.7 mm) Bren MG or twin Vickers machine gun
EngineStandard 4-cylinder petrol engine
46 hp (34 kW)
Power/weight17-23 hp/tonne
Suspension4x2 wheel, leaf spring
Mk III: 300 km (190 mi)
Maximum speed Mk III: 38 km/h (24 mph)


The first version of the vehicle was built in 1940 by Standard Motor Company at the instigation of Lord Beaverbrook, then Minister of Aircraft Production (hence the name Beaverette). It was based on commercial car chassis, on which a simple riveted armoured hull was mounted. The 11mm of steel was backed by 3 inch thick oak planks.[1] The hull was open at the top and at the rear. The armament consisted of a Bren light machine gun, which could be fired through a slot in the casemate armour. Subsequent versions received all-around protection and a machine gun turret - an enclosed one with a Bren MG or an open-topped one with twin Vickers machine guns. Some vehicles also carried Boys anti-tank rifles. Some also had a No. 11 or No. 19 radio set. Production was stopped in 1942. About 2,800 units were delivered.

Describing the vehicle in 1941, a correspondent for The Light Car magazine reported "touching the 60-mark [60 mph (97 km/h)]" while following one along a road. Restricted vision meant the Beaverette driver had to rely on an observer to relay information about other road traffic and also to consider situations well in advance, for example, when making a turn, the driver had to base his steering on "observations made something like ten yards [30.00 ft (9.14 m)] back".[2]

The Beaverette was extensively used by the Home Guard (United Kingdom), British Army and RAF Regiment for home defence service and training. The vehicle is said to have suffered from excessive weight and to have been hard to handle.

Beaverette Mk II light reconnaissance cars manned by members of the Home Guard in the Highlands of Scotland, 14 February 1941.


  • Mk I - original version.
  • Mk II - had all-around armour and the radiator grill was moved from a vertical position to a horizontal one.[1]
  • Mk III Beaverbug - had a shortened chassis, a redesigned hull without curved front wings, top armour and a machine gun turret. A Mk III was used by the RAF Regiment in the capture of a Focke-Wulf Fw 190 and destruction of another when they landed at RAF West Malling in April 1943.[3]
  • Mk IV - glacis armour was redesigned to improve visibility.
  • A similar vehicle, known as Beaverette (NZ), was produced in New Zealand Railways workshops, Hutt Valley. The car used a Ford 3/4 or 1-ton truck chassis and plate salvaged from the ships Port Bowen and Mokoia for armour. They had a crew of four; 208 units were built.[4]


A Mark III Beaverette is displayed at the Imperial War Museum Duxford. In 2018, the Tank Museum acquired a similar Mark III for restoration whilst a third Mark III is in the Cobbaton Combat Collection, a private collection of military vehicles in Umberleigh, Devon in the United Kingdom[5] A Mark IV Beaverette is displayed at the Museum Bevrijding Vleugels in the Netherlands. A second Mark IV is preserved at The Curragh Military Museum in Ireland.


The Beaverette Mk III at the Imperial War Museum Duxford
  1. ^ a b Livesey, Jack (2007). Armoured Fighting Vehicles of Would Wars I and II. Southwater. p. 36. ISBN 978-1-84476-370-2.
  2. ^ Taylor, Ashley (November 1941). "Battle Motoring". The Light car. London: Temple Press Ltd. 57 (1450): 416.
  3. ^ Oliver, Kingsley. The RAF Regiment at War 1942-1946. Pen & Sword.
  4. ^ Richard Stowers - Waikato Troopers, Richard Stowers 2008, ISBN 978-0-473-13146-3
  5. ^ "Cobbaton Combat Collection". Cobbaton Combat Collection. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  • George Forty - World War Two Armoured Fighting Vehicles and Self-Propelled Artillery, Osprey Publishing 1996, ISBN 978-1-85532-582-1.
  • I. Moschanskiy - Armored vehicles of the Great Britain 1939-1945 part 2, Modelist-Konstruktor, Bronekollektsiya 1999-02 (И. Мощанский - Бронетанковая техника Великобритании 1939-1945 часть 2, Моделист-Конструктор, Бронеколлекция 1999-02).

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