Triumph Mayflower

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Triumph Mayflower
Triumph Mayflower.JPG
Manufacturer Standard Motor Company
Production 1949–53
35,000 were made[1]
Assembly Coventry, England
Port Melbourne, Australia
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door saloon
2-door drophead coupé
2-door coupé utility
Engine 1,247 cc straight-4 side-valve[2]
Transmission 3-speed manual[2]
Wheelbase 84 inches (2134 mm)[3][4]
Length 156 in (4,000 mm)[3]
Width 62 in (1,600 mm)[3]
Height 60 in (1,500 mm)[5]
Successor Standard 8/Triumph Herald

The Triumph Mayflower is a British four-seat economy car noted for its razor-edge styling. It was built by the Standard Motor Company. It was announced at the October 1949 London Motor Show but deliveries, including CKD kits for overseas markets, did not commence until the middle of 1950.[6][7] The Mayflower was manufactured from 1949 until 1953.

The Mayflower's "upscale small car" position did not find a ready market and sales did not meet Standard's expectations. Standard's next small car, the Standard Eight of 1953, was a more conventional economy car.

Design and engineering[edit]

The Mayflower used a version of the pre-war Standard Flying Ten's[6][8] side-valve engine updated by having an aluminium cylinder head[2] and single Solex carburettor.[citation needed] The engine developed 38 bhp (28 kW)[2] at 4200 rpm.[citation needed] The 3-speed gearbox, with column shift, came from the Standard Vanguard[6] and had synchromesh on all the forward ratios.[citation needed] There was independent suspension at the front[6] using coil springs and telescopic dampers,[9] but a solid back axle and half-elliptic leaf springs, also based on the one used on the Vanguard, was at the rear. Lockheed hydraulic brakes were fitted.[citation needed]

The Mayflower was the first car with unitary construction to be manufactured by Standard. The body was designed by Leslie Moore, chief body designer of Mulliners of Birmingham with input from Standard's Walter Belgrove. The body shells were built by Fisher and Ludlow at Castle Bromwich, Birmingham.[8][10]

The Mayflower had traditional "razor edge" styling similar to that of the Triumph Renown, and imitating the looks of the upmarket Bentley and Rolls-Royce cars.[8][11][12] Standard's managing director Sir John Black believed this would be especially appealing to the American market. One advantage of the car's upright styling was that it could seat four people in comfort despite its small size,[11] although there were complaints about the rear seat being constrained by the rear axle and being too narrow as a result.[13]

Non-saloon versions[edit]

Ten drophead coupés were built in 1950.[1][2]

Standard Triumph (Australia) produced a coupe utility variant of the Mayflower at their Port Melbourne plant in Victoria, Australia. 150 examples were built from Mayflower Saloon CKD kits imported from the United Kingdom, with bodywork locally modified to form a rear load area to which timber floor and side panels were added.[14]


A Mayflower tested by British magazine The Motor in 1950 had a top speed of 62.9 mph (101.2 km/h) and could accelerate from 0–50 mph (80 km/h) in 26.6 seconds. A fuel consumption of 28.3 miles per imperial gallon (10.0 L/100 km; 23.6 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £505 including taxes.[5] In the same year the similarly sized but less well equipped and more aggressively priced Morris Minor was advertised at £382.[15]

Despite its low performance, the Mayflower impressed automobile testers, including Tom McCahill from Mechanix Illustrated [8] and The Scribe from Autocar.[16]


Triumph Mayflower

The Mayflower's "razor-edge" styling proved controversial and tends to polarise opinion. Although it has many admirers, others share the opinion of Top Gear presenter James May, who called it the ugliest car of all time.[17]


The Mayflower was an attempt to create a small car with an upmarket image,[4] but failed to meet its sales targets.[2] Standard-Triumph's next small car, the Standard Eight, was launched with a very basic specification and aimed at a different type of buyer. From the ending of Mayflower production in 1953 there was no small Triumph saloon available in the UK until the launch of the Triumph Herald in 1959, although in some overseas markets derivatives of the Standard 8 were sold as Triumphs.

The front suspension design from the Mayflower was used on the Triumph 20TS prototype and, with modifications, on the Triumph TR2.[6][11][18]

Cultural impact[edit]

The Mayflower is the subject of a well-known painting by Australian artist John BrackThe Car.[19]

Die-cast models[edit]

  • Mikansue modelled the Mayflower in the 1980s (?)
  • Lansdowne modelled the Mayflower in the 2000s
  • Oxford Diecast produced a 00 scale model in 2008




External links[edit]