forgotten in the history of Triumphs in the United States is the Triumph 10, a car better
known in most markets as the Standard 10, which, in turn, was an "upmarket"
version of the Standard 8.
The Standard 8 was
introduced in the latter part of 1953 as a replacement for the controversial Triumph
Mayflower. The 8 was pretty much the first (and perhaps last) all-new car developed by the
Standard-Triumph company. The "SC" (Small Car) project called for a unitized
body carrying an all new engine, transmission and rear axle developed specifically for it.
The first 8s were incredibly spartan: sliding windows in the doors, no external boot
access (although the rear seatback did fold down), no grille and very little other
brightwork. In less than a year, however, the Standard 10 was added to the line, adding
back most of the equipment that probably should have been there from the start.
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The 803cc engine developed
for the Standard 8 is particularly significant to Triumph enthusiasts, although not
certainly in its original form. Bore and stroke for the 803 were 58mm x 76mm, giving some
26 hp. If that stroke measurement looks familiar, however, that's because this engine was
the basis for virtually all Triumph engines to follow (excepting the slant-4 and V8
engines). The Standard 10 used a 63mm bore (948cc) version of this engine. That same
engine later powered the first Heralds, and in other enlarged, stroked and expanded forms,
it became the engine for every Herald, Spitfire, Vitesse, GT6, 2000 and even TR5/6.
Developments of the original Standard 8 gearbox and differential were used in many
Triumphs virtually through the end of Triumph production.
Most of these cars did indeed
feature a "Standard" badge, But by 1957 the success of the TR3 in the United
States prompted an attempt to broaden Standard-Triumph's market. With little more than a
change of badging and a few lamps, the Standard 10 became the Triumph 10, sold not only as
a four- door sedan but also as a four-door wagon with a "cargo-style" door at
the rear. The last of the Triumph 10s in the United States featured somewhat revised
styling, in the form of front sheetmetal and trim taken from the Standard Pennant. So far
as I can determine, the rear styling of the home market Pennant was not adapted for the
last of the Triumph 10s.
TR10 : The car
was never officially called the "TR10," although many have referred to it as
such over the years. In fact, Workshop Manuals, Spare Parts Catalogues and sales
literature refer to the cars only as the Triumph Sedan or Triumph Estate Wagon. The only
references to "10" are found on the car itself: on the Commission number plate
(which refers to the Triumph 10HP), and on the front badge. The badge is very much like
that of the small-mouth TR3, although the 10 badge is usually seen in the later
blue-and-white color scheme, and "10" replaces the TR3, with TRIUMPH across the
bottom of the badge. As with many other imports, 10s came to the United States, or at
least left a U.S. dealer's showroom, rather better equipped than their home market
counterparts. Many cars were "duotoned" either with a light color from the side
trim up and darker color below, or sometimes with a light color on bottom and dark color
from the bottom of the windows up and over the roof.
The Estate Wagons were
often seen in yet another duotone version: lower body and roof were a color, and the area
between the "beltline" and rain gutter was finished in white. Interiors featured
a choice of color with contrasting "flashes," along with full carpeting. In both
the Sedan and Estate Wagon, the rear seatback folded flat, giving a fairly long, flat
loading area that proved quite useful in either body style. Wide
whitewall tires were common, and it is likely that not too many cars were sold without the
optional heater, at least in northern states. A radio, chrome wheel ring trims and
windshield washer were other options. Although not mentioned in later sales literature, a
semi-automatic transmission ( TRIMATIC ) was available. A button on the shift knob
actuated the clutch. Sales of the two models were not spectacular -- production figures
show only 9907 sedans and 7351 wagons built under the Triumph name -- but the cars helped
pave the way in the U.S. for their successor, the Herald. In fact, the two models sold
side-by-side for a while in 1960. Surprisingly, though, the Estate Wagon version of the
Herald was never officially marketed in the U.S., although the 10 Estate Wagon did
reasonably well here. Apparently the TRIMATIC never made the transition to Herald at all.