Triumph Mayflower Saloon

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Americans were warming up to imported cars, British cars in particular. In 1948, Austin sold 8,610 cars in the United States, most of them the appealing little Devon sedan. In fact, Austin kept its lead until 1951, rivaled only by the English Ford.

The Triumph Motor Company had been selling a pleasingly plump rumble-seat roadster and a razor-edge Renown saloon from 1946, neither one in substantial numbers. No doubt envying Austin, Triumph determined to produce a product that would appeal especially to the New World. Taking the razor edge into the 1950s idiom, they slab-sided it and scaled it down. The two-door Triumph Mayflower debuted late in 1949. Its three-speed column shift was intended to appeal to Americans and its 1,247 cc L-head four to be economical. The Mayflower, however, did not prove appealing to Mayflower descendants and was laid to rest three years later. It is estimated that no more than 200 of the 34,000 built were sold in its intended American market. 

This Mayflower has been given a shot of adrenalin, courtesy of a 1,622 cc overhead-valve engine from an MGA. The MG four-speed gearbox, with floor shifter, accompanies the engine. It is fitted with Yankee accessory directional signals and a modern radio. It has a 78 rpm Victrola installed in the trunk, running from battery voltage, and a selection of records and a fur lap robe are included. The car had a new battery in April 2010, and a file of pertinent records and two books are included in the sale. A true time warp, it was, according to the owner, the New York show car and clearly demonstrates what those postwar American customers missed.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August of 2010 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California.

90 bhp, 1,622 cc OHV inline four-cylinder engine (MG), four-speed manual transmission, coil spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 84"

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Stephen Goodal

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