The Standard 10

Rather 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.

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.


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.

By Mark Harkin (Standard 10) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Mark Harkin (Standard 10 Start Ramp) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Typical specifications

Triumph Sedan and Estate Wagon (from January and September 1959 sales literature):

    • Engine type: 4 cyl. O/H valve (948 cc.)
    • Horsepower: 40 at 5,000 RPM
    • Compression ratio: 8.00:1 (Bore 2.48″, Stroke 2.992″)
    • Gas consumption: up to 40 miles per gallon
    • Top speed: over 70 mph
    • Acceleration: 0-50 mph in 18 secs.
    • Overall length: 12′
    • Width: 4′ 10″
    • Height: 5′
    • Weight: 1680 lbs. [Sedan], 1780 lbs. [Estate Wagon]
    • Gas tank capacity: 8.5 gal.
  • STANDARD EQUIPMENT: Tubeless tires, electric windshield wipers, twin sun visors, automatic turn indicators, spare tire, controlled air ventilation, deep nap carpeting, ash trays, vynide upholstery.
  • AVAILABLE OPTIONS: white wall tires, heavy-duty heater, chrome wheel rings, radio, windshield washer, two-tone body.
  • BODY COLORS: Phantom Grey, Powder Blue, Cotswold Blue, Nimbus White, Lichfield Green, Coffee, Pale Yellow, Black. Interior Colors: Phantom Grey, Matador Red, Midnight Blue, Coffee.

For more information on the Standard 10 on which the Triumph 10 is based, check out Phil Hetheringtons’s lovely car .

All information provided courtesy of Andrew Mace, Vintage Triumph Register Triumph 10 Consultant


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