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Articles By Mike Rooth


Triumph MC Mayflower, Part II

Or, to be precise the Triumph Mayflower.Father came home one day in winter with the rivetting news that there was a Triumph Mayflower for sale at a local garage, and it had a heater,rare in those days, and it had been owned by the local curate. All this latter meant to me was that the back seat was unlikely to be worn. Father also stated that he was prepared to finance the loan to buy it. This was to wean me away from the little MG I had and loved. It also meant that any support vis-a-vis said MG was finished. He was,and still is, like that. Now let it be stated I never wanted the thing in the first place. Further aquaintance only served to reinforce that feeling.

The most one could say about it was that it was respectable. In a way that only the English middle classes ever achieved, because they invented it. Insufferable was closer to the point.It was contemporary to the Triumph Renown, or razor edged saloon (sedan),of which father had an example.And the Triumph Roadster (or TR1), Triumph Roadster being what TR stands for. The razor edge was literally that, each edge where normally rounded was a sharp edge, it had a Standard Vanguard 2litre engine and was a middle class limo, really. A snob of a car.

The Mayflower was Triumph's attempt to break into the medium/small car market,inhabited by the Morris Minor,and by more snobs. Mine arrived running on three cylinders of its Standard Eight side valve engine. I ran it like that for a week,before taking the lid off and replacing an exhaust valve and promptly dropping the fifteen thou feeler gauge into the sump via the valve chest, thus making a two hour job into an all day job. It was a two door saloon, with sharp(ish) edges, built much a la Land Rover. Solid. The extra cylinder didnt seem to make any difference to its speed. It had a column change three speed box,the gear lever of which suffered from brewer's droop. It also ran on fifteen inch wheels, and the centre of gravity was somewhere above my head. Its only(slight) charm was an ignition switch that was so worn, you could swicth on, start up, remove the key and put it in your pocket. This, for some reason, made passengers want to get out. Immediately. The spare wheel was housed out of sight in the very thick boot (trunk) lid, which hinged downwards. Instruments were as a S11A Rover, in fact the dash was almost identical,except the dials were black on white. Engine 1250cc. Performance? well, 0-60 in a fortnight. To relieve the sheer boredom of owning this thing I cadged the loan of a radio, no, I'm wrong, wireless off father. This set, children, had things called valves in it. There were two huge tin boxes. One contained the power pack and oscillator, and went under the bonnet.The other much larger box went in the car. This was the wireless receiver, and on a good day (or evening) could pull in Radio Luxembourg on 208m medium wave, which was the only station that transmitted pop in those days. Aunty BBC hated them, but with then being based abroad could do nothing to stop it. As a bird puller it rated minus ten. I finally decided to get rid after a horrendous journey of some fifteen miles at night. It had snowed, then frozen for weeks. I came off the night shift at about four in the morning to find the weather very mild, and rain falling. Water over ice. The MG would have treated these conditions with contempt. Not so this tank. After all, suburbia was never like this,this was real weather, and the wimp should have been tucked up in a nice comfy garage. For fifteen miles the thing went sideways, first one way,then the next.The ridiculously high CG meant it was all but uncontrolable, so much so that if it got into anything like a skid it simply would not respond to corrective measures,so you just had to sit there and hope that nothing too solid got in the way. After I reached the town, I stopped,literally shaking,for a ciggy.

I've still got the fob off the key ring,it reads "Standard-Triumph" and, in retrospect, was perhaps the best thing about the car.It did however, tech me early on something the japs have yet to learn with their 4X4's that you do not put a high, heavy steel body on something with a fairly narrow track, and high ground clearance.

So out came the wireless receiving apparatus,and exit one Mayflower, unloved, unwanted and un mourned, in PE for an MG ZA Magnette. That had its problems too, but they werent lethal, at least. Cheers

   
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