The Standard Ten

The Standard Ten was a recurring name used for several very different models.







The Standard Motor Company was founded in 1903 in Coventry. They bought the Triumph motor company and ran that as a wholly owned subsidiary in 1945 but were themselves bought out by the Leyland Motor Co in 1960. The last use of the Standard name in the UK was 1963 but in India, they hung on to it until the mid eighties. Bless ‘em!

The Standard Ten was produced during a period of 55 years although it was not in continuous production. It gained its number from its fiscal horsepower. The fiscal horsepower is also known as the tax horsepower and was a sytem by which the tax rates were determined. In Britain, it was determined by a simple calculation based on the diameter of the cylinder bore and the number of cylinders.

The name was first used soon after the creation of the Standard Motor Company for one of their 2 cylinder models during the ‘experimental’ phase of the business. It was from 1934 to the outbreak of the second world war including the ‘Flying Ten’. This was a version of the earlier Ten range but with a partially streamlined look. It had a 3 speed synchromesh gearbox and its 1267 engine could propel it along at speeds of up to 65 mph. During the first year of the war, after civilian production had ceased, a military version was produced.

My memories of a vehicle bearing the name ‘Standard Ten’ come from the early 1960s, when, as a small child, I was charged with the job of washing the wheels (since I couldn’t reach the higher parts of the vehicle!) each week.

This ‘Ten’ was derived from the Standard Eight, sharing the skeleton and transmission but with a bigger engine that gave a top speed of abiut 70mph. A year or so after its introduction, a factory model actually won the RAC rally. It was competition the Austin A30 but had significant advantages in that the doors were a bit bigger and engine access was significantly easier.

One of the curious things about this car was the option of the ‘Standrive Two Pedal Control’. So successful was this system that it was offered on only the 1957 suoper Ten! It was a semi-automatic transmission system with a clutch that was partly centrifugal and partly operated by a button on the gear stick. The former gradually engaged as the engine revs built up and when the driver’s hand was placed on the gear stick control button, a vacuum operated servo released the clutch for gear changing.

Overseas, it was know as the Triumph Ten, Vanguard Junior and the Cadet.

If you are the owner of a Standard Ten, you may be interested in joining the Standard Motor Club –

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