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Tell me about: Triumph Mayflower


vulgalour

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Looks super. They were deemed a failure by Triumph at the time but still sold 35,000 in four years which ain't bad.

I really like their big car in miniature looks. I saw one in use in South London recently. 

Unibody construction and all hydraulic brakes - so not as fusty as it looks. Austin A30/5 suffered with hydo-mechanical to 1959!

Bravo!

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As I’ve said on a certain Zuckerberg owned social media machine, I love it!!! It looks such a lovely one. 

I was so tempted by this one a few months back. But sadly it was a bit rotten and needed a fair bit of other work and the dealer had seen the prices of fully restored ones and thought that was its value! I think. I should have tried harder to wear him down on price maybe… 

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10 hours ago, brownnova said:

As I’ve said on a certain Zuckerberg owned social media machine, I love it!!! It looks such a lovely one. 

I was so tempted by this one a few months back. But sadly it was a bit rotten and needed a fair bit of other work and the dealer had seen the prices of fully restored ones and thought that was its value! I think. I should have tried harder to wear him down on price maybe… 

IMG_0445.thumb.jpeg.ed148a28d2cfc4b5819ea94cbfc8a613.jpegIMG_0448.thumb.jpeg.a9c7a6fdad09cc54fd7f2d1f823f5a02.jpegIMG_0612.thumb.jpeg.2fbd444e4e29be683e548595172d3175.jpegIMG_0613.thumb.jpeg.9c8998e82f9867530300fc55635d9379.jpeg

How much did he want for it?

They’re not very desirable as you know and four grand should get you an absolute minter.

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I’ve been improving this car since picking it up on Saturday. Greased all the points, changed the oil (no filter on these) therefore it’s important to change it regularly. 
Second gear was an awkward bastard. It was very reluctant to engage going 1st-2nd, but going down and the other gears were fine. The previous owner who traded it in for a Minor got in touch and said that second gear problem was one of the reasons he got rid of it, the other was the lack of speed. We can’t do much about the latter but what about the former. 
He said he used to slip the clutch and move off in second which is less than ideal. Although the accepted thing to do with the Hampshire is pull away in second, it’s got a very torquey 2.2 OHV engine which the Mayflower, well, hasn’t so it’s important to have all the gears working correctly.

Adjusting the gear linkage made it so it always went in but it wasn’t very smooth unless I double-declutched. I had a look at the clutch adjustment. The free play should be 1/2” but it was at least 2- 2 1/2”. Adjusted that up correctly and now it works perfectly and smoothly in all gears. 
Other jobs included tuning up the engine, and feeding the very dry original leather with the leather cream Vulgalour used on his Lanchester, I went and bought a bottle on his recommendation. It’s had two applications already and it’s getting there but it hadn’t been done for years so it really needs another application. I also tightened up the fuel pump and the stator tube on the end of the steering box, both were leaking and topped up the steering box. I think the fuel pump may need a new gasket as it’s still weeping slightly but the steering box is now dry which is good. Unfortunately the (recently recored) rad is leaking from two places, the drain tap and a soldered joint on the side so I’ll have to whip that out and repair it. I’ve got a spare tap which should fit.

The only other thing I’ve had to deal with is the non-functioning headlights. The car has a brand new loom so my first thought was they’ve forgotten to connect something or wired something in wrongly. I couldn’t find anything wrong with the loom so tested the switch with my test meter which showed it was faulty. To prove the point I ran a link wire across the back of the switch from sidelights to headlights with the switch turned on and the headlights came on. I ordered a secondhand replacement from the Austin Counties car club (same switch used on Somerset etc) which turned up and I tested it and it’s a goodun. Unfortunately you need to turn the ignition switch to the on position to remove and swap the barrel over and none of my keys would operate the switch. So that’ll have to wait until a key turns up for it.

So far though, I’m loving it. It drives beautifully and it’s brimming with character. Also it’s nice to have something that doesn’t need welding!

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Triumph Mayflower in literature: Here featured in a section from the introduction to novelist Julian Barnes book of essays about France - 'Something to Declare' - first published in 2001:

"I first went to France in the summer of 1959 at the age of thirteen. My pre-adolescence had been car-free and island-bound; now there stood in front of our house a gun-metal-grey Triumph Mayflower, bought secondhand, suddenly affordable thanks to a legacy from Great Aunt Edie. It struck me then - as any car would have done - as deeply handsome, if perhaps a little too boxy and sharp-edged for true elegance; last year, in a poll of British autophiles, it was voted one of the ten ugliest cars ever built. Registration plate RTW1, red leather upholstery, walnut dashboard, no radio, and a blue metal RAC badge on the front. (The RAC man, portly and moustachioed, with heavy patched boots and a subservient manner, had arrived to enrol us. His first, preposterous question to my father - 'Now, sir, how many cars have you got?' - passed into quiet family myth.) That cars were intended not just for safe commuting but also for perilous voyage was endorsed the Triumph's subtitle, and further its illustrative hubcaps: at their centre was an emblematic boss depicting, in blue and red enamel, a Mercator projection of the globe.

Our first expedition was from suburban Middlesex to provincial France. At Newhaven we watched nervously as the Mayflower was slung by crane with routine insouciance over our heads and down into the ferry's hold. The metal RAC badge at the front was now matched a metal GB plate at the rear. My mother drove; my father map-read and performed emergency hand-signals; my brother and I sat in the back and worried. Over the next few summers we would loop our way through different regions of France, mostly avoiding large cities and always avoiding Paris"

(I think the book may be out of print now - that's really the only car related bit.)

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2 hours ago, Angrydicky said:

FF2BC508-D6EB-4FA1-AE11-A26CFE4B130C.thumb.jpeg.766d66dd515f84f76b000bed76be1cb1.jpeg

I’ve been improving this car since picking it up on Saturday. Greased all the points, changed the oil (no filter on these) therefore it’s important to change it regularly. 
Second gear was an awkward bastard. It was very reluctant to engage going 1st-2nd, but going down and the other gears were fine. The previous owner who traded it in for a Minor got in touch and said that second gear problem was one of the reasons he got rid of it, the other was the lack of speed. We can’t do much about the latter but what about the former. 
He said he used to slip the clutch and move off in second which is less than ideal. Although the accepted thing to do with the Hampshire is pull away in second, it’s got a very torquey 2.2 OHV engine which the Mayflower, well, hasn’t so it’s important to have all the gears working correctly.

Adjusting the gear linkage made it so it always went in but it wasn’t very smooth unless I double-declutched. I had a look at the clutch adjustment. The free play should be 1/2” but it was at least 2- 2 1/2”. Adjusted that up correctly and now it works perfectly and smoothly in all gears. 
Other jobs included tuning up the engine, and feeding the very dry original leather with the leather cream Vulgalour used on his Lanchester, I went and bought a bottle on his recommendation. It’s had two applications already and it’s getting there but it hadn’t been done for years so it really needs another application. I also tightened up the fuel pump and the stator tube on the end of the steering box, both were leaking and topped up the steering box. I think the fuel pump may need a new gasket as it’s still weeping slightly but the steering box is now dry which is good. Unfortunately the (recently recored) rad is leaking from two places, the drain tap and a soldered joint on the side so I’ll have to whip that out and repair it. I’ve got a spare tap which should fit.

The only other thing I’ve had to deal with is the non-functioning headlights. The car has a brand new loom so my first thought was they’ve forgotten to connect something or wired something in wrongly. I couldn’t find anything wrong with the loom so tested the switch with my test meter which showed it was faulty. To prove the point I ran a link wire across the back of the switch from sidelights to headlights with the switch turned on and the headlights came on. I ordered a secondhand replacement from the Austin Counties car club (same switch used on Somerset etc) which turned up and I tested it and it’s a goodun. Unfortunately you need to turn the ignition switch to the on position to remove and swap the barrel over and none of my keys would operate the switch. So that’ll have to wait until a key turns up for it.

So far though, I’m loving it. It drives beautifully and it’s brimming with character. Also it’s nice to have something that doesn’t need welding!

thats a handsome beast :) I can under why people find the mayflower odd looking, but personally I like its looks, I dont know if this is the right word, but to me what comes to mind is exaggerated, it looks so much like a stereotypical old british stodgy car almost like a caricature of one, and I love it all the more for that :) 

I look forward to hearing/seeing more on it! it certainly sounds like you got yourself a decent example! interesting to hear about the fact the engine has no oil filter, is that something that could be added to make life a bit easier that regard? (I know you can add an oil filter to the Ford Model A engine for example)

 

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I missed this thread first time around.  What an absolutely fantastic vehicle!  I've always wondered what it'd be like to drive around in a really nice example of a '50s or '60s car - most of the ones I've owned have been a little careworn to say the least.

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I think I love the look of the Mayflower but for the life of me I don't know why.

I mean I look at the front and think yep that's nice then look at the sharp edged limo styled flanks and rear end and get a bit confused. It's hard to work out what market Triumph were aiming for. A second car for wealthy familys maybe ?

Still you're the perfect new owner afor it that's for sure.

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5 hours ago, Angrydicky said:

How much did he want for it?

They’re not very desirable as you know and four grand should get you an absolute minter.

He wanted £3500

Hadn’t been on the road properly for a few years, needed new outer sills (at least), new brakes and the fan didn’t work. It was also very lopsided! 

He said it was in “on the road condition because it runs, is MoT exempt and the plate has to be worth £2k on its own” Did try and talk him down to a more reasonable figure, but he was convinced he would make his money at auction. 

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On 01/03/2024 at 12:43, brownnova said:

He wanted £3500

Hadn’t been on the road properly for a few years, needed new outer sills (at least), new brakes and the fan didn’t work. It was also very lopsided! 

He said it was in “on the road condition because it runs, is MoT exempt and the plate has to be worth £2k on its own” Did try and talk him down to a more reasonable figure, but he was convinced he would make his money at auction. 

I'd doubt that. These are interesting cars but not really in so much demand - like a lot of the cars of the era they are very slow. Nice - but slow.

When these were designed - car design overall was in a real flux - moving from traditional 'upright' to ponton styling and the three-box template.  So I think Triumph had a stab at what they thought would look good and sell especially abroad. This is a US Australian ad.

Screenshot_20240301_124937_Chrome.jpg

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9 minutes ago, brownnova said:

the plate has to be worth £2k on its own” . 

See so many 50s cars listed with this as a selling point as if it adds a genuine £2k to the car's value.

Relatively few folk seem to want to actually bother keeping the plate and selling it themselves though...

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1 hour ago, captain_70s said:

See so many 50s cars listed with this as a selling point as if it adds a genuine £2k to the car's value.

Relatively few folk seem to want to actually bother keeping the plate and selling it themselves though...

especially as to transfer the plate off a vehicle the DVLA have made it a requirement the vehicle must have a current MOT 

and fewer people seem to realise what "non-transferable registration mark" means on the bottom of the V5! 

(PWJ737 is a V765 scheme vehicle so it will be non transferable) 

 

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5 hours ago, LightBulbFun said:

interesting to hear about the fact the engine has no oil filter, is that something that could be added to make life a bit easier that regard? (I know you can add an oil filter to the Ford Model A engine for example)

Many older engines did not have oil filters except for a strainer in the sump.   It is usually quite difficult to add a proper full-flow filter  between the pump and the oil galleries - most of the conversions on early Fords etc. use a bypass system, which is easier to engineer but only filters a bit of the oil at a time.   It does work reasonably well, but it is a lot of work unless a kit is available, so arguably it is simpler just to change the oil more frequently.

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3 hours ago, brownnova said:

He wanted £3500

Hadn’t been on the road properly for a few years, needed new outer sills (at least), new brakes and the fan didn’t work. It was also very lopsided! 

He said it was in “on the road condition because it runs, is MoT exempt and the plate has to be worth £2k on its own” Did try and talk him down to a more reasonable figure, but he was convinced he would make his money at auction. 

Yeah that’s well overpriced. I paid less than that for this one which is all on the road and very well sorted with a fortune spent on it.

I did really want one which still had its original number. This one is a very original car which was in the same ownership 1969-2017 then in 2019 fell into the hands of someone who robbed the original number plate off it (MRM 79, now on a Range Rover). I suspect it was a bent mot as it did virtually no miles between 2013 and 2019 and the subsequent owner spent a fortune having it all recommissioned.

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24 minutes ago, Angrydicky said:

Yeah that’s well overpriced. I paid less than that for this one which is all on the road and very well sorted with a fortune spent on it.

I did really want one which still had its original number. This one is a very original car which was in the same ownership 1969-2017 then in 2019 fell into the hands of someone who robbed the original number plate off it (MRM 79, now on a Range Rover). I suspect it was a bent mot as it did virtually no miles between 2013 and 2019 and the subsequent owner spent a fortune having it all recommissioned.

Yeah plate robbery is one of the things that makes me irrationally angry, especially when it comes to an older vehicle like that where the plate is engrained as part of its history and its identify

it pisses me off on several levels, from the fact for example a car will lose its phyiscal original number plates, a nice original set of bluemels or such gone, in favour of the cheapest and nastiest modern pressed plates, or even worse i have seen just modern retro-reflective plates slapped on! 

and then on a deeper level I know so many times how so many people have found old cars from them googling their reg number the classic example of a family finding out Great-grandads Old Austin 7 is still out there because they found an old photo from 90 years ago and googled the reg for a giggle

however plate robbery, robs them of that chance, but this is a soapbox I could rant on for hours about

 

but its funny you should mention the bent MOT, as you know I do fair bit of DVLA bashing, and one of those things is occasionally checking in on what the current re-reg series are up to, and the amount of times i have come across a freshly plate robbed vehicle with a completely clean MOT 

I do often think myself "did that 1947 Morris, that last otherwise had a keeper change in 1986, really just manage to waltz through a clean MOT...." 

 

I wonder if there is any way of getting the original reg back, do you know if it was sold through one of the many plate retailers out there, or if Mr Plate Robber sold it directly to Mr Range Rover?

perhaps if you could chase it back up the line so to speak, get the person who sold the plate off the car, to pass on your details to the person who they sold the plate too, maybe you could get Mr Range Rover to sell it back to you at least? if nothing else might be worth keeping an eye on said number plate retailers

a good friend of mine owns a Land Rover with original plate of 333EUL and he was able to eventually reunite it with its original number plate by stalking the number plate retailers

 

 

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This all reminds me of a customer of mine back in the late nineties  when I ran a testing station.

I had a good customer called Kent Roofing (who ran three Nissan Cabstars) who had in his front garden a scruffy Humber Sceptre with a reg that was four numbers and then KR.

The guy kept asking me about doing him a favour and quickly writing out a ticket for the Humber so he could put the KR reg on his Mercedes. After a few months of continued pestering I said get the car to me and I will put it through a "gentle MOT test" and go from there.

It was towed over to my place and I had a look over it and to be fair it wasn't too bad but there was a lot of surface corrosion and panels like the sills were weak but you couldn't push through them or the brake hoses and pipes were perished but just about ok. Cleaning up the brakes and sorting some poor electrical connections got the car capable of passing the test although it was anything like road ready as the coolant hoses were rock hard,the rad leaked and the fuel tank had brown muck in it that kept blocking its filter and carbs (I strapped a Reliant Robin tank in the boot in the end ).

The bronze paintwork was shot and the once prestige interior was very poor with mouldy carpets and seats and the lacquer was flaking off the dash and door cappings.

Anyway I did eventually pass it after much fettling and replacing various small bits and pieces and I wrote out a massive list of advisories on the VT30 (pre computerised days) too.

Hand on heart on the day I wrote out the MOT certificate the old Humber had met the minimum requirements to gain a pass but ten miles down the road or a week later who knows.

The KR plate soon got swapped onto the Mercedes and the Sceptre got sold on never to be seen again.

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Having tuned side valve Ford engines, I am thinking that it might be possible to get a bit more out of the Mayflower without wrecking it.  Nobody bothered back in the day, but the two engines are similar.  With the 1172cc Ford you could get another 4 to 5 bhp quite easily.  That sort of increase on a Mayflower would surely be worthwhile for improved acceleration, and it has decent suspension and brakes already.   Just an idea, although it really needs a spare engine to play with.

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Yes, there’s been a few people who have fitted Herald/Spitfire engines and some even retain the original gearbox with column change.

I’m quite happy with the little sidevalve to be honest. It’s got loads of charm, if you view it more like a thirties car it doesn’t seem too slow.

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3 minutes ago, brownnova said:

Yeah, the dealer didn’t believe me on that one! 

they dont have to believe you its right there on the DVLA website, if you want to just pull it up on their computer and show em :) (although thats me assuming they have basic reading and comprehension skills...)

https://www.gov.uk/personalised-vehicle-registration-numbers/take-private-number-off

Quote

Eligibility
The vehicle must:

be registered with DVLA in the UK
be able to move under its own power
be of a type that needs an MOT or heavy goods vehicle (HGV) test certificate
be available for inspection - DVLA will contact you if they need to inspect your vehicle
have been taxed or had a SORN in place continuously for the past 5 years
be taxed currently or have a SORN in place - if it’s had a SORN in place for more than 5 years, it must be taxed and have an MOT certificate
If you have a historic (classic) vehicle you’ll also need a current MOT certificate, even if your vehicle is usually exempt from MOTs.

 

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2 minutes ago, LightBulbFun said:

if you want to just pull it up on their computer and show em

Tried that… still didn’t believe me. He was just being stubborn about it. Thought he’d bought a gold mine… 

Good news is it appears to be taxed currently!

Id still absolutely love a Mayflower. One of my favourite 50s cars. Massively admire this purchase! 

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The thing is, it’s pointless having a discussion with a dealer about how a car needs an MOT to get a plate off. 

If I’ve managed to work out how to get a wonky ticket (no comment, your honour) then someone in the trade DEFINITELY can. You might as well go and shout at a wall than try and correct their thinking. 

Plates moving cars has always happened and always will happen. It just needs a Gallic shrug and filing under ‘disregard’. 

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