Monday, October 21, 2013

What Were They Thinking?: Triumph Mayflower

One of the strangest designs from the early post World War 2 period was the 1949-1953 Triumph Mayflower (Wikipedia entry here).  The article mentions that "The body was designed by Leslie Moore, chief body designer of Mulliners of Birmingham with input from Triumph's Walter Belgrove."  And it also notes that the design was controversial in its day and that only around 35,000 cars were produced during its production run.

It seems that the concept was to create a small car that had luxury touches, an idea that has been tried with varying degrees of success in the years since.  One way to do this is to focus on the interior, using quality materials (real wood, for instance, rather than cheap grades of plastic).  Where the Mayflower's stylists went wrong was to assemble upper-crust exterior styling details on a small, short-wheelbase chassis.  Those details originated on large, long cars such as custom body Rolls-Royces and didn't seem legitimate when scaled down to Mayflower size.  Another possible error was to add the new (at the time) feature of the flow-through fender line.


This is an advertisement placed in The Motor to let readers know where to find the Mayflower at the Earls Court automobile show (click to enlarge).  Features worth noting are the "razor's-edge" greenhouse, the flow-through fender line, the tall, narrow traditional grille and the oddly integrated headlights perched at the front of the fenders.

Another 3/4 front view, this from a photograph rather than an illustration.

A side view.

This rear view I found on the Internet seems to have been photographed at a car meet in England.

Aside from trying to put the proverbial gallon into a pint jar, the Mayflower stylists encountered a problem not understood at the time: It is difficult to graft a razor's edge upper body on to a more modern lower body, a case in point being the early 1980s Cadillac Seville (scroll down on the linked article).

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