How does Triumph’s mini-limo fare in our challenges?
1 DAILY DRIVING
The Mayflower is in its element around town or buzzing down country lanes and is more than capable of keeping up with modern traffic once you’ve adjusted to the idea of keeping your right foot buried in the carpet. Its compact size means it’ll slot into car park spaces that other classics would have to forego, too. The column change can get tiring over time and the trafficators are all-but-invisible to modern drivers, so it’s wise to adopt a motorcyclist’s wariness – or fit modern flashing indicators. Luckily the Mayflower has pretty good allround visibility, though the thick C-pillars and small rear window can make reversing tricky. 2 IN THE SERVICE BAY Open the bonnet and peer deep into the engine bay and the little engine is revealed. Yes, it’s small, and yes it needs regular oil changes, but everything is easily accessible. Standard servicing jobs such as changing the plugs, points and condenser are straightforward, although an inspection light is useful because the cavernous engine bay is quite dark. Parts are easily available through the Triumph Mayflower Club and a drain tap on the radiator means that flushing the system is quick and easy. The front and rear suspension needs greasing regularly but it’s all easily accessible, so it’s not too onerous a job.
3 ON THE SHOW CIRCUIT
Be prepared for questions, cheeky ‘expert’ remarks and the occasional appreciative one-liner. The Mayflower encompasses all classic emotions, from the enthusiastic to the downright hostile. There’s no denying that its opinion-polarising looks are the biggest draw, but so too is its comparative rarity, so be ready to explain why you’ve taken the path less travelled. A Mayflower sparks attention wherever it goes – rightly so, given that it’s one of the first new British cars launched after World War II – and it looks as perfectly at home at the Goodwood Revival as it does at the local village show. Accept and embrace its dynamic shortcomings during the drive to and from a given show, and bask in all the attention while you’re there.
4 THE LONG WEEKEND
If you’re venturing some distance away from home, a long weekend is advisable because, while the Mayflower will get you there, it won’t be quick. Nevertheless it has room for four at a a pinch and the boot’s big enough to take three large soft bags. Front-seat occupants have plenty of arm and leg space, but those in the rear will feel more cramped and taller passengers in particular will need regular stops to get out and stretch their legs. If you move in country house weekend circles, accept that you won’t be the first to arrive – but will certainly get most of the attention when you do. 5 THE B-ROAD BLAST Expect a B-road meander rather than a blast, but if you accept that this is a post-war car with pre-war roots, you won’t be disappointed. It’s easy to get the Mayflower rolling and maintain momentum once you’ve mastered the column gearchange. It grips pretty well, despite its narrow track, and impresses (or terrifies) other road users with its pronounced body roll. Maintaining revs and keen anticipation means you won’t demand too much of the brakes. All in all, the Mayflower doesn’t so much disappoint as persuade the driver to reassess his or her driving style before getting out on to the open road.