FIVE TRI­ALs

How does Tri­umph’s mini-limo fare in our chal­lenges?

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Driving -

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.

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