We en­joy the Stan­dard Ten and put it fully to the test

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Driving -


It may be con­sid­er­ably slower than mod­ern day cars, but a Stan­dard Ten still of­fers a fun yet eco­nom­i­cal drive, mak­ing it the per­fect choice for a keen clas­sic en­thu­si­ast on a tight bud­get, es­pe­cially now that Mor­ris Mi­nor prices are on the up. The in­te­rior is rather ba­sic, but the en­gine is re­li­able and eco­nom­i­cal, the steer­ing is light, the han­dling per­fectly de­cent and the gear­box easy, if a lit­tle long-winded, to use – it’s great fun on a twist­ing A- or B-road, rather less so on a busy mo­tor­way. You need to be so­cia­ble, too, be­cause Stan­dard 10s at­tract nos­tal­gic sto­ries from the Fifties from on­look­ers like you wouldn’t be­lieve.


Fifties Stan­dards are re­mark­ably sim­ple to work on thanks to easy ac­cess to their me­chan­i­cals and a plen­ti­ful sup­ply of ex­ploded di­a­grams and work­shop man­u­als to guide you through main­te­nance sched­ules and re­pairs. Re­place­ment body panels are dif­fi­cult to find but an en­thu­si­as­tic fan base means own­ers can usu­ally track down parts and pa­per­work and with rel­a­tive ease. Many spares are avail­able on­line, pri­mar­ily through the web­shop of the Stan­dard Mo­tor Club. Bumpers, ex­hausts and ex­ter­nal trim parts are avail­able new, while other com­po­nents such as starter mo­tors, brake shoes and clutch kits are avail­able through re­con­di­tion-ex­change ser­vices.


Thanks to their largely un­der­rated sta­tus within the clas­sic com­mu­nity, Stan­dards are usu­ally wel­come at all sorts of car shows. These aren’t nec­es­sar­ily the type of cars that lend them­selves to win­ning ‘Best in Show’ awards, but you’ll have fun en­ter­tain­ing and in­form­ing cu­ri­ous show­go­ers. How­ever, ap­ply your­self, take your Ten to club dis­plays, timed nav­i­ga­tional ral­lies and pe­riod dress com­pe­ti­tions and you’ll soon find that you have an un­ex­pected can­di­date for top hon­ours. That’s if you ever man­age to get a word in side­ways among the nu­mer­ous sto­ries of how these hum­ble sa­loons made ex­cel­lent first cars and fam­ily trans­port back in the day!


One of the Stan­dard Ten’s main ob­jec­tives was to func­tion as an eco­nom­i­cal yet spa­cious ve­hi­cle in which the whole fam­ily could travel com­fort­ably. Leaf through the Stan­dard Mo­tor Com­pany’s orig­i­nal mar­ket­ing ma­te­rial and you’ll find ex­am­ple af­ter ex­am­ple of fam­i­lies out and about with their sa­loons as well as re­peated men­tion of the gen­er­ous lug­gage space, with or with­out an open­ing boot lid de­pend­ing on the spe­cific model. Lengthy but en­joy­able jour­neys are en­tirely pos­si­ble with a Stan­dard, with the only main down­fall be­ing that you’ll be slower than most on mo­tor­ways and steep in­clines.


The Stan­dard Ten’s 948cc en­gine was never pushed on the pro­duc­tion line to pro­vide much more than low fuel con­sump­tion and good over­all driv­abil­ity. How­ever, it can can of­fer enough mo­men­tum and han­dling ca­pac­ity to sat­isfy most en­thu­si­as­tic drivers on a B-road. Don’t let the mod­est trim lev­els and min­i­mal ac­ces­sories fool you, ei­ther – the Ten is un­der­pinned by im­pres­sive en­gi­neer­ing, in­clud­ing Burma worm-and-nut steer­ing, coil springs and hy­draulic dampers, dou­blewish­bone front sus­pen­sion and gen­er­ous hy­draulic brakes with seven-inch drums all round. Added to­gether, they pro­vide driver in­volve­ment in spades.

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