Given that it was a small car, sold at a low price and had its sales heyday around 60 years ago, it’s surprising how many of the 8, 10 and Pennant cars have survived. Equally surprising is how many are still in good condition. They’re also surprisingly affordable; less than half our £10,000 budget is more than enough to get you into a very good saloon.
There were also van and pick-up derivatives along with a Companion estate car, but these are all rare and probably a bit too niche. A saloon, however, has to be an almost-ideal starter classic for someone wanting a small car that isn’t as commonplace as a Morris Minor or Triumph Herald.
They aren’t fast in unmodified form, but as the classic saloon racing successes show, they can be period-tuned very successfully – the engines are pretty-much unbustable unless you really take matters to extremes. Parts back-up is also surprisingly good thanks to the excellent Standard Motor Club’s parts service (www.standardmotorclub.org.uk); it’s strictly members-only though!
The 8 was basic – an 803cc engine (the first incarnation of the unit that would go on to power Triumph Heralds, 1300s and 1500s) sliding windows and a fold-down rear seat giving access to the luggage compartment. What’s more, there was no bootlid until 1957!
The 10 had a 948cc engine, chrome grille bars, wind-up windows and a bootlid, but there was also a masochists-special Family 10, which combined the 8’s bodyshell and the 10’s engine.
The Pennant, which arrived in 1957, was relatively luxurious and came with two-tone paint, revised front and rear wings and a remote gearchange. Overdrive was offered from 1957, as was an automatic clutch option.
- The usual unitary-construction rules apply here; check for rot in all the usual places underneath, not forgetting that almost all these cars are nowMoT-exempt so may not have necessarily received a yearly check.
- Secondhand panels can sometimes be sourced, but don’t count on it unless you know for sure!
- Mechanicals are pretty tough, though the engines can suffer fromworn main bearings leading to excessive crankshaft float. Clutch judder is one indication but can have other, less serious causes.
- Engine upgrades to 948cc, 1147cc, 1298cc and even 1498cc Triumph power are possible. Generally speaking, the bigger the engine, the more work that’s needed!
Standard 8, 10 & Pennant – from £1000 (condition 3) to £4800 (condition 1)
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