Standard Ten

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Standard Ten / Standard Cadet

1954 - 1960
United Kingdom
33 bhp
4 spd. man
Top Speed:
69 mph
Number Built:
2 star
Standard Ten / Standard Cadet
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 2


Standard added a larger capacity Ten model to its small car range in 1954 - it being a larger-engined (and less basic) version of the Standard Eight, though sharing a similar frame and transmission. The Ten used the then new 948cc version of the four cylinder engine already in use in the Eight. Like the Eight the Ten engine also featured overhead valves and a four speed gearbox.

The Ten shared the same four door bodyshell with the Eight, but was thankfully better equipped than its smaller sister. Cosmetic improvements included a full width chrome grille, hub-caps, wind-down windows and an external boot-lid. An estate version, the Companion was launched in 1955. It was among the first British estate-wagons to have rear-passenger doors (like the saloon, and unlike its rivals such as the Ford Squire and Hillman Husky which used the two-door "van" arrangement).

The Standard Ten Utility

The utility, originally an Australian invention, had entered a new phase of development since the war. Pre-war, utilities were almost invariably built on big-car chassis of the American type, but after the war there was a growing demand for utilities of the economy 10-hp variety. A typical example was the Standard 6-cwt. utility, which was based on the Standard Ten, using all-steel unitary construction as in the car.

Cabin equipment was identical with the front seat of the car, but a mechanical alteration was been made by the substitution of a slightly lower rear-axle reduction, since adequate pulling power was deemed more important than maximum speed or the last ounce in fuel economy on a load-carrying vehicle. The suspension was also stiffened up to cope with the more arduous conditions of work, but the tyre size remained the same: 5.90 x 13.

Notwithstanding the lower gearing, the performance of the Standard utility was very similar to that of the saloon, with a cruising speed of 60 mph, and fuel consumption of around 42 mpg with brisk, although not really hard driving, un-laden. So far as the Standard Ten’s load-carrying capabilities were concerned, the tray was of practical dimensions for a wide range of requirements. From rear of cab to end of tray with tailboard up w as 5 foot 1.5 inches, while the board brought it to 6 ft. 7 inches. The width between wheel arches was 3 foot 2 inches, tailboard opening being 3 foot 8 inches, height of sides 1 foot 7 inches. The small wheels had the advantage of providing a low loading height of only 2 foot 3 inches.

Behind the Wheel

The general built quality of the Standard, in saloon, estate or utility form, was sturdy enough to return its owner good value. But with the ute it was pretty easy to overload a 10-cwt. Vehicle – and these invariably were the first to find their way to the wrecking yard. Behind the wheel the Standard Ten was a reasonably pleasant vehicle to drive, with well chosen gear ratios which enabled a good average speed to be maintained on hilly routes. Third was an especially useful gear, capable of dealing with most main-road hills with a full load onboard, be it passengers in the saloon, or cargo in the utility. First gear was practically an emergency gear, capable of restarting vehicle on practically any grade. The clutch was a 6.25-inch Borg and Beck, which was well up to the load capacity, and was smooth in operation. It was fitted with hydraulic control.

Driving vision and rear vision were both good, and the 12-volt electric system well up to both starting and lighting requirements. The compression ratio of the Standard Ten was upped to 7-to-1 in 1956, but the design of the head was apparently a highly-successful one as it could still perform reasonably well on the standard grade fuel available in Australia at the time, although road testers of the time did note better performance when Super was used. Ground clearance of seven inches was adequate for country use, and despite the stiffening of the suspension the utility remained compliant and provided a reasonable level of comfort.

Besides the utility, the Ten was adopted to light commercial transport as a panel van at only slightly higher prices. Australian prices were £739 for the utility, £769 for the Panel Van and £849 for the station wagon/estate. An Overdrive was made available as an option in March 1957, along with a temperamental semi-automatic known as "Standrive". A small number of left-hand-drive Tens were exported and sold as the Triumph TR-10. On these, the two-tone colour arrangement normally reserved for the Pennant was available (though this export model was not tailfinned).

A Ten saloon tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1954 had a top speed of 69.0 mph (111.0 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 38.3 seconds. A fuel consumption of 34.4 miles per imperial gallon (8.21 litres/100 km; 28.6 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £580 including taxes.

Standard Ten

Standard Ten Companion Estate

Standard Ten Saloon

The Standard Ten in Motorsport

In 1955, supported by an inscrutable handicapping regime favouring small cars, a factory prepared Standard Ten, driven by Jimmy Ray and Brian Horrocks, won the UK's RAC Rally. For the United States export market the Ten was badged as the Triumph Ten and in Scandinavia it was sold as the Standard Vanguard Junior. Here in Australia the Ten was known as the Cadet.

Sturt Griffith's Road Test of the Standard Ten Standrive

A name synonymous with quality automotive journalism in the 1950s was Sturt Griffith. He would take all cars on offer in any particular year, then drive it over a punishing course to determine what was good, and bad, with a particular car. Obviously his yardstick was the best on offer in any particular year - and something we do not have the benefit of today. While we make every endeavour to judge a car on its contemporaries, sometimes it is very difficult. We do refer to many of his road tests in compiling our own, but for the record, the Standard Ten review below remains as told in 1957.

An automatic clutch, known as Standrive, is available on the Standard Ten at an extra cost of £25/-/-. It simplifies driving to such an extent that it is, in my opinion, a fitting which is well worth the additional cost. Not only does the automatic clutch assist the novice or less-skilful drivers. It is an asset to anyone when executing difficult manoeuvres, such as backing up a slope into a garage, or "edging" the car about in car parks. To the beginner, an automatic clutch has the great virtues of preventing engine stalling on an emergency stop, and of eliminating hopping when starting from rest.

There is no clutch pedal, and all that the driver has to do is to squeeze a control button in the top of the gear-lever as the change is made. This button closes an electrical circuit which disengages the clutch. When the change has been made and the gear-lever released, the clutch re-engages gently. Furthermore, the clutch is automatically disengaged when engine speed drops to a fast, idle. Thus the car can be stopped in gear, and restarted by a touch on the throttle. There are only two foot controls, the accelerator and the brake pedal. The latter is now extended to a substantial width, permitting convenient operation by either foot.

There is no need to pamper the Stan-drive clutch. As one savage test, I held the car on a steep slope by means of a slipping clutch for a full minutes. There was no smell or other sign of distress from the clutch, and the car then moved smoothly up the slope when I opened the throttle a little further. Yet another advantage to an inexperienced driver is the fact that no harm can come of allowing the car speed to drop abnormally low on a hill, or in traffic, before a change down is made. In such a circumstance, the clutch simply slips to the required degree, and the change can be made at any time.

Observations of the Standard Ten

The design of the Standrive has been developed considerably since its introduction. A new centre clutch plate has eliminated any bother with the clutch itself. The operation of the clutch is positive and reasonably rapid. The throttle is a trifle too sensitive, which sometimes robs the getaway of complete smoothness. However, changes when under way are always smooth, and are without a sound due to the inherent excellence of the synchromesh on the Standard Ten.

Since last tested, the Ten engine has been pepped-up a little. A high-lift cam- > shaft is now fitted, compression has been slightly raised, and large valves and a larger carburettor are used. The improvement in performance from these alterations is obviously confined to the higher speed zones. Top speed has gone up about three m.p.h., and top cruising speed is Similarly improved. The rear seating has been altered to give a six-foot bed for two. by suitable disposition of the seat cushion and squab. An alternative to this arrangement is a shorter bed for children (as at a drive-in show) with the front seats in normal position for adults. The Ten climbs quite well, for its engine size, in top gear. Third gear provides a very tenacious ratio, in which the car will climb difficult mountain passes with a load of 3cwt. The gears used and speeds attained on the test hills were:—

BODINGTON (average grade 1 in 11.5): Top gear at 50-43-28 mph.
RIVER LETT (1 in 12. maximum 1 in 81): Comfortable climb in third gear at 40-30-38 mph.
SCENIC HILL (1 in 10, maximum 1 in 8): On this climb the car showed great tenacity in third speed, at 50-21-15 mph.
MOUNT TOMAH (1 in 12. maximum 1 in 9): After commencing in top near the climb was made in third at 50-32-38 mph.
KURRAJONG, WESTERN SIDE (1 in 121); Top gear at 50-38-30 mph.

The power-weight ratio with a load of 3cwt is 42 horsepower per ton. Top gear yields a road speed of 14.5 mph, at 1,000 rpm. Prompt overtaking can be commenced from 25 mph in third gear and from 32 mph in top gear. Times for acceleration were: Third gear; 20 to 40 mph, 10.2 seconds; 30 to 50 mph, 12.4 seconds. Top gear: 20 to 40 mph, 14.1 seconds; 30 to 50 mph, 16.5 seconds. The Ten cruises effortlessly around 55-60 mph on safe highways. When sightseeing, it can be ambled along at 32 mph in top gear without loss of response.

Roadholding, Steering and Brakes

A characteristic of the Standard Ten is its good cornering and excellent road adhesion under all circumstances. It can be cornered fast for a small car and it with show no suggestion of vice. There is a noticeable body roll, but not much tyre squeal. The riding of the Ten over rough roads is commendably good. It handles potholes well and is quite difficult to bottom with a moderate load. The Burman worm-and-nut mechanism gives a good performance, It is Sight under all circumstances and is quick in action, requiring only two and a quarter turns from lock to lock. The wheel is remarkably free from reaction on bad roads. The turning circle is reasonable at 32 feet. The Girling brakes have a lining area of 68 sq. in and they give good results with moderate pedal pressures. On the three-and-a-half-mile descent from Kurrajong Heights, there was no discernible fade from overheating. The handbrake, located between the front seats, stopped the car from 30 mph down a gradient -of one in eight.

Behind the Wheel

Comfort of the driver has been improved by the provision of a dished steering-wheel which gives more knee room. The individual seat is comfortable and the driving position is fairly upright and quite untiring. The central gear lever is rather long, but is conveniently located. The synchromesh is excellent and the gear change with the automatic clutch is simplicity itself. Driver's vision is good in all directions, as the bonnet falls steeply away and the rear window has been increased in size. At an average speed of 42.2 mph over the test route, the Standard gave the pleasing figure of 45.1 miles per gallon. Taking the loaded weight into consideration, this is equivalent to 40.5 ton-miles per gallon. The fuel-speed factor Ton-m.p.g. x average speed) is 1,710. Both of these figures are above average. At the foregoing rate of consumption, the fuel tank gives a satisfactory long cruising range of approximately 315 miles.


A characteristic of this car is the extreme smoothness of the engine and its remarkable flexibility at low speeds. This motor seems to be keen to oblige the driver, whatever he may do to it. Bore and stroke are 63 by 76mm, and the compression ratio is now 7.6 to 1. The transmission embraces gear ratios of top 4.5, third 6.6, and second gear 11.2 to 1. The car is of unitary construction and is supported at the front end on wishbones and coils, and at the rear on semi-elliptic springs.


The interior appearance of the Standard Ten has been vastly improved over recent years, and the present model reflects much consideration in this regard. The individual front seats are 20in wide, and the rear seat has a clear 40in between the wheel arches, and a maximum width of 46in. To convert the car to a camping body it is merely necessary to slide the front seats forward on their runners and to remove the rear squab and Sting it from the hooks provided on the central door pillars. The rear seat cushion is moved slightly to complete the mattress. Since both the squab and the seat cushion are of thick rubber sponge they form a comfortable double bed about 6ft long, with the lower end of the sleeping compartment extending into the boot.

Obviously this conversion, when not used for sleeping provides a very long loading compartment. Again, if only the children are to be bedded down, the front seats can be left in the fully extended position. The rear-opening boot has a luggage capacity of about 12 cu. ft. and has a flat floor, with a spare wheel beneath. There are two open gloveboxes of large capacity on either side of the instrument panel, which carries a circular speedometer, a fuel gauge, and the usual warning lights. Ventilation is good through a scuttle ventilating flap and vent panels in either front window. Open pockets are provided in the depth of both front doors.


The Standard Super Ten, equipped with an automatic clutch, is essentially an easy and pleasant car to drive. The Standrive clutch takes all the worry out of manoeuvring or emergency action, and it will be appreciated by even experienced drivers in certain circumstances. On the open road the Standard is characterised by a particularly smooth and flexible engine. The car has particularly good roadholding and most pleasing handling qualities, which adapt it well to fast cruising or long tours. The car's suspension deals very well with rough country going and this little vehicle will stand up to hard usage. A fuel mileage of 45 mpg at a fast cruising speed is a factor of importance to those owners who use their car a good deal. The car tested was made available by Standard Cars Ply. Ltd.

1956 Standard Ten Quick Specifications:

Engine: Four cylinders, 63 x 76 mm bore and stroke; 948 cc.; developing 33 bhp. Compression, 7:1. Hot-spot manifold with Solex carburettor. Overhead valves operated by pushrods. 12-volt Lucas electric system.
Clutch: Borg and Beck clutch, 6.25-inch, hydraulic control.
Transmission: Four-speed, synchromesh on second, third and fourth. Floor-mounted lever.
Suspension: Low-periodicity coils and unequal wishbones at front; wide semi-elliptics at rear. Telescopic direct-acting dampers at front; piston-type at rear.
Steering: High-efficiency worm and sector.
Body: All-steel. Wind-down windows and no-draught deflectors in cabin. Large parcels shelf, and provision for heater, demister and radio as optional extras. Washable plastic upholstery, with cushioned foam rubber seats over long tension springs.
Standard Ten
Standard Ten Estate

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