No less a personage than Top Gear presenter James May considers the Triumph Mayflower the ugliest car of all time.
The first monocoque Triumph was designed by Leslie Moore who was the Design Chief at Mulliners (responsible for much of the coachwork for Rolls-Royce and Bentley) and was given an interpretation of Triumph’s pre-war razor edge styling. Almost like a SWB Rolls-Royce, the Triumph Mayflower was an upright car for what was still an uptight generation. The Austin-Healey 100, Triumph TR2 and the MGA were all on the horizon when the Triumph Mayflower made its debut and the little Brit would be caught in an era of changing tastes.
Standard Managing Director John Black believed that the staid look (which he thought was evocative of the upmarket Rolls-Royce and Bentley) would be a draw in America and lead to huge sales. Obviously, Sir John was wrong about the styling and the sub-70 mph top speed surely did not help matters in the States. Styling that was avant garde in the prewar era was looking dated in the 50s with a move towards airplane influence styling and more Continental coachwork.
The car was sold only from 1950 to 1953, but it would later donate its front suspension to the 20TS prototype which would find its way in modified form into the TR2.
Rarely seen in the states today, the Triumph Mayflower failed to have the impact of the contemporary Morris Minor but was to be the spiritual forefather of the more successful Herald, Vitesse and Spitfire that were to follow in the years to come and settle Triumph on a successful path for decades to come.