British Motoring Monday: 1959 Triumph 10 Estate

1959 Triumph 10 Wagon

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The Triumph 10 (or Standard 10 in the rest of the world) was a compact sedan and wagon line in the late 50’s. Standard-Triumph continued to try to take on the “big boys” with a fairly complete range of vehicles, although the marque is mainly known in the USA for its sports cars. This highly modified 10 Estate Wagon is for sale in San Juan Capistrano, California and is being auctioned here on eBay.

Triumph Estate Wagon Ad

While the 10 Estate Wagon was presented as a practical solution for the USA market, it is a truly small automobile. Originally, this wagon would have been powered by a 948cc four-cylinder engine that was a predecessor of the engine later used in Heralds and Spitfires, as well as future sedans.

Custom 1959 Triumph 10 Wagon

When I first saw this view, I started wondering. If you noticed the rear wheels stick out further than in the advertising illustration, and you’d be right. This 10 body has been mounted on an extended Triumph Spitfire frame and running gear. While this doesn’t exactly bring the 10 up to modern day standards, it does add power and handling to the base 10 package, while keeping things “in the family”. It’s obvious that a lot of other work has been done as well, and the advertisement asserts that the body was rust free before the project began.

1959 Triumph 10 Wagon Interior

One can see a lot of Spitfire 1500 parts in the interior, including the pedal assembly, steering column, and rare overdrive transmission. A custom dash and gauges have replaced the originals. Everything seems to have been done to a high standard, although it may not be to everyone’s taste. Personally, whomever did this (and went to the trouble to add the 3-1/2” to the Spitfire frame to make it work) has done a lot of the things that I’d do if I wanted to drive one on a regular basis. The 1500 cc engine is powerful enough to keep up with traffic, and the overdrive would allow somewhat relaxed cruising.

1959 Triumph 10 Wagon Engine

Underhood, the 10 sports an aftermarket Weber downdraft carb and a very clean appearance. While I realize this unusual estate won’t appeal to the originality-oriented folks out there, its outstanding condition and driveability would mean the car can actually be used.

Triumph 10 Estate Wagon

I do find myself wishing they had worked out some way to keep the rear seats intact, but it looks like they had to give way to the taller rear transverse leaf suspension of the Spitfire. It will be interesting to see what this one ends up going for. So are you interested?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. TONY

    Cracking little motor Jamie.
    I notice your into classic British cars….
    I’m a member of the Craven Old Wheels Society, check us out on facebook and see loads of photo’s from our club and Classic Car shows from around the North West of England.

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    • Rebecca

      Thanks, Tony! This little wagon is now part of my LBC family which also includes a 1957 MGA coupe, a 1957 smallmouth TR3, and a 2003 MINI Cooper S. Love the Craven Old Wheels Society on Facebook, looks like a wonderful group of people who have a very good time with their motors!



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  2. Off2hcky

    At first glance I thought it was a Chevy HHR! Neat vehicle.

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    • Mark E

      LOL! I was gonna say how it depressingly looked like an HHR from the side and rear…!!

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    • Alan (Michigan)

      Add my name to the list! Laughing here, because when my eye caught the first photo/side view I instantly thought “What could qualify a HHR to be eligible for BF???”

      Too funny.

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      • rusty

        Re the HHR… man i wish i could get one here in Australia [but in RHD]. Correct if I am on the wrong path wanting one. Hee hee let the worms flow.

        you guys put down the oodles of cars you get in America we outsiders look on with amazement at the miriad of different cars thru all the years you got. And the HRR homegrown..I would be all over one as I am looking at buying a van right now and there is no decent looking vans that do it for me. the HHR is as close as i could get in looking like the past but driving modern.

        Sure its not quite there but its close enough but any modern yankee imports here are worth a fortune and LHD which is no fun in a van. Due to health I am selling off my car / van collection so my existing vintage vans I cant get on the road anymore so looking for a modern replacement but modern vans look like crap..and you get a decent looking one and complain.. hee hee I’d swap some rare aussie cars for a RHD HRR but I dont think any were made.

        Ok tell me how bad they are so I can forget about them Hee Hee

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  3. BradL

    Panel fit looks questionable for having done so much work elsewhere. It takes away from the total package.

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  4. GlenK

    As much as I love this car and the look of the 10, this is the kind of car you really have to look at to see if everything is done to your own standards. I am also curious as to its performance. I am sure the 10 is heavier than the Spitfire. .Since I am in the North East, it’s just a little to far to go look at it.

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  5. FergO

    Loving every bit of this, as long as the frame used was from a pre-75 car, thus immune from the smog-gods here in California.

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    • Jamie Palmer JamieAuthor

      Frame was an 80, but it’s registered in CA now.

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  6. Carl W French

    My wife and I bought one of these with a parts car. One of the most fun looking cars we have had out of the MGs and Triumphs we have had. The 948cc is made fairly well for English country lanes but above 40 or so, it is working. 50 is the top cruising speed for any period of time. It is the length of our MGB +/- but a handful of inches narrower. Despite this there is very comfortable room for four adults. You just can’t get above 30 with four adults :-)
    I don’t mind this resto mod as the Estate does beg for a vintage surfboard on a roof rack.

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  7. Bob Ostrander

    Don’t underestimate the tremendous power of that little 4-banger. A friend had one in the 1960s and if two of us (or Harold) got in the far back it would pull a wheelie. Elsewise it had trouble getting to 50 mph.

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  8. rusty

    by coincidence i just came inside from negotiating a possible deal on my Standard 10 sedan then I saw this and wished I hadnt. hee hee great looking wagon

    I like the look of this very much & for some reason the two tone works on this very well but I have not seen a standard 10 wagon here in Aussie although 35 years ago I found a Standard 8 or 10 Woody here when I was driving around in Morris Minor Travellers [woodies] the standard 10 woody if i remember rightly looked a direct copy of the Morry woody.

    I dont get the going to the trouble of fitting a spitfire chassis as I have both a herald and a Bond Equipe and had a spitfire chassis and to me the chassis change is too much work to lose the simpler live rear axle. But its done so I guess a moot point.. I have a 1959 Buchanan Cobra [production aussie sportscar not related in any way to AC simply had the name first] which runs Standard 10 running gear meaning live rearend and prefer the simplicity and space saving…I have seen a Buchanan Cobra with a herald chassis under it and I would avoid it complicating things. But to a modern driver I guess independant suspension allround is nice. A lot of work done on this so i hope he gets a good return. Nice looking car and I prefer it as a van with no rear seats.

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  9. The Grammar Police

    In this case, it’s ‘whoever’, not ‘whomever’.

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  10. Stewart

    whoever put a spitfire chassis and I would guess the dreadfull swing axles that go with it has made a huge mistake. Those swing axles are awfull you would be better off keeping the original, from memory the 1500 and its gearbox would be a straight swap, and the shell would have been much stiffer than that chassis

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  11. Wayne

    How is this a BARN FIND. This terminology has been done to death in the last few years. A true BARN FIND is a car that has been hidden away for over 20 years or so. Lets get back on track.

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    • Jamie Palmer JamieAuthor

      Wayne, agreed, this one didn’t come out of a barn lately; it’s more an example of what can be done with a “barn find” once you find one :-) But it is an unusual vehicle that people don’t see every day.

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  12. Adam

    That car looks like a brand-new replica its so clean.

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  13. Paul Schilling

    Here is another version on the Standard 10 a Buchanan Cobra build number 3 of 7 constructed in the late 1950s in Australia as a turnkey sports car to give some competition to the Austin Healy Sprite. Didn’t quite work out that way and that was why only were completed. My Cobra runs a Spitfire 1200 motor and gear boix and Standard 10 running gear and is a very quick little car which I race with the Victorian Historic Racing Register.

    Like 1

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