|1955 model (from slatford.co.uk)|
The 1953 Eight, which was made until 1959 with modifications, was a completely new car from its predecessors with unit construction and an overhead-valve engine of 803 cc. This produced slightly less power than the outgoing larger sidevalve unit with 26 bhp at 4500 rpm but this was increased to 30 bhp at 5000 rpm in 1957. The 4-speed gearbox, with synchromesh on the top three ratios, was available with optional overdrive from March 1957. Girling hydraulic drum brakes were fitted.
To keep prices down, the car at launch was very basic with sliding windows, single windscreen wiper and no external boot (trunk) lid: access to the boot was by folding down the rear seat which had the backrest divided in two. The 1954 De Luxe got wind up windows and the Gold Star model of 1957 an opening boot lid(!) From mid-1955 all the Eights finally got wind up windows. At launch the car cost £481 including taxes on the home market. One tested by The Motor magazine in 1953 had a top speed of 61 mph (98 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-50 mph (80 km/h) in 26.5 seconds. A fuel consumption of 43 miles per imperial gallon (6.6 L/100 km; 36 mpg-US) was recorded.
There were also the Standard Ten and Twelve; the former from 1954 shared the body shell and running gear and outlasted the Eight by continuing until 1961.
A total of 136,317 of the Eight were made in the saloon body style only.
A few more specifications:
Engine: 803 cc Straight-4
Transmission: Four speed manual optional overdrive
Wheelbase: 84 inches (2,134 mm)
Length: 144 inches (3,658 mm)
Width: 60 inches (1,524 mm)