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A Faster Standard Eight

We have great respect for the small four-door, four-speed Standard saloons, with their rugged ability to take considerable “hotting up” and which perform economically in normal form. Consequently, when we were at the Standard factory the day before the new Eight was released we were delighted to take a short drive in this faster version of a popular small car. The 803-c.c. engine has had its compression-ratio increased from 7.0 to 8.25 to 1, and it now develops 33 instead of 28 b.h.p., peak speed having risen by 500 r.p.m., to 5,000 r.p.m. This new engine is finished in gold lacquer like that of a Ferguson tractor, giving an original under-bonnet glamour, which lines up with its title of Gold Star Powerplus. The makers claim an increase in speed from 65 to 70 m.p.h. and a fuel consumption of 47/52 m.p.g., or 52/57 m.p.g. with economy settings. We await an opportunity to test these claims with great impatience, because this betters by far Motor Sport’s frequent plea for a 55 m.p.h./ 55 m.p.g. economy vehicle.

The new Eight, which replaces the former Family Eight, has an openable boot lid but retains the tip-forward back seats, re-arranged to fold forward, which gives 12 cu. ft. normal luggage capacity and an emergency space of as much as 38 cu. ft., so that this little saloon can become a useful “jack-of-all-trades,” formerly the prerogative of the Citroen 2 c.v. and then only if the back seat was left behind. A radiator grille is now fitted over the “air hole,” duo-tone upholstery and pile carpet have improved the interior, and there are many minor improvements.

The car tried was scarcely run-in but showed an indicated 50 in third gear and good acceleration. The steering, very heavy when parking, became light at speed.

To publicise this Gold Star Powerplus Eight, Standard proposed to offer a free economy jet to the first 1,500 purchasers — rather droll when you consider that the car costs £616 7s., the jet at most a couple of bob! Effective economy transport in its least-expensive form, the new Standard Eight can be obtained with heater, radio, two-pedal Standrive control and overdrive on the three upper ratios, giving seven forward speeds, for £747 19s. 6d. — which seems good value. Now that the Eight is endowed with such speed and luxury the Ten will have to watch out! — W. B.

A Promising New Wolseley

When we were at the Austin Motor Company last month we had a preview of the new Wolseley 1,500 four-door, four-seater saloon which was announced on April 12th. This seems a promising new car. With the same wheelbase as the Morris Minor 1000, the latest B.M.C. saloon uses the series-B 1½-litre engine giving 50 b.h.p. (13 more than the Minor on a lower (7.2 to 1) compression-ratio) so that a maximum speed of 77 m.p.h. should be realised. Roadholding should be extremely good, for this Wolseley shares with the Minor 1000 torsion-bar i.f.s. and rack-and-pinion steering. Another interesting feature is the use of really close third and top-gear ratios (the four-speed box has the following ratios: 13.57, 8.25, 5.12 and 3.73 to 1), so that at last here is a small British saloon with what amounts to an overdrive-top built into the geatbox, 72 m.p.h. being possible in third gear, and only 5 m.p.h. more in top gear. Moreover, the gear-lever is a delightfully short, rigid remote-control affair.

So altogether the Wolseley 1,500, selling at £758 17s. inclusive of the savage purchase tax (which, alas, is still with us), shows great promise, especially as the appearance, helped by a narrow Continental-style radiator grille, is new and some very smart matching upholstery has been devised, in two-colour Vynide. And there are no fewer than 24 different colour combinations available, with up to three choices of duotone trim with each of the 13 body shades. Very striking is maroon/champagne with tan/cream upholstery. The car seems, however, a bit heavy at 18 cwt. unladen weight. The luggage boot has an 11 cu. ft. capacity, there is a combined oil-pressure, water-temperature and fuel-gauge dial, a walnut dash as befits a Wolseley, and, as extras, radio, heater and Trico screen-washer. Wolseley have joined the 1,500 battle with a vengeance; it now remains for B.M.C. to consider a 1,500-c.c. Riley with twin-cam head, disc brakes and i.r.s.! — W. B.

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