Standard Motor Company – Little Nine – 1933 (United Kingdom)

Founded in Coventry in 1903 by R.W. Maudslay, the Standard Motor Company was financed by Sir John Wolfe-Barry through a £3,000 gift.

Their first car was in production by the end of 1903 and featured a single cylinder engine. Production had increased thanks to expansion into larger 6-cylinder engine cars by 1906. To accommodate this, a new factory was moved in to; though the company had switched to aviation production during the First World War and manufactured over 1,000 aircraft.

The post-First World War era saw vehicle production resume, with 10,000 cars manufactured by 1924. Smaller and more streamlined vehicles were being produced by the late 1920s: such as the fabric bodied 9hp Fulham. Other manufacturers including Jensen, Avon, and Swallow were to purchase Standard Motor Company chassis.

The rear-wheel drive 1933 Standard Little Nine had two main bearings, coil ignition, 12-volt electrics, four speed silent third gearbox, and a cart spring frame. It had a 1,005cc/1,006cc 4-cylinder side valve engine producing 22bhp with a top speed of 54/55mph. Weighing 16cwt, the Standard Nine was the smallest and cheapest car available from the Standard Motor Company in the early 1930s (costing around £145 at the time). This was regarded during the period as expensive for a ‘family car’, though this model sold well with the ‘upper echelons of society’.

The saloon was available in several colours. It featured fine quality leather upholstery, with matching head cloth and pile carpet. Front seats were independently adjustable, and the four doors feature wind-up windows. All doors feature a locking device, and room for maps and other driving articles (including dashboard space for parcels). Other objects of the car include a rear vision mirror, protection glass, screen wiper, speedometer, clock, oil pressure gauge, electric horn, tool kit, licence holders and luggage grid (with spare wheel when new).

The Dundee Museum of Transport’s Standard Little Nine is the final production year MK II Ordinary model; though a ‘special coachbuilders saloon’ was manufactured too. Around 5,680 saloons were manufactured in total. A small amount of 2 door convertibles were produced to special order, though this made the convertibles very rare (with as little as 12 ever made).



References (all accessed on 10/01/2019):

Culshaw; Horrobin (1974). Complete Catalogue of British Cars. London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-16689-2.


MidgeT-TD – 1951 (United Kingdom)

As a tribute to Morris Garages, MG is a sport automobile constructor founded in 1924. At first, MG was a Morris retailer created their own models by replacing the bodywork of existing Morris’. After many expansions, the success was there: the demand exceeding the offer, they had enough notoriety to get their proper identity and they parted from Morris Garage. The MG Car Company Limited was born in 1928.

T Series marked the transition between the small series production and the industrial automobile era and its exportation. With the automobile market in high demand, the British government pushed the company to sell abroad. These series, and in particular the TC, TD and TF, were amongst the first models imported in large numbers to the USA justifying the slogan of the leaders: ‹‹Export or die››.

In the lineage of the typically British roadsters, the TD was remodelled to increase the comfort and satisfy the most demanding customers. MG put the XPAG motor of the TC on the new frame developed from the type Y sedan. The TD had a new front suspension with independent wheels, composed by two triangles and helical springs instead of leaf springs. Steel wheels replaced the thread wheels, a first for a MG, along with bumpers, installed for the first time on the Midget TD.

To answer the request of the USA market, the left -hand driving was provided for the first time on a MG.

The TD turned out to be a commercial success since its inception and allowed for an increase of MG sales, in particular toward the USA. The production of the TD ended in August 1953 after the production of 29 915 copies.

ITERA – 1980 (Sweden)

An innovation which appears good on paper but turns into a commercial fail: this is the story of the Itera bicycle developed by Volvo. Substituting metal with plastic was the peculiar idea of a Swedish designer. In 1978, funding was released for this composite plastic bicycle project by a Swedish organisation, The Swedish National Board for Technical Development. In 1980, a functional prototype was produced and in 1981 the first models were presented to the press and to the retailers. In 1982, the bicycle models manufactured in a factory in Wilhelmina (Sweden) appeared on the market. Made of composite material with injected fibreglass stick rims all tinted in the mass along with polyamide wheels, the Itera is equipped with 3-speed Sturmey-Archer derailleur in the hub, including the dynamo, an anti-theft key, and an XM9 Iscaselle saddle.

The bike was delivered unmounted in a cardboard box, but there were complaints from purchasers about missing pieces or tools for the mounting. There were many reasons for the failure of this model including difficult maintenance, lightweight structure and replacement and replacement parts becoming out of stock to name a few. Plus, the Itera presented a certain fragility depending on the climate: if it was too cold, the frame could break and it was unbalanced. In reality, the perfect concept wasn’t quite so perfect: nothing could replace the good old metal frame. The Itera wasn’t the commercial success hoped by Volvo. The production ended in 1985 after approximately 30 000 copies and Itera became a collector’s item.

The Itera is on display in hall 3 of the Museum and is on loan from a private collector.



Ford Model T currently on loan and on display at Dundee Museum of Transport

1915 MODEL T FORD SV 8898


What we know today as the method of Mass Production, used by countless businesses across the world was started by the Ford Motor Company on the 1st October 1908. Thanks to this pioneering method that allowed many cars to be produced at the same time in an assembly line instead of handcrafting them individually (creating economies of scale), the Model T Ford SV became one of the first affordable automobile for the average middle-class American. Hence making independent travel much more affordable and accessible.

Not long after, the Ford Model T was also the first vehicle to be built throughout various countries at the same time. It first started in Canada, and Trafford Park, Manchester (England). They were later assembled in Germany, Argentina, France, Spain, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Brazil, Mexico, and Japan.

Ford started its mass production combined with the knock-down kit concept ( a kit containing the parts needed to assemble a product, also called KD) practically from the start as all their production materials would be delivered in huge bulks.

This car is not only a great-looking vehicle, but also a symbol of human development and connection throughout history.