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Triumph Herald: Buying guide and review (1959-1971)

Triumph Herald: Buying guide and review (1959-1971) Classic and Performance Car
Triumph Herald buying guide (1959-1971) Triumph Herald buying guide (1959-1971)
The Triumph Herald burst onto the scene in 1959 and instantly became a family favourite. Although the company took what was considered to be an old-fashioned approach to construction – basing this new saloon on a separate chassis – it quickly became popular choice, offering a cheap and stylish form of transportation. 
Styling by Giovanni Michelotti was very modern and forward thinking at the time, and it still looks great today. Although based on a separate chassis, the Herald was advanced in other areas such as the independent coil spring front suspension, rack and pinion steering as well as independent rear suspension by transverse leaf spring. 
With a choice of two-door saloon, coupé, convertible and estate bodystyles, there was something for everyone, and while performance wasn’t gut-busting thanks to the 948cc engine, from 1961 there was also an 1147cc powerplant for those wanting more go – later on there would be a 1296cc unit. 
While the Herald made a great new buy back in the 1960s, it makes great classic transport now thanks to superb parts availability, easy maintenance and excellent practicality. With independent suspension all round, a turning circle tighter than a London taxi’s plus disc brakes on most models, the Herald is more capable dynamically than its reputation would have you believe.

Which one to buy?

No Herald is sporty, as the largest engine offers just 61bhp. But upgrades for a bit more go are simplicity itself – it’s easy to slot in Spitfire mechanicals, tune a Herald engine or you could go for the six-cylinder edition instead, the Vitesse. Mechanically similar to the Herald, you’ll need slightly deeper pockets to secure a Vitesse, but the premium isn’t that great.
All Heralds featured the same four-speed manual gearbox, with synchromesh on all gears except first. No Herald was available with overdrive from the factory, but there are plenty of cars about that have been converted to a Spitfire transmission – it’s worth seeking out one of these.
With its Meccano-like chassis-based construction, it’s common for a Herald to consist of parts from multiple cars, so don’t worry about Spitfire engines or gearboxes, Vitesse back axles, or even a Vitesse chassis underneath a Herald bodyshell. Some cars have been converted into dropheads, and it’s no problem if done properly and you’re not paying genuine convertible money. On that note, it’s a myth that the convertible has a stronger chassis than the saloon; they’re interchangeable, but the Vitesse features slightly bigger brakes up front. 

Performance and specs

Triumph Herald 13/60 convertible 
Engine 1296cc in-line four-cylinder  
Power 61bhp @ 5000rpm
Torque 73lb ft @ 3000rpm
Top speed 84mph
0-60mph 17.7sec
Fuel consumption 34mpg
Gearbox Four-speed manual

Dimensions and weight

Wheelbase 2324mm
Length 3886mm
Width 1524mm
Height 1321mm
Kerb weight 838kg

Common problems

• While scruffy cars might not be pleasing to look at, the bodywork doesn't provide any strength - so as long as the chassis is strong and rust-free, there are no safety issues. The chassis can suffer from rot however, and you'll have to remove the bodyshell to repair the outriggers and main chassis rails that are likely to show signs of corrosion thanks to a dirt trap near the differential. 
• Check everything you can for rot, but pay particular attention to the floorpan and door bottoms. Other problem areas include the front valance, as well as the front corners of the bonnet. Be sure to check around the spare wheel well, as water can collect with rust quickly forming. 
• If good shut-lines are a must for you, then be prepared for a long wait! Most Heralds suffer from poor panel fit, even original ones, and if the car has had a body-off restoration it can be extremely difficult to line everything up. It's generally something you can learn to live with though...
• The engines are durable, but a filter with a non-return valve must be fitted, or the big-end bearings will wear quickly, betrayed by rattling at start up. Once this has happened, a bottom-end rebuild is the only solution. 
• A common failing of the 1296cc engine is worn thrust washers. If these let-go it could write off the engine block and crankshaft. An easy test is to rock the front pulley, and if you can feel any movement expect to make some repairs
• Gearboxes are reasonably durable, but the synchro wears, so check for baulking. Also listen for whining, indicating worn gears, or rumbling, signifying duff bearings. 
• The front suspension can give trouble, but it’s all cheap and easy to fix. The nylon bushes in the brass trunnions wear, while the trunnions themselves wear if they’re not regularly lubricated with EP90 oil. Without this, water gets in and corrodes the lower portion of the vertical link, weakening it so the suspension collapses. 
• The rubber suspension bushes perish, the anti-roll bar links can break while the wheelbearings wear along with the track rod ends, plus the steering rack and upper ball joints – but they’re all easily and cheaply replaced. 
• If the car has been leaking oil for some time (and a lot do have the odd leak) the rubber steering rack mounts may have softened from the contamination. You will feel plenty of play in the steering if they are worn, but you can get under the car and check for movement to confirm the issue
• Although effectively a service item, special attention should be paid to the rear wheelbearings. While they can be difficult to replace (a special press is required), if not attended to quickly the driveshafts will need to be scrapped thanks to a design flaw. 

Model history 

1959: The 948cc Herald saloon and coupé debut.
1960: The 948 convertible arrives.
1961: The Herald 1200 (with 1147cc engine) replaces the 948 edition, although the entry-level Herald S continues with the smaller engine. In the same year, an estate is introduced with the 1147cc engine.
1962: There’s now a Herald van, called the Courier, with an 1147cc engine.
1963: The Herald 12/50 arrives, with cloth sunroof and higher-output (51bhp) 1147cc engine.
1964: The coupé and Courier are dropped.
1967: The Herald 13/60 goes on sale, with 1296cc powerplant.
1971: The Herald is killed off.

Summary and prices

Unlike many cars from the same era, the simple and fun Triumph Herald has remained relatively affordable. There are a fair amount of projects around from the £500, and these represent a fun winter project for the ambitious DIY mechanic. Spend £1500-£2000 to get something with an MoT in rough to ‘usable’ condition, while there are good condition saloons north of the £3000 mark.
Coupe models are worth a little bit more, with good cars commanding north of £4000, while the convertible models are the most desirable and expensive, commanding north of £5000 in good condition. As always, cars in freshly restored and concours condition car cost significantly more.
Words: Richard Dredge
Triumph Herald buying guide (1959-1971) Triumph Herald buying guide (1959-1971)
Last updated: 9th Nov 2016
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Triumph Herald cars for sale

4 Search results
Triumph Herald
1000 9995 GBP
  • Triumph Herald

    £1,000 £1,000

    Selling out triumph herald, brought it a few years ago, it's a sold car underneath and the body is straight. Interior is in very good condition for age, all electrics work, just needs a bit of card adjustment to get it running as it's been sat over the winter.  Lost of Service history and other bits.   currebtly didn't have an mot as never got round to renewing it.  Any questions please don't hesitate to ask call me on 07940519457 adam 

    • Engine size: 1296
    For sale

    £9,995 £9,995

    1968 TRIUMPH HERALD 13/60 CONVERTIBLE Triumph Racing Green with Black Trim Family owned from new. Total body restoration carried out some years ago by Marque Specialists. Photographic record etc. etc. A beautifully honest example in superb condition throughout. A full 4 seater convertible that all the family can enjoy. PLEASE NOTE THAT WE ARE CURRENTLY HAVING ISSUES WITH OUR 'CONTACT PAGE'. PLEASE CONTACT US ON 01636 812700 OR VIA sales@sherwoodrestorations.co.uk

    • Year: 1968
    For sale
  • Triumph Herald 1200 Cabriolet 1968


    SOLD / VERKAUFT / VENDU / VERKOCHT Triumph Herald 1200 cabriolet 1968 in good condition The Herald is a little 2 door car, built between 1959 and 1971, as saloon, cabriolet and estate. This is a 1968 Triumph Herald 1200 cabriolet. The car has soft yellow paint and grey fabric in beautiful and good condition with some traces of use. He has the 1147 CC, 4 cyl, 39 HP engine and 4 speed manual gearbox. The car also has Minilite wheels and ton-sur-ton hard top. Technics fully checked in our workshop and in very good condition. Car has European title and mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any importtaxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 1968
    For sale
  • Triumph Herald

    £7,995 £7,995

    *SIMILAR CLASSIC CARS ALWAYS REQUIRED* SOLD Thinking of selling? Our proven commission sale or SOR (Sale or Return) program is a great way to utilise and access our professional services and facilities while still maximising the return from your vehicle with minimal hassle, stress and time, If you’d like to take advantage of this then please get in touch for further information. Alternatively If you’d like to move your vehicle on quickly and efficiently with minimal delay then we can make an offer on an outright purchase basis with payment and collection arranged soon after. A genuine and delightful Triumph Herald 1200 Convertible with 39,166 miles. EQUIPMENT Steel-girder chassis, solid white rubber bumpers, fully disappearing hood, well cover, safety glass, opening front quarter-lights, two sun visors, facia ash tray, facia courtesy light, speedometer illumination lamp, warning lights, lockable glovebox. Factory Options: front wheel disc brakes, heater and demister, tonneau cover, Radiomobile. EXTERIOR Finished in period Cactus Green, (Code 15), this preserved and unmolested example has a uniform shine which has aged remarkably well having always been garage stored and pampered with just a few owners. Panel fit and integrity is excellent and this original example shows correct production line features as manufactured by the Standard Motor Co Ltd. The chrome brightwork has minor pitting and all the correct badging remains undamaged. Some rubber trim is slightly split and a couple of tiny dings do not detract from the overall honesty and charm. All the glass is clear and the disappearing hood complete with optional tonneau cover and well cover is immaculate. A beautiful example. INTERIOR The separate front seats and divan rear seat are finished in matching Green Vynide which along with the door cards are in stunning condition. The green real pile carpeting is remarkably still factory fitment and deservedly shows some wear after 53 years of age. The walnut veneer facia and door capping offer Pullman style luxury along with the chrome plated door pulls. The chrome ‘Herald’ dash badge is still fitted along with a functioning Radiomobile. The boot area again reveals fabulous originality with the boot mat, plywood spare wheel cover and even the fuel tank reserve sticker intact. Charming in every respect. ENGINE & TRANSMISSION Simple and well proven, the 1147cc four cylinder engine with a chain driven camshaft and 3-bearing crankshaft produces a healthy 43bhp which enables a top speed of 78mph and 0-50 in 17.3 seconds. Amazingly quiet, smooth and responsive due to regular servicing this car offers fun yet practical classic car ownership. The original build plate in the engine compartment denotes the correct CV chassis number to confirm this is a factory built convertible. The 4-speed gearbox is light, precise and a joy to use but as supplied when new, no synchromesh on first! WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES Stainless steel wheel trims are in excellent condition with branded 145/80 R13 tyres. The extra cost option of self-adjusting disc brakes to the front are fitted and standard drum brakes to the rear stop the car safely. HISTORY FILE A phenomenal history makes fascinating reading. Supplied new by Lambs Ltd, Standard-Triumph Dealers in Romford Essex on the 22nd October 1963. Incredibly this fine example has only had three former keepers, the first being Mrs Eldridge of Tode Hall for 24 years. Sold then to Mrs Aaron who remained the keeper for eight years before selling the car to Mr Gibson in 1995, proprietor of Roman Garage in Grantham. He kept the vehicle in his private collection before the final keeper, Mr Burrows, took ownership in 2008. Mr Gibson has continued to maintain the vehicle while in Mr Burrows care. Each owner has remained within 30 miles of each other! Every MOT since 1967 is included and fully warrants the low 39,166 miles covered. The original Triumph Service Voucher Booklet along with every manual is present. Masses of invoices confirm the attention lavished on this prime example which is now ready to impress its next caring owner. MOT October 2017, HPI Clear. To see a video of this car please click on the link below: https://youtu.be/RHdU6JiiQS4 To see a complete set of photographs of this car please click on the link below: https://flic.kr/s/aHskLrdvjV 'Like us' or 'Follow us' for exciting new cars coming soon at KGF Classic Cars: https://www.facebook.com/KGFClassiccars https://twitter.com/KGFClassicCars

    • Year: 1963
    • Mileage: 7995 mi
    • Engine size: 1.1
    For sale
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