The Triumph Herald was a British car produced from 1959 – 1971. It was styled by Italian, Giovanni Michelotti (better known for his work designing Ferraris, Maseratis and Alfas) and people clearly approved of his work, as Triumph sold nearly half a million of these quirky family cars.
The Herald was initially released with a 948cc engine (taken from the “Standard Pennant” another car in the Triumph range at the time). Though not famed for its performance credentials, it did offer some fairly modern (for the time) features including a double-wishbone front suspension set up, and “limited” independent rear suspension (this was not anything like the independent rear suspension we’re used to seeing today, but it was slightly more refined than the tradition live-rear-axle set up).
In the early 1960’s the Triumph marque entered financial difficulties, and was subsequently bought-out by Leyland Motors. This marked the introduction of the “Triumph Herald 1200” (the car we’ve got here today). The Herald 1200 was treated to a larger (1147cc) engine, better build quality, and even disc brakes up front from 1962.
The Herald continued to be produced right up until 1971, by which point it was hugely behind the times in terms of performance, features and safety standards. But something about it’s charming good looks and predictable nature meant customers kept on buying it! Eventually Triumph decided to end production as they were selling the car at a loss!
James’s Herald is a really lovely thing to look at, and you just don’t see these cars on the road much these days. We love how he’s embraced a bit of the “rat look” with the car, as most of the Triumph Heralds you do see these days are examples that spend most of their life in a garage, and are polished to perfection… which we think is a bit boring! We caught up with James to find out why he chose a Herald as his trusty steed, and what he’s got up to with it!
Photography Credits: Angell Photography (check out their instagram here)
Triumph Herald 1200 Estate (1962)
- The engine has had a Weber carb fitted to it, making it go a bit nicer. James is in the process of building a set of twin SU's that will have bigger jets, a branch manifold, and a custom exhaust.
- The car has been lowered all round. James then wanted to get a set of original 5.5J Herald wheels, but couldn't find any. He found out Weller Wheels were making reproduction ones. So bought a set! They suit the car perfectly!
- The paint on the car is all original where it has faded and gone through to the primer, but has now been lacquered the whole car to seal it in and give it a little shine.
- James has also added the roof rack. When he bought it, it had been freshly painted by the seller. But to suit the rat-look paintwork, he got it sand blasted, left it outside for a month an then lacquered that too.
Interview with the owner
- When did you first purchase the car James?In 2019!
- What made you buy a Triumph Herald Estate?I have grown up with Triumphs amongst other classics, but always loved Herald Estates. When I saw this one, I knew I was going to buy it.
- What's it like to drive?It's so much fun to drive. Even though it an estate, it's basically based on a sports car. I love a back lane drive in it and it just sticks to the road like a go-kart.
- What's the current BHP?Well from factory it was around 50 bhp, but that has probably dropped a bit after nearly 60 years of driving!
- Let's talk modifications! What have you done to it?I've modified the engine, suspension, paintwork, and wheels and tyres.
- What have you done to the engine?The engine has had a Weber carb fitted to it, it goes a bit nicer for it, but is still on a standard manifold. I'm just in the process of building a set of twin SU's that will have bigger jets and all that, I also have a proper branch manifold and will be making a custom exhaust to finish it off.
- What have you done to the suspension?It's has been lowered all round.
- What have you done to the paintwork?The paint on the car is all original where it has faded and gone through to the primer. So myself and a mate gloss lacquered the whole car to seal it in and give it a little shine and it came out alright. I also added the roof rack. When I bought that, it had been freshly painted by the seller. But I got it sand blasted, left it outside for a month an then lacquered that too.
- What have you done with the wheels & tyres?I wanted to get a set of original 5.5J Herald wheels, but couldn't find any. I found out Weller Wheels were making reproduction ones. So bought a set of 4 from Weller got some tyres and they fitted the car nicely.
- Is the car a "keeper" or will you sell it one day?I'll take it to my grave.
- Do you own any other interesting cars?Yes I've got a weird collection of cars…I have a Citroen 2CV that I have modified, a Volvo P210 Duett, a Bedford CA Minibus, a Sinclair C5 and a few other cars too!
- Ok final question – ignoring cost, and assuming you couldn’t go and sell it for profit… what’s your dream car and why?To be honest, I am not really sure. There are too many good cars to choose from. I have a big list of cars I would like to own. But one main one from a child I have always loved is a BMW 850CI E31.