Triumph Herald (1959 – 1971) Review

Triumph Herald (1959 – 1971) At A Glance


+Brilliant parts availability and specialist back-up, good to drive, and easy to work on

-Rot is a killer, and even good ones tend to look tatty thanks to poor panel fit and drab colours

The Herald - alongside the Mini and the Ford Anglia - was a British car sensation of 1959. With Michelotti styling, and a slightly elevated price tag, the Herald soon picked up an enthusiastic following - and all that really held it back was the lack of power. In 1960, the convertible was launched, and that received a twin-carb version of the engine. This was retrospectively fitted to the saloon to perk it up a little.

There was also a Herald S launched in 1961 - a stripped-out budget model that continued for some time after the 1200 arrived and encouraged younger people to buy a Triumph.

The Herald Coupe, launched a couple of weeks before the saloon was reportedly what Michelotti’s Herald prototype originally looked like. Initially all Coupés were sold with a twin-carb 948cc engine, but this was increased to a single-carb 1147cc along with the rest of the range in 1961. Front discs became optional just before the engine swap. The Coupé failed to meet sales predictions and was discontinued in 1964.

The Herald 1200 arrived in 1961, and continued almost to the end of production. The 1147cc engine produced
less power and more torque, and a higher axle ratio was fitted for easier high speed cruising. Along with the larger engine, came the pretty estate and convertible versions. They were more luxurious than earlier Heralds and disc brakes were an option across the range.

Two years later, the higher powered 12/50 was launched, and pretty much instantly became the range's best-seller. A higher compression ratio and other tweaks took power from 39 to 51bhp, disc brakes were standard, as was a Webasto sunroof. An aluminium grille and ‘12/50’ badges were the only other external giveaways - perhaps due to the availability of ther sunroof, Triumph never built a convertible version.

The final and most powerful Herald got a single-carb engine from the new front-wheel drive 1300 saloon. That makes it the most useable of the range, as they're usefully quick and still just as easy to work on as any other Herald. A new dashboard was fitted, and more space for rear passengers was found.

But the most noticeable change is to a single-headlamp version of the Vitesse’s front end and bonnet. Saloon production ended in 1970, with convertibles and estates lasting another year. 

Ask Honest John

How many Triumph Herald cars are left on UK roads?

"How many Triumph Herald cars are left on UK roads?"
According to the latest information we have from the DVLA, there we 4514 Triumph Heralds registered at the end of 2018. For more info, visit:
Answered by Keith Moody

What's a good project car to dismantle with my son so he can learn about cars?

"I want to find a car that I can take apart with my eight-year-old son so he can learn about how a car is put together. It should be small so the components are light, not too many sealed electrical bits and the more dismantlable the better. I don't want a badly crashed one and it would be nice to have something that we can get some residual value by selling bits on eBay so he can also learn about commerce. Do you have any suggestions of what and where to buy? Should we be aware of any safety issues when dismantling? "
Ideally, you'll want something classic. Is there a particular aspect that you're looking to highlight? Something like a Triumph Herald or a Ford Anglia 105E would be perfect for the mechanical side of things - although neither are cheap now. Perhaps you could look at Series Land Rover? The older the car is, the easier it will be to see how it works - but the more expensive it will be. Have a look on eBay for a 'spares or repair' car near you - if you've got a trailer or a way of moving it, that's going to make it a bit easier. When it comes to dismantling the vehicle, then there are plenty of things to be aware of. End of life vehicles are normally handled by authorised treatment facilities that have the proper facilities to dispose of hazardous waste such as oil, brake fluid and batteries. You'll need to look at what facilities are available to you locally. Be mindful of the paperwork - keep the DVLA informed if the car is off the road or if it's been scrapped. If you don't, you could be fined up to £1000. Finally, be courteous to your neighbours. While there's no law on working on a car at home, angle grinding at midnight is unlikely to make you many friends. And if you have a pile of hazardous scrap metal dumped on your drive, then expect problems - store the car and the parts you remove safely.
Answered by Keith Moody

Would it be cheaper to get insurance on a Group 1, new car or an older car?

"I'm preparing to return to the road after a DDI ban - first (and last) offence, incurred accidentally. Obviously insurance is going to be an issue, but would you suggest buying a more modern (and more expensive) car in insurance Group 1 or a cheaper and older but more user-friendly 5-door that's worth less (e.g. a 12-year-old Focus for under £1000)? If the premiums are too heavy, I'm also considering going down the classic route for a year or two with something like a Morris Minor or Triumph Herald."
Newer car is definitely the way to go, as the insurer will perceive you as less liable to drink and drive again in the future due to the cost attached. I would suggest using price comparison websites and using different vehicles to see what prices come up based on your history. I may be wrong, so it is worth checking. The classic car route is definitely an option, but would not cover you to and from a place of work usually.
Answered by Tim Kelly

What was the best car before cars became complicated?

"In these days of emissions, DPFs, DMFs, ESP, ABS, complicated gearboxes and keyless entry I'm considering a forray into buying something simple to keep as a hobby. What cars were most reliable and well-made before cars became weighed down with airbags, electronics, etc. I'm looking at 1980s/90s, possibly something unusual that will become rarer? Ideally, it will be more reliable than the Skoda Octavia TDI that I currently own. "
If you want pure simplicity and plan to tinker in a home garage, then you'll be looking at something that's carb fed and you'll have to sacrifice mod cons like air conditioning, cruise control, electric everything and a decent stereo. Fuel injected cars can be reliable but some are are starting to experience problems with fuel delivery, blocked injectors, dicky pumps, and temperamental fuel metering heads (especially if the vehicle in question has been sat around for a bit or not received much use). Of course, what was reliable in the late-Seventies and Eighties doesn't mean it will be reliable now - any old car is going to give you a few headaches. If you want something simple to keep as a hobby, choose a car that you fancy (what did your dad have?) with good parts support and an active club. An MGB is a popular first-time classic, as is a Triumph Herald or Vitesse. If you're set on a model from the 1980s or 1990s, then a Volkswagen Golf Mk2 GTI is a good shout.
Answered by Keith Moody
More Questions

What does a Triumph Herald (1959 – 1971) cost?