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Triumph Herald (1959 - 1971)

Last updated 9 January 2015

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
Updated 1 May 1971
The convertible, estate and Vitesse production ended

In a sense the cars were obsolete when they were introduced in 1959, but somehow Triumph had turned project Zobo into a success, finding buyers when there were more technically advanced cars on the...

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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. 

Next: Model Timeline

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