Triumph Vitesse (1962 – 1971) Review

Triumph Vitesse (1962 – 1971) At A Glance

+Six cylinder engine sounds great and gives the Herald-based car reasonable performance

-Still encumbered with all the niggles that cheapen the Herald ownership experience

You could say that the Triumph Vitesse is really just a Herald with the new six-cylinder engine from the 2000 saloon (initially in 1.6-litre form) fitted - but to owners and enthusiasts, there's so much more to these cars than that. The new twin-headlamp front gave the Vitesse a bold look, but the beefed-up chassis was the big news. Then there was the soundtrack...

The first Vitesse 1600s, launched in 1962, remains the most numerous of all these cars from a production point of view, with more than 22,000 built. The small-bore engine was never used in any another Triumph. Overdrive was an optional extra worth paying more for now, turning the sweet-six cylinder into a capable long-distance tourer.

In 1966, the Vitesse finally received the additional power it was crying out for, being upgraed to the full two-litres.
The 2-litre was an inevitable development of the 1600, as the larger engine was already in use in other Triumphs. As well as taller gearing and wider wheels, the 2-litre was also treated to larger front brake discs. The suspension was left unchanged, though.

But that wrong was put right when the Mk2 was launched in 1968. Engine revisions left the capacity unchanged, but power was up, knocking almost two seconds off the 0-60mph time. The revised rear suspension with lower wishbones, instantly made the handling safer near the limit. Visually, a three-bar grille was the main difference between the Mk1 and Mk2. 

Ask Honest John

What's the best adhesive to fit a rubber seal on a gearbox cover?

"I have Triumph Vitesse Convertible 2L Mk2. I have had to remove the rubber seal on the gearbox cover due to old age and have obtained the new rubber seal but it needs to be glued to the cover. It is the original and made of a fibrous material. What is the best adhesive bearing in mind the location near to heat-generating bits and possible water/stone damage?"
We spoke to specialist Woolies, who recommended a strong contact adhesive (part no. 259: Although it's only available in a one-litre quantity, it is high-temperature resistant and the company's strongest adhesive.
Answered by Keith Moody

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
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