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Triumph Herald

Triumph Herald Published: 8th Aug 2016 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Triumph Herald
Triumph Herald
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Quaint and classy is the best way to describe these Triumph twins. Admired for their 1950’s simplicity and style, both make excellent and inexpensive starter classics with a broad choice of models which include saloons, convertibles, coupés and estates.


Unusually, for a cheap family car, the steering column is adjustable, as are the seats, for height and rake. The significantly offset pedals irritate all sizes, however. The handling has always been a contentious issue – more so with the swifter Vitesse but in fairness, modern radial tyres help a great deal and there’s plenty of aftermarket mods around to improve matters. In terms of performance, the 13/60 is the best Herald and, thanks to its Spitfire-like cylinder head is about as brisk as the original Vitesse 1600. The later 2 Litre really impresses with its smoothness and torque; with overdrive it becomes a fine tourer, too.

Best models

It depends what you want. Heralds are most liked in the pedestrian 1200 and the well rounded 13/60 guises but there’s a neat 12/50 sporting Spitfire brakes and a sunroof. Rarest has to be the 948cc Coupé with twin carbs and the Courier light van – while there’s also the ultra-rare Herald S, with twin carb power long before the Spitfire was even thought about! Vitesses are nicer all rounders but many still prefer the Herald for its character. Early Vitesse 1600s are very rare now and apart from novelty value, you are far better off with the 2 Litre, which may sport the larger 2.5 unit.


In terms of buying choice, the 1200 and 13/60s are the most plentiful and there’s a fair selection of saloons and estates. Convertibles hold their values best and £8000 for top cars will be the norm over the next few years, but really good saloons are easy £4000 buys, the coupés perhaps worth a grand more. We understand that estates, and especially the (Courier) vans, command higher values. If you find the ultrarare Jack Brabham-converted models, converted with the Lotus Elite engine, you may have to pay what the man wants!

In general terms, a Vitesse saloon or convertible is worth around £1000 more over a regular Herald.

Buying advice

It’s not unknown to see a Herald converted into a Vitesse (estates usually as it was never officially made) but has to be done properly – personally we prefer the real thing. Also you can often find saloons made into convertibles. The chassis rots badly; rails, suspension pickup points (especially the rear) and outriggers although parts replacements are available as are complete new frames, although costing well over £1000 you need to weigh up if a car is worth saving. The main foible with Triumph engines is excessive crankshaft end float.

Check for movement at the crank pulley as an aid works the clutch pedal. Repair work means an engine strip down. If you wish, you can fit an overdrive from the Spitfire, and it’s a worthy Herald mod. At the front, trunnions can seize and even result in a wheel falling off! In the same area, check the wishbone bushes for play using a well-wielded prybar. At the rear, check for weak dampers and worn transverse springs, which may have been updated over the years. Clapped out u/js lead to vibrations and geometry is quite sensitive to ‘toe out’ settings.

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