Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 2
The first Herald went on sale to the general public in April 1959
as a Coupe - although these have long since become very rare and are most sought after!
The Coupe was never really intended to be a proper 4 seater, the rear seat being available only as an option. But the similarities with other British sports cars was soon evident, such as the four speed gearbox, 948cc engine fitted with twin SU H1 carbys and an output of 42 bhp.
Some features of the new car were considered quite novel at the time, such as independent rear suspension
, an incredibly tight turning circle (25 ft.), a collapsible and adjustable steering
column, and a greatly reduced maintenance schedule through use of nylon and rubber bushes that virtually eliminated grease fittings on the chassis.
The Coupe was soon joined by a Saloon version, which allowed far more room for a full rear seat. The Saloon was originally powered by a single Solex-carbureted, 38.5 bhp gross/34.5 bhp net version of the same 948cc engine, though later the twin-carb engine would be offered as well.
By March 1960
, these two models were joined by a Convertible, which also offered a top that folded almost completely out of sight, a full (though a bit cramped) rear seat and the twin-carb engine.
also saw the introduction of the Herald S, a stripped-down saloon that never caught on. Bigger news the following year was the introduction of the 1200 series, incorporating the same Coupe, Saloon and Convertible body styles with a larger engine and somewhat more relaxed final drive.
Soon added to the range was an Estate Wagon and the short-lived Courier van, a "commercial" version of the Estate wagon much like the once-common sedan delivery versions of American station wagons.
A further upgrading of the 1147cc engine came with introduction of the 12/50, a 1200 Saloon with 51 hp engine, folding sunroof, different grille (seen later in the U.S. on the Sports 1200) and uprated trim. By the end of 1964
, the Coupe had disappeared, perhaps falling victim to the popularity of the Spitfire!
, facing competition both from other marques and other models in the Triumph range, the Herald received a final, major upgrading. More power came from a single-carb version of the 1296cc Spitfire Mk.3 (and Triumph 1300) engine, and a front-end restyle came from adapting a variation of the Vitesse sheetmetal.
Improvements were made also to the drivetrain and interior - as is evidenced by the image above with the humble Herald now offering the look and feel of more stately up-market British saloons. The Herald was available in Saloon, Convertible and Estate Wagon variants, replacing all previous configurations of Herald (except for the 1200 Saloon, which continued as before).
Sales were however to quickly disappear, and by 1971
we farewelled the robust little Herald. In Australia, the Herald was sold as the AMI 12/50 after being assembled by Australian Motor Industries from parts shipped from Coventry. There were a great many differences from UK spec vehicles, such as the incorporation of a Vitesse bonnet and no sunshine roof.
Production numbers of the Triumph Herald included:
201,142 1200 Saloons (from April 1961-Dec 1970)
5,329 1200 Coupe (fromApril 1961-0ct 1964)
43,295 1200 Convertible (from April 1961-Sept 1967)
53,267 12/50 Saloon (from March 1963-Sept 1967)
40,433 13/60 Saloon (from Oct 1967-Jan 1971)
11,772 13/60 Convertible (from Oct 1967-April 1971)
A further 15,000 13/60s (approx) were exported in knockdown form.