Cutie Convertible: 1963 Triumph Herald

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Yes, it’s a Triumph Herald! This is a 1963, just like ours, and was sent in by reader Peter R–thanks for the find! I love the two-tone paint and hope this is the original color scheme. It’s located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and is listed here on craigslist, where the asking price is a pretty steep $7,500. Can you see yourself tootling along in this cutie?

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Think of a Herald as a larger, four seat Spitfire and you’d probably be fairly correct. Actually, the Herald came first, and was imported here in small numbers as a sporty economy car. Most of the cars I’ve seen in this country have been convertibles, but there were many sedans in the UK, as well as a very few coupes with a small hardtop. I have this mental image of an eccentric couple going out for a Saturday morning breakfast run, “C’mon, honey, it’s time to rise and shine and get some sunny-side-up eggs at the Waffle House!”

Triumph-37-large

Here’s a factory brochure showing the different body styles, including the station wagon, which we did not get over here in the US (officially). The “1200” moniker refers to the size of the engine, which in this case is actually 1147 cc. “Just the thing for puttering to the store, eh, dear?”

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The basic Herald 1200 was fitted with a downdraft Solex carburetor, as opposed to the twin SU’s of the Spitfire. The siamesed intake/exhaust manifold is very limiting as well. However, both of these things can be changed out by swapping them for Spitfire parts, which are pretty easy to find. “Let’s make ‘er a little more sporting!”

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This car has replacement brake and clutch master cylinders installed, although they are still single circuit brakes, and we’re told by the seller the car is in excellent running condition and is ready to drive anywhere. The actual brakes themselves have just been updated, probably using Spitfire discs and calipers as ours have been. I can tell you that we get more attention when we drive our Herald somewhere than we do with any of the other Triumphs. People just swarm around it when we take it somewhere, and the 30 miles per gallon we get makes us want to take it more often. “It’s so cute!” I know we love ours; could you love this one?

 

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Comments

  1. Van

    How well do these drive with 4 people inside.
    Not much power and the weight is so little that 4 adults would increase weight by 50%.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Depends entirely how fast you want to go. We’ve had ours on the interstate at 70 but it’s not happy. 45-55 on secondary roads it’s fine as long as you don’t mind downshifting for steep hills. Now, of course, anything up to a Spitfire 1500 engine will bolt-in fit, so you can put pretty much any of that family of engine in and get some more oomph.

    • Yoda

      The early ones that I know of were all 948 cc. Smaller than the Spitfire’s 1196. The Herald was also fed by a single solex carburetor compared to the Spitfires dual SUs.
      The Herald had about 38 to 45hp with the 948cc engine and a big 51hp with the 1196 and single barrel solex. Many Herald owners eventually put up-rated Spitfire cams and carbs on the later 1196. These were still very anemic cars when loaded with 4 passengers. Ask me, I owned one back in the late 60s. They were great on fuel, having only a 7.5 gallon tank and NO fuel gauge. When you ran dry, you opened the boot ( trunk), flipped a lever connected to the pick up tube in the tank and now had access to the bottom 2 gallons. The Herald had 4 wheel drum brakes. Again, many converted over to the Spitfire’s front disc brakes.

  2. Howard A Member

    The Triumph Herald was a good car, kind of introduced Triumph to America that Triumph made more than 2 seat roadsters. My old man had a Herald hardtop. Not sure how he got it, but it was a nice little car. Horribly underpowered for US roads, however. The 1200 had 39 hp, up from 34.5 in the 948 cc engine ( it’s that .5 that got you over the hill) If this was a 948 convertible model, it’s extremely rare, with a claimed 54 examples. Now if this was the newer 12/50 model, ’63-’67, it had a whopping 51 hp. Now we’re talking. Great find.

  3. philip l Millward

    Even with low Hp the car coped well not to todays standards now my vitesse convertible could cope and blow of some modern cars

    Like 1
    • rusty

      G’day Phillip , that is so nice congrats. The ultimate look in a Herald body me thinks. To me the vitesse front is so lovely aggressive it is no wonder Triumph considered it Not a herald but the next step up to a sportscar.

      HERALD STORY TIME: now little herald ones just sit back and dream of England [or another colony]…..

      Here “Down Under” i have an identical looking car same colour but different mags but same look. But guess what, where yours is a Factory 6 mine is a Factory 4 with that same Vitesse front “WHAT…balderdash” ‘ .

      Mine is currently missing an engine/gearbox which I have sadly left behind in an interstate move [not matching numbers] though I can hopefully still recover it. Just happy to get my triumphs safely here I can always find a motor.

      Many dont know that there was roughly 500 hundred 4 cylinder Heralds made with a Vitesse front but 4 cylinder..

      yes its an AMI 1250 Triumph [Herald badge never used].

      It was AMI’s last triumph before the introduction of bigger triumphs..in fact it was its last small car try against the newly imported Japanese cars hence why using the twin eyed front which many of the jap imports were sporting. It was to be Australia’s ultimate and last “Herald” [high spec for the day]..In fact it was considered a manufacturing success [Australian Assembly and upspec] but sadly Japanese cars offered faster and easier motoring so sales were limited..

      when you hear the chime…turn the page…

      Ironically AMI even sold Jap cars then so wasnt worried japanese cars were to dominate. So this is considered a milestone Triumph in Australian terms, yet no one knows them, even here only few Herald nuts are in the know..Sadly they only used a 4 cylinder but then i guess that is why the Aussie Vitesse fronted 1250 is so unique..only the Indians have a stranger hybrid Herald …a 4 door version [with single slant headlights i think]…incredible.

      So endeth the Story of the little Aussie Battler who couldn’t.

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        Rusty, I hadn’t heard about the last AMI cars before — thanks for sharing!

        I’ve attached a montage of the two designs of Standard Heralds that showed up in India, with unique fronts, four doors, and in one case a unique rear structure as well.

  4. Alex Miller

    I own a 1961 Triumph Herald, convertible, 948CC that I bought for $1,150. It’s a wonderful little car, runs, drives, that I am working on restoring. I wish I had the money for this baby right now, so I could have another. They’re not common in America, or really anywhere these days. But man, are they nifty.

  5. rangeroger

    Years ago when Triumph finally put IRS in the Herald, Road & Track magazine covered it. The article was titled ” Hark, the Herald Axles Swing”.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Just for clarity, the Herald had IRS from it’s introduction.

  6. Kieron

    My very first car a triumph herald estate with a vynal sun roof. Oh happy days
    First day at work I put a tea chest in the boot shut the back door to find the chest was too close to rear window. So slam went the boot and out popped the window !
    So I put the window on the back seat and just drove off
    Care free days and a draughty ride
    The u v joints made a greater noise than the engine !!!!

    • rusty

      Hee hee. The estates are a bit sort after I believe in its home country now wish they came to my country.

      Love hearing people’s experiences with heralds.

      Cheers

      • Kieron

        Back in 1977 when I was learning to drive in my grey herald estate my mate had just past his driving test in his herald.
        Don’t forget even in 1977 these cars were old and concidered slow and antiquated
        Soon after he had passed his driving test he got pulled over by the police The officer said “you know you were exceeding the speed limit (30 mph). What speed did you think you were doing??”
        He replied. ” 85 !! Not bad for an old herald !!! ” punctuated by him kicking the tyre at the same time
        The officer didn’t have a sense of humour and promptly said ” You’re nicked”. In England that translates to your arrested. All I could do was laugh

  7. rusty

    Hee hee

    Learnt to drive about the same year too but in a Morris minor. Even less power but better handling..After all those years of driving Morris minors well into the 2000’s as every day drivers it was my triumphs I kept instead.

    Perhaps because there is a lot of Morris minors in Australia but heralds are rarer but more so because I have had a Bond Equipe version of a Herald for 35 years and have always loved it’s looks although it’s a basket case it’s possibly the only early model in Australia.

  8. Van

    Here’s an idea
    An estate body on a GT6
    Shooting Break.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      It’s been done. Triumph would assemble Vitesse Estates if you special ordered them. Really nice package!

      • rusty

        Wow

  9. Andrew S Mace Member

    “I love the two-tone paint and hope this is the original color scheme.” Sorry to disappoint you, Jamie, but convertibles never got any sort of “duo-tone” treatment; that was limited to sedans and coupes. It was not uncommon, though, to see what likely was a dealer-added (or some owner-added) side “flash” usually in a white (or maybe black or red on a white car).

    Oh, and it’s ok-ish that they added the front discs, but it is NOT ok that they used the original type front hose and location for same. And it’s “only” the 40 hp version, which is a surprisingly willing engine as-is, but don’t risk your pink slip with that Challenger Hellcat owner. ;)

    Not bad as Heralds go, but I would have to see a LOT more pictures before I could even begin to entertain that asking price!

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Hi, Andy, hoping you’d chime in. I know you’ll keep me straight on Herald-Lore :-)

    • Steve

      Hi Andrew …… Fancy meeting you here.
      Steve / Jediscuba

      • Andrew S Mace Member

        Well, Steve, if a Herald is involved, it’s likely I’ll be along eventually! :D

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