History of the 1967 - 1971 Triumph Herald
Designer Giovanni Michelotti’s Triumph Herald replaced the lacklustre Standard 8/10 in 1959 with a breath of fresh air that would blow through the British auto industry for 12 years.
Underneath, the Herald was still fairly conventional—what with a separate chassis, drum brakes, a standard 948-cc OHV four-cylinder engine, and four-speed transmission—but it was cloaked in attractive angular bodywork as a two-door saloon, fixed-head coupe, convertible, and estate. It also had fully independent suspension, rack-and-pinion steering, a tilt nose that made engine access extraordinarily easy, and the tight 25-foot turning circle of a London taxi.
The first Triumph Heralds had 35 horsepower, but a twin-carburettor setup bumped that to 45 horsepower. The 1,147 cc engine “1200” model offered an estate and that motor’s 52 horsepower raised the top speed to 80 mph. Front disc brakes were optional from 1961 and the deluxe 12/50 of 1963 included a standard sunroof, heater, and front disc brakes.
The coupe was never common and was discontinued in 1964, but the convertible was made from 1960 to 1971, becoming the 13/60 in 1967, with a 61-horsepower, 1,296-cc engine and a top speed of nearly 90 mph. The 13/60 bonnet was slanted, similar to the six-cylinder Vitesse, but with two headlights. The instrument panel was improved and featured recessed switches.
The Herald and its variants were enormously popular in the 1960s, with 317,821 sedans, 70,000 convertibles, 53,267 estates, and 20,472 coupes sold by 1967. The 13/60 replaced the Herald in 1967 and estate and saloon sales totalled 82,650 before the model was discontinued in 1971.
Additionally, 51,212 six-cylinder Vitesse saloons and convertibles were produced. The basic Herald chassis also underpinned the 1962-1980 Triumph Spitfire roadster (the GT6 coupe used the Vitesse chassis), which had total production of 314,332. As a result, sourcing mechanical parts is not problematic, though rust is an ever-present enemy and some older body parts are becoming hard to find. Finish was generally above the Austin/Morris standard with wood veneer dashboards and adequate instruments.
The basic design does present some issues, however. The early swing-axle suspension can severely jack up the rear end in hard cornering with the potential to roll the car. This was corrected in 1968 with a transverse leaf-to-pivot link, and retrofit kits are desirable modifications. Rapid departures on extreme lock can also peel the outside front tire off the rim. The one-piece front clip can be easily bumped and misaligned, at which point it will not latch. Bodies flex and are not particularly watertight.