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Triumph Herald
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Manufacturer Standard-Triumph
Production 1959–1971
Predecessor Standard 8 / 10
Successor Triumph Toledo
Body style(s) Two-door saloon, coupé, estate, van and convertible
Layout FR layout
Engine(s) 948 cc OHV I4
1147 cc OHV I4 (Herald 1200 & 12/50)
1296 cc OHV I4 (13/60)
Transmission(s) 4-speed manual (synchromesh on 2nd 3rd and top gears, no overdrive)
Wheelbase 91 in (2,311 mm)
Length 153 in (3,886 mm)
Width 60 in (1,524 mm)
Height 52 in (1,321 mm)
Kerb weight 725 kg (1,600 lb) (1200 convertible) to 865 kg (1,910 lb) (13/60 estate)
Fuel capacity 41 litres (10.8 US gal/9.0 imp gal) (estate), 32 litres (8.5 US gal/7.0 imp gal) (others)
Related Triumph Vitesse, Triumph Spitfire, Triumph GT6
Designer Michelotti

The Triumph Herald was a small two-door car introduced in 1959 by the Standard-Triumph Company of Coventry. Body design was by the Italian stylist Michelotti and the car was offered in saloon, convertible, coupé, van, and estate models.

Total Herald sales numbered well over 500,000 and the Vitesse, Spitfire and GT6 were all based on modified Herald chassis and running gear with bolt-together bodies. Heralds are still seen on British roads in the early 21st century.

Sports car range prompts Italian-designed saloon

Towards the end of the 1950s Standard-Triumph offered a range of 2-seater Triumph sports cars alongside its Standard saloons, the Standard 8 & 10, powered by a small (803 cc or 948 cc) 4-cylinder engine, which by the late 1950s were due for an update. Standard-Triumph therefore started work on the Herald. The choice of the "Herald" name suggests that the car was originally intended to be marketed as a Standard, as it fits the model-naming scheme of the time (Ensign, Pennant and Standard itself). But by 1959 it was felt that the Triumph name had more brand equity, and the Standard name was phased out in Britain after 1963.

Triumph Herald 948 Conv. (1962)

Giovanni Michelotti was commissioned to style the car by the Standard-Triumph board, encouraged by Harry Webster, Chief Engineer, and quickly produced designs for a two-door saloon with a large glass area that gave 93% all-round visibility in the Saloon variant and the "razor-edge" looks to which many makers were turning. Fisher & Ludlow, Standard-Triumph's body suppliers, having become part of an uncooperative BMC, it was decided that the car should have a separate chassis rather than adopting the newer monocoque construction. The main body tub was bolted to the chassis and the whole front end hinged forward to allow access to the engine. Every panel – including the sills and roof – could be unbolted from the car so that different body styles could be easily built on the same chassis. Accordingly, in addition to the original coupé and saloon models, van, convertible and estate versions were on offer within two years.

The Engine bay of a restored example

The Standard Pennants 4-cylinder 948 cc OHV engine and 4 speed gearbox was used with synchromesh on the top three gears and remote gear shift and driving the rear wheels. The rack and pinion steering afforded the Herald a tight 25 feet 0 inches (7.6 m) turning circle. Coil and double-wishbone front suspension was fitted, while the rear suspension, a new departure for Triumph, offered independent springing via a single transverse leaf-spring bolted to the top of the final drive unit and swing axles.

Instruments were confined to a single large speedometer with fuel gauge in the saloon (a temperature gauge was available as an option) on a dashboard of grey pressed fibreboard. The coupé dashboard was equipped with speedometer, fuel and temperature gauges, together with a lockable glovebox. The car had loop-pile carpeting and heater as standard. A number of extras were available including twin carburettors, leather seats, a wood-veneered dashboard, Telaflo shock absorbers and paint options.

Prototype cars embarked on a test-run from Cape Town to Tangiers. An account of the journey was embellished by PR at the time.[1] However only minor changes were deemed necessary between the prototype and production cars. The new car was launched at the Royal Albert Hall, London on 22 April 1959 but was not an immediate sales success partly due to its relatively high cost, approaching £700 (including 45% Purchase Tax). In standard single-carburettor form the 38 bhp (28 kW) car was no better than average in terms of performance, delivering 60 mph (97 km/h) in about 31 seconds and a maximum speed of 70 mph (110 km/h). The rear suspension was also criticised as yielding poor handling at the extremes of performance though the model was considered easy to drive with its good vision, light steering(smallest turning circle of any production car) and controls and ease of repair.

The Herald 1200

Triumph Herald 1200 (1964): Optional duo-tone paint finishes distinguished the Herald from competitors

Standard-Triumph experienced financial difficulties at the beginning of the 1960s and was taken over by Leyland Motors Ltd in 1961. This released new resources to develop the Herald and the car was re-launched with an 1147 cc engine as the Herald 1200'. The new model featured white rubber bumpers, a wooden laminate dashboard and improved seating. Quality control was also tightened up. Twin carburettors were no longer fitted to any of the range as standard although they remained an option, the standard being a single down-draught Solex carburettor. Claimed maximum power of the Herald 1200 was 39 bhp (29 kW), as against the 34.5 bhp (25.7 kW) claimed for the 948 cc model.[2] Disc brakes also became an option from 1963.

Sales picked up despite growing competition from the BMC Mini and the Ford Anglia. The convertible was popular as a 4-seater with decent weatherproofing and the estate made a practical alternative to the Morris Minor Traveller. The coupé was dropped from the range in late 1964 as by then it was in direct competition with the Triumph Spitfire.

Courier Van

Triumph Courier van with front end from a Triumph Vitesse

The Triumph Courier van, a Herald estate with side panels in place of rear side windows, was produced from 1962 until 1966, but was dropped following poor sales. Production in England ceased in summer 1964. CKD assembly by MCA in Malta continued till late 1965, at least. [3]

Herald 12/50

A sportier version, the Herald 12/50 Skylight Saloon, offered from 1963–1967, featured a tuned engine with a claimed output of 51 bhp (38 kW) in place of the previous 39, along with a sliding (Webasto) vinyl-fabric sunroof and front disc brakes as standard. The power output of the 1200, which remained in production alongside the 12/50, was subsequently boosted to 48 bhp.[4]

Performance test

A saloon tested by The Motor magazine in 1959 was found to have a top speed of 70.9 mph (114.1 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 31.1 seconds. A fuel consumption of 36.4 miles per imperial gallon (7.76 L/100 km/30.3 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £702 including taxes of £207.[5]

The Herald 13/60

A Triumph Herald 13/60 Convertible

A Triumph Herald 13/60 Estate

In October 1967 the range was updated with the introduction at the London Motor Show of the Herald 13/60.[4] The 13/60 was offered in saloon, convertible and estate bodied versions. The sun-roof remained available for the saloon as an optional extra rather than a standard feature. The front end was restyled using a bonnet similar to the Triumph Vitesse's and the interior substantially revised though still featuring the wooden dashboard. Interior space was improved by recessing a rear armrest in each side panel. The engine was enlarged to 1296 cc, essentially the unit employed since 1965 in the Triumph 1300, fitted with a Stromberg CD150 carburettor, offering 61 bhp (45 kW) and much improved performance. In this form (though the 1200 saloon was sold alongside it until the end of 1970) the Herald Saloon lasted until December 1970 and the Convertable and Estate until May 1971, by which time, severely outdated in style if not performance, it had already outlived the introduction of the Triumph 1300 Saloon, the car designed to replace it and was still selling reasonably well but, because of its labour-intensive method of construction, selling at a loss.

Production figures

Triumph Herald 1200 (1968)

  • Herald (948) March 1958 - January 1964, total ?
    • saloon: March 1959 – June 1961, 76,860
    • coupé: March 1959 – June 1961, 15,153
    • convertible: March 1959 – June 1961, 8,262
    • 'S' saloon: February 1961 – January 1964, 6,577
  • Herald 1200: February 1961– December 1970, 289,575
    • saloon: February 1961 – December 1970, 201,142
    • coupé: February 1961 – October 1964, 5,319
    • convertible: February 1961 – September 1967, 43,295
    • estate: March 1961 – September 1967, 39,819
    • Courier van: February 1962 – October 1964, 5,136
  • Herald 12/50 saloon: December 1962 – September 1967, 53,267
  • Herald 13/60: August 1967 – September 1971, 82,650
    • saloon: August 1967 – December 1970, 40,433
    • convertible: August 1967 – September 1971, 15,467
    • estate: August 1967 – September 1971, 11,172

Surviving cars

  • Early 948 cc powered cars are rare, convertibles and coupes are especially sought after. Current figures have only 181 coupes remaining worldwide (948cc cars),[6] many in Australia and the USA. Later cars are more numerous.
  • The Earls Court motor show of 1959 used a Triumph Herald Coupe, cut in half. This car survives and can be seen at Coventry Transport Museum.

Please list known examples below in the Preservation section

International production

Triumph Heralds were exported all over the globe and assembled in a number of countries other than the United Kingdom, the separate chassis being used as a jig to assemble kits exported from Coventry. These cars were referred to as CKD – Complete Knock Down cars.


In the 1960s, Standard Motor Products of Madras, India manufactured Triumph Heralds with the basic 948 cc engine under the name Standard Herald, eventually with additional four-door saloon and five-door estate models exclusively for the Indian market. In 1971 they introduced a bodily restyled four-door saloon based on the Herald called the Standard Gazel, using the same 948 cc engine but with the axle changed to that of Toledo, avoiding the Herald's "swing-arm" which could not handle India's poor roads. The Gazel was discontinued in 1977.


The Herald was produced in Australia by Australian Motor Industries from 1959 to 1966 with output totalling 14,975 units.[7] Production included a 12/50 model which, unlike its English namesake, was offered in both saloon and coupe body styles.[7] It featured the bonnet and four angled headlights of the Triumph Vitesse [7] and was marketed as the Triumph 12/50,[8] without Herald badges.[7]

Triumph Heralds were also assembled in South Africa, New Zealand, Ireland, Malta and Sri Lanka.

Popular culture

2011: A red Herald convertible was used in BBC’s 'Antiques Road Trip', when experts Phillip Serrell and Catherine Southon visited Paisley.

A Herald was used by James May on the TV car show Top Gear as a template for an amphibious car. It was used in the third episode of series 8, in which it and May were victorious in the featured challenge of crossing a 2-mile (3.2 km) lake. It was again seen in the second episode of series 10, in which May used exactly the same car from the previous amphibious car challenge and attempted to cross the English Channel. The car is now a part of the scenery within the Top Gear studio.

A red Herald convertible was driven by Thora Hird in the BBC 1 long-running comedy Last of the Summer Wine.

A black Herald convertible was driven by the character Mary Moran in RTE's Sunday night soap Glenroe in the late 1980s

In the 1966 Tintin adventure, The Black Island, Tintin hitched a lift by a red Herald towing a caravan while chasing the villains Dr Müller and Ivan,

Herald based kit cars

Due to the construction of the Triumph Herald (separate body mounted to a chassis) the Herald makes an excellent basis for a kit car. These have taken many different forms however; a popular conversion in New Zealand was an MGTF replica. While this was not an exact copy of the MGTF it did however envoke the spirit of the original. About 250 of these cars were made and they have a high survival rate due to being enthusiasts cars. The MGTF replica is called a "t car" made by alternative cars and has body made of fibreglass and a steel bonnet or hood


restored example at Wollaton Park Steam Rally in 2011 (identity ?)

Please list known surviving examples here;

  • ? - seen at Wollaton park Steam Rally
  • reg no. - seen at ? event

Template:PML Triumph Herald


Add your photos of surving cars here please


  1. "Original diary can be read online". Retrieved on 2010-10-09.
  2. "News Summary", Practical Motorist 7 (nbr 83): pages 1187. date July 1961. 
  3. Triumph Courier 1962–1966 Retrieved from on 22 July 2010
  4. 4.0 4.1 "1,296 cc for Triumph Herald 13/60", Autocar 127 (nbr 3739): pages 55–56. date 12 October 1967. 
  5. "The Triumph Herald Saloon", The Motor. April 22, 1959. 
  6. "Triumph Herald Database". Retrieved on 2011-02-01.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 A different slant on the Herald Retrieved from on 20 January 2010
  8. The Triumph Brochure Page Retrieved on 20 January 2010

Further reading

  • Ball, Kenneth (1973). Triumph Herald 1969–1971 Autobook, Second, Autopress Ltd. ISBN 0-85147-235-4. 

External links

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