max temp: 16°C

min temp: 8°C


Bad buy Heralded major rebuild but ended in Triumph

Steve Williams no longer has a picture of his Triumph Herald but drew this cartoon of the car and the Lambretta scooter he sold to buy it. Picture: Steve Williams

Steve Williams no longer has a picture of his Triumph Herald but drew this cartoon of the car and the Lambretta scooter he sold to buy it. Picture: Steve Williams

Steve Williams

Steve Williams was in the dark about the condition of his Triumph Herald, after buying it at night in the rain, but daylight revealed it was a wreck.

The BMC Mini, Ford Anglia and Triumph Herald were all new-generation, modern cars introduced in 1959.

I have owned several Minis and an Anglia van, named Boris, with steering that shook violently when I drove over a pothole. But my very first car, and pride and joy, was my Herald.

The Herald had clean-cut looks, all-round independent suspension, sports car gearshift and the smallest turning circle of any production car. Maintenance was easy as the whole front end hinged forward – like an E-Type Jag – to expose the 948cc engine.

At 17 I saw an ad for a 1960 Herald and couldn’t wait to see it but made a big mistake viewing it at night in pouring rain. Despite having less than a month’s tax and MOT I handed over £60 from selling my Lambretta scooter.

When I looked the car over properly the next day it turned out to be a wreck. The brakes, tyres and exhaust needed immediate attention. The worst was yet to come. When I checked underneath, the chassis outriggers crumbled in my hand. As Heralds had a bolt-together body I decided to separate the car from the engine and chassis to gain access for welding.

Once new outriggers had been fitted, the underside was given a coat of thick black underseal before refitting the body. To cut costs, many mechanical and body parts were obtained from scrapyards. This was often a treacherous task as the donor car was often on top of a pile of others and, if the large alsatian guard dog didn’t bite you on the way in, the yard owner would sting you on price on the way out.

The almost bald cross-ply tyres were replaced with budget remoulds and the exhaust patched with Holts Gun Gum Putty and bandages. The brakes were next and I have memories of sitting in the car pumping the pedal while my dad was scrabbling underneath with a jam jar and piece of rubber pipe to bleed the system.

Once the mechanical work was complete, the holes in the bodywork were filled before spraying the car – and the front lawn – with Ford electric blue metal flake paint. After passing my driving test, I couldn’t wait to rip off the stick-on L plates which took off a square patch of paintwork too.

I then got into the 1970s car customising craze after getting a job at Motac Motor Parts in Clevedon. Thanks to staff discounts, my Herald got the full treatment – rally seat covers, 10in steering wheel, dashboard dials, tinted windows, 10ft glassfibre whip aerial, Porsche 911 Fuchs type wheel trims and straight-through exhaust box. Despite trying to make the car look and sound sporty it only had a top speed of around 65mph – no faster than my 175cc Lambretta.

Adding so much extra weight had its drawbacks... happy days!

Sadly, I am unable to find any photos of my Herald, so I submitted one of my cartoons.

Tell us about your first car – email your memories with a picture of the car to or post it to Andy Russell, Archant motoring editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.

More than 14,000 people flocked to sunny Hadleigh on Saturday for the town’s 179th annual show.

Could you offer a home to one of these cats and dogs at the Blue Cross centre in Wherstead?

Highways England teams will be carrying out maintenance on trunk roads across the region over the next week.

The A140 was partially closed late on Saturday afternoon after a two-vehicle accident at the Stonham crossroads with the A1120.

Royal wedding fever has gripped the country - with a host of street parties popping up across East Anglia to celebrate the big day.

An air ambulance was called to the Suffolk Retail Park in Ipswich on Saturday afternoon after reports of a person being injured on site.

Suffolk police are looking for three men after a bookmaker’s shop was robbed in Pakefield near Lowestoft on Friday evening.

Now today’s ceremony is over, the tablecloth’s rolled up and the cake is back in the tin, it’s time for the ultimate question... Who did it better?

The artists set to take to the stage at Stowmarket’s biggest annual music festival have been announced.

Orwell Park School in ipswich has hosted a memorial to those who served in the Desert Rats - who were stationed at the school on the lead up to the D-Day landings.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24