I’m not a great one for ‘walking down memory lane’ but I have very happy memories of my second car (the first, a Hillman Imp, is best forgotten!) – a 1964 Royal Blue Herald Convertible which I bought in 1970 for the princely sum of £70 plus the Imp. During the two years that I owned it it never let me down and I seem to remember that having bought it in the Spring the hood didn’t go up until the Autumn! Just how much motoring fun could an 18 year-old have back in the day?
So when I was casting around for a project a couple of years ago and thinking about expanding our ‘fleet’ of Triumphs a Herald Convertible seemed like an excellent idea.
Our 13/60 Herald Convertible emerged from the Canley production line in early 1971 and was first registered to a Mr Frances of Chiltington in West Sussex on 18th February 1971. Thereafter it went through numerous changes of ownership with registrations in Tonbridge, Henley on Thames, Watlington, Maidenhead, Hounslow, Feltham, Ipswich, and Cirencester. Most recently it spent the last 13 years languishing in a lock-up garage before coming into our possession in August 2018.
The car is a ‘work in progress’ with a complete ‘knut and bolt’ restoration now nearing the end. Sadly the chassis and large sections of the car’s bodywork (with the exception of the bonnet which had undergone major repairs shortly before the car was taken off the road in 2005) had deteriorated badly with most panels needing replacement or major surgery. Fortunately I was able to supplement the best and most useable elements of the 13/60 with parts from a donor Herald 1200 convertible that I rescued from Hereford in 2017. I’ve also spent much of the last year trawling a well-known internet auction site and spent a small fortune with all the usual parts suppliers.
Whilst I recognise that the aim of many owners of these cars is to keep their pride and joy as original as possible, my plan has always been to make this 13/60 a little more enjoyable to drive and completely useable on today’s roads. I have therefore:
- Giving the car a little more power – twin SU carbs and the engine from a MK3 Spitfire.
- Updated the braking system with Type 14 callipers at the front.
- Made it ‘longer legged’ and more economical by adding a D Type overdrive.
- Installed modern seats from an MG TF.
- Added extra instrumentation.
- Improved the electrics by adding some fuses and relays and brought the lighting up-to-date by fitting H4 headlights and LEDs where appropriate.
- Fitted wire wheels – because I think they make the Herald look fantastic!