The day set for collecting the car finally arrived and I was grateful to Eric for his advice, strength and trailer which made the whole process so much easier. We were joined by Jane Rowley who kept me greatly amused (!) by repeated comments such as ‘all it needs is a few tins of T Cut’! The rear N/S brake was well and truly locked on but we managed to get the car on the trailer by using one of the ‘dollies’ that came as part of the deal and, staggeringly enough, all of the tyres managed to hold some air – not bad after around three decades of deflation.
Getting the car into a sensible position once Eric and I got it home was a different matter. Dollies with 3 inch wheels don’t rotate easily on gravel drives and I eventually decided to leave it ‘abandoned’ in the middle of the drive until such time as I could release the locked brake drum. The bad news is that it’s still there as the next day I came down with a full-blown case of flu and have been bedded down for the last 12 days while the car starts to look even sadder and more dejected! Not a great start to the restoration.
Being a bit of an impatient sort of chap (really?) and a bit of an idiot (really!) yesterday I decided to rise from my sickbed and make what I suspect will be the first of several assaults on the car with the power washer. The results were interesting. As expected the rear valences immediately disintegrated into an unpleasant mixture of rust and mud, whereas the rest of the body panels, although carrying plenty of surface rust, appear to be sound with no gaping holes or spectacular views of the gravel drive from inside the car. The passenger door in particular seems to have been repainted at some point in the car’s history; although under the force of the power washer the top coat immediately parted company with the door skin the undercoat/primer seems to be in good condition. I suspect that it may be a different story when it comes to examining the points at which the body attaches to the chassis – but you never know.
Anyway, the priority over the next week will be to get that rear brake drum unlocked and manouevering the car into the relative ‘sanctuary’ of the garage.
I purchased the car from a gentleman in Hereford who had originally planned to do the restoration himself but I suspect took fright when he realised the scale of what he was about to take on. I gather that he bought it a few weeks previously having been approached at a local car show – it seems that the long term owner had passed away leaving his beneficiaries to dispose of the Herald which had been sat in a garage for a number of years.
As there was no V5 with the car I duly sent the appropriate form (V62) and a cheque for £25 off to DVLA expecting to receive a new V5 by return of post. No such luck. Instead I received a letter informing me that DVLA have no record of the car – which indicates that its probably been unregistered since DVLA computerised its records in 1983 (34 years!) and unfortunately makes the process of obtaining a V5 a little more complicated and long-winded.
In order for DVLA to let me retain the original registration number it will be necessary to convince them that it is indeed a Triumph Herald and that it was built at the time indicated by its date-related registration number – ie. in the first half of 1967. To achieve this I’ve ordered a Heritage Certificate from The British Motor Museum (£42 + postage) and arranged for the car to be inspected by Jane Rowley. As an official of the Triumph Sports Six Club (TSSC) Jane is authorised to complete another form (V765) certifying that the Herald is genuinely a 1967 car and I’m not trying to pull a ‘fast one’ in order to avoid paying Road Tax or being subject to MoT testing.
On a more positive note, after a few minues spent on Google I discovered that all ‘?EU’ registrations (nothing to do with Brexit)were originally issued by Brecon Local Authority and it was a short step from there to learn that the original ‘Allocation Books’, which list when registrations were issued and to whom, are now held by Powys County Council. An online application and payment of a £15 fee later and I was the pround possessor of a certified copy of the original entry proving that DEU87E was isssued in respect of a 1147cc Herald on 4th April 1967. Hopefully that will strengthen my case to retain the original registration.
A resource for owners and enthusiasts of Triumph motor cars from the 1920s to the 1980s