The 1964 Herald 1200 Convertible
Dad had two of them when I was a kid- I never saw either running, much less rode in one. But I loved those two little red cars. I even had a half of one of my own! Dad had gotten it as a parts donor- I got to play "Car Driver" with that one... It lived under a 2nd floor porch, which was up on posts. Many years of fun were provided by that. And a few of life's lessons- NEVER hit a tire with a hammer, When throwing dirt at a windshield, be sure there's no rocks in it, If you undo these bolts, the steering column comes out....Mine was light blue- the same color this one originally was.
After many years of looking, sometimes actively, but usually just glancing at car ads randomly, I found my Triumph. I ha mentioned the car to a friend on many occaisions, and when he and I were at a "Highland Games" event in Southern Maryland a few years ago, we met a wonderful couple who had two they drove around together- and they had two others for sale. Naturally my buddy and I were interested in these.
The front footwells are in reasonable shape, but the driver's side one will be replaced, due to some rust throughs. This is how it looks at the moment- empty, awaiting stripping and repaint.
The engine is a 1147cc (12/50) Triumph engine, equipped with dual SU Model HS2 carbs. The carbs are mounted to a coolant heated intake manifold, which in-turn is supported by a set of 4-2-1 headers. This setup is virtually identical to the early Spitfire engine- save for the head, and the accelerator linkage, which I had to modify/create on my own. The distributor, too, is Spitfire. At the moment much needs doing to straighten up the engine compartment, but that will occur when the body is off for stripping and repainting.
The engine runs wonderfully, however, and has a great sound. When I pull the muffler off, she sounds like a little race car...And she ticks over "like a sewing machine"
Above, the dual SU HS2's; to the left, a close up of my custom accelerator linkage, with the return springs removed for detail viewing.
Once properly tuned, she idles GREAT!
My friend and I went to visit the couple with all the Triumphs, and found a pair of lovely, restorable Herald 1200's, just like Dad's. One was Yellow, the other British Racing Green. My friend and I cut a deal for one each, and, whiole he was able to follow through, I wasn't, due to a financial bottleneck I encountered at that time. A year or so later, the couple gave my friend the second car, as they needed the spcae, and, since I couldn't afford it, he ended up selling it, for the same reason. However, soon things came around to my favor. My friend decided that he, too, had to many projects- one of them a WWII Jeep of mine. He knew this was a car I had always wanted- so he let me have it- not running, but there. The nice thing was, the frame had already been rstored, and there were new tires on all four corners!
One of the best things about this car, is that it is a CONVERTIBLE! And, talk about trunk room...Only the Brtish would devise a family sports convertible... :)
The muffler, by the way, is not original- it is actually a used one from my WWII Jeep! Works well, but I love the sound of the exhaust without it much more then with. But it will keep me legal for now.
The dashboard is currently undergoing reconstruction. Not satisfied with the usual "Lucas Blackout" electrical system, I have upgraded and modified my electrics with the additon of a real fuse box, located in the glove box. Also, I have added a Hazard flasher setup, and relocated several key components for ease of access. The Triumph factoy AM/FM radio was a lucky find...
My upcoming plans are pretty simple: The body will be removed, and taken to Allentown Redi-Strip for a complete chemical stripping, then brought back, repaired, sesealed, and repainted, in a nice electric blue. Then the car will be reassembled, a new interior installed, and she will become my number 3 daily driver- usually with the top down. She should be a good little runner, judging from the rest of her condition, and I can't wait for summer :) Maybe I'll find a new girlfriend to fill that otherwise empty right seat.......
Hopefully I will soon link this into the Triumph webring- I will also be linking to the Seagrave Owners Association, and my 1969 Plymouth Belvedere page.
About me, in case anyone is interested, I am a 34 year old computer tech, trying to get into the Police Academy. I live in southern New Jersey. I am single, and definitely looking. I love antique cars, so any future prospects need to enjoy dragging around Carlisle and fall Hershey. (I have had several cars- starting with a 1944 Willys MB Jeep from the time I was 16 until last year, a 1946 Plymouth Special Deluxe I parted out, a 1947 Plymouth Special Deluxe I did a chassis restoration on, which will shortly be going to a friend in Maryland, a 1969 Pontiac Firebird, which I sold to a friend, a 1944 GMC CCKW353, again, sold to a friend, a 1969 Plymouth Belvedere,which I drive often, a 1952 Seagrave 400B 750 GPM Pumper, a 1957 Seagrave 531B 750GPM Pumper. For daily drivers I have had two 1988 Ford F-150's, a 1974 Ford Galaxie 500, and a 1973 Ford Custom 500, a 1982 Firebird, a 1984 Olds Cutlass Ciera, and a 1985 Chevrolet Impala 9C1 Police Package car. Other than the Triumph, the Belvedere, my two Seagraves and my second F-150, I no longer have the others.)
More details available about me, just drop a note if interested... :)
Well, the body on these little cars comes off quite admirably- And to add to the fun, the chassis is in GREAT shape- better than I imagined! Soon, the car will be down to the bare frame- then the rebuild begins in earnest! My plans include finishing stripping the body to bare metal, repainting the frame, reassembling the body onto the frame, and repainting as original. I had been thinking blue, but now Signal Red is the colour of choice!
The body tub itself is in good condition. I've started stripping off the "Waxoyl" coating(Hint for Triumph enthusiasts- Gunk GP Degreaser works well.) There are rust throughs at the front of the rear fenders between the wheel opening and door opening on each side. Also, the leading edge on the passenger side floor where it meets the center section. The upper sill plates also are in need of repair.
The exterior paint has been removed from the thre main sections, and the lower valances for each side. Now the underside of the main body, and the interior need stripping. Once all this removal is done, the painting will begin.
Then the interor- all new from Rimmer, most likely, will put the car on the road by the end of May, this year.
Before and after snaps of the rehabilitated (externally anyhow) Smiths Heater Box. I have yet to clean or replace the water valve. This will look pretty snappy in a newly painted Red Herald Sports 1200.