Triumph Gallery

1961 Triumph Herald 1200

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Introduced by the Standard-Triumph Company, the Triumph Herald was a small two-door vehicle with a body design by Italian stylist Michelotti. The Herald was available in convertible, coupe, saloon, van and estate models. Offered alongside a range of Standard saloons, Standard Triumph was experiencing a great success with their range of 2-seater's towards the end of the 1950's. The Standard 8/10 was a little vehicle that was powered by a 4-cylinder engine that was competing with the Morris Minor, Austin A35 and the Ford Popular. Though extremely innovative, the Standard 8's and 10's never really took off in popularity, and by the late 1950's, they were due for an update.

Italian designer Micholotti was hired to style and design the update, and it wasn't long before he came up with the perfect two-door saloon with a large glass area. Rather than being of monocoque construction, the Standard-Triumph decided that the new small vehicle should have a separate chassis though this was a look that was beginning to be outmoded by the late 1950's. Allowing access to the engine, the whole front end hinged forward while the main body tub was bolted to the chassis. All panels could be unbolted from the main body of the vehicle, even including the sills and roof.

A mixture of both traditional and modern mechanics, the new Herald utilized the Standard 10's 4-cylinder 948 cc OHV engine and joined with the original 4-speed gearbox with synchromesh placed on the top three gears and driving the rear wheels. Rack and pinion, which allowed for a 25-foot turning circle, was the steering of choice, along with coil and double-wishbone front suspension. Independent springing through a single transverse leaf spring was newly available for the Triumph's rear suspension.

Designed with 93 percent glass area, the Triumph Herald featured an airy interior with sharp and modern styling throughout. Showcasing standard carpeting and heater, the Triumph Herald was offered in a variety of bright and contemporary colors.

Though not an immediate success in the automotive market, the Triumph Herald was still quite well-received by the public. More expensive than most of the competing vehicles in the market, the Herald was marked at close to £700. Criticism also arose over the new rear suspension and its tricky handling. The vehicle eventually gained popularity in the areas of its easily driving capabilities, light steering and controls and exceptional visibility.

All over, the decision by Triumph to build a new small automotive in the late 1950's was a great success in the end. Numbering well over 300,000 total Herald sales, the Herald Triumph most likely reached its peak due to the separate chassis designs. Hugely successful for Herald, the Triumph Vitesse, Triumph GT6 and Triumph Spitfire were all vehicles that were based around the bolt-together bodies and modified Herald chassis.

A vast number of Heralds are surviving in the UK as popular enthusiasm remains for the independent company that shaped an important time in Britain's motoring heritage.

By Jessica Donaldson

Performance and Specification Comparison

Herald 1200

4 cyl., 69.99 CID., 38.00hp

Industry Production

1966Ford (2,212,415)Chevrolet (2,206,639)Volkswagen (1,168,146)17,184
1965Chevrolet (2,375,118)Volkswagen (1,174,687)Toyota (1,068,321)15,967
1964Chevrolet (2,318,619)Ford (1,594,053)Toyota (1,068,321)15,967
1963Chevrolet (2,237,201)Ford (1,525,404)Fiat (957,941)20,117
1962Chevrolet (2,061,677)Ford (1,476,031)Fiat (957,941)15,967
1961Ford (1,338,790)Chevrolet (1,318,014)Volkswagen (807,488)15,967
1960Chevrolet (1,653,168)Ford (1,439,370)Toyota (1,068,321)17,720
1959Chevrolet (1,462,140)Ford (1,450,953)Volkswagen (575,407)22,922
1958Chevrolet (1,142,460)Ford (987,945)Volkswagen (451,526)16,245
1957Ford (1,676,449)Chevrolet (1,505,910)Plymouth (726,009)
1956Chevrolet (1,567,117)Ford (1,408,478)Buick (572,024)

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