WHAT TO LOOK FOR

THE CHAS­SIS COUNTS

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying Guide -

Be­cause of the non-uni­tary con­struc­tion, the Her­ald’s body­work is es­sen­tially cos­metic, so even tatty cars can be safe and strong if the chas­sis is sound. But the main chas­sis rails can rot be­low the dif­fer­en­tial, along with the out­rig­gers that sit just be­hind the scre­won sills. Check for tacked-on out­rig­gers; re­plac­ing th­ese prop­erly means re­mov­ing the bodyshell. Also look care­fully for holed floor­pans and rot­ten door bot­toms, frilly rain gut­ters and rust in the lower cor­ners of the bon­net, spare wheel well and front valance. Her­ald panel avail­abil­ity is good, but un­for­tu­nately the qual­ity is vari­able. Panel gaps them­selves are of­ten way­ward, es­pe­cially af­ter a body-off re­build.

RAT­TLE AND HUM

Three dif­fer­ent en­gines were used in the Her­ald, each bor­rowed from other Tri­umph mod­els. They’re durable but a fil­ter with a non-re­turn valve must be fitted; with­out one the big-ends get starved of oil on start up so lis­ten for rat­tling. Once this has hap­pened a bot­tomend re­build is nec­es­sary – it’s an easy but big job that any half-de­cent DIY me­chanic could take on at home. Th­ese en­gines will clock up 100,000 miles with­out much bother – the first sign of wear usu­ally be­ing a chat­ter­ing top-end be­cause of ero­sion of the rocker shaft and rock­ers. The engine will con­tinue to run for thou­sands of miles de­spite the off-put­ting racket, but bud­get for a top-end re­build sooner rather than later.

CRUNCH TIME

All Her­alds fea­tured the same four-speed man­ual gear­box, with syn­chro­mesh on all gears ex­cept first. The syn­chro wears, so check for baulk­ing as you swap cogs. Also lis­ten for whin­ing, in­di­cat­ing worn gears, or rum­bling, sig­ni­fy­ing duff bear­ings. Bud­get £480 for a re­built gear­box. Over­drive was never of­fered but fit­ting an over­drive-equipped Spit­fire trans­mis­sion is easy if you can find the nec­es­sary parts. The rest of the trans­mis­sion is sim­ple, cheap and easy to re­pair. Univer­sal joints wear and prop­shafts go out of bal­ance, but they’re eas­ily fixed. Clutches are tough but the dif­fer­en­tial wears, lead­ing to whin­ing. A re­built axle is £495. Re­place­ment is easy enough un­less you find the rear sus­pen­sion needs work too.

THE MOV­ING CRANKSHAFT

The 1296cc engine can suf­fer from worn thrust wash­ers, given away by ex­ces­sive fore-aft move­ment of the crankshaft. Check by push­ing and pulling on the front pul­ley; any de­tectable move­ment means the crankshaft and block could be wrecked if the thrust wash­ers fall out. Re­built en­gines are avail­able off the shelf; an un­lead­e­dready unit costs around £1800 ex­change, or a DIY kit costs £400 or so.

TRUNNION TROU­BLE

The front sus­pen­sion can give trou­ble, but it’s cheap and easy to fix your­self. The nylon bushes in the brass trun­nions wear, so feel for play; fresh bushes are

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