WHAT TO LOOK FOR
THE CHASSIS COUNTS
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.
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.
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