Monday, 2 March 2009

1966 Triumph Herald 12/50

I was looking for a long-term restoration project that I could work on at my leisure with no pressure to finish it within a particular timescale.

I really wanted a Standard 10 Companion, which I thought would compliment my TR3A very nicely. I joined the Standard Motor Club, but for over a year I didn't find anything suitable.
Eventually, I widened the search to cover Triumph Heralds as well and I spotted this 12/50 on eBay. It seemed to be a good car and had various upgrades such as twin SU carbs, stainless exhaust and Minilite wheels.

I thought that at least the parts were worth the value of my bid, even if the car turned out to be a wreck.

Sadly, it seemed, that the car was a wreck! After using it for a year I put it in for its MOT and was told that it had failed on corrosion to two outriggers, the doors not opening easily (!) and a failed brake light.

When all of the other faults on the car were considered the repairs did not seem viable. The paint work was horrible, the boot lid seemed too wide for the car and there were various odd repairs to the bodywork.

There had been a complicated arrangement whereby the previous owner had offered to buy the car back, but once it failed the MOT he didn't want it any more.

I bought an accident damaged Herald and was considering building the two cars into one by putting the back of the damaged car onto this car's chassis.

However, when I started to investigate the corrosion in the chassis it was apparent that this car was just not worth repairing. In fact I think  it was a danger and I was amazed that it hadn't collapsed.

The decision was made to dismantle the car for parts and as the car was taken apart the true horror of its condition became apparent.

I wanted to save the sills for another car, but instead of screwing them on the previous restorer had welded them on along their length. It was impossible to remove them without causing a lot of damage.

There were so many patches welded to various parts of the car, that it was very difficult to take it apart. As you will know the body of a Herald bolts together, but the restorer had decided to weld it all together for some reason. After wearing through two disks on my angle grinder I eventually had the body off the chassis, which revealed the true horror of the car. The car had received new outriggers and side rails in the recent past. However, instead of welding this all together they had been bolted to the body. The two rear outriggers were just pushed into the ends of the main chassis rail. They both fell of as the body was removed.

The reason that the boot lid seemed too large for the car was because the restorer had decided to repair corrosion at either side of the rear deck with one piece of metal welded on top of the old deck. Unfortunately he hadn't remembered to measure the boot opening before he did the welding. He had then tried to open up the boot aperture by cutting the corners with a hack saw and spreading it, but with no success.

He had also welded a patch over the bolts attaching the boot floor to the rear outrigger. This didn't actually give the car any strength at all, but just covered the bolts.

When it came to dismantling the front suspension, he had welded the bolts in place for some reason, so I was unable to remove any of it!

I really couldn't understand why he had welded all the parts that should have been bolted, but bolted all of the parts that should have been welded.

Far from being sad at the loss of another old Triumph, I felt that I had done road safety a service by removing this car from the roads of Britain!

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