Good things, of course, come to those who wait. And when it comes to our humble Herald my wife Janine has waited quite a long time. The story of the car’s rejuvenation from unloved blue project to bright white restoration has been, not exactly fraught, but certainly long. A couple of years ago Julian and I set off to buy a truck in Lincolnshire and decided to detoured on our way to TRGB in Cambridgeshire to pick up some parts. This rather remote and unprepossessing collection of farm sheds is, as afficionados will know, a cornucopia of Triumph related stuff – from high quality sale cars to projects to all kinds of new and used parts.
We headed there to pick up some door skins for our red TR6, a car that had in fact originally come from TRGB. Whilst waiting for the parts and wandering around the site we chanced upon a Herald, finished in a rather unpleasant shade of blue. The long and the short of it, of course, is that I bought it. The car was an aborted restoration, the owner bailing out after restoring the chassis and getting the car repainted – as it turned out, in the wrong colour and badly. There was, at least this time, method to my madness. I knew Janine liked Heralds and I also knew it would hire well. That was back in Spring 2012. The car was fundamentally solid but needed a respray and reassembling. On the face of it this seemed simple and straightforward. So the original plan was to get it back on the road by the end of the season.
Rather inevitably, with a busy workshop and hire business, that didn’t happen. In fact it took until Spring 2014 before we got anywhere near it, finally stripping it for paint. The car was sprayed Old English White and returned to us during the summer. The work included aligning the panels – a notoriously difficult job on separate chassis Triumphs – and removing the various dings and dinks. With the car back in my unit, once again we were just too busy to move it forward, so it sat unloved until October when we began the rebuild. It’s usually at this stage, fitting the trim and interior, that the problems begin – a ‘complete project’ tends to become rather incomplete very quickly. And so it was with the Herald. Although most of the parts were present, small items like the chrome corner trims, fuel cap, boot stay, boot hinges and bonnet trim were all missing. The car had a decent hood but it had shrunk – so a new mohair roof was a last minute addition.
The result, I hope you’ll agree, is a rather pretty little car (we’re still waiting for the roof incidentally). It runs nicely too. Of course, for what I’ve spent I could probably have gone out and bought a similar Herald, perhaps for less. But, even if I haven’t done any of the work, there is still a pleasure in seeing a car brought back from the brink. The Herald will be available to hire on the website next week for dates in 2015. It is that rare thing – a classic convertible that is also a genuine four seater. To find out more call 01527 893733 or visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk in the next few days.
Hopefully it won’t be so busy that Janine can’t drive it….