North American Triumph Sports 6 (Vitesse 6) and Herald Database

My 1967 Triumph Sports 1200 "blog"

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Introduction: March-June 12, 2012

Early this year (2012), the Adirondack Triumph Association lost long-time member Paul Munson II, due to injuries from a car crash. Paul was a great guy to talk to, and not just because he owned a Triumph Herald. But it was through the club and his Herald ownership that I came to know Paul. I'd never seen the car, but I had tried to help him -- and a mechanic or two he worked with -- with questions and problems over the years, and I'd even sold him a few parts.

Come springtime,his Herald came up for sale, and I offered to go look at it in an effort to help determine just what was there and what it might be worth. Here's the first description I'd gotten from a mutal friend/club member:

1964 Herald CONV, needs restoration; has body rust, but should run. Worth $500, maybe more. Color is dark blue with rust touch ups, white top. Engine is good. Shifter needs bushings. Needs some choke work to get it started...

Herald geek that I am, I wasn't sure what to expect. Dark blue was not a color offered in 1964, so I assumed it had been repainted long ago. Turns out yes...and no...and more about that later!

front of car as first seenOne of the things I tend to do early on when viewing a car is to check commission and other numbers, so I know exactly what I should be looking at! This was the first sign something was a bit odd. GB53484LCV was far too high a number for a 1964 Triumph Herald; it falls well within the 1967 model year range and, in fact, is one of the latest extant '67 Heralds I've come across in the US or Canada while maintaining my Herald Database. But the fact that it really was a '67 explained the original Royal Blue color, which was still there ... somewhere ... under a near-complete outer "covering" of flat-black rattle-can primer! That primer made the car look rather worse than it really was, although it was a good ways from being a pristine show car.

There was a fair bit of rust, although pretty much any and all structural rust (particularly in the chassis, a common weak point in these cars), had been dealt with reasonably well. The main body panels were all quite straight, with no evidence of any serious crash damage, although the front rear valences and bumper overriders all showed battle scars. The interior was somewhat cosmetically challenged as well, with replacement front seats from some 1970s or 1980s car (still haven't figured out what they're from!), some truly awful inexpensive blue carpeting, and some oddly rearranged controls and switchgear on the dashboard!

rear of car as first seenWe were not quite able to get the engine to start on that mildish late-winter day, but it sounded ok turning over on the starter. We were also able to determine that the brakes and clutch still functioned reasonably well, or at least well enough to be able to roll the car out of the barn and back in later.

I'd seen and heard enough to be able to make what I felt was a reasonable and fair offer. (By the time I'd gotten out to see the car, my other Herald was showing signs of needing some major remedial help ASAP, and I'd already given my Honda to my son. As it turned out, I was looking for a car to drive, and this seemed as if it would fit the bill!) My offer was accepted, and I made arrangements with the owner -- and with my son -- to pick up the car. The family had maintained the registration and insurance, so I was able to drive it away without worrying about being able to register it in my name first. Good thing, as I'll detail later!

True to form, the evening we went to get the car was somewhere between damp and rainy...and only got worse as time went on. After some doing, including a battery swap and other playing around, the car suddenly started and settled into a decent idle! This is the first time I'd actually heard it run, and ten minutes later, I would be driving away in what quickly became a pouring rain with rapidly fading daylight!

Next: The Drive Home

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7/25/12; revised 7/30/12