My First Car: Blown engine heralded disaster, not Triumph!

Sue Wood bought her first car, a Triumph Herald, in 1986 but a blown engine heralded the end of owne

Sue Wood bought her first car, a Triumph Herald, in 1986 but a blown engine heralded the end of ownership. - Credit: supplied

Sue Wood parted company with her first car, a Triumph Herald, after it ground to a halt when the engine blew up.

I bought a 1250 Triumph Herald, registration number RHK 596D, in 1986 for £300 when it was 20 years old and had it for six months before I blew the engine up.

I bought the Herald from a friend of a family friend who knew the car was for sale when I was looking for my first car. I liked the look of it and the way it drove but it was very different to my driving instructor's Austin Metro which I learned to drive in.

I used the Triumph mainly for driving to work in Ipswich and I quite often took the family dog to Felixstowe and Woodbridge in it – he loved poking his head out of the sunroof along the way.

The furthest I drove it was to Leicester and it was on one of those trips, when I'd just overtaken a lorry on the A14 and pulled back into the left-hand lane, that the engine lost power and the car ground to a halt.

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When I got out of the car, all the engine oil was pouring out on to the road. Another driver stopped and knew there was a garage just off the slip road to Newmarket that we were near to and he arranged for my car to be towed there.

From the garage, I rang my brother who came out to tow me back home. It turned out that the con rod had gone through the side of the engine and it was basically knackered.

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We tried to find a second-hand engine for it but couldn't find a 1,250cc one that was available so we went for a 1,600cc instead. When my brother fitted it, the connection to the exhaust was different and would have needed modification, and more money spent on it, so I ended up selling the car. I think I got about £150 for it.

Your first car is special so tell us your memories – email your story with a picture of the car to or post it to Andy Russell, motoring editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.

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