Triumph was to Herald new sense of freedom
- Credit: Triumph
Choosing a Triump Herald over a Morris Minor 1000 puts Stewart Hurrell on the road to several Triumph sports cars.
Having just passed my driving test in a Mark I Ford Escort, my father took me to a friend's garage where I had the choice of buying, for about £400, either a Morris Minor 1000 or a Triumph Herald.
With its sleeker shape, extra 200cc engine and that forward opening front end to reveal the engine, the dark blue Triumph won over the rather drab olive green Morris.
This was in 1970 and, for the next two years, ONG 248F gave me the freedom to go where I wanted whenever I wanted. And with £1 buying three gallons of petrol and 10 No 6 cigarettes the world was my oyster.
Weekends were spent taking less fortunate non-driving friends out, mainly to the seaside, payment being fish and chip lunches. Holidays were to Wales – although some of the hills proved a struggle.
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There was also the introduction to basic mechanics and, with my father's instruction, plugs, points, tappets and wheel bearings were soon mastered although at one oil change my motorbike-owning friend stepped back into the bowl full of old engine oil ruining his new light brown boots!
Over those two years ONG gained a radio, high-back driving seat, a 'rallye type' seat cover for the passenger seat – 17 shillings and sixpence from a Practical Mechanics advert – and a six-foot high whippy aerial with an Esso tiger tail. Unfortunately the latter soon became a three foot, not-so-whippy aerial with no tiger tail as I failed to clip it on to the roof gutter before closing the garage door one night.
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Its other claim to fame was nearly being subject to a controlled explosion when I parked in the wrong place at a local RAF station I was working at as a civilian.
Two years later I was seduced by a Triumph Spitfire Mark III for £650, selling the Herald for £325. After the Spitfire came a long list of other Triumphs until family, and BMWs, came along.
Membership of Triumph car clubs saw participation in sprints at North Weald and Snetterton – not very successfully – and completing the Round Britain Reliability Run three times. Lifelong friends were made during this time.
Fortunately, having retired but not really grown up, I have now returned to open-top Triumph motoring with a 1973 TR6 as my nearly daily driver. With a good supply of parts, and specialist garages, keeping these cars on the road is practicable, and also with a good club. The TR Register holds local meetings each month so there are plenty of like-minded folk and a variety of social events to participate in.
As for a photograph of ONG, unfortunately it does not exist as little did I know that more than 45 years later I would be writing about her.
At least being older we are cheaper to insure!
Tell us about your first car – email your motoring memories with a picture of the car to email@example.com or post it to Andy Russell, Archant motoring editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.