We read with interest your article “Impressions of the Triumph Herald 1200” in your November issue but several of your criticisms caused us considerable surprise.
(1) The gear-lever knob on the 1200 Series is of a new type which we do not believe can possibly soil hands or gloves as did some types previously fitted. If this was in fact experienced on the model under test it was not representative of current production. The same points apply to the hand-brake lever.
(2) The various facia controls are described as “casually scattered” whereas in fact they are compactly and logically arranged, conveniently for the driver. We have never met this criticism from any other source and we would be most interested to know precisely which car meets with the approval of your tester in this respect. It obviously takes time for any driver to get used to a car and we do not think this criticism is based on sufficient experience.
(3) Current production cars do not have a bonnet lifting handle. Whether or not the external finish is “redolent of a luxury bathroom” depends presumably on the colour of a particular car. Many people like luxury bathrooms, anyway!
(4) If the locking arrangements of the Herald really “drive your tester near to distraction” then he must be very frequently and easily distracted because the locking arrangements are identical to almost every other car on the road which provides the facility of locking doors on both sides. All keys are virtually identical except that the manufacturers invariably provide them in pairs, one square headed and one round headed to distinguish them, as anyone who has ever driven a car well knows. If the pair of keys referred to on the test car were both of the same shape then obviously one of them has been changed at some time.
(5) Regarding brakes, the Herald is not of course a sports car and in our experience, with proper maintenance, the brakes are perfectly adequate when used with intelligence at any speed. Now that disc brakes are available as an optional extra, which of course give superior braking particularly at high speeds, this should meet the requirements of those who wish to drive the Herald in the manner of a sports car.
(6) Regarding pockets for stowage of oddments inside the car, there are two good-sized compartments to the rear of the doors and in the front the “wire basket” type of receptacle is available as an optional extra and can be fitted below the facia on the near side.
(7) The petrol reserve tap surely does not deserve the description of “crude”—not many cars of this class have one at all. If, in fact, the reserve on the test car only gave half a mile then the control was out of adjustment since from practical experience we find that this will normally give at least half a gallon in reserve, providing for some 15-20 miles.
(8) Criticisms such as “the separate body/chassis structure suffers at speed over bad surfaces” surely represent conditions under which no sensible person drives this sort of car, which is, after all, designed as a popular family saloon.
Clark & Lambert Ltd.,