The main body tub was bolted to the chassis, and the whole front end hinged forward to allow access to the engine. Every panel including the sills and roof could be unbolted from the main car. This method of construction had certain advantages, not least that different body styles could be easily substituted on the same basic chassis: accordingly, coupé, saloon, van, convertible and estate versions were all on offer within two years of the release.
Mechanically, the new Herald was a mixture of traditional and modern. The Standard 10's 4-cylinder 948 cc OHV engine was used, mated to the same model's 4 speed gearbox with synchromesh on the top three gears and driving the rear wheels. The excellent steering was by rack and pinion (affording the car a 25 feet (7.62 metres) turning circle), with coil and double-wishbone front suspension. The rear suspension was a brand new departure for Triumph, offering independent springing via a single transverse leaf spring bolted to the top of the final drive unit.
The styling was modern and the interior bright, thanks to the large glass area, which gave 93% all-round visibility in the Saloon variant. Instruments were confined to a single large speedo with fuel gauge in the saloon (a temperature gauge was available as an option), and the dashboard of grey pressed fibreboard. The coupé dashboard was equipped with 3 gauges: Speedometer, fuel, and temperature gauges, together with the refinement of a lockable glovebox. The car was well equipped with standard loop-pile carpeting and heater. The Herald was offered in a variety of bright contemporary colours and number of extras were available, including twin carburettors, leather seats, a wooden veneered dashboard, Telaflo shock absorbers and paint options.
The new car was fairly well-received, but was not an immediate sales success, due to some extent to the cost approaching £700 (including 45% Purchase Tax) and thus more expensive than most of its competitors. Additionally, the separate chassis initially resulted in noises from the flexible structure. In standard single carburettor form the 38 bhp (28 kW) car was no better than average in terms of performance, with 60 mph (97 km/h) coming up in about 31 seconds and a maximum speed of 70 mph (110 km/h).
The new rear suspension was also criticised for leading to tricky handling on the limit. However, the car was considered easy to drive with light steering and controls, and excellent visibility, becoming very soon highly popular as a driving-school car, ease of repair being a strong plus. Owners enjoyed preferential insurance premiums because of the Herald's perceived inherent safety.
Standard-Triumph had staked a lot on their new car; the company was experiencing financial difficulties at the beginning of the 1960s, and was taken over by Leyland Motors Ltd in 1961. This released new resources to develop the Herald, and the car was re-launched with an 1,147 cc engine as the Herald 1200. The new model featured numerous detail improvements, including white rubber bumpers, a wooden laminate dashboard and improved seating; quality control was also tightened up. The twin carburettors were no longer fitted to any of the range as standard equipment, however they remained an option. Standard fitment being a single down-draught Solex carburettor. Disc brakes also became an option shortly after the 1200 was introduced.
The new car was much more pleasant to drive, and sales picked up, despite growing competition from the BMC Mini and the Ford Anglia. The other versions of the Herald were also selling well; the convertible was popular as a genuine 4-seater with decent weatherproofing, and the estate made a practical alternative to the Morris Minor Traveller, despite its somewhat boxy styling. The coupé was dropped from the range in late 1964, by now the Triumph Spitfire had taken away most of its market share.
A sportier version, the Herald 12/50, was offered from 1963-1967 and featured a tuned engine, sliding (Webasto) vinyl-fabric sunroof and standard front disc brakes.
In 1967, the range was updated with the introduction of the Herald 13/60. The front end was restyled using a bonnet similar to the Triumph Vitesse to give a sleeker, more modern appearance and the interior substantially revised, though still featuring the traditional wooden dashboard. A clever space-creation, was by recessing a rear armrest in each side panel. The engine was enlarged to 1,296 cc and fiited with a Stromberg carburettor, offering 61 bhp (45 kW) and much improved performance; front disc brakes became standard. In this form (though the 1200 saloon was sold alongside it until 1970) the Herald lasted until 1971, by which time it was severely outdated in style but not performance.
Total Herald sales numbered well over 300,000, thanks in no small part to the number of variants made possible by its separate chassis design.Source: Wikipedia.