This picture of my Triumph Herald 1200 convertible was taken in 1965 – I’m in the driving seat with my brother.
We lived in Norbury, south London, at the time and I was 20 when I got the car.
This Herald convertible was bright red and I was lucky enough to be able to ‘buy’ new. I say ‘buy’ because, when I told my parents I wanted to buy a cheap second-hand one, my mother went to the motor show with me to see what I was after, and agreed to lend me the difference between the price and what I had saved up. I think the car cost £632 – I had the £32 and they lent me the £600. I have to admit I never paid it back!
The picture is taken outside my parents’ house where we were still living at the time, It’s actually a photo of a photo so the quality is not very good but the original has disappeared over time.
I had a lot of fun in the car, travelling as far as Scotland once, and subsequently abroad too.
I was seconded by my employer to an office in Hamburg in 1965, not long after I got it. Over there, I travelled around quite a bit, including visiting Luneburg Heath which, of course, is currently being remembered for the signing of the German surrender in May 1945.
I had friends in Luneburg so stayed overnight one weekend, and set out very early on the Monday morning to drive back to Hamburg for work. The trip took me along non-motorway roads for quite a while, and I came into a small town to find cars coming straight at me. Of course, I had been driving for half an hour obliviously on the wrong side of the road! I have to admit I had to stop for a moment of quiet reflection after that.
I also remember having to contact Triumph to tell them that when it rained I had a flood in the boot. Once I was back they took it into their works at Acton and fixed it.
I also remember visiting a girlfriend in Paris, and breaking down at the Place de l’Etoile, now renamed Place Charles de Gaulle with the Arc de Triomphe at the centre, the meeting point of 12 straight avenues. Another exhilarating experience. Good British car manufacturing of the era – French motorists didn’t seem very sympathetic!
Another time, I went to Italy in it, and the weather was good enough to drive all the way there and back with the hood down.
It also took me round Trafalgar Square in London with hundreds of others the night we won the World Cup – July 30, 1966 – although I wasn’t too pleased to find someone had stubbed a cigarette out on the plastic rear window, leaving a nice round hole!
Around 1967, my employer had a spare company car available. The bosses had discussed whether I would want it, meaning I would get rid of the Triumph which they thought I was surgically attached to.
They told me this, but as the company car was fully funded, including fuel, insurance, tax, etc, it took me all of two seconds to say yes! So I inherited a boring blue basic model Ford Anglia.
I do not remember how and to whom I sold the Triumph Herald but saw it again some years later in Ealing, west London. It is no longer on the DVLA database so has no doubt succumbed to the rust which started to appear within months of buying it.
Ok we admit, Alex isn’t particularly famous – but how else can we include this excellent story?