Ellie - My Triumph Herald

At the moment, this page is really just an excuse to show a few pictures of Ellie, my Triumph Herald 1200. A brief history of her life follows. A full biography, as far as can be ascertained, (including every penny I have spent on her since acquiring her) follows the pictures.

Built in the Canley factory of the Standard-Triumph Motor Company Ltd., during August, 1963. The engine was stamped with the number GA123919HE; the body with the number 88318 RAT, and the whole was given the commission number GA125624CV.

Originally purchased by a Mr. John A. Rishton of Kingswear, Nr. Dartmouth, from South Devon Garages Ltd., Market Street, Torquay, and first registered on 1st October, 1963.

On the death of the original owner, his widow, Nellie, kept the car, but shortly thereafter ceased to drive it, and it and she moved from Devon to Whitstable, in Kent, where her sister's stepson used it to run her about. This chap passed the car on to his brother, Brian Fell, who used it as a daily driver for several years before garaging it for the next fifteen, it only coming out for MOTs and the occasional short joy-ride in the summer.

"Baby, you can drive my car..."
(The Beatles, 1966)

What a beautiful car! Did you know that John Lennon used to drive exactly the same model, in the same colour, with the same colour hood? Nor did I, until recently. I'm telling everyone now!

Nice, isn't she?

"Simply the best..."
(Tina Turner, 1985)

Just look at that blinding white paint job! She looks as if she has just driven away from the showroom in this shot. Actually, the paintwork is in need of renovation, if not actual replacement, but in full sunlight, the camera can't tell, and the photos are stunning.

Nice, isn't she?

"You're my pride and joy et cetera..."
(The Turtles, 1966)

It was very difficult to take this shot - not because I was standing on my garden wall to do so, but because it was almost impossible not to put the camera to one side, jump in, and drive away.

Nice, isn't she?

"Isn't it good, Norwegian wood?"
(The Beatles, 1966)

Actually, I very much doubt whether that dashboard is Norwegian wood, but it is glorious to look at, and gives the driver something to knock after he's just said, "Of course this car won't break down..."

Nice, isn't she?

I recently bought a second-hand fibreglass hardtop for Ellie - an instant coupé kit! Here are a few pictures showing a dirty and unwashed Ellie wearing her clean and shiny new hat:

(Pictures courtesy of Mike Bishop - thanks, Mike!)

In January, 2003, Ellie travelled up in convoy with Seth and Katie's 1200 Estate to the International Triumph Show at Stoneleigh:

(Image Copyright © 2003, Katie Arotsky - thanks to Seth and Katie for letting me use it here)


1st October, 1963
The car was purchased by John A. Rishton of Kingswear, Near Dartmouth, from South Devon Garages Ltd., Market Street, Torquay.

2nd March, 1977
The car was taxed, in Devon, for twelve months

5th July, 1977
Lots of work was carried out on the car, by St. Mary's Garage of Kingkerswell. The work include the fitting of a second-hand (second-hand?!) inertia-reel-type safety belt (driver's side only), a new clutch and a new exhaust system. At this point, the car was almost 14 years old, and had travelled only 42485 miles.

16th August, 1977
A new indicator switch was supplied and fitted by Bridge Street Service Station of Whitstable.

6th October, 1977
The car passed an MOT, having done a total of 43023 miles.

10th November, 1977
Day's Garage of Whitstable fitted a switch and bracket (for what is not stated - probably the horn-button bypass bodge). They also supplied a new "wheel" (probably the awful "Motec" steering wheel that has since been disposed of).

17th February, 1978
The car was taxed, in Kent, for twelve months. The original hardback Log Book was retained by the Department of the Environment, as a totally new system of car registration was being introduced. The new V5 was sent to Nellie Rishton, shortly afterwards.

11th October, 1978
The car failed its MOT, due to perished front brake hoses.

13th October, 1978
New brake hoses were fitted by Day's Garage. The car passed its MOT, having 44401 miles on the clock (less than 1400 miles in the previous year).

28th February, 1979
The car was taxed, in Canterbury, Kent, for twelve months

15th October, 1979
The car failed a pre-MOT on headlamp aim (which was fixed), and duly passed its MOT, having done 46002 miles (1601 in the previous year).

28th February, 1980
The car was taxed for twelve months

28th April, 1980
A new Universal Joint was fitted to one of the Prop Shafts by Day's Garage.

21st October, 1980
The car failed a pre-MOT on tyre wear and U/S screen-washers; these problems were speedily fixed, by Day's Garage, and she passed the following day, having done a total of 47232 miles (1230 miles in the previous year).

5th March, 1981
The car was taxed, in Whitstable, Kent, for six months.

7th March, 1981
Brian Fell officially acquired the car, registering the change of ownership with DVLA. He was the second "recorded keeper".

11th March, 1981
S. F. Tebby & Son, of Bristol carried out a range of repairs on the car for Brian Fell, including undersealing it, and replacing various electrical items.

8th September, 1981
The car was taxed for six months.

13th October, 1981
The car was MOT'd in Salisbury, having done 50822 miles (3590 miles in the previous year - mostly due to its new keeper, I suspect).

2nd March, 1982
The car was taxed, in Salisbury, Wiltshire, for twelve months.

21st October, 1982
The car again passed an MOT, this time in Gwent, having run up 57573 miles (6751 miles in the previous year - by far the busiest year of its life to date). It needed a few bits to get through - another exhaust system, a track rod end (N/S) and a clutch master cylinder, and these repairs were done by Cefn Smithy Service Station.

24th February, 1983
The car was taxed in Cwmbran, for twelve months.

28th September, 1983
Another track rod end (O/S this time) and a N/S trunnion joint were all that Cefn Smithy had to fit this year to get the car through another MOT. Now there were 63038 miles on the clock (5465 miles in the previous year).

27th February, 1984
The car was taxed, in Southampton, for twelve months.

17th October, 1984
Only a N/S/F wheel bearing was needed for this year's MOT, and work was carried out by Moorgreen Service Station, of Southampton. The car had done 9194 miles in the previous year, bringing the total up to 72232 miles. This was the last year that she was to be so extensively used, and she went into graceful retirement shortly afterwards.

1st March, 1985
The car was taxed, in Southampton, for twelve months.

11th October, 1985
A return to Wales saw another visit to Cefn Smithy for an MOT - the only work needed was the freeing off of the rear brake adjusters, and the MOT was granted with a recorded mileage of 77802 (5570 miles in the previous year - much more restful for the poor girl!)

6th March, 1986
The car was taxed, in Cardiff, for six months.

4th March, 1988
First MOT for three years? Either that or there are a few certificates missing. This test saw a massive failure on every aspect of the braking system (and on perished wiper blades), which suggests (I hope) that the car hadn't seen much recent use. The repairs were carried out by Manor Garage of West Linton, and they recorded a total mileage of 81228 miles (an increase of only 3426 miles in two-and-a-half years, the majority of this probably having been run up during the summer of 1986).

25th June, 1994
Twenty-four miles and over six years later, the car came out for another MOT. Surprisingly, there was quite a bit of work to do before it would pass - rear wheel balancing, "handbrake repair" and even some welding to the chassis. This was carried out by E. J. Cockburn and Son, of Strathkinness, Fife, and the MOT was issued by Motatest of Cupar, Fife. Total mileage, 81252.

22nd October, 1997
Major work carried out by the Classic Car Centre in Glasgow - new steering rack, stainless steel exhaust system, extensive weld repairs to chassis (including a new N/S/R outrigger). The Classic Car Centre charged Brian Fell for an MOT, but there is no certificate present, and a new MOT was issued a few months later. It seems probable that this test was carried out as a cheap way of discovering what problems might exist.

15th December, 1997
MOT test passed in Glasgow, with a total recorded mileage of 81271 (nineteen miles driven in the previous three-and-a-half years).

6th September, 1999
MOT time again, again in Glasgow, and the total recorded mileage has gone up to 81293 - twenty-two miles in nearly two years!

7th October, 1999
Again the Classic Car Centre charge Brian Fell for an MOT - possibly the one which had been carried out a month earlier - and again do major work to the car. This time it is a new (reconditioned) differential, and freeing off the rear brakes (I've heard that before, somewhere, haven't I?)

13th October, 1999
A month later, and the Classic Car Centre are fitting a new clutch - an "upgrade" to a Triumph 1300 (Toledo/Dolomite) clutch and flywheel. This is the third clutch that has been fitted to this car. I hope that reflects the driving style of the previous owners, and not an inherent flaw in the design.

12th November, 1999
The car was taxed for twelve months

6th May, 2000
New battery fitted, by Kwik-Fit in Milngavie, Strathclyde.

31st October, 2000
SORN declared.

February, 2002 (invoiced 1st March, 2002)
Back to the Classic Car Centre for some hefty welding work - new rear chassis outriggers on both sides (hang on - wasn't one replaced by them about five years - and 100 miles - ago?), large amounts of plates added etc., to the rest of the chassis (documents include illustration of repairs carried out), freeing up of rear brakes (yet again), a new horn fitted. This new horn was bodged in - bolted onto N/S engine valance! Subsequent investigations have shown that it originally came from a TVR S-Series. The mind boggles.

12th February, 2002
MOT certificate granted by Apex Motor Engineers of Glasgow. The car has done seventy miles since September, 1999, bringing the total up to 81363 miles in 38 years, four months, one week and five days - an average of 2116 miles per year, with a maximum of just over 9000 in one year, and a minimum of none at all. In the previous sixteen years the car had covered just 135 miles.

23rd April, 2002
I arranged insurance, prior to flying up to Glasgow to look at the car.
(Footman James, £21.00)

29th April, 2002
I bought the car (Odometer read 81,372), and drove it home to Bedford from Glasgow. 382 miles, at an average speed of 59mph, and an average fuel consumption of 39mpg. Absolutely extraordinary! No major problems (although it wasn't until a few days later that I discovered how the heater switch was supposed to work), despite the fact that this was almost exactly three times as far as she had been driven in the previous 16 years!
(Brian Fell, £1800.00)
Car taxed
(Milngavie Post Office, £0.00)

30th April, 2002
Removed MG Centre window sticker from front windscreen!
Renovated PVC windows in soft-top
Fitted elasticated clip-on rear-view mirror
(Halfords, £5.99)

1st May, 2002
Replaced aftermarket steering wheel with refurbished second-hand original item (including new internal spring clip and new electrical connector)
(TRGB, £9.00 + £4.64 + £7.05)
Replaced incorrect Ford hubcaps with refurbished second-hand original items
(TRGB £10.00 per set)
Replaced perished boot seal with new original item
(TRGB £9.46)
Replaced torn Gear Lever Gaiter with new original item
(TRGB £11.16)
Flushed and degreased Crankcase Breather Cap

2nd May, 2002
Replaced sheared O/S/F seat rail assembly with refurbished original second-hand item
(TRGB, £5.86)
Replaced missing Standard-Triumph badge to front grille with new reproduction item
(TRGB £18.80 plus £0.36 for retaining clips)
Replaced missing Herald badge to boot lid with new reproduction item
(TRGB £11.16 plus £0.54 for retaining clips)
Replaced blown N/S headlamp sealed beam unit with new original item (TRGB £8.17)

3rd May, 2002
Rehung O/S door to prevent interference with bonnet
Replaced cracked finisher to N/S/R light cluster with refurbished original second-hand item
(TRGB £1.00)
Fitted new TSSC grille badge
(TSSC £21.95)
Fitted new TSSC Silver Jubilee grille badge
(TSSC £21.50)
Removed North Manchester Motor Club grille badge
Removed aftermarket clutch pedal extension
Replaced aftermarket windscreen wiper arms/blades with refurbished original second-hand items
(TRGB £2.00 per pair - originally purchased (in error) for the Spitfire, so cost not included in running total)
Cleared out boot and cubby
Traced electrical fault, courtesy lights.

4th May, 2002
Fitted new front tyres - India GT 80i (Odometer reads 81,977)
(Hi-Q £67.92 per pair)
Adjusted bonnet for squareness to body.

7th May, 2002
Four Wheel Alignment done at STS Wheel Alignment Centre. Total front toe was almost 5 degrees too great!
(STS £47.00)

13th May, 2002
Full mechanical inspection and 12,000 mile service
(Castle Hill Garage (Bedford) Ltd., £283.19)
New Universal Joints for both propshafts
(TRGB £18.68/pair)
New Rear Spring Eye Bushes (both sides)
(TRGB £8.23/pair)
Fitted new numberplates
(TSSC £39.90/pair)

14th May, 2002
Fitted new reproduction O/S/R over-rider
(TRGB £38.72 plus replacement bottom fixing bolt, Alan Filby, £2.00)
Fitted new original bumper end-cap x 2
(Alan Filby £8.00/pr)

15th May, 2002
Fitted Underlay
(TRGB £23.44)
Fitted new carpets
(TRGB £73.97)

16th May, 2002
Washed and polished the car prior to taking photographs for the Insurance Valuation.
Traced fault with screen washers and fixed it
Traced fault with demister and fixed it
Freed up heater control valve
Valuation Request
(TSSC £16.00)

20th May, 2002
Received TSSC Valuation Certificate - £3,600

21st May, 2002
Rang TSSC to challenge valuation, returned documents and photographs to them for review.

25th May, 2002
TSSC rang. Valuation stands.

27th May, 2002
Fitted new reproduction 122289 x 2 Clutch and Brake pedal rubbers
(Canley Classics £2.35 each)
Fitted new reproduction 608429 Jack retaining strap
(Canley Classics £2.94)
Fitted new reproduction TR136 Boot lining, Hardura.
(Canley Classics £32.47)
Fitted new reproduction FQ3406 Captive Nuts to Driver's and Passenger's Seats
(Canley Classics £4.47/set of four)

1st June, 2002
Fitted new reproduction Handbrake gaiter 705789
(TRGB £10.52)

8th June, 2002
Fitted new original 508542, N/S/R Indicator lens.
(Rarebits4Classics £20.00)
Bought new original 510499, Air Filter Element x 2; one fitted, one for stock
(Rarebits4Classics £4.00 each)

9th June, 2002
Bought two spanners for the toolkit at the Luton Festival of Transport, but not correct.
(Autojumble £2.00)
Bought chrome GB badge as well
(Autojumble, £8.00)
And 2 x 0.75" grommets and 2 x 1" grommets for stock
(Autojumble, £2.00)

10th June, 2002
Rewired courtesy light switch to courtesy lights using original wire
(Rarebits4Classics FOC)
Removed horn push-button bypass wiring and switch
Removed additional aftermarket horn

12th June, 2002
Replaced Door seals 704939, 704940 with new reproduction seals
(TRGB FUR004 x 2 £11.70 each)
Replaced Boot lid hinge seals 603212 x 2, 603213 x 2 with new reproduction seals
(TRGB £1.41 per pair)
Adjusted Steering Column Height
Traced electrical problem with horns and fixed it
Removed LH horn for examination/repair. This pair of Lucas Windtone WT29 horns certainly weren't original equipment. Investigations have shown that they were manufactured in November, 1945, and may have come off anything from a Standard 10 to a Rolls Royce. The noise they make has to be heard to be believed. Very similar to the QE2 coming into dock.
Stripped, cleaned, reassembled, and tested LH horn.

13th June, 2002
Refitted LH Horn.
Rewired both Horns.
Drilled out and replaced the bolt I sheared in RH Horn trying to adjust it.
(Halford's, £0.10)

20th June, 2002
Fitted new reproduction Softtop Seal "weatherstrip" 609366
(Rimmer Bros. £12.57 inc. p&p)
Adjusted fit of hood at the sides, now sealing properly.

24th June, 2002
Removed perished Windscreen Seal and replaced it with new reproduction item
(Autoglass £96.38)

1st July, 2002
Traced wiring fault with N/S/R indicator (loose connection under dashboard) and fixed it.
Tightened loose windscreen wiper knob bezel.

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