1965 Triumph Herald Hatchback Styling Concept Prototype

MODELHatchback Styling Concept Prototype
COLOURWedgewood Blue
LOCATIONOakham, Rutland LE15

1965 Triumph Herald Hatchback Styling Concept Prototype

  • Totally unique – one of one
  • Winner of many awards
  • Magazine featured
  • Fully restored
  • This is a piece of motoring legend
  • The ‘lost’ Herald Hatchback
  • Please scroll down the page to see the bidding and to read a full description for this Triumph Herald Hatchback

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  • Totally unique – one of one
  • Winner of many awards
  • Magazine featured
  • Fully restored
  • This is a piece of motoring legend
  • The ‘lost’ Triumph Herald Hatchback

As the 1950s tumbled headlong towards the 1960s, the Chairman of Standard-Triumph, Alick Dick, knew he had a dilemma. Younger buyers had been leaving the brand in droves. He wasn’t having that. He laid the groundwork for the company’s next new small car Codenamed Zobo.

It was a tall order. Using the Triumph brand made it easier, however, the subsequent fabulous success was due to more than its change of brand name.

Walter Belgrove had been Triumph’s Chief Stylist since the 1920s until he departed in 1955. Harry Webster went to Italy to meet Giovanni Michelotti at his styling studio in Turin. Michelotti agreed to style Zobo.

This was the start of a very productive relationship with Michelotti that would last into the 1970s. All that remained was a name for Zobo and it was christened after Alick Dick’s boat; Herald.

From the collective energies of a small team of gifted Engineers and Designers, emerged a classic car that captured the hearts of a new generation of buyers, and still endures today.

The story doesn’t end there.

This is about the factory prototype. A true one off. Absolutely one of one that the leaders of British Motoring let slip through their fingers. The Triumph Herald Hatchback.

Built in 1965 at Triumph in Coventry, FHP 644C left the production line as a 1200 saloon. Off this Herald then went on an amazing journey, ending up at Michelotti’s studio in Turin. This is where the magic happened. The transformation into the design concept Herald Hatchback.

Following a brief to create a working Hatchback concept, a few design sketches were pulled together. Those simple, yet unbelievable pieces of motoring history are in the Gallery.

Once complete, the ground-breaking styling concept was trailered back to Triumph in Coventry where it was unveiled to the Board. In a moment of monumental short-sightedness, the Board decided that Triumph Herald Hatchbacks were not the way forward.

In that moment of madness, that might well have been the end and the story relegated to the dustbin of daft decisions.

The plucky Herald wasn’t giving up that easily.

The car was left in the factory for approximately a year. It was then purchased in around 1967 by a Triumph employee. Roughly a year later, the car had already started to deteriorate. Being a concept model, the Herald was never expected to withstand the rigours of the inclement British weather. As a design concept it should never have even escaped the factory.

The images in the Gallery show the car in 1970, apparently stripped and ready to be turned into a Vitesse coupe. The Herald was then consigned to an asbestos built garage with a soil floor. There it languished, lonely and unloved for the next 20 years.

Still, that wasn’t the end.

The Herald was then rescued by a Triumph enthusiast, the Herald Hatchback must have thought it was its lucky day! Off it went to the house of this enthusiast, where the car was put into the back garden and sat until 2007.

Our vendor, Chris, Chairman of The Triumph Six Club, takes up the story.

I saw a picture in Classic & Sportscar in the late 1980s, with a picture of the Triumph Herald Hatchback, asking if the car had survived. I was already into Triumphs and I found the car fascinating as nobody knew anything about it. I wanted to find out whether the car was hidden away somewhere, but it took a lot of digging to get anywhere.

A few years later I was still asking questions and I got talking to someone who claimed to know where the car was. That was the good news; the bad news was that there wasn’t much left of it. Even worse, he wouldn’t tell me where it was.

Despite his reluctance to tell all, I felt that he genuinely did know about the car’s whereabouts and about a decade later I bought a lot of parts from him, so I decided to tackle him about this unique prototype once and for all. After all these years he finally relented and within a week I had the contact details of Steve, the car’s then owner.”

This was in 2007. Chris’s enthusiasm by now was, understandably, less intense, nevertheless he continued.

I rang Steve up and asked if I could just look at the car, as I had no intention of buying it. A few days later I found myself driving to Shropshire, excited at the prospect of finally setting eyes on a car that nobody had seen for the thick end of two decades.

I parked up and saw the Herald in the garage at the far end of the drive, looking bigger than I expected. It looked in good condition – and then I realised that it wasn’t the Herald at all, it was a Volvo Amazon. I stood there looking all around, when Steve appeared. I asked him where the Herald was, and he promptly replied ‘careful – you’re nearly treading on it!’. The car had sunk into the ground up to its wings, with everything having rotted away.”

However, Steve knew he owned a priceless piece of British Motoring History. He had carefully removed everything that was unique to the prototype and stored it carefully.

A deal was struck done. Chris was given all the parts as long as he restored the car.

Chris says: “This is the only car that I’ve picked up using a pick-up truck. Not to tow with – I put all the bits into the back of the truck.

Everything that’s specific to the Michelotti Triumph Herald Hatchback is original, albeit with a lot of repairs having to be undertaken. The roof and tailgate had to be restored, but I reused as much of the original trim as I could, along with all the original glass.

Much of the restoration work was carried out by Mark Field of Jigsaw Racing, a good friend of mine who is well known within Triumph circles. Had I known what the project would involve and how much it would cost I probably wouldn’t have taken it on, but now that the car is up and running, I’ve got no regrets as it’s a fabulous piece of history. It took us two years to complete the restoration, which was completed just in time for its unveiling at the Triumph Sports Six Club’s 2009 international weekend, which celebrated 50 years of the Herald.

The car had a new rear body shell, but all prototype bits are the original restored or repaired. A new chassis was used, and the car was rebuilt as far as possible to original factory specification. The tailgate was taken from a Triumph Estate and modified to fit the reshaped Herald; the struts that hold it up are the same as from the estate. Michelotti built a unique fold-down seat, and the rigid parcel shelf is a one-off too, along with the headlining. But most of the hatch was carried over from the saloon. As a result, it would have been very cheap and easy to put the car into production, but Triumph clearly felt that it was too much of a risk”.

Take your time to watch the 14 minute video with Richard from Below the Radar chatting about this unique Herald Hatchback with Chris our vendor – you can find it here

Our view

Strewth! Was our first reaction. Then quickly came a mix of humbleness and absolute pleasure. Pleasure that such a gem had been had found and humility that we would have the honour of bringing this piece of history to the market.

You can see for yourself from the images, the quality, craftmanship and sheer endeavour that has produced such a wonderful restoration. There are no words we can find, none, that will describe it better than those images. All we can do is tell the story. The story of Chris’s hard work.

We understand approximately 1500 miles have been covered since it was restored, and it really is like new.

Restored to as near original as possible, the Triumph Herald Hatchback is a Winner of Multiple Awards along with featuring in lots of magazine articles.

How often does a piece of history come along that is priced within the grasp of an ordinary enthusiast like you and us? Never.

Do. Not. Miss. Out.

Call us if you’d like more info. You know we love a chat.  Good luck bidding!

Please remember, our site uses anti-sniping software which ensures fairness to all bidders. So, if a bid for a lot is received in the last minute, the auction will go into a 2-minute overtime period for each subsequent bid.

Vehicle Location: Oakham, Rutland LE15 – it’s the responsibility of the winning bidder to make collection / transportation arrangements directly with the vendor.

Have a question about this Triumph Herald Hatchback? Please contact the Evoke team at auction@evoke-classics.com and we will speak to the vendor on your behalf.

 Guide Prices?

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Well, everyone knows the broad value of classic, let’s all be honest. So we don’t need to tell you what you already know, do we.

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Bidder Bid amount Bid time
c******e £6,000.00 2023-03-21 16:44:52
t************s £5,000.00 2023-03-10 19:51:02
f********************m £5,000.00 2023-03-20 08:45:15
g*****t £3,000.00 2023-03-09 18:13:32
r********8 £2,000.00 2023-03-09 20:07:14
Start auction £1,000.00 09/03/2023 12:00 AM


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