Home » Time For Some Ambitious Projects: 1962 Triumph Herald vs 1986 Chevy Monte Carlo SS

Time For Some Ambitious Projects: 1962 Triumph Herald vs 1986 Chevy Monte Carlo SS

Sbsd 8 15 2023
ADVERTISEMENT

Today’s Shitbox Showdown is not for the faint-of-heart. We’re going to dive into a pair of rough, but completely viable, project cars, neither of which has moved under its own power in decades. But fear not: One of them includes a parts car, and the other has broad aftermarket support. But before we get dusty and risk spider bites checking them out, let’s see what you made of yesterday’s red-white-and-blah coupes:

Screen Shot 2023 08 14 At 5.11.17 Pm

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Ooh, close one! The Ford wins it by a slight margin. But I have to side with the minority here; the Cosmo is just the more interesting car.

Now then: I know not everyone here is a fan of project cars. You’re not alone; plenty of serious gearheads aren’t enthusiastic about doing their own work, or just never learned how, so they stick to completely functional cars, and pay someone else to get their hands dirty. And that’s cool. But some of us are drawn to the junkers, the barn-finds, the cars that have languished unloved for years in garages and fields, and we love the idea of bringing them back from the dead. The reality of doing so doesn’t always line up with the fantasy, of course. But that makes the daydreaming even more fun; if you can look at these rusty old heaps and see them not for what they are now, but for what they might be, then you’re One Of Us. Let me show you what I’ve found.

1962 Triumph Herald 1200 w/parts car – $2,100

00d0d J4jn0wegmhk 0ak07k 1200x900

ADVERTISEMENT

Engine/drivetrain: 1.2 liter overhead valve inline 4, four-speed manual, RWD

Location: Bellingham, WA

Odometer reading: unknown

Runs/drives? Nope

In case you’re not familiar with this car: This is the Triumph Herald, introduced in 1959 as a replacement for the Standard Eight and Standard Ten, two frumpy little sedans that didn’t fit well with Triumph’s successful TR series of sports cars. The Herald was a clean-sheet design except for the engine, a typical little over-square British pushrod four. Hey, they worked. The Herald’s chassis, including its independent swing-arm rear suspension, later became the basis for the Spitfire, GT6, and Vitesse models. It’s a body-on-frame design, with body panels that bolt onto a central tub.

ADVERTISEMENT

00t0t Gdy7z9ssux5 0ak07k 1200x900

This design is important for our purposes, because there are two Heralds here. The more-complete red one is a British-spec right-hand-drive 1962 model with a clean title in the seller’s name. The blue car is a Canadian-spec model, with no title. But it has a lot less rust. The Erector set nature of the car’s assembly means you can transfer good sheetmetal to the car with the good title without cutting and welding. Both cars have complete drivetrains, so you can pick the best bits there as well. And the commonality of mechanical parts with the Spitfire means that the oily bits aren’t hard to find.

00f0f G8zdaj9qu6w 0ak07k 1200x900

Once you do get it running, don’t expect a miracle when it comes to performance. The Herald’s 1147 cc engine put out 63 horsepower when fitted with twin SU carbs as this one is; it’s enough, but not what you’d call pulse-raising. Later Spitfire engines with more power will drop right in, and I’ve even seen a Herald with an inline six from a Triumph GT6 installed, if you want even more.

00m0m 1yiop1ngywh 0ak07k 1200x900

ADVERTISEMENT

The interior of the red car is shot, but complete; there are no photos of the inside of the blue car, but it’s described as having “some interior.” But this isn’t the sort of car you do a 100-point concours restoration on anyway. Get some nice seats out of a Corolla or something and stick them in there, use the old wooden dash as a template for a new one, and don’t worry too much.

1986 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS – $3,000

00a0a 67gfv0a3yvd 0ci0t2 1200x900

Engine/drivetrain: 5.0 liter overhead valve V8, four-speed automatic, RWD

Location: Rochester, NY

Odometer reading: 71,000 kilometers (Canadian-spec car)

ADVERTISEMENT

Runs/drives? Not for years

Looking for something a little more red-blooded American? Well, we can come close – how about a Canadian version of the final rear-wheel-drive Monte Carlo? It’s even the coveted SS model, powered by a “High Output” 305 cubic inch version of Chevy’s legendary small-block V8. It’s pretty tame by modern standards at only 180 horses, but even a weak-sauce V8 makes the right kind of internal combustion noises. The SS package also includes brake and suspension upgrades, a more aerodynamic nose, a rear spoiler, and the all-important stripes.

00a0a Jeu1r9f9irz 0ci0t2 1200x900

This Monte has been dormant for at least eight years, and has been parked for longer than that. The odometer reads 71,000 kilometers–about 44,000 miles–and the seller implies, though doesn’t expressly say, that it’s accurate. I’ll never understand why people buy a high-performance version of a car and then not drive it. The worst offender is this car’s sister model, the Buick Grand National, none of which ever seem to get any exercise. Drive them. Use them up. It’s what they’re for.

00v0v 5rnnimpkd88 0ci0t2 1200x900

ADVERTISEMENT

This car has suffered from its slumber in a damp barn, or possibly from the Great Lakes climate. Rust has crept in along almost every edge, though the seller claims it’s solid underneath. What we can see of the rocker panels and door sills from the lousy photos is encouraging, but the doors and rear quarter panels are ugly. If it really is solid structurally, I suppose you could just leave it and claim it’s “patina.” The alternative is a complete teardown and lots of welding.

00z0z Bhkkc0wn5zl 0ci0t2 1200x900

The interior looks pretty good, if a little dirty. It has a split bench seat and a column shift, which apparently was not available on US-spec SS models. It’s a little incongruous with the stripes and the spoilers, but this isn’t really much of a performance car anyway, so it’s fine.

Neither of these cars is a lost cause. The Herald includes enough parts to make one good car out of two, and the Monte Carlo shares enough components with less-special GM products that finding parts isn’t a problem. It won’t be easy in either case, but if you really like working on cars, either one could be very rewarding. Which one are you towing home?

ADVERTISEMENT

(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
68 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
3 months ago

Well in Monte Carlo 2 pair beats a high card so Herald it is. Seriously familiar with the MC even if a concourse queen at the same money i am going to Triumph. It is the epitomy of slow car fast fun. Plus convertible so more fun cruising.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
3 months ago

I voted Herald since I find them more interesting. As a side note the Triumph Vitesse was a Herald with a factory installed six cylinder engine and quad headlights. This makes a sort of alternative BMW 2002 or proto 320.

Hotdoughnutsnow
Hotdoughnutsnow
3 months ago

Give me something interesting; I’ll take the little fellas.

Frank Wrench
Frank Wrench
3 months ago

Can’t resist any engine with dual SUs so it’s Triumph FOT. And any time I see an unfinished car on dollies I get depressed thinking that car spent more time getting pushed out of the way than being worked on.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
3 months ago

Hark the Herald angels sing,
you really think you can fix this thing?
Pieces on the earth, oh mercy my,
Body and chassis unreconciled.
Tearful bouts, impatient sighs,
Will this Triumph ever rise?
With frustrated cries proclaim,
Christ, this car is such a pain!
Hark the Herald angels sing,
Sorry now you bought this thing?

Alt Schule
Alt Schule
3 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, Uriel, Sariel, Raguel, and Remiel, Raphael and Joel.
No Harold. He must be one of the fallen angels.

Tacofan
Tacofan
3 months ago

I would get the SS, find a cheap LS and trans then twist it like a pretzel or at least twist it and let the rust fall off.

Dennis Birtcher
Dennis Birtcher
3 months ago

Here’s the problem: a working, rust free, low mileage 80’s SS can be had for ten grand. I can’t imagine spending three on crunchy, non-functional example. Sure, today’s vast aftermarket make any level of restoration a fairly trivial matter, but should you?

I’ll take the Triumph.

Plus, I already have an SS.

Sgtyukon
Sgtyukon
3 months ago

I voted for the Heralds, because this ’86 Monte Carlo looks like a worse idea than the ’79 I owned.

SuperNova
SuperNova
3 months ago

I voted for the Herald even if I know it’s going to take half of whats left of my life to put it back together only to break down in some undramatic fashion…I imagine an impressive oil slick. The Montecrispo is just too ugly…

Sensual Bugling Elk
Sensual Bugling Elk
3 months ago

A question for the British roadster aficionados among you: how much am I missing out on, as the owner of a Miata?

I voted for the Triumph here. I like the idea of having access to a free personal junkyard in the form of a parts car. It should make restoration of the Triumph feel kind of like you’re five years old playing with a tub of Lego bricks.

SuperNova
SuperNova
3 months ago

as a former british car owner (a few) and a current Miata owner (I resisted for years) don’t let the subtle curves and cracked slightly bubbled plywood dash on that british vixen seduce you…they are all untrustworthy heartbreakers…all british cars should be named after boats because they are all holes in the water you pour money and your soul into.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

Oh yeah! Well let me tell you something Miataman! Yeah you are probably right. Heyooo!!

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
3 months ago

Giant lego bricks. But if you want to learn and wrench the triumph is a good start. If you get pissed just because a car breaks down stay away.

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
3 months ago

I like building with Legos. Gimme the Herald.

Ricki
Ricki
3 months ago

There’s just something I love about those 80s G-bodies. Gut that 305 and run it sleeper-style. Restoring that edge rust is a lost cause. Just go for the fun, rather than the looks.

James Mitchell
James Mitchell
3 months ago

As long as one of those engines turns over, the Heralds look like something you could knock together into drivable shape in a month or two of weekends, rattle can into 50ft grade presentability, have a laugh with and then resell for what I paid for it.

The Monte Carlo? I’ll believe the rocker panels, floor and frame are good when I’ve spent an hour failing to shove a screwdriver through them and not before.

Cheats McCheats
Cheats McCheats
3 months ago

I would rather start a bon fire with the money. Skipping on this one.

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
3 months ago

Me too!

Rich Hobbs
Rich Hobbs
3 months ago

Hark the Herald Angels Sing! And it’s a convertible. Hopefully between the two will not have to source many parts. And with til front end easier to work on. Hopefully Lucas the Prince of Darkness can exorcised!, lol

Scott Ross
Scott Ross
3 months ago

I remember mom having the monte carlo. Same exterior color, red interior. Monte for me

Matthew Binns
Matthew Binns
3 months ago

My parent bought me a 13/60 convertible Herald as my first car – for £50 out of a friend’s barn. I couldn’t beat the rust so I swapped it with another friends Citroen Ami 6 which was an order of magnitude better designed, and felt quicker despite having half the cc’s and cylinders. I’d like to take revenge by making a slow-speed collision mash up of the two heralds, with a steering wheel and full dash on both sides. BTW it was slow and handled like crap but that wasn’t the point, slow cruises through the English countryside were a delight. Love me a car with the body lines a hidden folded roof and a Tonneau cover give.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
3 months ago
Reply to  Matthew Binns

A 1st car for 50 #s? My first AMC Javelin $75. I think we are from the same decade.

Farty McSprinkles
Farty McSprinkles
3 months ago

I always liked the Monte Carlo SS, especially with the t-tops. I think I would go with that one, if it really is solid and the rust is primarily surface, which I think is a huge if. The Harold is not that appealing to me.

SlowCarFast
SlowCarFast
3 months ago

Damn! $3,000 for an 80’s GM product that will need a full mechanical redo? That’s bonkers!

I still voted for it. Give me the extra room and some T-tops, and I’ll be happier.
Here’s hoping that the seats are cleaner than they look. No mildew would be great!

Both of these are wind in your hair cruisers (if it’s windy. The acceleration won’t do that on its own. Pick your style.

FloridaNative
FloridaNative
3 months ago

I’m just gonna sit this one out.

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
3 months ago
Reply to  FloridaNative

Me too!

Mark Abel
Mark Abel
3 months ago

oooh dang I was all set to vote for the mullet mobile but I just feel like having a parts car will make the herald project so much easier. I vote for tea and crumpets.

Alt Schule
Alt Schule
3 months ago

A friend bought a quite presentable Herald sedan in England for £2500, drove it all over Europe, shipped it back for $1000, and now daily drives it in Kansas City. There is no way this bag-o-bolts is worth anything but parts.

That said, the Herald is my choice because Monte Carlo is always a loser bet.

MikuhlBrian
MikuhlBrian
3 months ago

While not common on US cars, the Monte Carlo SS came standard with a bench seat throughout the 80s. A quick scan of the 1986 brochure shows “Six-passenger seating with front bench seat” as standard on the SS.

https://xr793.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/1986-Chevrolet-Monte-Carlo.pdf

Dennis Birtcher
Dennis Birtcher
3 months ago
Reply to  MikuhlBrian

I missed that glancing through the photos the first time. Buckets became available in ’84, so it’s rare the bench after that.

Mr. Fusion
Mr. Fusion
3 months ago
Reply to  MikuhlBrian

I came in here to say that. My dad bought a new 1983 Monte Carlo SS, and it had the bench seat & column shifter (which is exactly what he wanted — no buckets needed on a highway cruiser, according to him).

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
3 months ago
Reply to  MikuhlBrian

Yes 6 passenger seating. Do you know why? It is a friggin bus. Big, slow, smelly, poor turning ate too many twinkies bus.

Mike F.
Mike F.
3 months ago

No question, it’s the Herald(s). Either choice involves too much work for what you’d end up with but at least you’d end up with something interesting in a functioning Herald.

Dennis Ames
Dennis Ames
3 months ago

The Monte has Dave Tracy levels of rust, which, even fixed you will see hundreds still driving around. Gimme the interesting Herald(s) for the win.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
3 months ago
Reply to  Dennis Ames

And with all that visible rust the frame is a screen door. I guarantee!

68
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x