Soft top, hard shoulder

June 13, 2011

They don’t make many films like this any more. “Soft top, hard shoulder” was a budget british “road” movie/comedy from 1992. From what I can recall, the plot revolved around a Scottish guy living in London who finds that he will inherit some money if (and only if) he can be in Glasgow within the next day or so. His only means of transport is a delapidated Triumph Herald. The majority of the film covers the trials and tribulations of his journey. Of course he soon finds he has aquired a hitch-hiker and inevitably meets a number of assorted odd characters along the way. I’ve almost talked myself into excavating my VHS video recorder to watch this again.

I bought the tape as I owned (still did last time I looked…..) a similar delapidated Triumph Herald to the one(s) featured in the film. Although mine wouldn’t make it to Glasgow now, it probably would have back in 1992. The cover of the Video tape provided much hilarity. Instead of finding an appropriate still from the film someone drew a picture of the star of the film (the car) with an open bonnet. Things like this always make me roll my eyes in amazement. The artist had evidentally never seen the film and possibly never even seen a Triumph Herald for that matter. He drew the car with a conventional bonnet and fixed front wings rather than the correct whole-front-end-tilts-forward thing. Didn’t anyone look at the artwork, laugh, screw it up and tell him to go draw the car properly? No, they went ahead and sent it off to the printers !!

PS: I have seen a made-in-India version of a Triumph Herald (known as a Standard Gazel there I believe), the 1970s version (called a Mk 3 ?) of which was produced with four doors instead of the more usual two. The rear doors must have been rather tiny. I believe they also changed the front of the car to a traditional bonnet/fixed front wing arrangement so in the artist’s defence perhaps he was of Indian descent?

PPS: And just to contradict myself once more…..Quiller Triumph are currently selling their much-modified Triumph Herald. It has a TR6 engine, an auto box, a pickup rear body and a “conventional” bonnet. Actually the bonnet conversion must have been more time-consuming to achieve than the pickup rear end !!!

This is how a Triumph Herald/Vitesse bonnet should open.

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