1954 Swallow Doretti


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Built by The Swallow Coachbuilding Co. (1935) at The Airport, Walsall, StaffordshireBox-section tube chassis, TR2 mechanicals. 1991cc, OHV, 90bhp, 4-cylinderDoretti production ceased in 1955 after only 276 had been completedSuperbly restored over one year byMarksdanes Classic Cars inShepton MalletIn bright Signal Redwith a superb cockpit in Light Tan piped in Maroon with a matching hoodSmartengine baywith a chrome rocker box cover. Attention to detail wherever you lookQuite a number survive and there is an active Owner's ClubThe Doretti sports car was built at Walsall in Staffordshire by the Swallow Coachbuilding Company (1935) Ltd, which was the part of William Lyons' empire that specialised in building motorcycle sidecars. Somewhat paradoxically, another of Lyons' companies, Swallow Sidecars, made the 'SS' cars that adopted the 'Jaguar' name post-war. Sold by Lyons to Tube Investments after the Second World War, and facing a declining market for sidecars, Swallow used its spare capacity to launch the Doretti sports car in 1954, aimed at the Californian market. The stylish two-seater adopted the Triumph TR2 engine and running gear, which went into a bespoke chassis fabricated from Reynolds 531 tubing and clothed in aluminium outer body panels supplied by Panelcraft. The design was the work of one of TI's engineers, Frank Rainbow, who, working alone, managed to get the Doretti from drawing board to the prototype stage in a mere ten months. Robustly built with a chassis longer and wider than Triumph's TR2, the Doretti handled more securely and had more refinements including a heater and fitted luggage. The 18 strong workforce at Walsall turned out about 5 cars per week. The styling was unashamedly borrowed from the contemporary Ferrari 166MM'Barchetta'and the name 'Doretti' was an Italian derivation of the first name of Dorothy Dean, a California Triumph distributor.Offering 100mph performance at a relatively bargain price, (although more expensive than the TR2), the Doretti sold well in California where its hand-built exclusivity had much appeal. More than half of the total production went for export. One of its chief rivals was the Jaguar XK120, consequently, Lyons was not best pleased and pressured TI to axe the Doretti, threatening to look elsewhere for the components they supplied to Jaguar. TI complied and the Doretti ceased production in 1955 after only 276 had been completed. Testimony to the build quality and the discerning nature of the original customer base is the high survival rate of the marque and model.Offered here from The Anthony Hamilton Collection, a Doretti enthusiast for several years, is a beautifully restored example of the car that rattled Jaguar in the fifties. Chassis #1100 (PNB 999) is finished to an excellent standard in a bright Signal Redwith a superb cockpit in Light Tan piped in Maroon with a matching hood and sparkling chrome wire wheels. The engine bay is smart with a chrome rocker box cover and there is evidence of attention to detail wherever you look.The most noteworthy owners of #1100were John and Vivienne Machon who, being early Doretti owners had hill-climbed one in the sixties at Les Val de Terres, St. Peter Port in Guernsey. Having sold his original car some years before, Guernsey-based John had a hankering for another Doretti. Peter Landers who had a classic car restoration business, Marksdanes Classic Cars inShepton Mallet Somerset, was a good friend and had a Doretti "in the graveyard" inneed of a full restoration. He was happy to 'donate' the car to John if Johnagreed to have the restoration conducted by Peter's restorers in Somerset. The deal was done and the restoration took two men nearly a year working full-time but virtually everything was rebuilt in this time.The quality of this restoration is evident from the car's presentationtoday.This rare, fast and superbly presented fifties British sports car would be welcome anywhereand with a fascinating story to tell.You can now book a one-to-one appointment (up to one hour) to view this lot at our central location Monday to Wednesday betweenbetween Thursday 29thOctober - 12thNovember. Please contact Lionel on 07831 574381 [email protected] secure your appointment or to discuss the car in more detail.The health and safety of both our customers and team remainthe utmost priority, we are therefore operating to strict COVID-19 guidelines and full instructions for arrival and inspection protocols will be given when making your appointment.1954 Swallow Dorettihttps://youtu.be/OgEAkfbRNQ4false