NEWSLETTER No. 5 - July 2001

Towards the end of May while on my way to join the Grampian Group’s West Coast Run, I took the opportunity to stop in at Balfron Sportscars where Richard Larter has two Doretti restorations underway.

720 CRF, Chassis No.SAC105X7 owned by Gerard Hill, is thought to have been a factory development car and certainly has some unusual features. For example, the rear axle is laterally located with a panhard arm bolted on to extremely well-made brackets; the brace between the rear shock absorbers has been inverted so that it runs below the prop-shaft; and the panel above the rear axle has been lowered by about three inches. Interestingly the car was originally fitted with Engine No.TS4E but this was replaced with TS966FR many years ago.

The other Doretti, UVK 775, Chassis No.1196 belongs to Rob Haden of Edinburgh and is also at the rolling chassis stage. It is fitted with the wider track TR4 rear axle, an overdrive gearbox, rack and pinion steering, and has a heavily reinforced rear inner body. Rob has owned the car since 1974 and is determined to have the car at the 50th anniversary celebrations.

Richard is also working on his own modified Doretti that has a Daimler V-8 engine neatly installed under the bonnet. The whole installation looks like a factory job and only required minimal changes to the sheet metal. Many years ago the Doretti-Buick V-8 conversions of the legendary Max Balchowsky managed 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, and had a top speed of 160 mph but this was with 322 cubic inches (5277 cc) producing 350 bhp at 5500 rpm. Progress in Richard’s Doretti will be a little more sedate and certainly quieter.

Another Doretti that I got to see a few days later was John Ormiston’s, Chassis No.1173 that arrived back in the UK from South Africa last year. Despite obviously having had a hard life and a number of minor modifications to keep the car on the road, it is a sound roadworthy vehicle that that complements John’s E-type coupe and Lagonda M45 replica.

The TR West Coast Run departed from Alford Motor Museum and covered over 500 miles of glorious Highland roads and scenery. Overnight stops at Spean Bridge, Plockton and Ullapool gave participants the chance to relax, enjoy dinner, have a few drinks and socialise. I never cease to marvel at the colour and beauty of this part of Scotland and look forward to my next trip north.

Did anyone notice that Wayne Butt’s Chassis No.1142 mentioned in the last report was featured with a couple of photographs on p.23 in the June 2001 issue of Classic & Sports Car.

Watch out for an interesting Doretti article (pp.52-55) in the August/September 2001 issue of Triumph World magazine. Swallow Tales by Brian Page includes some good pictures of SST 24, Chassis No.1181, now in the Netherlands and owned by Eddy de Heus. There are also some nice pictures of 60 HRF, Jill Royle's Mark II Doretti. Jill first owned this second prototype car back in 1954 but sold it in the late 50's. In 1998 she bought the restored car from Mike Jennings and has twice brought the car to the International Weekend.

One of the ex-Duncan Rabagliati cars ended up in the hands of Roger Giles of Northwood, Middlesex. The Brooks auction catalogue described NGG 533 as a "rarity among the Rabagliati Dorettis because it is the one on which Duncan had undertaken a lengthy restoration," but the work had not been completed by sale-time. NGG 533, Chassis No.1211 is now back on the road again looking resplendent in its pale blue paintwork with dark blue trim, aero-screens and chrome wire wheels.

New, ready-to-fit, chrome radiator grille surrounds will be available for £235 each, plus shipping charges, if a minimum order of ten can be guaranteed. The grilles will be pressed from 20G brass, polished, then copper, nickel and chrome-plated. For years people have been asking for these items to replace damaged or missing grilles so contact me now if you are interested.

Have you ever noticed that if you try to please everybody, nobody will like it?

... Ken Yankey

Newsletter No. 1 Feb 2000
Newsletter No. 2 Jan 2001
Newsletter No. 3 May 2001
Newsletter No. 4 June 2001

If you have any comments or suggestions about the Swallow Doretti Page, or news and/or information that you want to pass on to me or other Doretti owners then please e-mail me at ken@doretti.co.uk

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Ken Yankey © 2001
E-mail: ken@doretti.co.uk