NEWSLETTER NO.13 - December 2002

Bob Holmes, a former owner of 181 YNY (Chassis No.10001) contacted me recently to fill in some of the gaps in the car's history. The car, a Mark II Doretti, was apparently built after Frank Rainbow left Tube Investments and is the last of the trio of Sabres known to have been constructed. The other two cars being DVL-2 now in Canada and DVL-3 (registration number 60 HRF) the ex-Mike Jennings car now owned by Tim and Jill Royle.

According to Cyril Harvey, Chassis No.10001 "was used by Standard-Triumph as a test vehicle, possibly for different setups because it was easier to modify than the current TR". Bob Holmes who owned the car between 1965 and 1968 recalls that the original registration number was BOB 123 but it was subsequently re-registered as 181 YNY prior to his ownership. Initially the RHD car had a de Dion rear axle mounted in the rectangular tube chassis and was complete with all the characteristic Mk II body panels and grille. However after being badly damaged in an accident the front half of the body was replaced with conventional Doretti bodywork.

Another past owner of 181 YNY was Stephen Matthews who bought the car in 1975 while at university. A motivating factor in the purchase of the car was that his father worked for Reynolds Tube and the Tube Investments Group, and is said to have worked with Frank Rainbow on the design of the Doretti chassis. During the time that Stephen owned the car he says that he virtually re-built it. Tony Hickling who owned the car during the mid-1980's remembers it as being dark blue and fitted with wire wheels and aero-screens. Phil Rudge the next owner wrote a series of short items for Classic and Sportscar magazine in which he related his personal experiences with YNY 181. The currently recorded owner is Tom Lewis.

Despite the end of 2002 not yet being upon us, I have already received a request for Doretti owners to attend the Black Country Vehicle Rally 2003, for cars, commercial vehicles, motor cycles and bicycles made in the area. The date of the event is Sunday 13th July 2003 and the location will be the Black Country Living Museum, Dudley. More details will be available in the near future.

In mid-October I had a visit from John Rummery, an extremely keen Doretti enthusiast from New Zealand, who has been very helpful in getting information about the past and present Doretti cars that managed to make the long journey halfway around the world. John has been looking for a suitable Doretti restoration project in the UK and thinks he might have found something suitable. He also presented me with a smart-looking peaked cap complete with an attractive embroidered Doretti badge.

The November 2002 issue of the UK auto magazine Top Gear carried an excellent article by road test editor Tom Stewart, which featured a Doretti now domiciled in Norway. Back in 1964 Tom's mother bought the showroom condition PEL589 (Chassis No.1118) for 250 and the Doretti remained in the family for 22 years until it was sold to a London classic car dealer in 1986. Tom actually learnt to drive in the Doretti and over the years he often looked at old photos of the car to reminisce and fondly remember his past experiences with the car. A couple of months ago Tom came across the Swallow Doretti website (www.doretti.co.uk) and found a recent photo of the car in the gallery section. It did not take him long to contact the owner Knut Skoglund of Oslo and arrange to be re-united with the Doretti now bearing Norwegian plates with registration number D1118.

This item illustrates the importance of past and present owners passing on to the Doretti Register any pictures, anecdotes or information about cars you have owned or with which you have been involved. Often a trivial piece of data can link two seemingly unconnected cars into a coherent entity. Now that the dark nights are here I will be putting in more time building up the info on the website so please keep on sending new material to me.

 ... Ken Yankey
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 © 2002
E-mail: ken@doretti.co.uk