Swallow Doretti Newsletter









  October 2008    No.38  


I have recently heard from Helen Rainbow with reference to my musings about the name of her former house in Tocklington. It seems that when Frank and Helen moved into the house in 1981 they named it Wappenbury after the hamlet in Warwickshire where Frank’s father and all his siblings had been born. So it was just a co-incidence that Sir William Lyons lived at Wappenbury Hall which he had bought in the late 1930s. It also it appears that one of Frank’s cousins had previously owned Wappenbury Hall. As a postscript, Helen reports that family legend says a Reuben Rainbow is buried in unconsecrated ground in Wappenbury having shot a rival for the love of a young lady.

Another Doretti has been added to the Register. Chassis No.1084 is owned by Arthur Sullivan who has owned the car, on and off, from 1967 when he was just 18. The car came to be his as payment for another car (a ‘56 Ford Crown Victoria) which was stolen by a friend’s brother and stripped to buy drugs. The Doretti had been sitting in a barn and came out without anyone knowing what it was. It had been painted at least six times with colours ranging from yellow, green, red and some type of tan. Several months later the car was running in local autocross and SCCA events painted silver with a black racing stripe. The original interior was missing from the car as was the correct grille. An engine-turned aluminum dash was fitted with what appeared to be correct period gauges. The salesman who sold the car said “that’s the way it came”. Arthur added a super trap auto shut-off tachometer for racing purposes and installed a pair of seats from a Porsche 356. Later he traded the Porsche seats for a pair from an Austin Healey 3000 which looked better.

No.1084 was sold in White Plains, NY by an auto dealership owned by Sandy Spears. Prior additional ownership is not known. Arthur owned the car through college and gave it to Tom Henry, a close friend, when he went into the military. Tom owned the car for several years and did a full mechanical rebuild. After military service, Arthur’s profession took him around the world and he finally got the car back when he returned to the area. The car was used as a weekender for several years and is now being rebuilt by Arthur as a frame off restoration and he hopes to have on the VSCCA circuit next year. He is also looking forward to his son taking on the Doretti in the near future and hoping he can enjoy it as much as he has.

Meanwhile from Australia a former Doretti owner, Andrew Rich, has sent news of a Doretti which he bought from a scrap yard in Sydney in 1962. He thinks the faded red, badly damaged car, which was un-registered, had once belonged to Jack Davey, a popular radio and TV entertainer. The front bumper and grille, both front wings and the shroud were damaged as was the floor. Andrew replaced the floor, repaired the body panels and then repainted the car jet black duco. A friend, who was a metal worker at the Garden Island Naval Dockyard, repaired the grille. Subsequently the car was re-registered as CMY 091 in March 1963 and then used in club sprints and hill climbs. After experiencing many broken spokes the original wire wheels were replaced with TR2 steel disc wheels. In 1964 Andrew traded the Doretti for a Holden sedan but often saw the Doretti sitting in the car park of a motel in Chatswood, a North Shore suburb of Sydney. Unfortunately Andrew cannot recall the chassis number, but perhaps it was No.1273 now owned by Louis Maroya.


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