Swallow Doretti Newsletter









  July 2011  No.251  


Swallow Doretti In 1963, Larry Zottarelli bought a Swallow Doretti from Rose Wardall, the widow of the former owner (John Wardall), of Sunland, California. Over the next five years the engine and rear end of Chassis No.1048 were overhauled and the interior refurbished. Then Larry said that, occasioned by my wife’s first pregnancy in 1968, I parked the car in my garage and there it sat until 2010. However, with the help and encouragement of Ray Bragassa, owner of Chassis No.1039, the car is now back on the road again.

When Larry acquired the Doretti he was told by the owner's son that the car's seats came from a Triumph owing to the fact that the originals were in Old Yeller, at the time Larry was unaware of Max Balchowsky. Naively he wrote letters to Lucas, Swallow, Monkspath and Triumph requesting information. Eventually Larry received an informative letter and a Doretti Instruction handbook from Standard-Triumph and also a letter from Kas Kastner together with a copy of his TR4 competition preparation book.

Swallow Doretti It is believed that Chassis No.1048 was first licensed in California in 1955. Originally the interior of the white car's floor, firewall and rear panels were covered by gray carpet secured with snaps. The side and door panels were hardboard also covered with gray carpet while the dashboard and door-tops were gray leather. Recent photographs of the car are particularly interesting as they show No.1048 fitted with front and rear prototype bumpers and a modified 1955 Chevrolet radiator grille. An under-the-bonnet picture features the original type of thermostat housing and a Cal Sales cast aluminum rocker cover complete with insignia.

According to Larry, the car showed signs of past abuse, evidence of which included, dings under the frame, bondo” on a fender, spit welds on the drivers door and on both door lock posts, a fried ammeter, zip cord electrical wiring and the voltage regulator cover with broken pieces glued back together. As he drove the car, further indications of abuse arose with the fracture of an axle half shaft and later on the ring gear which broke due to loose bolts. A chance removal of the cylinder head showed further abuse. Cylinder walls were severely scored, however there were no bits and pieces in the oil sump. When the pistons were removed the cylinder scoring was attributed to the fact that the pistons had missing rings, quite likely broken during running. The pistons also had cracks just below the wrist pins. Removal of the cylinders exposed a quantity of pea shaped (and pea sized) rust covered stonelets surrounding them. Larry thinks that the general condition of the vehicle suggest it may have been raced at some point in its early life.

If anyone has any information to add concerning Chassis No.1048 both Larry and I would be grateful to receive it. Contact me at ken@doretti.co.uk while Larry can be reached at ljzott@sbcglobal.net

Kevin Larkin, owner of Chassis No.1055, reports from the USA that his car has been totally restored except for the bonnet badge and asks if anyone is making reproduction badges. Pamela David Enamels www.badgecraft.co.uk has supplied repro bonnet and hub cap badges for a number of years and is also able to restore original badges.

Windscreens are still available for the later cars, with a smooth exterior on the stanchions rather than the early type with three countersunk holes on the outside. Any enquiries should be made ASAP to Alan Gibb on Tel: 01224-782-789. Costs are expected to be around £157+VAT.

James Pechal’s bright-yellow 533 CRF, Chassis No.1075, has now been semi-inherited by his daughter Sarah-Jane and her husband Ross. They are both enjoying using the car regularly in the Hampshire area and are looking forward to meeting other Doretti owners. James and Barbara (sadly deceased four years past) attended a many of our meetings and were long-time Doretti owners. James is still very well and living in Fareham.

Over the last couple of months there have been a few cars for sale on Ebay. In Cornwall a couple of vehicles were listed; Chassis No.1052 is an accident damaged US left-hand drive vehicle imported into the UK back in 1992. The other car was No.1120 registered UTJ 707 which is in need of a complete restoration. I hope the new owner did not under-estimate the amount of work and cost involved in the rebuild.

An unusual Doretti special designed by Peter Kirwan-Taylor also appeared on Ebay, it was Chassis No.1160, originally registered as RLL 280 but now carries the ESL 146 registration. Whoever bought this accumulation of items from Richard Larter is going to be faced with an enormously expensive task of acquiring all the missing parts as well as the rebuild costs.

Please let me know of any address, phone number or e-mail address changes. I would also appreciate any information or comments about installing a roll over bar in a Doretti.


Home | Welcome | Contents | History | Gallery | Tech | Links | Newsletter

  © 2011 Ken Yankey, all rights reserved