Swallow Doretti - UK








  Sept/Oct 2019  No.316  


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Firstly I am sad to report the recent death of Cyril Harvey at the age of 89. Cyril was the first official Swallow Doretti Registrar having taken over from the unofficial participation of Alec Pringle, Alan Gibb and Howard Gosling. He did much to keep the Swallow Doretti name alive with articles in TR Action from 1978 and taking his car to many events, usually the only Doretti there, which he enthusiastically told people about.

Cyril bought his Doretti (VEH 266) in 1963 and was an early member of the Register. He bought a second Doretti (RRH 389) as a restoration project in 1982 but it remained unrestored in his ownership and was subsequently restored by Maurice Ford. Both of his cars are on the road and used by active owners. At the beginning of 2001 Ken Yankey took over as the Swallow Doretti Registrar and Cyril retired after over 20 years in the position although he continued to participate in events and put pen to paper in TR Action.

There appears to be around 57 Swallow Dorettis in the UK including pre and post production cars although every year several change hands and some go overseas but others are imported, of these around 27 are roadworthy. There are 46 owners including Jaguar Heritage which has two cars in the museum at Gaydon and two cars with unknown owners. I have 35 email addresses for UK owners so if you have not heard from me electronically please let me know on "doretti.registrar@yahoo.com" although I know some owners do not have email.

Chassis No. 1256 I visited Moira Craighead recently who has had her McLaren orange Doretti for over 50 years and has no interest in computers.

Something for those who like a mystery. A number of Dorettis had consecutive registration numbers. Those that still exist are RLL 271, 273, 275, 277, 279 and 280, no mystery here as they were probably registered by a London dealer who specialised in sports cars, probably Welbeck Motors but the chassis numbers of these cars range from 1160 (RLL 280) to 1223 (RLL 271) which is a puzzle. I have a copy of the original invoice for RLL 1160 which was secured with a deposit of £25.0.0. and a princely final payment of £885.11.3. Another common registration number is CRF or RE which may indicate they were registered by the factory, the Frank Rainbow development car is registered 720 CRF, the ex works race car is 717 CRE, Alan Gibb's ex works press car is 362 ERE and the only Mk2 (Sabre) in the UK is 60 HRF along with 3 more early Dorettis with CRF registration numbers.

The Walsall connection continues as Mike Nangreave has kindly send me a picture of a Swallow Doretti on the wall of Walsall Library.

Richard Larter - Swallow Doretti Registrar
Email: doretti.registrar@yahoo.com


Submissions of photos or articles for this website are most welcome - contact Ken Yankey at ken@doretti.co.uk