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Featured in the UK Motoring Directory
Swallow Doretti Mark II (Sabre) - Chassis No.DVL/2
Owner: Peter Lord
Swallow Doretti Sabre
Picture: courtesy of Stephen Matthews

This vehicle was the first Sabre prototype which appears to have been originally registered in England as 64 GRE. A contempory picture of the the duck egg blue car shows it fitted with a pair of driving lights, chrome wire wheels, an aerial mounted on the left hand side just forward of the windscreen and a chrome flash on the door.
A young car enthusiast Kenneth James Shekle, purchased the car in 1956 from a private seller and made a number of changes to the Doretti. The modifications included a bespoke radiator grille, a handmade steering wheel, a le-Mans-style fuel filler cap and mock air vents in the front wings similar to those found on Aston Martin's of that era. The colour of the car was also changed during Kenneth Shekle's ownership to a metallic blue.

In 1965 the vehicle was exported to Montreal, Canada and used by Kenneth Shekle's brother to tour the USA and Canada. After six months he returned to the UK having sold the car in Vancouver, British Columbia where it appears to have spent most of its life until 1976.
In May 1978, Peter Lord of Toronto, Ontario came across the car advertised in a local newspaper as a "British Sports Car". The Doretti had sustained rear end accident damage and had been vandalized, it was a complete wreck. It had no hood, odd seats, a totally broken steering wheel, no carpet, all the instruments were broken, and only one side-window (broken). The windscreen was smashed, both doors caved-in, head-lights and side-lights missing, and the engine seized. Despite all these problems Peter could see a beautiful car one day, so he bought it, towed it home and began work. Having managed to free the engine and got the car to start and run, he decided a total body-off nut and bolt restoration was needed and that professional help was required.

First it was arranged that the engine would be rebuilt by Louis Martin, an ex-McLaren Racing Team mechanic, then the car was completely stripped down. The chassis frame was sand-blasted, painted and then built up to rolling chassis. The body panels were now temporarily bolted back on so the car could be taken to Mike Lewis at M&G Vintage Car Restorations. Here the bodywork was removed and dipped. Once the bare metal was revealed the real problems with the rear became visible. Damaged or corroded metal was replaced where necessary, and no plastic fillers were used. After Peter finally brought the car home he decided to have it painted locally, but unfortunately encountered some difficulties with two batches of paint which did not match. However, eventually a satisfactory finish was achieved. Other remedial work included a new wiring-loom, a custom-made windscreen, new wire-wheels, re-chroming all the chrome trim, repairing and re-enamelling the bonnet badge, and a replacement double-duck canvas hood.

Thanks to Peter Lord for the information.


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