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Second Time Around for Chassis No.1155

When Simon Brooks bought his first Doretti in July 1955 it was Chassis No.1151, registration number MFH 924 a car that Simon kept for six years. Many years later Simon decided that he would like another Doretti and eventually in 1999 he bought LDP 107 (Chassis No.1155) from Ted Bailey.

Side view of No.1155 in 1996

According to Ted, a wealthy purchaser bought No.1155 along with another Doretti MMW 335 (No.1140) for a reported 850 each from the Swallow factory when it ceased car production in 1955. Both cars complete with aluminium hardtops were taken to Ted's garage in Tamworth, Staffordshire, to be undersealed and to have a radio fitted in each vehicle. No.1155 a RHD vehicle with steel wheels was painted Poppy Red and had beige upholstery, while the other car was Powder Blue and trimmed in black with white piping.

LDP 107 was maintained from new by Ted Bailey until he bought the car in 1958 for 570 when it had 12,000 miles on the clock. The car was then used for both pleasure and as as a tool of his garage business in so much as it was frequently for spares collection, as a breakdown vehicle and also for towing. In 1965, with an odometer reading of 93,777 miles, Ted told his wife that she could have the Doretti for her own use but that he would have to "do it up a bit" first.

The car was off the road in his home workshop for 23 years until his neighbour, who had retired from the motor trade, sparked him off to do something about it. Over the next four years they worked together, one day a week, on a complete rebuild. First the chassis frame was shotblasted, galvanised and left unpainted. Then the body panels were re-painted the original red colour, in a plastic spray booth that Ted fabricated inside his workshop to prevent the entire contents being oversprayed. Both the engine and gearbox were genuine Factory Replacement units that he had purchased 25 years earlier from a Triumph agent for 20 and 5 respectively! The rebuild of the car was eventually finished in May, 1992 and the journey to the MOT station was its first time on the road for 27 years. Over the next six years Ted entered the car in numerous concours d'elegance and shows before selling the car to Simon Brooks in 1999.

Since acquiring LDP 107, the the car has been used extensively by Simon and his wife Helen for many rallies in the UK and France. Some of the modifications that have been made to help cope with modern road conditions include the installation of front disc brakes, rack and pinion steering, a TR4 rear axle (a great improvement) and a five-speed all synchromesh gearbox. Electrical upgrades include an alternator, halogen headlights, airhorns and an electric radiator fan.

Information about Simon's first Doretti (No.1151) can be found in an article entitled A Fine Survivor.



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Ken Yankey © 2004