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Sold for: £74,250
The Doretti sports car was built at Walsall in Staffordshire by the Swallow Coachbuilding Company (1935) Ltd, which was the part of William Lyons' empire that specialised in building motorcycle sidecars. Somewhat paradoxically, another of Lyons' companies, Swallow Sidecars, made the 'SS' cars that adopted the 'Jaguar' name post-war. Sold by Lyons to Tube Investments after the Second World War, and facing a declining market for sidecars, Swallow used its spare capacity to launch the Doretti sports car in 1954, aimed at the Californian market. The stylish two-seater adopted the Triumph TR2 engine and running gear, which went into a bespoke chassis fabricated from Reynolds 531 tubing and clothed in aluminium outer body panels supplied by Panelcraft. The design was the work of one of TI's engineers, Frank Rainbow, who, working alone, managed to get the Doretti from drawing board to the prototype stage in a mere ten months. Robustly built with a chassis longer and wider than Triumph's TR2, the Doretti handled more securely and had more refinements including a heater and fitted luggage. The 18 strong workforce at Walsall turned out about 5 cars per week. The styling was unashamedly borrowed from the contemporary Ferrari 166MM 'Barchetta' and the name 'Doretti' was an Italian derivation of the first name of Dorothy Dean, a California Triumph distributor.
Offering 100mph performance at a relatively bargain price, (although more expensive than the TR2), the Doretti sold well in California where its hand-built exclusivity had much appeal. More than half of the total production went for export. One of its chief rivals was the Jaguar XK120, consequently, Lyons was not best pleased and pressured TI to axe the Doretti, threatening to look elsewhere for the components they supplied to Jaguar. TI complied and the Doretti ceased production in 1955 after only 276 had been completed. Testimony to the build quality and the discerning nature of the original customer base is the high survival rate of the marque and model.
Offered here from The Anthony Hamilton Collection, a Doretti enthusiast for several years, is a beautifully restored example of the car that rattled Jaguar in the fifties. It's finished to an excellent standard in a stunning shade of Maroon with Tan-piped Oatmeal leather, red carpets and a black soft top. The history file contains a dating certificate from the TR Register confirming the chassis number satisfies as being built by The Swallow Coachbuilding Co. (1935) at The Airport, Walsall, Staffordshire, England.
The restoration to a very exacting standard was carried out in Australia by The Classic Factory, a well-respected restorer in Smithfield, Sydney, New South Wales. Their website carries photographs of the Doretti in various stages of preparation for the final finish. Their specialities include the pre-preparation of alloy bodies, as with Dorettis, the bodies were a masterclass in alloy by Panelcraft. The interior restoration and reupholstery were executed by Moore Style in Sydney incorporating the fine stitching detail synonymous with the marque. With the car is a Dating Certificate from the TR Register confirming that Chassis #1126 was originally manufactured in 1954.
This rare, fast and superbly presented fifties British sports car would be welcome at any event and with a fascinating story to tell.
You can now book a one-to-one appointment (up to one hour) to view this lot at our central location between 16th and 30th July. Please contact Lionel on 07831 574381 / firstname.lastname@example.org to secure your appointment or to discuss the car in more detail. The health and safety of both our customers and team remain the utmost priority, we are therefore operating to strict COVID-19 guidelines and full instructions for arrival and inspection protocols will be given when making your appointment.