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Featured in the UK Motoring Directory
  June 2004    No.18 Equipo Doretti
 

 

Summer now seems to have arrived and plans are well underway for the 50th anniversary meeting at Malvern. The highlight of the celebrations to mark fifty years since the public launch of the Swallow Doretti will be the Golden Jubilee Dinner at the Foley Arms Hotel in Malvern, on Saturday 24th July 2004. Details of booking arrangements for the dinner and other events planned for the weekend can be seen on the 50th anniversary listing on the home page.

A couple of months ago, Alan Coulson e-mailed me to say he had come across the Doretti website and it had set him thinking about a Doretti he used to own. In 1975 when he lived in Marchwood near Southampton he acquired a battered Swallow Doretti. Alan who now lives in Australia recalls that his parents were shocked when they first saw the Doretti because every panel was dented and the doors were rotten. Just a month after the car had been lovingly restored by a panel beater and re-painted a beautiful deep metallic blue, Alan was sat minding his own business in a traffic jam when he was rear-ended by two old girls in a Morris Minor.

At this time Alan says that his "brother was working at Husbands shipyard in Marchwood (long since closed) so we painted the inside of the car where it was a wee bit dodgy (due to wet carpets, as it had a bit of a water entry problem), in thick brown ships anti-fouling paint. It will stay for ever barnacle free but I'm not sure of the arsenic fumes I inhaled."

According to Alan, "the Doretti came complete with an original fibreglass hardtop which when fitted made the car look extremely ugly. It went reasonably well, but I always felt that the chassis was too heavy and more than compensated for the lightweight body." The Doretti was eventually swapped for what Alan describes as "an unmentionable pile of grey porridge from a fellow graduate at Plessey's in Havant." Alan asked, "Does the car still exist?" Well the answer is yes it does. The car was MFH 924, Chassis No.1151 owned by Simon Brooks from 1955 to 1961 and now owned by Peter Billington since the early 1980's.

Another Doretti from Scotland is now back in circulation after an absence of 24 years. Chassis No.1154, formerly owned by Duncan Rabagliati, has been restored by Quentin Gray and will hopefully be able to join us at Malvern for the 50th anniversary celebrations. Upgrades to the car include a Girling rear axle, front disc brakes and a set of wire wheels.

No.1230 is undergoing a complete restoration in France. I last saw this Doretti in 1991, when it was owned by Claude Maupeu of Mariac. Judy and I took a few days off from holidaying in the Dordogne to vist Claude and his wife. They were excellent hosts and avid Doretti enthusiasts., Unfortunately the car which was being restored seems to has suffered from the ravages of the weather since Claude died a few years ago. However the current owner appears to be seriously determined to get the car back in roadworthy condition again. Just looking at the 1991 programme for the Jazz in Marciac festival brings back some great memories of long hot summer days and evenings.

Please keep the information flowing - any anecdotes or your memories of a long lost Doretti could help fill in the gaps in a vehicle's history. Could I also ask all owners to send me a potted history of their car and a photocopy of their old log-book. My long-term objective is to compile a comprehensive index of individual car histories.
 ... Ken Yankey



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