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Featured in the UK Motoring Directory
  December 2004    No.22 Equipo Doretti
 

 

I recently came across a letter published in the December 1982 issue of "Sporting Cars" magazine in which David Miles briefly described some of his experiences in motor sport. David's foray into racing began with the purchase of a 1954 TR2 (SRO 875) which provided his daily transportation as well as giving him a "lot of fun in club meetings at Goodwood and Snetterton and in a few sprints and hill climbs." In 1956 the TR2 was replaced by a Swallow Doretti - VPP 915, chassis number 1144. According to David it had "more attractive lines, more comfort and better finish, the Doretti also handled better than the TR, even though it was slightly heavier." VPP 915 gave David class awards at Brands Hatch and Staverton in addition to good results in other meetings. Eventually marriage and family responsibilities led to the Doretti being exchanged for a Sunbeam Talbot saloon and gentler activities. VPP 915 next appeared in a Belfast scrap-yard where it was bought, renovated and brought back to the mainland by a John Ewing in 1967. The next owner was David Wynn-Smith from whom I acquired the remains of the vehicle in 1990. If anyone has any further information or photographs of the car I would greatly appreciate them contacting me. I am also interested in obtaining a copy or a photocopy of a Doretti article that appeared in issue No.6 of "Sporting Cars" magazine.

Robert Methuen's report of Welbeck Motors buying a batch of ten or eleven Dorettis from Swallow Coachbuilding has been confirmed by a copy of an invoice for RLL 280, Chassis No.1160. The Welbeck invoice, made out to Peter Kirwan-Taylor and dated 6th July 1955, shows the price of a new Swallow Doretti open 2-seater in Black with Green upholstery, inclusive of purchase tax to be £895.

The Classic Motor Show at the NEC proved to be well worth the effort of making the trip to Birmingham. Peter Lockley's brilliant white Doretti - NBC 742 (no.1200) displayed on the TR Register stand attracted a lot of attention and stirred a couple of ex-Doretti owners to share their experiences with me. Simon Seath, a former owner of - TZ 1887, chassis number 1216, recalled that he had bought the car in 1977 and then sold it two years later. The last reported location of No.1216 was in Pennsylvania USA.

Another ex-owner at the show was Mike Wheildon - CJC 165, chassis number 1203, who told me that he owned the car about 40 years ago and wrecked it in an accident in Bradbury near Burton-on-Trent. Interestingly I had already some information about the car on file. First registered as CJC 165 in November 1954, the Cream with Red interior Doretti was bought by a lady from Llandudno - then sold after six months to a garage in Aberwrystwyth. CJC 165 was then purchased by Bill Lowe who owned it for three years before selling it to a Queensferry garage. Current whereabouts unknown.

Can anybody help me track down this dark blue metallic Doretti. Sidney Gee bought the Doretti at a Motor Auction in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, in about 1968-9, when he lived in Derbyshire.  The car was sold it through the same auction about a month or so later to a character from London, who was the partner in a sports car company in London that advertised in Motor Sport at that time.  Sidney cannot recall the name of the company, but says their adverts were quite amusing, based on Jewish humour.  If he recalls correctly, it included the name 'Moshe', and suggests a search of issues from that period may reveal an advertisement for the company.  With regards to the car, Sidney says that it "was a bit of a 'dog' and did not drive well.  However, I only paid £55 for it, since it arrived at the auction late and was VERY dirty.  I sold it for £80.  I only had to repair a brake pipe and clean it before selling.  Oh what fun I had in those days!"

An enthusiast from Australia, who was recently in contact with Paul Webb, says that he came quite close to buying a basket-case Doretti that was being restored on the Gold Coast in the mid-80s and has a whole sheaf of photos he took in the workshop. In early 1998 he says, "I attended the auction at Brooks at Olympia in London where they offered nine Dorettis from the Rabagliati Collection in various stages of undress".

Chassis number 1170, which was initially registered in the UK as 341 DEV, was reported as being shipped to Australia in 1983 and was at one time owned by a Mr. McDonald from Ivanhoe in Victoria. The present owner of No.1170, Joe Caudo, has campaigned the car extensively and it was a 1996 Targa Tasmania class winner. The BRG car with a black hood has been advertised for sale for £12,000 including freight to UK from Australia.

Welcome back to Simon Harvatt who has returned the fold with another Doretti after a few years absence from the group. For a short time Simon was the owner of Chassis No.1052, a badly damaged import from the USA. The car was then moved on to Ian Jenkins in Truro without any repairs being carried out. Now Simon has imported Chassis No.1127 from Norway. The car which formerly carried the UK registration LDN 500, is reported to be in good shape and ready for the road.

It is a little early to be summarizing the year's activities but the 50th anniversary celebrations were certainly the highlight of the year and it was a pleasure to see the enthusiasm of all the Doretti owners. Based on the comments heard at the meeting and the e-mails received the overall response was overwhelmingly positive. Don't forget, let me know your suggestions about where we could hold future meetings.

If you have any comments or suggestions about the Swallow Doretti Page, or news and/or information that you want to pass on to me or other Doretti owners then please contact me by postal mail, e-mail or telephone.
 ... Ken Yankey



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