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Featured in the UK Motoring Directory
  July 2006    No.28 Equipo Doretti
 

 

A time warp Doretti has recently surfaced in the United States after being discovered in a Berkeley, California garage. Michael Vogel has recently contacted me to report that he is now the proud owner of chassis number 1037. Michael found the car in the back of the garage after a tip-off from a friend of his brother, he finally acquired the car after negotiating, for over a year, with the daughter of the owner.

Except for the bumpers, the car is in virtually original condition and in very serviceable order, although it seems that some of the paintwork has been repainted. Michael's intention is to keep it as original as possible as it seems to be a very rare "one owner car", with only 43,000 original miles. The car has not been registered since 1968 but seems to be in better driving condition than one might expect. According to Michael, the car drives wonderfully and is a better starter than any other British car he has owned. He is also planning to launch a web site to record the progress of the car's renovation.

Paul McEwen, a member of the TR Register of Australia and owner of No.1261, reports that he has recently purchased another Doretti. The car has been off the road in storage since 1961 and has evidence of a chassis modification that was used by Max Balchowsky on his V8 conversions. According to Paul, it will be a long-term project with a lot of work to be done, so he won't be rushing to get the car back on the road. Currently the vehicle is a rolling chassis with the panel work and painting completed to a very high standard.

A picture of Paul's No.1261, in action at the Melbourne Grand Prix Historic Race, appears at the top of the Doretti website. Paul says he was fortunate to get an invitation to participate in the event but when he realised he would be competing with Aston Martins, Lago Talbot, Cooper Bristol, Lotus Tornado, Bugatti, Ferraris, D-types an Austin-Healey 100S and Stirling Moss driving a Maserati, he admits to becoming slightly nervous. However he acquitted himself well and vividly describes the moment he says he will always remember. "Looking in the rear view mirror, there were two blood-red Maseratis, one driven by Moss, coming up very quickly. One car went either side, towing this pack of ten GP racers with them. The noise was unforgettable, music at its best, and I had the best seat in the house! Something I will never hear again. I am still on a high."

A recent upgrade to the electrical system on my Doretti involved replacing the regular No.1157 rear bulbs with 19-LED 1157/380 bulbs. They are a perfect fit in the bulb-holders, use only 1/20th of the usual power and have a very long life expectancy. The increase in visibility is significant and well worth the extra cost. A possible drawback is that LEDs are polarity sensitive, but since the polarity had been reversed to negative earth when I had previously installed the alternator, there was no problem. For maximum light efficiency match the colour of the bulb to the colour of the lens. Use a red bulb with a red lens and an amber bulb with an amber lens.

Michael Nangreave, co-owner of UVK 775, (No.1196) has bought a Swallow Gadabout scooter that had been in an Isle of Man museum for the last 20 years. The Gadabout was a Villiers-powered scooter, designed by Frank Rainbow in the mid 1940s, and pre-dated the emergence of the Vespa and Lambretta scooters.

A recently published book British Sports Cars by Rainer Schlegelmilch and Hartmut Lehbrink contains some good pictures of Hans Jantsch's Chassis No.1133. Unfortunately the non-original bumpers and the modified rear end (complete with an MGA bumper) may lead some restorers astray. There are also some inaccuracies in the text, for example it erroneously states that Swallow acquired the rights to the Doretti name back in the 1930s. But despite the flaws in the historical coverage, the increased exposure of the marque to a wider audience can only be a good thing.

The May 2006 newsletter of the Coventry Transport Museum featured a comprehensive article about Peter Lockley's NBC 742 (No.1200).

I am very sorry to report the death of Tony Dale, who so very enlivened our 2004 anniversary weekend at Malvern. Although that was the only time I met Tony, he was a true Doretti enthusiast and I will forever regret not taking the opportunity to spend more time in his company.

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 post, e-mail or telephone.
 ... Ken Yankey



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