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Featured in the UK Motoring Directory
  April 2008    No.36
 

 

This year Roger Giles has organized a club stand at the 2008 Le Mans Classic event with space reserved exclusively for Swallow Doretti owners and their cars. This means that you still have the opportunity to join us for the weekend July 11th - 13th. Your car will be parked within metres of the track with excellent viewing opportunities and only a few minutes walk from the paddock and the start/finish line. We also have accommodation booked at a hotel within a twenty minutes drive from the circuit, this enables us to have a drive through the French countryside each day plus the bonus of not paying premium rates for accommodation close to the circuit.

Alan Rawlingson, a past owner of 919 DRE, Chassis No.1139 recently contacted me to say that he would like to see the car again. Unfortunately this vehicle seems to have disappeared without trace. I remember making a visit to Burtonwood airfield about ten years ago after hearing rumours of an abandoned Doretti. However the place was under the control of the MOD which made it impossible to gain access to the site. Alan owned No.1139 from 1976 to about 1979 and had bought it while still a student. The car was garaged it at Burtonwood airfield in a hangar rented by the North West Transport Museum Society. When Alanís unpaid garaging costs outstripped the car's value and his meager finances, he abandoned it. Does anyone know what happened to the car?

Len Drake has also been in contact to report that he has purchased Chassis No.1260 for restoration. Len, together with son Steve are the owners of Drakes Motors, a British car business in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. The wrong front bumper is presently fitted and Len is after a replacement. Similarly, the original side curtains are long gone and Len asks is anyone reproducing these or would it be possible to get some pictures and measurements so that he could make something suitable?

Nigel Wilcox is still making good progress with the restoration of DRE 829, Chassis No.1157. He reports that just some tidying up remains to be done on the welding to the steel substructure. Because of the parlous state of the body he elected do the majority of the re-fabrication/welding with the front and rear body still mounted on the chassis. He now has a very solid structure and the alloy panels actually fit. The next stage involves, removing and up-ending the front and rear body sections to access a few otherwise inaccessible areas. The planned boot conversion has been successful and the spare wheel can stand upright within the boot and there is still room for luggage. Not that Nigel intends to carry a spare because he has purchased a set of tubeless wire wheels having used the same successfully on his E-type Jaguar for a number of years. The outer aluminum bodywork will be attended to by a specialist and another has been commissioned to fabricate the complicated alloy tank which Nigel has designed to fit in front of the rear axle.

The original TR2 engine is being replaced with a TR4a engine which is on the bench stripped and cleaned ready for new pistons and liners as well as all the other bits required. A thin belt conversion with a damped pulley will be fitted as well as a rear oil seal conversion. This will be backed up with a rebuilt all syncro gear-box and an A-type overdrive. Another modification planned for the car is the installation of rack and pinion steering. Nigel has been experimenting with racks and columns. He has offered up racks from an MGB, Midget and a Lotus …lan which looks very similar to a TR4 rack although he does not know if it is dimensionally identical - either way it looks very promising. Both the early MGB and Midget columns have the correct spline for the Doretti (TR2) steering wheel but the MGB column finishes about six inches from the bulkhead while the Midget comes much further forward and probably offers advantages in terms of routing only needing a short section and two universal joints either side of the radiator. Either will save the £132 needed for a TR3 upper column which is the other option. A rebuilt TR4 rear axle is ready for installation and fitted with Alfin drums although these had a few problems which are now resolved. New rear leaf springs are on back order along with all the hardware. At the front-end a TR4A suspension set-up complete with Koni's, is ready to fit, (hopefully offering improved suspension geometry) and new Girling 16PB calipers will take care of the braking.

Finally an apology to those people who tried to access the Swallow Doretti website during early February. My web host arbitrarily deleted the site and while it is now back on line, various images and details are still missing. Hopefully I can soon find the time to update the layout.


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