Cars and Owners
Chassis No. 1039
Owner: Ray Bragassa
Location: California, USA
Chassis number 1039 is currently owned by Ray Bragassa of Pasadena, California. This 1954 model was first
registered in Hawaii to a gentleman by the name of Lee Bowman. Ray reckons he was most likely a member of
the military, probably the USAF, as the car was subsequently registered in Louisiana and later, Upland,
Ray bought the vehicle from Clint Barker, a building contractor friend in Orange County, who had taken it
in part payment of a business debt and stored it for 24 years. Clint had owned a Doretti many years before,
but an unfortunate combination of youthful enthusiasm and overstretching of the car's road-holding
capabilities brought that motoring relationship to a premature end when it was T-boned in an accident.
The damaged Swallow was sold on to a used car dealer and Clint's affiliation with the marque was not
renewed until many years later.
Image: Andy Wilsheer
When Ray acquired No.1039 it was in a partially dismantled state, but the bodywork was generally sound and
painted in a silver-grey shade. According to Ray, "the motor and transmission were an unknown
quantity, the interiors of the doors were missing there were no panels, side curtains or fitting
hardware and the rear wheel arch stone guards had also gone astray but, overall, it was in pretty good
condition. In fact, there were only three electrical items that were not 1954 date-coded; these were the
voltage regulator, turn signal relay and flasher unit".
In 1997 the car was trailered to Ray's home in Pasadena, and there it sat for a couple of months while he
worked on other matters. It was during the course of a trip back east that Ray called in to see Tom
Householder and over the course of three days in his company he was able to glean a lot of useful
information. Tom was also kind enough to loan him certain components that he could use as patterns for
making replacement parts.
A complete article about No.1039 can be found in Triumph World, Issue 56, June/July 2004
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