Swallow Doretti
Cars and Owners

Chassis No. 1039
Owner: Ray Bragassa
Location: California, USA

Chassis No.1039

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, California.

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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