The restoration of 584 DHU in New Zealand
A Personal Project by John Rummery
This is a post production car, assembled from a chassis that was on the production line, but only just started when production ceased in 1955, using all original parts. It was made by one of the Swallow's Directors for his daughter and was first registered in December 1958. Like all other Doretti sports cars it uses Triumph TR2 running gear and instruments, with an aluminium body made by Swallow which was of course was the original coach building side of Jaguar. I imported this car from England in January 2003, and have started a full rebuild as it is in rather sorry but fortunately mostly complete state.
Why a Doretti? I used to own Chassis No.1148 when I was a student in Auckland back in 1964/65. My car was imported by the Horton family of Remuera Auckland and it was a car I thoroughly enjoyed - one of those "you wish you'd never sold". An article in Classic Car (NZ) Magazine in December 2000 rekindled my interest in the marque, and I was thinking about doing another car (having rebuilt a 1928 Hadfield Bean and a 1924 H6b Hispano Suiza already), and so I set about locating all the Doretti in NZ. This I have completed (there are now eight in residence in New Zealand including mine) and I also traced two more that were once here but are now in Australia.
This research also told me that no Doretti owners wanted to sell their car, so if I wanted one importing was the only way. Incidentally, I found my original Doretti in the ownership of the person I sold it to! He re-discovered it by chance some 27 years after selling it, and even more strangely it is here in Whangarei where I live! It will start a rebuild soon too, it is good that we be able to share the knowledge.
Thanks to John Rummery for the information and pictures.
More information and pictures of the restoration can be seen in Part Two of A Personal Project.
Return to the Index of Cars and Owners.