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Swallow Doretti

1955 Swallow Doretti - Sold

(This was originally a for sale page, but the vehicle has now been sold so it is now simply a historic memoire! WB May 12th 2017)

Sadly my 1955 Swallow Doretti that I have restored in 2000 and have owned for nearly 30 years has been sold. In the following paragraphs I will outline the history of the Swallow Doretti as well as the specific history of this car.  

History Of the Swallow Doretti

Around 1953 the English firm "Steel and Tube" had a subsidiary coachbuilding company called "Swallow Coachbuilding" . The company had spare capacity. Steel and Tube commissioned Frank Rainbow, a well established automotive designer, to design a car based on the Triumph TR2. The company purchased running gear and fittings from Triumph, but fabricated their own Chrome Moly steel chassis and created an aluminium body to secure to a steel subframe. Between 1954 and 1955 around 280 of these Swallow Doretti's were produced in hand made fashion.  It proven a very elegant  shapely vehicle that was reasonably popular in its target market, the US. In fact the "Doretti" part of its name was not Italian, but the Italianised version of the American agents daughter "Dorothy".

However with full order books the project was abruptly canned and sales discontinued - ostensibly because Jaguar's directors took umbridge at it's steel supplier competing in their market with a sports car. Selling steel to Jaguar was more profitable than selling sports cars!

So that is the abbreviated account

History of BK 2962

This Swallow found its way to New Zealand from the UK as an accident damaged write off in 1961, with BK 2962 as its first NZ registration. I purchased it  in derelict condition from the basement of Wellington Hospital in 1982 and have owned it for the past 30 years. It underwent a detailed restoration between 1996 and 2004 and has been constantly refined and improved since.

It won concourse for its class at the TR Register Nationals in 2006 and is well know to members of the TR Register, have attended most of the annual events for the past 5 years.

Restoration details:

  • - every nut and bolt restoration, every steering joint replaced
  • - newly fabricated front guards - aluminium
  • - new front and rear springs
  • - leather seats and leather  dashboard dyed to match vinyl door panels
  • - newly fabricated front grill, chromed bronze
  • - reconditioned engine with approx 10,000 miles since rebuild
  • - extremely sweet running engine, tuned to perfection
  • - TR3 engine head and carb setup, gives considerably more horsepower
  • - power brakes (original fitting option)
  • - factory heater
  • - Normanville de Laycock overdrive (original fitting)

This car is as original as I could make it, rebuilt with mostly refabricated original fittings (apart from the TR3 cylinder head). Its drive is  typical of a well setup 1955 sports car - quirky and fun and mildly challenging.