Swallow Doretti

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Swallow Doretti

Swallow Doretti Emblem

Swallow Doretti

1954 - 1955
United Kingdom
4 cyl.
2138 cc
100 bhp
4 spd. man / OD
Top Speed:
100 mph
Number Built:
276 Mk I
5 star
Swallow Doretti
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 5


The Swallow Doretti was a car built by Swallow Coachbuilding, a small firm which once belonged to Jaguar founder William Lyons. It had a Triumph TR2 engine in a tubular chassis-frame, under a strong steel-panelled body with aluminium skins. The front suspension was by coil springs and wishbones, and the rear by semi-elliptic springs with torque arms.

A Chassis Frame with TR2 Underpinnings

The Doretti was very nicely styled, looking a lot like the big Healey 100 which was the best-looking production sports car of its day. As shown in the image below this article, the Doretti was built on a tube chassis utilizing Triumph TR2 mechanicals. Over the Reynolds 531 Cromolly chassis was a body made of a steel inner structural skin and aluminium outer. Most cars were supplied with overdrive and were capable of around 100 mph.

In all, only 276 Mark I cars were made, including a single fixed head coupe version. Development even reached the development of a Mark II version, however unfortunately only two were to, slowly, roll off the production line. The Doretti was designed by in-house engineer Frank Rainbow, and produced in the TI factory at The Airport, Walsall, Staffordshire, England. Production stopped in 1955 when the parent company TI changed policy.

Allegedly, pressure from the British motor industry, most notably Jaguar itself, led to the cessation of production of the Doretti. It is thought that the directors of TI were pressured in that in the production of the Doretti sports car placed TI at an advantage over their customers buying raw materials, creating a serious conflict of interest.

On the Road

A Doretti with overdrive was tested by British motoring magazine "The Motor" in 1954, and their tests showed the car was good for a top speed of 100.2 mph (161.3 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 12.3 seconds. A fuel consumption of 27.9 miles per imperial gallon (10.1 litres/100 km; 23.2 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £1,158 including taxes. The standard version without overdrive cost £1102. At the time a Triumph TR2 cost £88.

The Writing Was On The Wall

When it came out it looked like a serious rival to the TR2, but it cost £1102 pounds against £555 pounds for the Triumph, and it was slower, thirstier and short on passenger and luggage space. Production started in 1954 and ended in 1955. Several came to Australia. It was close, but never really good enough to ensure long term survival.
Swallow Doretti Tubular Chassis
Swallow Doretti
Swallow Doretti

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