Triumph Dolomite Sprint
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 2
Arguably the best model to come from British Leyland
was the Triumph Dolomite Sprint - which is surprising because the body shell of the Sprint was already eight years old when the car appeared in 1973
. It was first seen clothing the front wheel drive
1300 in 1965.
Then, variously, the body was fitted to the 1300 TC, the Toledo, the 1500, 1500 TC and the Dolomite. When the new Dolomite Sprint was finally introduced, it was powered by an amazing 127 bhp two-litre engine. Based on the cast-iron/alloy unit used in the ordinary Dolomite and the Saab 99, this new engine differed in that the single-overhead camshaft opened four valves
per cylinder; two in each cylinder direct and the other two by an ingenious crossover rocker system.
This meant that the Sprint could have four-valve breathing on one camshaft, whereas most other engines employing quad-valves
needed two camshafts. The 1998cc engine (exactly the same capacity as the six-cylinder 2000 engine) drove through either a four-speed manual with overdrive
or a three-speed Borg-Warner 65 automatic unit to the rear wheels.
The Sprint used an independent front suspension system
, with wishbones, acting as lower trailing links, coil springs, an anti-roll bar
and telescopic dampers, while the rear was non-independent by a rigid axle, lower trailing arms, upper oblique torque arms, coil springs, an anti-roll bar
and telescopic dampers.
Under the Hood
At the heart of the Sprint was a 16-valve version of the Dolomite 1850 engine shared with Saab. In this format the engine developed a staggering 127bhp which gave the car a top speed of 115mph - however reliable sources claimed that well built and tuned engines, with stock components, had been known to give a sustained 150 bhp on the factory test bed, without any hint of valve gear failure.
The Sprint used the four headlamp Dolomite shell reserved for the upper models in the range. Interior trim was also the same which made an odd contrast with the sporty alloy wheels
which hinted at the power available. The standard "Dolomite" name had established itself by June of 1973
when the Dolomite Sprint was announced. Triumph never expected to be able to out-sell the competition at Ford or GM, but it was hoped the Dolomite would provide a healthy market share and thus avoid the marque sliding into oblivion.
Obviously the Dolomite was quite successful at this, remaining in production for 7 years until it finally ceased in August 1980 - with Triumph as a marque following shortly afterwards. The Dolomite Sprint's competition of the day was the BMW 2002
and Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV
. Comparable in performance, the Sprint was less expensive and many believed more comfortable. However it was not on price and performance alone that the Sprint challenged the other sporting types of the day. Having 4 doors made the car far more practical for many - a family sedan for the sporting car enthusiast.
Triumph Dolomite Sprint Quick Specifications:
Front-mounted, water-cooled straight-four. 90.3 mm (3.56 in) bore x 78 mm (3.07 in) stroke - 1998cc (122 cu in). Maximum power (DIN) 127 bhp at 5700 rpm; maximum torque (DIN) 122lb.ft. at 4500 rpm. Cast-iron cylinder block and light-alloy head. Compression ratio 9.5:1.5 main bearings. 4 valves
per cylinder operated, directly and by crossover push-rods, by a single-overhead camshaft. 2 SU HS 6 sidedraught single-barrel carburettors.
Single-dry-plate and 4-speed manual gearbox, with overdrive
operating on the upper two ratios, or Borg-Warner 65 3-speed automatic unit. Ratios for manual 1 st 2.990, 2nd 2.1 00, 3rd 1.390, 4th 1, rev 3.370: 1. overdrive
ratio 0.792:1. Ratios for automatic, 1 st 2.390, 2nd 1.450, 1.450, 3rd 1, rev 2.090: 1. Hypoid-bevel final drive. Ratio 3.450:1.
Front-independent by wishbones, acting as lower trailing links, coil springs, an anti-roll bar
and telescopic dampers, rear-non-independent by a rigid axle, lower trailing arms, upper oblique torque arms, coil springs, and anti-roll bar
Steering: Rack and pinion
. Turns from lock to lock 3.75.
Servo-assisted front discs and rear drums.
13 in x 5.5 in light-alloy.
175/70 H R x 13.
Dimensions and weight:
Wheelbase 96.62 in; track-front 53.94 in, rear-50.79 in; height 54 in; ground clearance 4.25 in; dry weight 21231b; turning circle between walls 31.7 ft; fuel tank capacity 12.5 gals.
4 door, 4-5 seats. Integral with front sub-frame.
Maximum speed 117 rnph, Acceleration 0-60mph 8.5secs. Fuel consumption approximately 26 mpg.. The Sprint was a true
sports saloon and offered incredible performance that
is impressive even by today's standards. The 0 to 100 km/h time was as good as those turned in by the BMW and Alfa (at around 8 to 9 seconds) and with the overdrive
engaged the Sprint was also quite economical at highway speeds. Sales for the Dolomite Sprint remained strong and the model remained in production until 1980.