Dolomite Sprint

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Sir,

I was most interested in the Staff Photographer’s report on 28,000 miles with a Dolomite Sprint in your March issue,

I am the owner, and sole driver, of a Sprint which has covered, to date, about 26,000 miles. The car was purchased from Messrs. Henlys (Cuffley) Ltd., at the end of February, 1975, and within a mile of Cuffley after collection, a faulty overdrive switch blew a fuse, necessitating a replacement unit to clear the fault. The front nearside shock-absorber was obviously in need of replacement. A spare could not be obtained very quickly, and in the meantime, having only driven 1,432 miles, a valve stuck open and the car was off the road for three weeks. At 3,213 miles the same problem re-occurred and this time all sixteen valves were replaced. I was loaned a car on both occasions to enable me to continue my work.

As the car was still being “run-in” it was not until it had completed 6,000 miles that serious vibration, when braking from high speeds, was noticed. This was thought to be caused by distorted front discs, These were replaced but the vibration persists to this day. By now the clutch was giving reason for concern, but it was agreed to leave this until 12,000 miles had been completed, and a new one was fitted then.

Ever since I purchased the car I was conscious of a peculiarity in its handling, not oversteer, nor understeer, but something just “not right”. Henlys shrugged this off, and it was not until I wrote complaining to British Leyland, that an appointment was made for one of their representatives to road test the vehicle. Within fifteen minutes the trouble was diagnosed. The rear axle was out of true, and the car had to be taken to British Leyland’s Acton Service Depot who discovered that the offside rear radius arm was more than half-an-inch adrift at its anchorage point on the chassis. The correct location point was established, the chassis re-drilled, and the rear axle and suspension correctly assembled, Obviously, the improvement was a delight, and the car handles very much better,

Other than the very chequered history mentioned already, the vehicle runs reasonably well. The engine burns very little oil, and I would estimate that four tyres will last about 30,000 miles. Having previously owned a Fiat 124 Coupe, was I sensible to change?

Barnet, Herts, J. F. MACFARLANE