Rumblings, February 1954

A New Sports Car

The Swallow Coachbuilding Co., Ltd., has announced a new 100-m.p.h. sports two-seater called the Doretti, which sounds like a Continental but is actually built at Walsall. Many Triumph TR2 components feature in the Doretti design, which is that of R. G. Rainbow. Thus the engine is a 2-litre, two-carburetter version of the Standard Vanguard, as evolved for the sports Triumph, and from the same source come gearbox, back axle and suspension units.

The chassis frame is special to this new Swallow and consists of a structure of 50 ton steel tubing. Weight distribution is 50/50 and the Swallow Doretti has a wheelbase of 7 ft. 11 in., which is seven inches longer than that of the Triumph TR2, while the track is wider, namely 4 ft. at the front and half an inch less at the back. The car is claimed to have a dry weight of 16 1/2 cwt. in spite of possessing a very smart sports body built on aircraft lines with a double skin formed from 22 gauge/16 gauge steel/light alloy sheet.

It is planned to export the Swallow Doretti in appreciable numbers to America and to make available for it such extras as aero-screens, cockpit covers, undershield, semi spats for the back wheels, and centre-lock wire in place of bolt-on disc wheels.

A rev.-counter, water thermometer and oil gauge are amongst the normal complement of instruments.

The Swallow Doretti is an interesting newcomer, which we shall hope to have the pleasure of road-testing at an early date. Whatever the future holds for it the Doretti will go down in history as the car which crashed while Ken Richardson was demonstrating it, injured Sir John Black, chief of Standards, and resulted in his retirement from the Board — which might well be described as “putting up a considerable black!” The Doretti wasn’t to blame for this unfortunate episode, and the “ill-wind” proverb has come into play in setting up young Alick Dick as head of the Standard empire.

It is interesting that the Swallow Coachbuilding Co. are again building sports cars of Standard components, for more years ago than we care to remember they made sports cars on this basis in the form of Bill Lyons’ Avon Standards.

It is interesting, too, that three sports cars are now on the market which use the Standard Vanguard engine, of which the Triumph TR2 and the Doretti use it in special 2-litre two-carburetter form giving 90 b.h.p. at 4,800 r.p.m :—
Morgan Plus Four … Basic price £565
Triumph TR2 … Basic Price £595
Swallow Doretti … Basic Price Export only

The E.R.A. Anniversary Trophy
This coming season will be the 21st year since English Racing Automobiles, Ltd., was started at Bourne by Humphrey Cook and Raymond Mays.

Humphrey Cook, an ex-works driver for Aston Martin in the old Le Mans days as well as sponsor and team driver of the E.R.A. racing stable, has very generously put up a trophy to commemorate this anniversary and the Aston Martin O.C. has accepted the trophy and the responsibility of staging a suitable annual competition for these racing cars, built up to 1939.

For 1954 it has been decided to stage a special race of 20 to 30 miles at the following meetings organised by the A.M.O.C. at Snetterton: April 24th, July 24th and September 11th, the American Air Force Meeting, July 4th (Independence Day) at Wethersfield and the W.E.C.C. Meeting at Snetterton on June 5th.

Points will be accumulative throughout the season on a basis of two points per start, two per finish and five for first to one for fifth places. It has also been agreed to provide financial assistance in all cases as well as reasonable cash prizes for each race in which placed.

Should other organisers of suitable circuit or hill-climb competitions consider marking this anniversary by making an opportunity for drivers of the grand old racing cars to “have a go” will they contact Ernest Stapleton of the A.M.O.C. with a view to having their event included in the competition for this trophy.

En Panne — Or, No Amps
Nearly thirty thousand members of the R.A.C. took advantage of the Club’s “Get-You-Home Service.” during 1953 — over 3 per cent. more than in the previous year.

Figures published today show that 29,019 members secured assistance through the scheme: 25,837 being car drivers and 3,182 motor-cyclists.

The various causes of the breakdowns dealt with each year under this scheme are carefully analysed by the R.A.C. These analyses, which have been published annually by the Club for over thirty years, afford a valuable indication of the comparative frequency of the different causes. It should be emphasised, however, that in the main breakdowns can be attributed to lack of maintenance or misuse.

In 1953. the most numerous breakdowns were attributed to electrical faults, embracing batteries, starting, ignition, lighting and plugs. These represent 27.56 per cent, of the total in the case of cars and 21.76 per cent. for motor-cycles.

Carburation faults, which figure second on the car list, caused 11.45 per cent, of all recorded failures, closely followed by back axle shafts with 11.27 per cent.

The second most common cause of trouble for motor-cyclists were punctures, which accounted for 13.96 per cent. of the total, compared with 10.09 per cent, for unspecified engine trouble.

A 6-in. Ferrari
Minimodels Ltd. have introduced to their, range of Scalex clockwork models a 4 1/2-litre works Ferrari, which is a nice souvenir of what was undoubtedly the most exciting and one of the most effective Grand Prix cars of the Formula which has just terminated. These Scalex cars are, perhaps, more toys than models, but they are correctly dimensioned and portray very well the appearance and characteristics of the famous cars they represent. The others of the range are an open XK120 Jaguar and DB2 Aston Martin. All have keyless clockwork propulsion and the Ferrari’s front wheels steer and, incidentally, also drive. The Ferrari costs 4s. 9d.

We are able to reveal, as the journalists say, that soon two new models will be added to the Minimodel range, a 4 3/4-in. TF M.G. Midget and a Sunbeam Alpine with Startex self-starter.