The Triumph Dolomite Sprint

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Judged by the volume of letters received in response to the 28,000-mile staff car report, the Triumph Dolomite Sprint obviously found a ready market amongst the Motor Sport type of enthusiast reader.

Almost without exception, the letters related tales of woe qualified with high praise for performance, tractability, comfort and economy. The most frequent complaints referred to overheating and coolant loss, propshaft problems, brake judder, difficulties with track alignment, wheel corrosion, noisy gearboxes, broken throttle springs, poor choke-control, water leaks in the foot-wells, a hunger for fan-belts and poor parts availability. Shock-absorber and suspension bush life appears to be modest.

We wrote to Leyland, enclosing several readers’ letters, requesting their engineers’ comments on the various problems encountered by readers and our staffman. Their slightly edited, and not very constructive, reply appears below, along with additional reactions from readers.

Meanwhile, the sad, saga of. our photographer’s Sprint continues. The week following publication of our story the cylinder head was removed, a new head gasket fitted and one or two other things attended to (not by Leyland, Western Avenue) at a cost of £154. This failed to cure the overheating and coolant loss. The car is currently lounging at Western Avenue (now under new management), returned to them at their request following our story. A thorough check-over has discovered, amongst other things, bent steering rack mountings, a bent steering arm, both, presumably left-overs from the accident damage “repaired” by Western Avenue, the need for a new propshaft, clutch and flywheel, severe wheel corrosion, a gearbox which which is “on its way out”, worn-out shock-absorbers and suspension bushes, etc. Leyland have agreed to repair some of the disrepair free of charge, yet the staffman’s bill will still amount to over £400, representing a total cost of £900 in servicing and repair bills in a modest 31,000 miles. Once again we reiterate that our photographer is a smooth and not over-fast driver, as is witnessed by the 26,000 miles covered by the original set of Dunlop SP Sports; readers’ tyre mileages varied from 14,000 miles upwards.’

We thank the many readers who responded to our request for Sprint-owning experiences and apologise to those whose letters could not be used because of space considerations.

C.R.