I felt considerable sympathy oil reading your report on the Dolomite Sprint. I too bought one of the original mimosa cars and have had very mixed feelings ever since.
I do admit to driving my car fairly hard, hut on the other hand, I wouldn’t have bought a Sprint if I didn’t want to go fast.
I like your photographer I took delivery on the 1st October, 1973; only just, because the garage had to find a replacement gearbox. The first one was found to be defective during the pre-delivery check-up.
I ran-in the car very carefully and had only minor problems with warning lights not working, etc. in the first two thousand miles. However, a nasty squeak developed in the engine compartment which I couldn’t trace until the carburetters fell off, 1 tied them on with rope and managed to get to the garage where it was discovered that the cylinder head was at fault. A new one took five weeks to obtain and fit.
This was in early January, 1974. Having got the car back I ran it in carefully once more. On Whit Sunday in May, the engine seized solid whilst driving up the MI. After a seven-hour wait, the AA “Relay” man arrived and the car was taken to a local garage. The battle to obtain all the necessary hits to build a new engine began. Despite many rude telephone calls and the proverbial letter to Lord Stokes, I was not able to collect the car until late September!
Since then I have had no problems with the engine itself, apart from the “hunting” you mentioned and a tendency to cut-out on idle when hot. I have had, though, a new alternator, clutch slave and master cylinders, brake fluid pipes, radiator (the original was not even 3 Sprint radiator), starter motor solenoid, and four new tyres at 14,000 miles. I still have a clank from the transmission, wind roar front badly fitted doors, and now, synchromesh on 2nd and 3rd gears is going. All in all, I could not rate the Sprint as the best car I have owned. What puts me off buying something new are those shattering prices.
Leicester J. BOWIE