An Excellent British Car
It may be remembered that having requested another spell of driving in a Triumph Dolomite Sprint; to enable nte to recap. on this excellent and popular high-performance cornpact saloon from Coventry, a strike made this impossible. But at last the workers allowed the Management and Publicity Department to gain access to their own cars, and the test was on.
I have a great liking for this sixteen-valve four-cylinder single-cam Triumph. But on this occasion I was disturbed to find, after I had gone but a few miles from the office and was in the thick of the home-going traffic by Euston Station, that the fuel gauge, which had indicated plenty of petrol when I set out, now showed an empty tank. Obviously a fuse had “blown” in the electrical system. This had not only zero-ed the fuel-level recorder but had also put out of action the trafficators-which explained certain dirty looks I had received when -changing lanes in the press of the London tangle—and had rendered the horn inoperative. I tried to overlook the fact that this virtually brand-new Triumph was now illegal, for I could manage well enough. But later, when torrential rain began to fall as I gained the Oxford ring-road, I was distressed to discover. that the wipers were likewise out of action.
Replacing the defective fuse was quite simple, if a trifle fumbly, but it immediately blew again, although I had decided the defect lay in the overdrive flick-switch on the knob of the gear lever, and had ceased to use it. I had a miserable run home but the next day the Llandrindod Wells Triumph agent, the long-established Automobile Palace, soon fixed the “short”; although at a charge, mainly for labour, which I would not have cared to face had I been the car’s owner.
Thereafter this excellent car afforded me , fast journeying, much satisfaction, and truly commendable economy of running for nearly 2,000 trouble-free miles, accomplished in just over a fortnight. A full road-test report On the Sprint appeared in MOTOR SPORT When it Was a new model of great interest to Triumph enthusiasts and those seeking an economical, medium-sized, well-appointed saloon with an astonishing performance for a 1,998 C.C. car. So there is no need to repeat the findings of my report, which appeared in October 1973. But I would like now to emphasise that a top speed of 112 m.p.h. and a 0-60 m.p.h. acceleration time of 8½ sec. is truly outstanding from a car of this size and costing but /….25160 with . what constitutes luxury equipment, and to add a few current observations. Clearly, the performance, delivered SO effortlessly, was ideal for disposing of the A355 and towed caravans which abound on Welsh roads in the summer. The Sprint’s controls, including the flick-switch for the overdrive, are splendidly arranged. and the driving stance can be set up as required by reason of the adjustable steering rake, the driver’s seat being comfortable but rather hard for long-duration occupation. Whereas most modern cars seem to be geared to do around 4,000 r.p.m. at the legal British Motorway cruising speed, the Sprint, when ojd top gear is selected, reduces this to a modest 3,500 r.p.m. Not only is this a restful and reassuring Way of doing your 70 m.p.h. but it results in a most commendable conservation of the expensive fuel. You may not believe it, but by very frequent employment of oid I returned 31.8 m.p.g. on one long eun and certainly the fast Sprint driver should get an average of approximately 26 m. g. and by more restrained driving average 30 m.p.g. Moreover, high geared as this Triumph Dolomite is in o/d, which operates in third as well as top gear, the multi-valve engine, with its unusual valve gear, is unusually docile, so it pulls away well in these high gears and feels, indeed, that it could he geared even higher without disadvantage. To achieve this from such a fast and accelerative car is highly creditable and it means that one need not regard the Sprint, in Spite Of its type-name, as a fierce rally-sort-of-car; it can be driven as the mood dictates, fast or less quickly, and it responds to either kind of treatment. The overdrive is well worth the extra £105.01 that it costs.
For cold-starts choking was needed, when the control proved insensitive. The tight turning circle, a Triumph speciality since Herald days, makes the Dolomite an appropriate town-car and the rack-and-pinion mechanism, controlled by a small, anti-sweatbound wheel, functions well. All the many warning lights are contained in one dial, there is a wood-simulated facia and lidded cubbyhole. and the interior of the Sprint is that of a gentleman’s carriage. Ride and handling are well tuned to very rapid handling and altogether this is a car of which Britain and Coventry can be iustifiably proud. The price is right, the economy equally so, and for those requiring it 2-litre sports saloon which the ‘‘it.,2 will find docile to a degree, there is no need to look further than the IO-valve Dolomite Sprint. According to British .Leyland, insurance companies have been so impressed by the safety record of the Triumph Dolomite Sprint that they have reduced its insurance rating from Group 5 to Group 4. The one drove, after a had start, captivated me for that couple of thousand miles and needed no oil or water in that mileage.—W.B.
Resuming this feature, which was excluded last month due to pressure on space, Dinky Toys have recently introduced some good hut non-motoring miniatures, such as a big Striker Anti-Tank Vehicle (Ref. Na. 691), a good model of the Leopard tank with missile-firing gun (No. 692) and a motor patrol boat (No. 675). But more recently Meccano Dinky have introduced a miniature (No. 2253) of a Lancashire Constabulary Police-car to 1/25th scale, this being the first die-cast model of this size to be massproduced. It is a Ford with the V6 engine reproduced under the bonnet and the model is nearly seven inches in length. It is very detailed, with openable doors, boot-lid and bonnet, movable gear lever, tilting front seat backs, instruments, centre arm-rests, full glazing and even simulated carpeting. The Police-car extras And Simulated transmission and exhaust system are included. The recommended UK price it £3.55. Another new Dinky miniature is No. 412, a Bedford AA van to 1/48th scale, 90 mm. long, which sells for 60p.
Grand Prix Models of Radlett continue their Classic Car kits, including one of the twin-cam racing Austin, the type with that big fuel filter beside the driver’s headrest, which has a one-piece steering Wheel and column for easy assembly and is a splendid little model, admirably capturing the details of these very successful pre-war racing ,ustins. The kit retails at 0.30. as does the 1953 Porsche Le Mans coupe kit. Finally, the SS100 Gakken kit has been assembled and goes together very easily, with an excellent finish that requires a minimum of additional painting.—W.B.