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Triumph Dolomite

Triumph Dolomite Published: 8th Aug 2016 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Triumph Dolomite
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Looking like a truncated 2000, the Dolomite is the smaller, sportier alternative that spawned not only the celebrated Sprint but also a range of lower tier models such as the Dolomite 1300. All, bar the Sprint, make excellent starter classics due to their RWD simplicity and commonality of parts although many lesser Dolomites have long been cannibalised to save a Sprint. But you don’t need this 16 valve sports saloon to enjoy sporty motoring.


Turning the old 1500 into a RWD design for the Dolomite turned this Triumph into a driver’s car, and none more so than the Sprint where that award winning (if fickle) engine added some straight-line sparkle.

Apart from the 1300, overdrive or automatic transmission was optional on all models, although rally takes the edge off the Sprint. Considerably smaller than the 2000, it suffers from restricted interior space and the simpler, more conventional rear suspension does nothing for a harsh ride – a shame as the upmarket interiors were some of the best of their era.

Best models

spec HL and SEs. Take care not to be landed with a Dolomite that has been made into a Sprint – as with around 400 left there’s no excuse for accepting a fake.


Even though a Dolomite Sprint can be worth double that of lesser Dollys, they are still excellent value for money for what they offer. It’s taken a strangely long time for Sprints to become remotely valuable but you can still buy the best for comfortably under ten grand – how much is a rival Escort RS2000 worth? Average cars are fairly easy £4000 purchases but a good 1850 is better than a suspect Sprint. Projects across the board are £1000 jobs which is why you’re better off getting a super Sprint from the start.

Buying advice

Low values, neglect and scarcity of body parts means that cars in less than good condition need careful thought. Rust can be bad and many cars are not worth saving – check everywhere but especially inner panels, floorpans and outer panels all bubble and blister away. Open the bonnet and make sure the inner wings are sound and that the scuttle isn’t riddled with rot and nor the suspension pick-up points. Pre-1976 cars seem to be the most rust-resistant, those built between 1976- ‘78 the worst. The 1300 and 1500 models rely upon conventional Spitfire mechanicals and are generally sound as a pound, but the Dolomites 1850 and Sprint use a ‘half Stag’ engine known for similar cooling, cylinder head and timing chain problems – especially the 16 valve engine. The most likely problem with the manual gearboxes is worn synchro.

The other likely problem is an overdrive that doesn’t engage, probably because it’s simply low on oil or suffering from electrical problems such as a blown fuse, duff relay or broken connection somewhere. Dampers and springs don’t last long plus the anti-roll bar mounts at the front of the car may have broken away. Both interior and exterior trim are very hard to find now, even second-hand and the wood delaminates. Door trim panels, dash tops, seats and carpets are all pretty much impossible to get, although the carpet sets have been recently remanufactured in a decent choice of colours.


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