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Triumph Dolomite

Triumph Dolomite Published: 24th Aug 2018 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Triumph Dolomite
Triumph Dolomite
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Why should I buy one?

These small British saloons have handsome, looks along with plush well-equipped interiors and feel sporty whatever engine size. In Sprint form, they’re simply one of the most sparkling Seventies British saloons around. Parts supply is excellent too as is value for money.

 

What can I get?

Triumph’s small saloon line-up was so confusing, we’re not convinced that even Triumph understood it fully. It began in 1965 with the front-wheel drive 1300. This grew into the 1500 in 1970, but also morphed into the Toledo, which eschewed more complex FWD for good, old-fashioned rear-wheel push. But Triumph hadn’t finished yet. The Dolomite was launched a year later, intended as a more lavish variant, the Dolomite used the 1500’s body plus débuted Triumph’s exciting new slant-four overhead-cam alloy-headed engine… which wasn’t actually that new, since Saab had been using it for its 99 since 1968. Then there was 1973’s 1500 TC, which went twin-carb but also adopted rear-wheel drive. Just to perplex customers even more… Initially, the Dolomite was only available in 91bhp 1854cc form.

But this was (greatly) complemented by the Sprint of 1973, with a 16-valve cylinder head and enlargement to 1998cc boosting power to 127bhp. This was (and remains) the halo model.

In ’76, BL realised how incomprehensible Triumph’s small car line-up was, and everything was gathered together under the Dolomite umbrella: the base 1300 with 1296cc, 1500 of 1493cc, 1500HL with added equipment and comfort, 1850HL with comparable trim levels to the 1500HL and finally the sadly unreliable Sprint. In 1979, the SE joined the family; essentially a basic 1500 but with front spoiler, Spitfire-style wheels and upgraded interior. Production ceased in 1980, in favour of the Acclaim. Around 650 Dolomites remain with about third a of those being Sprints.

 

WHat are they like to drive?

Although the lower-powered variants are a little pedestrian, once you get into the realms of the 1850 and beyond, Dolomites are swift and responsive machines, and the Sprint just fizzes with enthusiasm even if experts reckon most didn’t produce the quoted 127bhp. They’re quite also torquey, which means there’s not that much call for frequent gear-stirring – which is handy, as the manual TR6 gearboxes can be notchy. Overdrive is a definite bonus; without, all can feel a little stressed at higher speeds. The rear-wheel drive can make handling a little jiggly if you overcook things, and rough roads aren’t a Dolomite’s friend.

 

What are they like to live with?

You can pick up a lowlier Dolomite that’s usable for under two grand, £3500-£4000 ample to net a prime example. It’s the Sprint where the big money lies – around £5000-plus for a generally good ‘un, getting on for £10,000 for the best. Enthusiastic and well-organised Triumph clubs mean there’s a good support network, and companies such as Rimmer Bros will keep you well-supplied with spares. Being BL cars of the 70s, Dolomites can be on the fragile side.

 

We reckon

Dolomites are the more conventional as well as the traditional drivers cars, with effective underpinnings and all-round ability and agility that doesn’t disappoint if you get a good one.



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