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Triumph Dolomites

Triumph Dolomites Published: 4th Jan 2018 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

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

Driving

Turning the old 1500 into an older fashioned RWD design for the 1850 Dolomite transformed this staid Triumph into more a driver’s car, none more so than the Sprint where that award winning (if fickle) engine added some 16 valve straight-line sparkle into the range.

Apart from the 1300 and (FWD) 1500, overdrive or auto transmission was optional, although takes the edge off the Sprint in particular. More compact than 2000/2500, it inevitably suffers from restricted interior and boot space while the simpler, more conventional rear suspension does nothing for a pretty jolty and harsh ride – pity as those upmarket wooden embossed interiors were some of the best of their era and the driving position was adjustable and very good for its era.

Values

Even though a Dolomite Sprint can be worth double that of lesser Dollies, and break into five figures, they still represent excellent value for money for what they offer when you consider RS Escort prices. Average cars are fairly easy £4000 purchases but a brilliant 1850 is better than a suspect Sprint for the same outlay.

Projects across the board are £1000 jobs, which is why you’re better off getting a delightful Dolly from the very start saving time hassle and money.

Timeline

1965 Front-wheel drive, four-door 1300 launched with 2000 style interior

1967 1300TC announced featuring Spitfire engine

1970 Rear wheel drive Toledo launched with 1300 two-door body; larger, longer-tailed offshoot becomes four-door front-wheel drive 1500

1972 Dolomite 1850 introduced; rear-wheel drive with ohv engine first developed for Saab

1973 Dolomite Sprint introduced with 2-litre 16-valve engine; Toldeo four-door option while 1500 evolves into rearwheel drive twin carb 1500TC

1976 All models rebranded as Dolomites and two-door body dropped. As the decade progressed various trim levels were adopted such as HL while the later SE and special editions were well specced. All models discontinued in 1979

Best models

Sprint


Still grossly undervalued in terms of price, a good one (some 400 left) is a great sports saloon although auto models lack sparkle

1850


Almost as good as Sprint, especially if TR7 2-litre engine is fitted, they are comfortably cheaper to buy – good spec on late models

1300/1500/TC


The instigator of the range and a good little starter classic if you find a decent one; TC has some novelty value; 1500TC is a good buy

Top five faults

Condition

Lowly interest and values, and scarcity of body parts means that cars in less than good condition need careful thought. Pre-1976 cars seem to be the most rust-resistant, those built between 1976-78 the worst.

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.

Engine

1850 and Sprint use a ‘half Stag’ engine known for similar cooling, cylinder head and timing chain problems – especially the 16 valve engine where head can seize on to the block.

Suspension

Dampers and springs don’t last long plus the anti-roll bar mounts at the front may have broken away completely.

Trim

All are very hard to find now; many lower rung cars sacrificed to save a Sprint. Door trim panels, dash tops, seats and carpets are all pretty much impossible to get.



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