Monday, April 18, 2011

1954 Swallow Doretti

Some history: The Swallow Sidecar Company was founded by Sir William Lyons in 1922. In 1926 the name was changed to Swallow Sidecar and Coachbuilding Company. In 1927 it became just Swallow Coachbuilding Company. In 1931 Lyons created a series of cars he called "S.S." In 1934 Lyons changed the name of the automobile building part of Swallow's business to S.S. Cars Ltd. After the Second World War, the idea of calling anything SS - the same abbreviation used for Hitler's notorious Schutzstaffel - didn't seem like a good idea. Lyons changed the name yet again, this time to Jaguar Cars Ltd. (Think about it... If business changes and history hadn't intervened, one of the most desired cars in the world could have been called the Swallow E-Type. It just doesn't have the same ring to it.) Lyons sold the Swallow Coachbuilding name to a company called the Helliwell Group.

Fallen asleep yet? There's more...

Tube Investments(TI), a company that supplied steel to the British auto industry, took over the Helliwell Group in 1946. It was TI who resurrected the Swallow name - as a car brand - and created this car.

The Doretti was based on Triumph TR2 running gear. The chassis was designed by Swallow (TI). The body panels are aluminum. The car was quick in its day. 60 MPH came in just over 12 seconds and its top speed was around 100 MPH.

Just 276 of these cars were built between 1954 and 1955. It is said that TI stopped building the car out of fear of losing their contracts with other British car manufacturers.

This car is a basket case, but - being as rare as it is - someone will take it on. The body is rough, but complete. The seller says the chassis has no serious rust. The biggest problem will be finding a grille. It will most likely have to be created (big $$$).

As I write this the car has 15 bids and is up to $7000.00. I hope whoever buys it keeps it on the east coast and brings it to shows. This is a car I've only read about. I'd love to see one in person.

Located in Lynchburg, VA, click here to see the eBay listing.

Below is a picture of a restored Swallow Doretti, courtesy of the Swallow Doretti Owners Club.

No comments: