Tag Archives: Doretti

The Lil’ Car That Scared The Fat Cat – Doretti #1196

The Doretti was designed by former Bristol Omnibus apprentice Frank Rainbow while he was working for the Tube Investment Group. In January 1953 Frank was given 9 months to design and build the first Doretti car by Eric Saunders, managing director of the Swallow Coachbuilding Company which became part of the TI Group in 1946 after spawning S.S. Cars in 1934 which became Jaguar in 1945.

Doretti, Castle Combe C&SCAD

In 1952 Eric met Arthur Andersen of the Rome Cable Corporation, who was interested in the production of a vehicle specifically designed for sale in the USA and discussion turned to the production of a car to be designed by Frank with bodies to be made in Wales.

Doretti, Castle Combe C&SCAD

Using his connection with Sir John Black at Standard Triumph, Eric Saunders secured a supply of Triumph TR2 running gear for the Swallow Doretti, a name derived from a marketing company operated by Arthur Andersens daughter Dorothy Deen and Paul Bernhart which was to market the car.

Doretti, Castle Combe C&SCAD

Frank completed the first car with a Reynolds 531 chrome-molydenum steel tube chassis on schedule and it was exhibited alongside a Triumph TR2, which Doretti parent Cal Specialities Company was also responsible for distributing.

Doretti, Castle Combe C&SCAD

From 1954 to 1955 around 280 Doretti’s were built in a factory with a maximum of just 18 employees.

Doretti, Castle Combe C&SCAD

The success of the Doretti frightened Jaguar, which was by now a large customer of the same TI Group that facilitated the birth of the Doretti, into giving Tube Investments an ultimatum to disengage from the Doretti project or loose the Jaguar account. Doretti production halted overnight on the receipt of the ultimatum and thus the Doretti name lives on in around 180 of the cars that are thought to have survived.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s Cal Specialities Company edition of ‘Getting a ‘lil psycho on tyres’ and that you’ll join me again tomorrow for a look at another European sports car that changed the image of it’s manufacturer forever. Don’t forget to come back now !


Classic and Sports Car Action Day – Castle Combe

Austin A55, Castle Combe, C&SCAD

On my way back from a couple of interviews at Sheffield Documentary Festival at the weekend I found time to accept a kind invitation from David Roots to pay a flying visit to Castle Combe for the Classic and Sports Car Action Day.

Cadillac Sedan de Ville, Castle Combe, C&SCAD

As I arrived out on the track caught a glimpse of a huge variety of vehicles ranging from a Wolsely Hornet to a gargantuan, by comparison, Ford Zodiac.

Doretti, Castle Combe, C&SCAD

Since I was on a tight schedule I directed my attention to the even larger variety of vehicles in the car parks and paddock.

Ford Capri, Castle Combe, C&SCAD

Many owners clubs were in attendance including the Ford Capri owners club who’s members brought a fine variety of examples of ‘The car you have always promised yourself‘, along to the show.

Hillman Avenger, Tiger Replica, Castle Combe, C&SCAD

I do not remember the last time I saw a Hillman Avenger Tiger, let alone half a dozen of them !

Jaguar XJ220, Castle Combe, C&SCAD

In the running for most exotic cat at the track was this Jaguar XJ 220, first time I have seen one in the flesh.

Lanchester LD10, Castle Combe, C&SCAD

Another model I do not recall seeing before is the Lanchester Ten.

Morris, Castle Combe, C&SCAD

Richard Edmonds were auctioning a selection of classic cars and commercial vehicles, including the Morris Van above, during the event, their tent was packed out with bargain hunters as I went past.

Pontiac, Le Mans, Castle Combe, C&SCAD

Unfortunately I did not get to hear or see this 350 CUI GTO in action complete with this cool bonnet mounted rev counter. 18 03 12, this car actually turned out to be a Pontiac LeMans Sport.

Reliant Scimitar GTE V8, Castle Combe, C&SCAD

Among the interesting vehicles in the car park was this Rover V8 powered Reliant Scimitar, manufactured originally with a Ford V6.

Alpine Renault A110, Castle Combe, C&SCAD

This Alpine A110 1600 S built for competition was one of several vehicles present with an interesting history in rallying.

Triumph Stag, Castle Combe, C&SCAD

There was also an impressive collection of Triumphs on display almost every type of TR and a couple of Stags.

Looking forward to blogging about some of the 40 vehicles I saw in the coming weeks, my thanks to David Roots, who’s Alfa powered Lenham I blogged several months ago, of the Bath & West Car Club for the invitation to attend.

Thanks for dropping in on today’s Classic and Sports Car edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !