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