Tag Archives: Swallow

Coffee, Croissant & Cars 05/16 – Avenue Drivers Club

Last Sunday I popped along to the Avenue Drivers Club meeting just long enough to get today’s snaps before being called out for work before I had a chance to enjoy either a Coffee or Croissant.

Austin 12/4, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol,

Despite arriving shortly after 8 am the 1928 Austin 12/4 above was already leaving indicating the Square was already full.

Kenworth, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol,

Among the larger vehicles packing the Square was this 1999 Kenworth semi.

Honda Civic Type R, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol,

One of several Honda Civic Type Rs circulating was Spoonz, so new the registration is not yet on the DVLA data base.

Toyota Altezza, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol,

A personal import from Japan is the 1998 Toyota Altezza above, known in markets outside Japan as the entry level Lexus IS or GS.

Citroën Visa, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol,

It is amusing to think a couple of French chaps might have piled into the Citroën Visa above and driven all the way to Queen Square for an Avenue Drivers Club meeting, if highly unlikely.

Swallow Doretti , Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol,

Finally even rarer than the Italia 2000 GT which appeared at last month’s Avenue Drivers Club meeting is the Triumph powered Swallow Doretti seen above of which only 280 were built.

Thanks for joining me on this “Coffee, Croissant & Cars 05/16” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I will be looking at another Packard. Don’t forget to come back now !


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 !