Triumph Dolomite Sprint
an everyman classic from Triumph
All images: Leyland Press
If you came to car consciousness any time between Ted Heath and Margaret Thatcher’s premierships, then the Dolomite Sprint will mean a lot to you.
Born from a time of rancour an agitation on the shop floors of Britain – the ‘Dolly’ was an accessible, oily, rust-addled way in to performance – perfect, in the days before greed was considered to be good, for patrolling the A-roads for a chase or a race.
The sporty ‘Sprint’ version of the Triumph Dolomite came with a 16 valve single-cammed engine, an 2 litre V4 that produced around 130BHP. Many claim that this was the first mass-produced, multi-valved engine on a production car. Another first was claimed with the introduction of alloy wheels as standard.
The whole package, with upgraded cloth seats, a vinyl roof, front spoiler and natty colour ways with fetching black pin lines, growled aggressively of a never-before scene sort of everyman bravura.
But the thing that stands out in your correspondent’s memory of the Dolly Sprint was its boat-like handling.
It might have been a cause (or an effect) of my seventeen year old mate’s terrible driving – but even the limited handling requirements of the A127 at 70MPH seemed to push the Dolly to its precarious limits.
The Mark 2 Ford Escort might have been a worthy adversary of the Dolomite’s aggression – but the Triumph had a left-field sort of rusty panache.
Very different than anything that came out of Dagenham.
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