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  Swallow Doretti

  Article Image gallery (21) 1055 Specifications  
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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced from:1954 - 1955
Numbers built:276
Price new:£1,107
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:October 28, 2011
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Click here to download printer friendly versionArthur Anderson's lovely daughter Dorothy was the inspiration for the model name of the new Swallow. Her name was slightly changed to Doretti to add some Italian flair to the car as well. The prototype 'Swallow Doretti' was ready within nine months and it was immediately shipped to the United States for a promotion tour. Anderson pulled out all the stops and had several Hollywood stars pose with the new roadster. As a result, the order book quickly filled up.

When the prototype returned from California, it was accompanied by a list of problems that may needed sorting. Rainbow was happy to fix the issues but pressure from the executives to keep up momentum, forced him to start production of what was basically still a prototype early in 1954. Meanwhile he did work on a second version of the Swallow, which incorporated all the changes. Although considerably more expensive than the TR2, it was based on, the Doretti was in high demand.

Then, with no further reason given, TI ceased production after just ten months during which 276 examples were built. It was long believed that this rather rash decision was taken because the Swallow Doretti was a failure but nearly three decades later journalist Mike Lawrence set the record straight. In a Classic & Sportscar article he revealed that the car had actually become a victim of its own success; rival companies, including Jaguar, had warned TI that they would switch suppliers if the group would continue building cars.

By the time the project was axed, Rainbow had already produced the first two examples of the 'Mk II Doretti', which was dubbed the Sabre. Compared to the original, the second generation Swallow featured an even stronger chassis, a larger luggage compartment and a slight restyle. It could very well have taken the world by storm, considering that the Doretti, with its flaws, had already scared its rivals to take such drastic measures.

Despite the brief production period and limited numbers produced, the Swallow Doretti is far from forgotten. Due to the use of high-grade materials, the survival rate is relatively high but the car is still rare enough to be invited by all the great events like Villa d'Este and Pebble Beach. Frank Rainbow briefly worked for Triumph before returning to his family business. We can only imagine what great cars could have been produced, had he been allowed to continue his work in 1954.

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  Article Image gallery (21) 1055 Specifications