The carrot is one of the most valuable of all our root vegetables and to-day we are apt to take them a little too much for granted and to forget how rich they are in protective elements. Among other good things they contain “carotene,” one of the important sources of Vitamin A which strengthens our resistance to infection. There is a certain amount of sugar in them, too, and this is useful for our war-time diet. As many a wise mother knows, the child who eats raw carrot freely is most unlikely to have a craving for sweets. Most children, fortunately, love raw carrot and below we have given some suggestions for introducing it into the daily diet. Adults may find it a little strange at first but it is such a real health food that it is well worth while persevering with it.

Some recipes for cooking carrots.
Raw Carrots
The carrots should be well washed, lightly scraped and grated. Children (and adults too for that matter) should have at least two tablespoonsful each day. It may be eaten in sandwiches and is often liked when put between bread spread with margarine and a little vegetable extract. Wholemeal bread goes particularly well with carrot. Here are two other sandwich suggestions.
1. Add two parts of grated raw carrot to one part of finely shredded white heart of cabbage, and bind with chutney or sweet pickle. Pepper and salt to taste.
2. Prepare and cut the carrot into small cubes, and cook in well blended curry sauce. When perfectly tender, the vegetable forms a substantial spread, yielding to the knife.
Raw carrot may also be served grated in a vegetable salad. Put it in heaps on fresh lettuce leaves, or with the finely shredded heart of a cabbage with chopped beetroot, chopped celery, grated apple and so on. Here are two useful salads.
A Quick Salad
An economical winter salad for four people can be made by mixing a teacupful of grated raw carrot with a teacupful of the finely shredded heart of a young cabbage and the contents of a tin of baked beans in tomato sauce.
Carrot Cap Salad
Cook two or three good sized potatoes in their skins. When tender, strain without drying off, to avoid making them floury. Slice and dice neatly; then dress in vinaigrette dressing (two parts of salad oil to one of vinegar, pepper and salt to taste) while they are still hot. Pile in a salad bowl lined with a few shredded lettuce leaves or watercress. Sprinkle with a little chopped chive or rings of spring onion, and pile high with grated carrot. To make a more substantial dish, add one or two boned sardines or fillets of smoked herring.
Steamed Carrots
Wash and scrape the carrots and if large cut into rings. Put them in the top of a steamer, sprinkle with a little salt and steam about 20 minutes. If liked, serve with parsley sauce.
Boiled Carrots
Prepare the carrots as above and boil in a very little salted water in a covered saucepan until tender. Use the liquid for gravy or soup, or thicken it with flour (1/2 oz. flour to 1/4-pint liquid) boil well and serve the carrots in it.
Braised Carrots
Prepare 1 Ib. carrots as above and put in a saucepan with l oz. fat and a few tablespoonfuls of salted water. Put on the lid and simmer until tender. Dish up the carrots and keep hot. Add a generous sprinkling of finely chopped parsley or the feathery tops of the carrots to the liquid in the pan, boil up, pour over the carrots and serve at once.
Carrots Baked Round the Joint
When cooking a joint, prepare carrots as above and put them in the baking tin round the joint. Cover with margarine paper until the last ten minutes.
Carrot Soup
1 Ib. carrots outside sticks and tops of a head of celery 1/2 oz. fine oatmeal a few bacon rinds or 1 oz. bacon fat pepper and salt and a pinch of nutmeg, if liked.
Scrape the carrots and cut into rings. Wash the celery and cut into inch lengths. Frizzle the bacon rinds or melt the fat in a saucepan, put in the carrots and celery and cook gently for about 5 minutes, shaking occasionally. Add 1 1/2 pints of water and simmer for 1 hour; then mash the vegetables to pulp with the blunt end of a rolling pin. Remove the bacon rinds and any stringy bits of celery. Blend the oatmeal with a little water and add to the soup. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, then season and serve with rusks, made by baking the ends of a loaf, or any left over bread, in the oven till quite crisp.
Carrots and Peas
Scrape and slice 1 Ib. of carrots. Boil in half a teacupful of salted water for about 10 minutes. Then put in a teacupful of shelled peas and a little chopped mint. Cover and boil until the peas are ready. Drain, saving the water for gravy or soup, and if possible, toss in teaspoonful of margarine before serving.
Carrots and Sprouts
Scrape and slice the carrots, prepare and slice the sprouts. Steam together until tender (about 15 minutes) sprinkling them with a little salt in the steamer. If possible, toss together with a teaspoonful of margarine before serving.
Carrots and Apples
This may sound an unusual combination but it is very good served with roast meat. Scrape and slice 1 Ib. of carrots; peel and quarter 1/2 Ib. apples. Put a teacupful of salted water in a saucepan, put in the carrots and lay the apples on top. Do not stir. Simmer until both are tender, then take out the apples with a spoon and arrange in the centre of a dish, with the carrots round them. Keep hot. Thicken the liquid in the pan with a teaspoonful of fine oatmeal, mixed to a smooth paste with a little water, add a teaspoonful of margarine if possible, and a pinch of mixed spice if liked. Boil for 5 minutes and then pour over the carrots and apples and serve.
Carrot Savoury
This is light, digestible and delicious for a meatless lunch or dinner. 1/4 Ib. carrots 1/2 teacupful of milk
1/2 oz. margarine pinch of nutmeg
1/2 oz. flour pepper and salt
Scrape, boil, drain and mash the carrots. Melt the margarine in a small pan, stir in the flour, cook together for a few minutes and then stir in the milk. Add the carrot puree, a pinch of nutmeg, pepper and salt to taste and pour into a well greased basin or mould. Steam for 3/4 of an hour.
The dish looks most attractive if the mixture is set in a border mould and the centre filled with cooked spinach or other green vegetables. In any case, tomatoes or a green vegetable should accompany it.
Carrot Croquettes
6 carrots 1 gill of milk
1 oz. margarine 1 oz. cornflour
seasoning to taste fat for frying
Cook the carrots in the usual waytill tender, drain and put through a sieve. Add seasoning to taste. Make a thick white sauce with the cornflour, margarine and milk, and then add the sieved carrot to it. Leave till cold, then shape into croquettes, roll in oatmeal and fry in hot, deep fat. Drain well and serve.
Curried Carrots and Chestnuts in Potato Border
2 Ibs. Carrots 1/2 oz. flour
1 Ib. chestnuts 1 apple peeled and sliced
1/4 oz curry powder 1 stick celery, chopped
1 oz. dripping 1/2 onion (if possible) peeled and sliced
1 pint stock or water 1 tablespoonful plum jam
a dash of vinegar
Scrape and slice the carrots. Nick the chestnuts, put into a pan of cold water, bring to the boil and, while still hot, remove the skins.
Melt the dripping in a pan, put in the apple, onion, celery and curry powder and fry them lightly. Then mix in the water and vinegar, stir well and add the carrots, chestnuts and plum jam. Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Serve with a border of mashed potatoes.

How to store Carrots
The secret of storing carrots is in lifting them (pulling them up) in good condition. Lift them during dry weather, not later than the middle of October. Reject all blemished carrots and all damaged or forked roots. It is not necessary to clean them, but be careful to see they are quite dry.
You will need a dry shed for your storing, if possible with a stone or concrete floor, and some slightly moist sand. If you cannot get sand, earth taken from the top of the ground, shaken through a very fine sieve and slightly moistened, is the best substitute.
Lay alternate rows of carrots and sand (or earth) either on the ground, in pyramid shape, or in boxes. Cover your pyramid or box with sand (or earth). Put over it a layer of straw as a safeguard against frost. The carrots should be stored crown to tail in rows. Use the carrots as you require them, but take care that the remaining pile is always well covered. It is a wise plan to rebuild your pyramid at least once during the winter.


Swallow Dotti




No. 1262 REG No.VTN 793
Swallow Doretti No.1264 Reg No. VTN 793. Brian Jenkins
Introduction by Cyril Harvey
Very little has been written about Swallow Doretti cars used for rallying or racing. Brian Jenkins has kindly written about his experiences with VTN 793. If other members know of information about Dorettis in competition, I should be pleased to hear from you.
My interest in motor sport turned to enthusiasm with the holding of the two local race meetings in 1951 and 1954 at Fairwood Aerodrome. I then joined the Swansea Motor Club who jointly organised those events, and began to compete in their rallies and auto tests driving Austin Seven specials, and Jensen bodied A40 sports. The first sports car I really wanted was a triumph engined Morgan Plus Four, but my parents thought that the A40 was more suitable for a Teenager. The A40 sports (ODE242) however altered my thoughts on how a “modern” sports car should look, so after about a year of events, which included the London ally held in Mid Wales, I saw an advert, with very full description, for a Swallow Doretti, having previously learnt from the factory that all new cars had been allocated and sold. I thought that the Doretti was the ideal car with such excellent modern lines, a strong chassis and super performance from the TR2 engine.
I then got in touch with the advertisers, Mercury Motors of Wembley! They suggested bringing the Doretti to Gloucester, where my father and I would meet J H Staveley, bringing the A40 sports with us. We arrived on the Gloucester ring road to see under a bridge a gleaming silver sports car, which looked more like a Frazer Nash of treble the price. An amicable deal was agreed to part exchange the A40 sports for £425 against the price wanted for the Doretti, of £845.
I then remember driving VTN back via Tintern in the Wye Valley, where we stayed overnight, (no motorways or bypasses in Wales in 1955). The deep exhaust note reverberating between stone walls and houses in village streets, was a musical revelation after the A40.
VTN was finished in metallic grey with a light maroon hood and tonneau cover with toning leather bucket seats, scuttle and door rolls. It was fitted with wire wheels, but not an overdrive. VTN was a unique looking Doretti; for instead of the usual teardrop bulge on the bonnet, it had two air scoops fore and aft (the grilles were from the heater intake of the Morris Oxford Mk2). These were added to reduce heat in the cockpit on long runs from Newcastle to London, often travelled by the first owners, Mr and Mrs Hayman (according to J H Staveley), This modification gave the car a more aggressive and purposeful look, than the standard cars. I then competed in rallies with VTN, winning some class awards and winning outright the Carmarthen Rally, and competing in the 1956 London rally, held in South West Wales. My navigator D F Evans and I just about finished hours late, after D F E had suffered some car sickness, not surprising considering the lanes, rough tracks, fields and river beds, we had traversed that night! Incidentally, at this time. Such events were dominated by TR2s, but a Doretti, even in 1956, was a great rarity. I then concentrated on entering auto tests, because I had difficulty in keeping navigators for long, mainly because they wanted to drive on their own account. I had some success in these tests, winning several local events, and was picked for the Pembrokeshire Motor Club Team in the National Blackpool Tests in 1956 and 1957, and also as a reserve for the Wales Team in the 1958 Ken Wharton Memorial tests at Chateau Impney, Droitwich.
About this time, the tiny Berkeley 500 was winning all the English auto tests, so I bought the demonstration car from the local agents (TCY 622). This proved to be a fantastic car, for that specialised sport, and after winning the Welsh Driving Championship at Aberystwyth, I was picked for the Wales Team for the 1959 Ken Wharton Memorial TV Tests in Dudley; however, VTN was there again, attending as tow car for the Berkeley. In 1960 and 1961, I continued to tow with the Doretti, by now a Berkeley B105 (XCY 887) to auto tests, but increasingly to local sprints and hill climbs, Castel Farm, Llandow, Lydstep, Pembrey and Pontypool Park, when I often entered both cars. By this time VTN was over six years old, but usually beat new MGAs, Austin Healeys and TR3s.
The road holding of the Doretti, was safe and predictable, for I never recall having a “moment” in all the time I competed with VTN. The bodychassis unit, was so strong and rigid, that the doors never dropped or rattled and scuttle shake, was entirely absent. In 1961 I came across an Aston Martin DB2/4 coupe for sale at a garage at Barons Cross, Leominster, and then part exchanged VTN for the DB2/4 (MVJ 974), and until I contracted TR Action and Cyril Harvey, who put me in touch with the present owner Ray Wilton, I had not heard of the car for 33 years.
After a few years with the DB2/4, which had become too heavy for competition, I went back to my first love, a Morgan, and back to a Triumph engine, perhaps the most effective competition application of the TR2/3/4 power unit, the Lawrence-Tune engine installed in a Plus Four Super Sports which I raced for some years before selling it in 1980.
I gained nearly all my early competition and invaluable speed experience, with the Doretti and consider it was a most underrated car. What a pity it did not survive long enough to have the later engines, or even the Lawrence-Tuned unit! What might have been; comfort and performance way above the average, for the time. When I went to order the Plus Four SS at the Morgan factory, I mentioned that I had owned a Doretti to peter Morgan, he replied, “Oh yes, the Doretti was a very good sports car. In fact it was too good really”
I am so pleased to know that VTN exists, and is now being sympathetically restored, and that I and all Swallow Doretti enthusiasts will soon be able to see the result of such painstaking restoration work.
The above is taken word for word from the above pictures, However I do not have the photos which appear in the article, and I cannot say which publication the original came from as it does not seem to be on the scans.

ReBlogged from:W,W,A,K

These two items are being rebolgged from a site called What Women Auto Know, which I have started to follow. It has some very interesting blogs about automobiles from a woman’s point of view, but does it matter what sex we are/ Don’t we all face the same problems when the car plays up?

Why Won’t My Car Start?


This has happened to everyone at one time or another. The questions is, why? Do I need a jump start? Dead battery? Bad starter? Stuck key? Maybe….

What should you do if you hop in your car, push the ignition and… nothing? A “no start” can be caused by a number of different things, from a simple loose connection to a bad starter.

As a mechanic, I begin with the battery and work my way down to other issues that could be causing the problem. I can use sophisticated equipment to diagnose the problem. But like a doctor, the best and most valuable information I can get to diagnose a no-start is by asking you questions.

If your car doesn’t start, know the answers to these questions:

  • Do the lights come on?
  • Does the horn work?
  • How about the radio or video display?
  • Did the car start and then stop?
  • Did the car turn over and then chug before dying?
  • Was there any sound at all when you turned the ignition on?
  • Did you hear, smell or see anything, including dash lights?
  • Has this happened in the past and if so, when?
  • What recent work has been done on your car?

Car Battery 101


We all know what a car battery is, and where it is. And we certainly know when ours isn’t working right! But many women don’t understand what a car battery actually does. Car batteries are just like the batteries we use in other devices, our remote controls, our cell phones, just bigger. In a car, the battery powers the electronic features, and also starts the car.

The car battery kind of works like a self-recharging battery, too. When you turn the key, or push your ignition button, the battery provides a burst of power to start the engine. Once the car is running, the engine’s alternator keeps the battery charged so it will work next time you start the car.


Here are some ways of making your VW campervan big enough for the family!vw+1 VW+2 VW+3 VW+4 VW+5 vW+6 VW+7 VW+8


My thanks go out to the owners of these photos downloaded from Google images,for their use

The Swallow Coachbuilding Company

I think that maybe it’s time to call a halt to this, so at least for a while i will be leaving the swallow to fly the coupe (so as to speak) I don’t want each post to be just like the last, There are numerous pieces about individual cars, but they are more or less the same, being sold at auction, as full a rundown of the history, how the car was refurbished or rebuilt, and even though they are interesting I reckon that they could become a bore. So whilst the viewing figures are out of my world, I will finish with (a) a short potted history and (b) a longer version. You can be the judges of which is the best as I have to get back to my story of Guy’s of Wolverhampton.

 (a)   From Austin Swallow to Swallow Doretti

The Swallow Doretti was built by the Swallow Coachbuilding Company (1935) Limited. But the origins of the company date back to 1922 when William Lyons and William Walmsley established the Swallow Sidecar Company. From the initial manufacture of distinctive motorcycle sidecars at its works in Blackpool the company moved on to building bodies on Austin Seven chassis. In May 1927 the Austin Swallow two-seater made its public debut. They may have been diminutive, but their looks were nevertheless elegant and refined, echoing in many ways what others were doing on bigger vehicles, but displayed a very distinctive styling. Also in 1927, the firm’s name was changed to the Swallow Sidecar and Coachbuilding Company. By 1928 the volume of work had increased to the point that a move to a new factory in Coventry was made to be nearer to suppliers and a larger pool of skilled labour. Until 1931 production was of custom built bodies on a number of other manufacturer’s chassis in a variety of body styles from open tourers to four seater saloons, all built using aluminum over wood frame bodies. Some of the chassis used included Austin, Wolseley, Standard, Morris and Fiat.
Swallow cars were generally sporty looking, but the problem was that their looks were not backed up by performance from the chassis and engines used. William Lyons wanted a way to gain more control over his finished product, and, in 1931 was able to reach agreement with Sir John Black of the Standard Motor Company, to produce and sell to him a modified chassis with the Standard 6 cylinder engine. This was to be the basis for Lyons first total design, which was the car that came to be called the SS.
By 1931 the Sidecar title had been dropped, although sidecars were still being turned out at a steady rate. As Swallow Coachbuilding continued to expand, so did the range of cars it worked on. Lyons branched out into bigger, more powerful chassis and a particular look started to predominate. At the London Motor Show in October 1931, the company unveiled its first efforts as a motor manufacturer with the rakish SS1. The SS might have stood for Standard Swallow or even Swallow Sports, the name of the original sidecar.
Another name change occurred in 1933 when the company became SS Cars Limited. The name change came about because Lyons’ firm was now less about building sidecars, far more about car construction. SS stood, depending on which version you believe, for Standard-Swallow, Swallow Standard, Standard Special or Swallow Special. Be as it may, Swallow Coachbuilding manufactured the S.S. I and S.S. II models until 1936 when a new company, S.S. Cars Ltd. was formed to produce the automobiles. The old company name was kept for the firm that manufactured sidecars. Two years later in 1935 the production of sidecars and motor vehicles was split between two separate companies; The Swallow Coachbuilding Company (1935) Ltd and SS Cars Limited.
World War II placed motor cars production and designing on hold as factories were converted to weapon manufacturing and it also signaled the end of SS Cars Ltd, the name having acquired a dark and sinister connotation with Hitler’s regime.
Immediately after the war, in 1945, when car production resumed the decision was made to change the the name of SS Cars Ltd to Jaguar Cars Ltd. At the same time Lyons decided to divest himself of the sidecar business and concentrate his efforts on motor vehicle production. Negotiations about the disposal of the Swallow Coachbuilding Company with Eric Sanders resulted in the sale of the motor-cycle sidecar business to Helliwells, a manufacturer of aircraft components based at Walsall Airport. Production of Swallow sidecars continued at the Walsall Airport works along with the Swallow Gadabout a motor-scooter designed by Frank Rainbow.
In 1950 the Helliwell Group, including Swallow Coachbuilding, was acquired by Tube Investments Ltd, and Swallow became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the giant TI Group.
Early in 1953 Frank Rainbow began work on the design of the Swallow Doretti, a sportscar which was built at the Walsall Airport works from 1954 to 1955. About 276 cars were constructed before production was abruptly halted by a complely unexpected management decision from the TI Group, the parent company of the Swallow Coachbuilding Company.


(b) History of Swallow sidecars

Swallow “Doretti” sports cars were built in the 1950s at Walsall Airport by the Swallow Coachbuilding Company (1935) Limited, part of the Helliwell Group.

The story however begins in the early 1920s in Blackpool.

It all began when Bill Lyons met William Walmsley who had just moved to Blackpool from Stockport. They both lived in King Edward Avenue, Blackpool and were interested in motorcycles. Bill Lyons was a motorcycle enthusiast, and William Walmsley built sidecars in his parents’ garage, and attached them to reconditioned motorcycles. Bill met William when he purchased a sidecar for his own motorcycle. He persuaded him to expand the business with himself as a partner.
On 4th September, 1922 they formed the Swallow Sidecar Company, funded by financial backing from both their families and a bank overdraft. They began to produce sidecars in a 2 storey building in Bloomfield Road, with 8 employees. Space soon became a problem and two other factory buildings were acquired, one in Woodfield Road, and another in John Street.
They decided to extend their product range to include car bodies, which meant that a much larger factory was essential. As luck would have it, a modern purpose-built coachbuilding factory was up for sale at 41 Cocker Street. Walmsley’s father had just sold his coal business and so decided to invest the proceeds in the building, which he purchased, and rented to Swallow for £325 a year. Late in 1926 the company vacated their other premises and moved into the building, which was ideal for their purpose. In 1927 the company name was changed to The Swallow Sidecar and Coach Building Company.
One of Swallow’s suppliers was A.J.S. of Wolverhampton. A.J.S. built sidecars at Lower Walsall Street Works and sold them under the C. W. Hayward name, later changed to “Graiseley” sidecars. Swallow was one of the company’s best sidecar customers.
Swallow began to purchase new Austin Seven chassis from a dealer in Bolton and fit them with a luxurious, stylish, 2-seater, open tourer body, made of aluminium on a wooden frame. The car, which made its first appearance in May 1927 was called the Austin Seven Swallow and sold for £175. It was popular, and in 1928 a 4-seater saloon was launched, along with the Morris Cowley Swallow. They soon received an order for 50 Austin Seven Swallows from P. J. Evans of Birmingham, and before the year was out, received an order for 500 from Henly’s in London.
From Blackpool to Coventry
In Blackpool they could only produce two a day, and there was a shortage of skilled labour, making it difficult to expand. They decided to move to an old 40,000sqft. ammunition factory at Foleshill in Coventry, where there was plenty of space, a large skilled workforce on the doorstep, and in close proximity to their suppliers, which would reduce transport costs. The move was made late in 1928 and production increased to around 50 cars a week. Although the company still made sidecars, the name was changed yet again, to the Swallow Coachbuilding Company.
The following year the company extended the product range and began to build car bodies on Standard, Swift and Fiat chassis. The new models were launched at the 1929 Motor Show, including the Standard Swallow, a large saloon that sold for £245. By 1931 they also produced their own version of the Wolseley Hornet, and the Hornet Special.
Bill Lyons’ ambition was to become a car manufacturer, producing complete cars. He began by arranging for the Standard Motor Company to produce a chassis to Swallow’s design, that was fitted with a Standard Engine. This formed the basis of the successful S.S.1 Coupé which sold for £310. Other models soon appeared including the S.S.1 Tourer. Bill wanted the company to go public, but William Walmsley would have none of it. As a result he decided to let Bill Lyons buy him out, leaving Lyons in sole charge. By the end of 1934 1,800 cars a year were leaving the factory.
In 1935 Bill Lyons founded S.S. Cars Limited. He put the Swallow Coachbuilding Company into voluntary liquidation, and founded the Swallow Coachbuilding Company (1935) Limited. S.S. Cars Limited concentrated on manufacturing cars and later became Jaguar. The Swallow Coachbuilding Company (1935) Limited continued to make sidecars, and was sold to the Helliwell Group when Jaguar was formed in 1945.
Angela and Trevor Davies in their immaculate “Doretti”.

At the 2008 Festival of Black Country Vehicles, at the Black Country Living Museum, Dudley.
From Coventry to Walsall
As a result of the sale, the manufacture of Swallow sidecars transferred to Helliwell’s factory at Walsall Airport, where the company manufactured aircraft components. In 1946 Swallow produced the successful “Gadabout” scooter, designed by Frank Rainbow, and in 1950 the Helliwell Group was acquired by the Tube Investments Group.
In the early 1950s thoughts turned to manufacturing a sports car, mainly for the American Market. Early in 1953 Swallow’s brilliant designer Frank Rainbow was given the task of designing the car, on the understanding that the first production model had to leave the factory within 9 months. He quickly got down to work on the project and the first car arrived in Southern California in September of that year.
A “Doretti” outside Helliwell’s factory at Walsall Airport.


From ‘Flight’ magazine, January 1954.
The 2-seater car is based on the Triumph TR2. Standard Triumph agreed to supply TR2 engines, gearboxes, axles, and suspension units. The bodies were made by Panelcraft Limited, Woodgate, Birmingham. The car has a tubular steel chassis, a 2-litre engine, and a double skinned body with a steel inner shell, and alloy outer shell.
The car is called the “Doretti”, an Italianised version of Dorothy, named after Dorothy Deen, the daughter, and business partner of Arthur Anderson, the importer and distributor for Swallow and Triumph in Southern California.
Although in competition with the TR2 the “Doretti” was more expensive, selling for £1,102 compared with £910 for a TR2. It was also heavier and so had a poorer performance, and less room for driver and passenger alike. Production lasted until 1955 during which time around 275 were built. The chassis numbers start at 1,000 and end at 1,274.


Production at Walsall. From a newspaper cutting, newspaper unknown.(maybe The Walsall Observer)

Another view of Angela and Trevor Davies in their “Doretti”.
At the 2008 Festival of Black Country Vehicles, at the Black Country Living Museum, Dudley.

Unfortunately Sir John Black, Chairman of the Standard Triumph Motor Company was badly injured in an accident, while driving a “Doretti”. Because of this the car became unpopular at his company.
Production ended prematurely because of a management decision taken at Tube Investments, the parent company. Plans had been made to release a new model the Swallow “Sabre”, but sadly this had to be abandoned.
In 1956 the Swallow Coachbuilding Company (1935) Limited was sold to sidecar manufacturer Watsonian.
Unlike many cars, the Swallow “Doretti” has been very successful in preservation. Out of the 275 built, 184 are known to exist, 66 of them in the UK.
1055 1055b 1055engine 1055interior

Some views of the  “Doretti”.number 1055

One final thought, I have some material from magazines of the time, but until I have the time to transcribe them I am not able to blog them as they are not readable when inserted into a blog, (I have tested) These articles are from both sides of the pond and I will get around to doing them so keep a look out if your interested!

1955 Swallow for Sale (but not now)

I had no idea when I found the first information about the Swallow, that there was so much out there, on a vehicle which was built just up the road from where I spent my childhood! There are several versions of the history of the company, the car and how the other motor manufacturers featured in its demise, by threatening Tube investments with no orders from them for parts which The Tube manufactured for the likes of Triumph etc. Also when a car comes up for sale it has it’s history with it as fully as can be given. Below is the add for one which came up for sale in the last few years.


1955 Swallow Doretti For Sale $63,000

Sadly my 1955 Swallow Doretti that I have restored in 2000 and have owned for nearly 30 years is up for sale. In the following paragraphs I will outline the history of the Swallow Doretti as well as the specific history of this car.


History Of the Swallow Doretti
Around 1953 the English firm “Steel and Tube” had a subsidiary coachbuilding company called “Swallow Coachbuilding” . The company had spare capacity. Steel and Tube commissioned Frank Rainbow, a well established automotive designer, to design a car based on the Triumph TR2. The company purchased running gear and fittings from Triumph, but fabricated their own Chrome Moly steel chassis and created an aluminium body to secure to a steel subframe. Between 1954 and 1955 around 280 of these Swallow Doretti’s were produced in hand made fashion. It proven a very elegant shapely vehicle that was reasonably popular in its target market, the US. In fact the “Doretti” part of its name was not Italian, but the Italianised version of the American agents daughter “Dorothy”.
However with full order books the project was abruptly canned and sales discontinued – ostensibly because Jaguar’s directors took umbridge at it’s steel supplier competing in their market with a sports car. Selling steel to Jaguar was more profitable than selling sports cars!

So that is the abbreviated account


History of BK 2962
This Swallow found its way to New Zealand from the UK as an accident damaged write off in 1961, with BK 2962 as its first NZ registration. I purchased it in derelict condition from the basement of Wellington Hospital in 1982 and have owned it for the past 30 years. It underwent a detailed restoration between 1996 and 2004 and has been constantly refined and improved since.
It won concourse for its class at the TR Register Nationals in 2006 and is well know to members of the TR Register, have attended most of the annual events for the past 5 years.
Restoration details:
• – every nut and bolt restoration, every steering joint replaced

• – newly fabricated front guards – aluminium
• – new front and rear springs

• – leather seats and leather dashboard dyed to match vinyl door panels
• – newly fabricated front grill, chromed bronze
• – reconditioned engine with approx 10,000 miles since rebuild
• – extremely sweet running engine, tuned to perfection
• – TR3 engine head and carb setup, gives considerably more horsepower
• – power brakes (original fitting option)
• – factory heater
• – Normanville de Laycock overdrive (original fitting)


This car is as original as I could make it, rebuilt with mostly refabricated original fittings (apart from the TR3 cylinder head). Its drive is typical of a well setup 1955 sports car – quirky and fun and mildly challenging.


Photos taken by current owner (seller)

Asking Price:
$63,000 ono
• – approximate price of similar quality vehicle in UK
• – receipts and documents available for all the work done
• – value of work done is in excess of asking price.
• -Swallow Doretti’s are unique and rare. Only 2 restored SD’s in NZ. Fewer than 300 manufactured.

Wayne Butt
July 2011

0064 6 758 7720

Swallow Dotti Details from Auction

Here are the details of Number 1122 in full from the details issued by the company auctioning it for the owner! You can tell that it is aimed at the American market!

Lot number 70
Hammer value £32,500
Description Swallow Doretti
Registration PCD 514
Year 1955
Colour Powder Blue
Engine size 1,991 cc
Chassis No. 1122
Engine No. TS2769E
“There are few cars that we’ve tested that have created as much interest or drawn so much attention as the new Doretti,” wrote US motoring journalist, Walt Walron, in a glowing test of the car in 1954. “Going into corners as fast as you dare, you feel in control at all speeds, for a quick downshift and a punch of the throttle will invariably pull you out.”

Aimed squarely at conquering the American market, the Swallow Doretti was meant to fill a market niche between the sporty but basic Triumph TR2 and the luxury Jaguar XK120. Designed by Frank Rainbow, it was produced by the Swallow Coachbuilding Company in Walsall – originally founded by William Lyons of Jaguar fame, but now part of the giant Tube Investments Group.

Based on the running gear of the TR2 it shared the same lusty 2-litre 90bhp engine, 4-speed gearbox with optional overdrive, independent front suspension and Lockheed hydraulic drum brakes. However that is where the similarities ended – the mechanicals were bolted to an exceptionally rigid tubular chassis frame, the side members of which consisted of two 3-inch diameter chrome-molybdenum steel tubes reinforced with strengthening plates above and below. Some 100lbs lighter than the TR2 chassis, it carried a double-skinned body of steel inner panels clothed in an elegant alloy shell. For that streamlined Mille Miglia look, the one piece windscreen could be detached and replaced by two aero screens if required.

Praised on both sides of the Atlantic for its good looks and 100mph performance, it was only really criticized for a lack of luggage space and a rather high price: a standard version without overdrive cost £1,102 against £887 for a TR2. By early 1955 some 276 Dorettis had already been sold and plans were well under way for a MkII version, the Sabre, when production was abruptly halted on the orders of Tube Investments HQ. It is thought that other car makers, notably Jaguar, had threatened to stop sourcing components from the TI Group if they continued to develop the Doretti and nothing more was ever heard of the marque.

First registered in Sussex in March 1955, this overdrive-equipped Swallow Doretti has been subject to a total strip down and rebuild over the past 10 years with virtually every part restored or renewed as necessary. Work to the structure of the car included: chassis epoxy coated and floors replaced; aluminium bodywork completely refurbished and repainted in the original colour; all brightwork rechromed. Trim items included new hood, tonneau and sidescreens; complete interior retrim including leather seats and new carpets; new chrome wire wheels, splined hubs and spinners.

Mechanical work included: gearbox and overdrive reconditioned; new wiring loom; radiator recored; new dynamo and regulator; reconditioned starter motor; new stainless steel exhaust. The engine is the original unit and was found to be in rude good health – the vendor believes that the 54,000 miles recorded is probably the genuine distance covered from new, although there is insufficient documentary evidence to verify this.

Needless to say the car is now in lovely condition throughout and is said to drive very well with excellent oil pressure (50psi) and temperature at all times. It certainly performed very well during a short test drive on the occasion of our visit to take these pictures. Taxed and MOTd until February 2010, it comes with a large file of bills relating to the restoration, various road tests and press cuttings relating to the model, an original owner’s manual, original buff log book and modern V5C. The original steering wheel is also included should this be preferred to the wood-rim Motalita item currently fitted. Altogether a lovely example of an exceptionally rare and pretty sportscar from a little-known episode of British motoring history.
In the early 1950s a British conglomerate of around 50 companies came to the fore under the ‘Tube Investments’ name. The ‘TI’ group consisted of so many different suppliers to the automotive industry that the idea was born to build a sports car of their own making. Aimed to the serve the quickly growing American west coast market, the car would also serve as a tool to advertise the group’s broad capabilities.

Responsible for the development of the new sports car was Frank Rainbow, who was originally hired to manage the relationship between TI’s various companies but had also been responsible for the design of the ‘Gadabout’ for TI subsidiary Helliwells, which was Britain’s first scooter. Other driving forces behind the project were head of Helliwells, Ernest Sanders, John Black of Standard-Triumph and Californian Arthur Anderson, who would take up the importing duties of the cars.

Although trained as an engineer , Rainbow had no prior experience designing cars. To complicate things further, he had to work on a very tight deadline and only had two assistants to help him. His job was made easier by the extensive use of Triumph TR2 running gear. To house the proprietary bits, Rainbow developed a steel ladder frame that was constructed from high grade steel supplied by TI subsidiary Reynolds. The chassis was slightly longer and wider than the TR2’s.

Due to the different dimensions of Rainbow’s bespoke chassis, the Triumph four-cylinder engine could be mounted considerably closer to the centre of the car. This gave the new machine a near-perfect 52/48 weight balance. Also carried over from the recently introduced TR2 were the double-wishbone front suspension and live axle rear suspension as well as the drum brakes. The car was clothed in an elegant sports car body also penned by Rainbow. Due to time restraints, no mock-ups were made and the first body was created directly from the full-size drawings.

Among TI’s subsidiaries was Swallow Coachbuilding, which had originally started life as Swallow Sidecars in the 1920s. One of the company’s founders was William Lyons, who had sold the sidecar and coach-building business to TI to focus on the construction of the SS and later Jaguar cars. By the 1950s, Swallow was but a shadow of its former self but its reputation was still strong enough to convince the TI executives to name the car Swallow. Such was the state of the company that the actual construction of the car’s body was entrusted to Panelcraft.

Arthur 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.
Chassis: 1055
Like most Swallow Dorettis, this example was supplied to the American West Coast. In 1955 it was campaigned by Harvey M. Mayer in the Pebble Beach Road Race. The Triumph-powered machine was later acquired by Leo Welch, who parked the car for over three decades in a garage that was visible from the road. Here it was eventually discovered by the current owner some years ago and subsequently submitted to a full restoration. The work was completed in 2008 and since then the car has been regularly displayed, with a return to Pebble Beach in 2011 as the highlight. Several months later, the Swallow Doretti was offered by Fantasy Junction