Lot 267 - 1938 Triumph Dolomite Straight Six/Eight Honour
|Odometer reading||36,369 miles|
|Result||Sold - £81,760|
We are delighted and proud to offer this significant motor car created in honour of the three magnificent Triumph Dolomite Straight eights built in the 1930s. To understand the car offered today, it is perhaps important to look at why those three cars came about, the first being revealed in 1934. Donald Healey, who had joined Triumph in 1933 from Riley where he had been largely responsible for the Imp and the MPH models, persuaded Triumph's Chairman, Col Holbrook (later Sir Claude Holbrook) to produce a prototype sports car equal to anything on the market and British enthusiasts, including, Earl Howe, Sir Henry 'Tim' Birkin, Tommy Wisdom and Donald Healey, amongst many, especially wanted the Alfas beaten; Sir Henry 'Tim' Birkin and BRDC President, Earl Howe, in particular, publicly criticised the lack of a British sports car capable of competing against their continental rivals.
As Alfa Romeo was cleaning up in competition, with their 8C2300, Healey, unsurprisingly, based the first prototype on the Alfa Romeo design. It is believed that Healey purchased a year old Monza (chassis 2211130 or possibly 2211125) that was stripped and the dimensions recorded. Healey went to Milan to discuss the project with Vittorio Jano who was delighted and honoured that the famous Triumph marque wished to use their design; it was even believed that the car would be called Triumph-Alfa.
However; due to the Dolomites forecasted high production costs with its high technical specification, especially the straight eight engine, and Triumph's perilous financial position, the project was abandoned in 1936. Of the three prototypes produced, two are now in private hands with the third written off on the 1935 Monte Carlo Rally with Donald Healey at the wheel; the car being spectacularly hit by a train on a level crossing. Healey and his co-driver survived with only minor injuries.
Today, set in a rural Oxfordshire village resides a small company named Gloria Coachworks. The owner, Rob Green has become the World's leading specialists in pre-1940 Triumph motor cars, restoring and recreating many examples of the marque. In 2005, Rob built the first of the two Dolomite Straight Eight recreations completing the first in 2009. The second, and Rob's personal car, is the car offered here today. Built upon a modified 1938 Dolomite chassis, the car incorporates all pre-1940 Triumph running gear. The engine, a Dolomite straight six unit, has triple SU carburettors and four exhaust exits. A modification of the exhaust into a Siamese arrangement results in eight fully functioning pipes exiting the coachwork; much as the original cars. To produce an accurate silhouette, drawings were produced from period photographs as all the originals were destroyed during the bombing of Coventry during the Second World War.
The coachwork has been hand fabricated in aluminium over an ash frame and includes a modified Gloria bonnet and a genuine period Ace spare wheel cover. A small hatch, once again hand fabricated in alloy and incorporating a clever hinge assembly, sits behind the occupants and lifts up to gain access to the space behind the seats. As this cannot be lifted when the hood is fitted, the seats have been modified to tilt forward to facilitate alternative access.
A close inspection of the Triumph reveals delightful details and fittings such as the hand modified Dolomite badge mounted upon the radiator that used to read Gloria but is now reading Dolomite; believed to be only seen on the three original cars. The windscreen tilts down to expose the aero screens for when one is feeling in a sportier mood. The interior is trimmed in leather and a matching green tonneau and hood keeps the elements at bay when required. The jack and tools are neatly stowed within storage compartments on the engine bulkhead. Having completed in excess of 2000 miles since completion, it starts easily and shows no evidence of smoking, unsurprising, as all the mechanical components have been overhauled. On the road the Triumph is a delight and revels in spirited driving.
In all, 2700 hours were spent to produce this magnificent and beautiful motor car and due to the time and effort expended Rob has no plans to build another and this has now subsequently fallen into folklore within Triumph circles. A true example of automotive art available at a fraction of the build cost.
Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each lot prior to the sale. Accordingly, buyers are on notice that each vehicle is offered ‘as is/as seen’ subject to the Terms and Conditions for the auction. Buyers are advised to inspect the vehicle in person or use a professional to carry out this service. Historics will not entertain disputes over descriptions.