The 2002 challenger that never was?

The heretofore mostly unfamiliar (to us) Triumph Dolomite Sprint:

Although the Dolomite proved to be both refined and rapid, competitors such as the BMW 2002 had a performance advantage which was costing Triumph dearly, both in terms of sales and prestige. To remedy this, Triumph unveiled the Dolomite Sprint in June 1973. A team of engineers led by Spen King developed a 16-valve cylinder head with all of the valves being actuated using a single camshaft  rather than the more normal DOHC arrangement. The capacity was also increased to 1,998 cc (122 cu in), and combined with bigger carburettors the output was upped to 127 bhp (95 kW). This represented a significant increase over the smaller 1850cc variant, however it fell short of the original target of 135 bhp (101 kW).

Despite BL engineers being able to extract a reliable 150 bhp (112 kW) from test engines, the production line was unable to reliably build the engines to the same level of quality, with production outputs being in the region of 125 bhp (93 kW) to 130 bhp (97 kW). This led to the original model designation, the Dolomite 135, being replaced at short notice with the Sprint name.

As a result of this new engine the Dolomite Sprint has a claim to be the world’s first truly mass-produced multi-valve car, and the design of the cylinder head won a British Design Council award in 1974. Performance was excellent, with 0–60 mph taking around 8.4 seconds, with a maximum speed of 119 mph (192 km/h). Trim was similar to the 1850, with the addition of standard alloy wheels (another first for a British production car), a vinyl roof, front spoiler, twin exhausts and lowered suspension. By now seats were in cloth on the 1850, and these were also fitted to the Sprint (source).

We are intrigued, to say the least.

Excellent photo— good times up ahead off the Palisades Parkway (though even better driving is to be had further north).

The lucky author owns not just this 1979 Tahiti blue example, but also the achingly gorgeous 1973 Malaga 2002tii alongside it.

Read on

(Hat tip to Damon Lavrinc)


~ by velofinds on May 3, 2010.