Triumph Dolomite Sprint
Sporting looks and strong performance have long been the ‘Dolly’ Sprint’s hallmarks, but what should you look out for when buying one? We have the answers for you
Genuinely sporting saloons have always been popular and Triumph fifinally got in on the act in 1973 with the launch of the Dolomite Sprint. Its 2.0-litre engine was topped with an alloy 16-valve cylinder head and single overhead camshaft, giving it genuine pace. It still feels decently brisk even by today’s standards with a top speed not far short of 120mph and a 0-60mph time of less than nine seconds. A modest kerb weight makes the most of the 127bhp on offer and the engine thrives on revs and delivers its performance with a satisfying exhaust rasp. Twin SU carburettors deliver superb throttle response and a car that’s been properly set up feels very lively. Decent torque means it’ll pull cleanly from low revs too, making it as friendly around town as it is on the open road.
A slick-shifting gearbox improves the Sprint’s long-distance cruiser credentials although motorway refifinement isn’t a particularly strong suit, even when combined with the optional overdrive. The automatic gearbox is smooth enough in everyday use and hardly blunts performance, so it’s worth considering.
Elsewhere, accurate and well-weighted rackand-pinion steering boosts driver enjoyment. The brakes deliver plenty of pedal feel and neutral handling and decent ride quality ensure that the Sprint provides plenty of fun on twisty B-roads. The cabin is a good place to be and offers ample room for four with pleasing luxury touches. A surfeit of dials adds to the sporting flflavour and the driving position feels spot-on despite seats that ultimately lack support in the corners. On balance, though, the Sprint is a beguiling mix of the civil and the sporting.
A combination of strong performance and a roomy, comfortable interior makes the Sprint a very appealing ownership proposition that can share classic motoring with family duties. The spectre of rust is never far away and the engine is intolerant of indifferent maintenance, but a good one is a joy to own.