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Triumph Dolomite Sprint (1972 – 1980)

As with many other British Leyland cars of the period, a number of “special tuning” options were available. For the Dolomite Sprint, dealer fitted upgrades to the car included larger carburettors, freer flowing exhaust systems, and competition camshafts. These upgrades were designed by the factory race team and offered in order to homologate the tuning parts for competition purposes.

Performance was excellent with the Sprint taking just 8.4 seconds to reach 60 mph with a max speed of 119 mph it really was a fine mover. Spen King developed a 16-valve cylinder head with all of the valves actuated using a single camshaft rather than a more conventional DOHC arrangement. Capacity was also upped to 1998cc and when combined with bigger carbs, power output increased to 127bhp. This was a massive increase over the 1850 but not quite the 135 bhp Triumph had hoped for. This led to the original designation, the Dolomite 135, being replaced at short notice with the Sprint name.

The Dolomite Sprint can have poor quality repairs due to previous accident damage, so look out for uneven panel gaps as well as corrosion. Cars dribbling rust coloured stains are sure signs of damage to underneath structure. Rust can get behind the brake master cylinder and it can weep corrosion on to the cylinder body which is a dead giveaway. Brake discs can wear below acceptable thickness so check while you’re there.

The Dolomite Sprint will need constant oil changes as it can escape from the porous cylinder head you can check this by removing the spark plug lead holders, any rattles from the top of the engine may indicate an ageing timing chain or camshaft wear. Overheating is the main cause of engine failure on the Dolomite Sprint. You’ve been warned.

Buyers Guide

The Dolomite Sprint can have poor quality repairs due to previous accident damage, so look out for uneven panel gaps as well as corrosion. Cars dribbling rust coloured stains are sure signs of damage to underneath structure. Rust can get behind the brake master cylinder and it can weep corrosion on to the cylinder body which is a dead giveaway. Brake discs can wear below acceptable thickness so check while you’re there.

The Dolomite Sprint will need constant oil changes as it can escape from the porous cylinder head you can check this by removing the spark plug lead holders, any rattles from the top of the engine may indicate an ageing timing chain or camshaft wear. Overheating is the main cause of engine failure on the Dolomite Sprint. You’ve been warned.

If the rear of the car feels a little loose, this could mean worn suspension bushes and vague steering can mean the lower column joint has broken away; something that often happens. Interiors need thorough inspection so take a look at the timber veneer for any cracks, especially on the dashboard as replacements will have to be second hand (unless you know a really good carpenter). Finally check out the seats as these were very often black cloth, the 1970s equivalent of sporty alacantara, which might need reupholstering.

Specification

Years Produced1972 – 1980
Performance0 - 60 mph 8.4 sec / Top Speed - 119 mph
Power & Torque 127 bhp / 124 Ib ft
Engine1998 in line four 16 valves
Drive-train front engine / RWD
TransmissionFour speed manual with overdrive
Weight1004 kg

Valuation

 Launch201220132014201520162017
Concours£1,740£10,000.00£12,500.00£15,000.00£17,500.00£20,000.00£25,000.00
Excellent£5,500.00£6,000.00£7,500.00£10,000.00£12,500.00£15,000.00
Good£3,500.00£4,000.00£5,000.00£6,500.00£8,500.00£10,000.00
Fair£2,000.00£2,500.00£3,000.00£3,500.00£4,000.00£5,000.00

Interesting Fact

The Triumph Dolomite Sprint was the first production car to receive the world’s first multi-valve mass-produced engine.

Mark Wilkinson, Managing Director Says:

“The Triumph Dolomite Sprint was in fact the cheapest high-performance saloon in Britain which is why BMW, Lancia and Alfa Romeo were all 2nd place to the first multi-valve car in production. This sizzling saloon was an icon of the road in the early seventies combining luxury and performance all the way.”

mark says

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