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Triumph Dolomite

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      17.06.2010 19:35
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      A fabulous classic British car

      I purchased my 1980 Triumph Dolomite 1850 HL for the tiny sum of £800 with a years tax and MOT and I loved it. It was used as a daily car for six months and only let me down once. With only 36 000 miles on the clock it was like new inside and extremely good outside.

      The 1850cc slant four engine with twin SU carbs was extremely torque-y (later used in the Saab 99/900 cars) but is quite a weak engine. The gearbox on the Dolomites is quite heavy and ideally needs an overdrive if long distance is intended. Performance was extremely good with fantastic acceleration from 20-60 making overtaking very easy. The cars handling is good but the suspension was never upgraded from the original 1300cc car so it will slide around quite a lot when pushed, although this is very predictable and easy to correct.

      As an every day car I found it was very comfortable and reliable with lots of period charm. However, in the end I was forced to sell it due to the poor fuel consumption. At 27 mpg these are expensive cars to run and parts, while readily available, are not cheap. Body panels can be hard to come by and a new exhaust costs upwards of £200.

      In my experience the worst part of the car was the rubber mounts for the carbs which leak air and cause poor running and a lack in power. If you buy one of these cars I would strongly recommend these are replaced with solid aftermarket parts. All maintenance is simple and can be done at home.

      As an every day car it would not be to everyone's taste and they do need looking after or they will soon deteriorate. However, for a truly practical, inexpensive and fun weekend car these are fantastic. The performance of the 1850 is not far from the Sprint but at less than half the price and is certainly in my opinion a better choice than the 1300 and 1500 cars.

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