It’s back! After a four-year absence and largely down to popular demand, AROnline is pleased to announce the return of the Car of the Month feature – starting this month with Alan Crome’s gorgeous Triumph Dolomite, rescued from being scrapped back in 2001.
Here’s your opportunity to tell us a little bit about your car, why you own it, how you acquired it, what you’ve done to it, what you do with it and what it means to you… I’ve got another one lined up for November (I’ll aim to get them up mid-month), but this part of the site relies entirely on your contributions, so please feel encouraged to send in a few words and pictures on your car. Oh, and don’t worry if the words aren’t professional or the pictures need a polish – we can take care of that.
Don’t be put off, either, if your car isn’t the best of its breed. It’s the enthusiasm and passion for our cars that matters most among this community, so we’re just as happy to welcome anything made out Isopon P38 and chicken wire with its doors hanging off as we are a concours restoration (indeed, it makes me feel a bit better about my own less than perfect fleet). If you love it, so do we.
This month’s Car of the Month was democratically elected via the AROnline Facebook Group. If you haven’t joined it, look it up and apply to be part of the community – though in all honesty I try and keep away as much as I can on the simple basis that every time I do go on there, there’s something painfully tempting for sale.
Anyway, Alan’s picture – the header shot here – was voted as the best among many submitted by AROnline fans. The prize? A moment’s stardom on the site. It doesn’t come much better than that, apart from maybe beer or chocolate. So crack open a cold one, unwrap a block of Fruit and Nut, and read on. Alan over to you…
Meantime, to be considered for a future Car of the Month appearance, please send images and words about your cherished British classic to firstname.lastname@example.org
Words: Alan Crome
This is my 1975 Triumph Dolomite. I bought it locally on the Isle of Wight in 2001, after it had been off the road for around six years – if I didn’t make plans for its collection before the following weekend it was destined for the scrapyard.
‘Happy’ was originally registered in Buckinghamshire in May 1975, finished in Honeysuckle paint with a new Tan interior, and was registered to the CEO of an electrical company which still exists today.
Having somehow found its way to the Isle of Wight, it must have been parked very close to the sea, and it showed – the whole of the front end was completely and utterly rusted out (including the sump!). However, I could see that it still had some merit as both sills and chassis rails were solid. The engine was an unknown quantity, as it had stood for so long and a neighbour had robbed its alternator for their Ford Fiesta (I’m assuming the Ford used a similar Lucas unit). The car was towed the 15-or-so miles home from its resting place (a front garden) by the local Dolomite Club rep, on the back of a his Mk1 Triumph 2000.
The first job was to get the front end rebuilt. Panels were expensive, but I had a stroke of luck in finding a pair of decent second-hand wings at a local autojumble. Another whole donor car was purchased to cut off the front valance, and it also provided me with other much-needed parts (like a sump!). With the welding completed and all parts fitted, the car was in sufficiently solid condition to put through an MoT, which it passed, more or less two years after I’d bought it for £25…
Then, around three years ago, my parents (after selling their bungalow and moving into sheltered accommodation) presented me with a sizeable cheque with Dad telling me “there, you finally get that bloody old car fixed up”.
Some of the money did go towards completing the body restoration. This consisted of replacement doors, a new boot lid, replacement bonnet, rear wheel arch repairs, repairs to the roof and a full respray, all carried out to a high standard by my trusted restorer. I have since replaced the seats and refurbished the interior. The engine and drivetrain have only ever required scheduled maintenance, though I have recently fitted reconditioned carburettors and an electronic ignition.
The car gets used whenever possible, regardless of the weather. To keep the rust at bay, I maintain a strict schedule of waxoyling and to date the car hasn’t ever required any structural welding – fingers crossed it stays that way!