Triumph 1300>Dolomite timeline

The bloodline of Triumph’s popular small saloon, the Dolomite, can be traced back to the front-wheel-drive Triumph 1300 of the mid-Sixties.

This timeline charts the key points in the development of the range, right up to the point where it gave way to the Honda Ballade-based Triumph Acclaim.

Year Event Picture
1965 Michelotti-styled Triumph 1300 launched. Front-wheel-drive four-door saloon of monocoque construction, employing the 1296cc four-cylinder engine carried over from the Triumph Spitfirein single-carburettor format.The engine is mounted longitudinally, with the gearbox and differential units mounted beneath the engine block and drive transmitted to the front wheels via a four-speed gearbox.The car wins buyers from its competitors, partly by virtue of its generous specifications and an Îair of perceived luxuryâ. It features all-independent suspension, adjustable steering column, ventilated upholstery, recessed window winders and door handles and front disc-brakes.
1967 Triumph 1300TC launched. Twin carburettor version of the 1300 offering a marked increase in power output and performance, plus the added benefit of servo-assisted brakes.
1970 Triumph 1500 launched. While retaining the front-wheel-drive set-up of the 1300, the body features a restyled nose and tail, with twin headlights, horizontally-mounted rear light clusters and a larger boot. The interior is also restyled, featuring an entirely new design of dashboard. The engine size is increased to 1493cc but employs only a single carburettor. A retrograde step is taken, however, in the replacement of the independent rear suspension with a Îdeadâ beam axle.
Triumph Toledo also launched this year as a rear-wheel-drive, two-door saloon. It features a similar frontal treatment to the 1500, but has single, rectangular headlamps and retains the shorter rear section of the 1300, albeit slightly restyled. It is powered by the 1296cc engine, transmitting its power via a four-speed transmission and Îliveâ rear axle. Some overseas markets receive the Toledo with the 1493cc engine.
1971 Triumph 1300 & 1300TC models are deleted from the range.
Triumph Toledo four-door saloon launched. Otherwise similar to two-door version.
Triumph Dolomite four-door saloon launched, featuring a single overhead camshaft 1854cc engine jointly developed with Saab. It employs twin carburettors and shares its bodystyle with that of the 1500, although it is rear-wheel-drive. Amongst other options, manual overdrive and automatic transmissions are available.
1973 Triumph 1500 model deleted from the range.
Triumph 1500TC launched. Visually almost identical to the 1500, but now rear-wheel-drive.
Triumph Dolomite Sprintlaunched.Based on the Dolomite, this was probably the most important model in the whole range, featuring the world’s first mass-produced 16-valve engine. This sporting flagship model employed a 2-litre single overhead camshaft engine. It was uprated over the Dolomite in many ways, and featured a comprehensive package of instrumentation.
1975 Triumph Dolomite 1300 launched.
Triumph 1500TC now known as Dolomite 1500, featuring single rectangular headlamps. Also available as the Dolomite 1500HL, which features a higher level of trim and the twin-headlamp treatment first seen on the Triumph 1500.
Triumph Dolomite now known as Dolomite 1850HL and featuring an improved level of trim.
1976 Triumph Toledo model deleted from the range.
1979 Limited edition Triumph Dolomite 1500SElaunched.Based on the single-headlamp Dolomite 1500, it features black coachwork, two broad stripes from front to rear incorporating the ÎSEâ motif, Spitfire-style wheels and a Dolomite Sprint front spoiler. The interior features silver-grey velour seats and matching carpets, with burr-walnut veneer on the dashboard and door-tops.
1981 The entire Triumph Dolomite range is deleted, to be replaced by the all-new Triumph Acclaim, developed in collaboration with Honda and based on the Honda Ballade.

Estate proposals

Why was there never an estate version of the 1300, 1500, Toledo or Dolomite? Well, it wasn’t for the want of trying. In fact, there were two separate attempts to give the car a tailgate, but neither was destined ever to reach the showroom…

Year Proposal Picture
1969 Triumph 1300 estateThis mock-up was produced by Carbodies, the Coventry firm who were also responsible for manufacturing the Triumph 2000/2500 estate. However, the rear end of the saloon was also being remodelled at this time, to produce the 1500, so the estate was seen as an expensive distraction and was taken no further.
1972 Project SherpaThis fastback 3-door “estate” was conceived in 1972, perhaps in response to BMW’s 2002 Touring. The car never saw the light of day, but its codename went on to acquire almost legendary status within the Leyland range…

This page was contributed by Dale Turley, with additional information provided by Declan Berridge

Keith Adams

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