1977 Triumph Dolomite 1500HL
(Featured on 12th January 2011)
Registration: RNR 238R
Sellers original description:
An exceptional 1977 Triumph Dolomite 1500 HL with rare, highly desirable and sought after factory overdrive.
One owner from new and just 32,000 genuine miles.
Very original and retaining all of its factory fitted panels.
Always garaged and maintained the car is presented in superb condition complete with original log book, service book and handbook.
The Triumph Dolomite was to become the final addition to Triumph’s small car range with many enthusiasts believing it to be the last “proper” Triumph saloon before being replaced by the joint venture with Honda (way, way more Honda than Triumph) that produced the Acclaim.
The Dolomite evolved from the front wheel drive Triumph 1300 launched in September 1965, designed by Giovanni Michelotti, and the rear wheel drive Toledo which was the replacement for the Herald.
In 1972 the successful drivetrain from the Toledo was mated with Triumph’s 1854cc engine and the Dolomite was born. This was to be the beginning of a much needed rationalisation of Triumph’s small car range completed in 1976 with the introduction of the now rear wheel drive 1500. All models in the range now used the same body shell.
The top of the 1500 range were the HL (High Line) models which had a much improved specification level over the standard Dolomite 1500 including a rev counter, volt meter, separate fuel and temperature dials, and clock all set into a Sprint style curved wood veneer dash. Further additions included adjustable steering column and driver's seat height, head rests, front seat rear pockets, rear centre arm rest and walnut door cappings on all four doors.
Exterior improvements such as twin headlamps, vinyl coverings to the rear roof quarter panels, satin black rear panels and waist line rubbing strips visually set them aside from the lower spec models. The last Dolomites rolled off the Production line in late 1980.
Today, 31 years later, the Dolomite has already reached classic status and as ‘the last real Triumph saloon’ has become highly sought after With the HL versions, especially so.
The most desirable factory option was without doubt Overdrive witch worked with the flick of a switch in the gear knob on 3rd and 4th gear and made for a far more enjoyable and nippy drive. Comparatively few 1500’s, particularly early examples, were produced with Overdrive. Consequently those few 1500’s remaining today that do have Overdrive are considered by many to be the most desirable version of the Dolomite and have become very highly sought after indeed.
To find a 1500 HL with overdrive that has had just one owner and has only covered a little over 30,000 miles from new – well that would be quite a find!
On the 20 January 1977 the first, and only, owner of RNR 238R travelled the 20 miles or so from his home to BL dealers Heron Browett in Granby street Leicester.
The Purpose of his visit was to collect the new car, a Triumph Dolomite 1500HL with overdrive, that he had promised himself for his immanent retirement from his work at Pedigree pet foods in his home town of Melton Mowbray.
From the offset RNR 238R was used sparingly. According to the service book taking 9 months to do the thousand miles required before the first free service was carried out and over 2 years to cover just 4,500 miles.
Prior to the owners retirement RNR 238R was used in the main for just local trips with the furthest being the 40 mile round trip to Nottingham occasionally. When the owner retired the Dolomite, complete with a roof rack, made two trouble free road trips to the owner’s native Poland.
In later years and prior to the owner’s death last year aged 93 RNR 238R was barley used at all. MOT records show that in the last four years the car has travelled less than 1,000 miles.
RNR 238R was cherished, cosseted, always garaged and maintained regardless of cost by its elderly owner. It is now over 34 years since it left the Triumph factory at Canley, Coventry. It remains in superb original condition with all of its original panels.
RNR 238R is a well cared for one owner, low mileage outstanding example of this British classic presented in show condition. It has had a few minor scrapes that have been rectified but on the whole is original, unmolested and, most importantly, remarkably rust free.
It is a very usable classic that will only increase in value if kept in this condition. It ticks all the right boxes and will be of interest to collectors, enthusiasts or even those that just require something a little different for everyday use.
Many people would consider that really nothing wants doing to this car. However, others may want to spend a weekend or so to attend to the few minor items mentioned. Such as sanding down and re varnishing the door cappings (new ones are available at around £20 each) or maybe replacing the damaged chrome/plastic trim etc.