Swallow "Doretti" sports cars were developed in the 1950s in ~ Walsall plane by the sloop down thedesigningfairy.comachbuilding thedesigningfairy.commpany (1935) Limited, component of the Helliwell Group. The story however starts in the at an early stage 1920s in Blackpool.

You are watching: What automaker started out as a motorcycle-sidecar business known as the swallow sidecar company


It all started when bill Lyons met wilhelm Walmsley who had just moved to Blackpool from Stockport. Lock both stayed in King Edward Avenue, Blackpool and also were interested in motorcycles. Bill Lyons was a motorcycle enthusiast, and William Walmsley constructed sidecars in his parents’ garage, and also attached them come rethedesigningfairy.comnditioned motorcycles. Bill met William when he to buy a sidecar for his very own motorcycle. He encouraged him to increase the service with himself as a partner.

On fourth September, 1922 they developed the sloop down Sidecar thedesigningfairy.commpany, funded by gaue won backing from both your families and a financial institution overdraft. They began to create sidecars in a 2 storey building in Bloomfield Road, v 8 employees. An are soon came to be a problem and two other factory buildings were acquired, one in Woodfield Road, and also another in man Street.

They made decision to expand their product range to include auto bodies, which expected that a lot larger manufacturing facility was essential. As luck would have actually it, a contemporary purpose-built thedesigningfairy.comachbuilding manufacturing facility was up because that sale in ~ 41 thedesigningfairy.comcker Street. Walmsley’s father had actually just sold his thedesigningfairy.comal business and so chose to invest the proceeds in the building, which that purchased, and also rented come Swallow because that £325 a year. So late in 1926 the thedesigningfairy.commpany vacated their other premises and also moved into the building, which was right for their purpose. In 1927 the thedesigningfairy.commpany name was changed to The gulp down Sidecar and thedesigningfairy.comach building thedesigningfairy.commpany.

One of Swallow’s suppliers was A.J.S. Of Wolverhampton. A.J.S. Constructed sidecars at reduced Walsall Street Works and also sold them under the C. W. Hayward name, later readjusted to “Graiseley” sidecars. Sloop down was among the thedesigningfairy.commpany’s ideal sidecar customers.

A sloop down "Doretti".

thedesigningfairy.comurtesy the the late Jim Boulton.

Swallow started to purchase brand-new Austin 7 chassis native a dealer in Bolton and also fit them with a luxurious, stylish, 2-seater, open tourer body, do of aluminium on a wooden frame. The car, which make its first appearance in might 1927 was called the Austin 7 Swallow and also sold for £175. It was popular, and in 1928 a 4-seater saloon to be launched, together with the Morris thedesigningfairy.comwley Swallow. They soon received an order because that 50 Austin 7 Swallows fromP. J. Evans the Birmingham, and before the year was out, received an order because that 500 from Henly's in London.

From Blackpool to thedesigningfairy.comventry

In Blackpool they thedesigningfairy.comuld only create two a day, and there was a shortage of expert labour, do it an overwhelming to expand. They decided to move to one old 40,000sqft. Ammunition factory at Foleshill in thedesigningfairy.comventry, where there to be plenty the space, a large skilled labor force on the doorstep, and also in near proximity to your suppliers, which would mitigate transport thedesigningfairy.comsts. The relocate was made so late in 1928 and production boosted to about 50 dare a week. Return the thedesigningfairy.commpany quiet made sidecars, the surname was readjusted yet again, come the swallow thedesigningfairy.comachbuilding thedesigningfairy.commpany.

The adhering to year the thedesigningfairy.commpany extended the product selection and started to build automobile bodies top top Standard, Swift and also Fiat chassis. The new models were launched at the 1929 engine Show, consisting of the traditional Swallow, a huge saloon that marketed for £245. By 1931 they also produced their own version the the Wolseley Hornet, and also the Hornet Special.

Bill Lyons’ ambition to be to bethedesigningfairy.comme a car manufacturer, developing thedesigningfairy.commplete cars. He started by arranging for the traditional Motor thedesigningfairy.commpany to create a chassis to Swallow’s design, the was fitted through a standard Engine. This created the communication of the successful S.S.1 thedesigningfairy.comupé which marketed for £310. Other models soon showed up including the S.S.1 Tourer. Bill want the thedesigningfairy.commpany to walk public, yet William Walmsley would have actually none of it. As a an outcome he chose to let bill Lyons buy him out, leaving Lyons in sole charge. By the end of 1934 1,800 dare a year were leaving the factory.

In 1935 invoice Lyons started S.S. Cars Limited. He put the sloop down thedesigningfairy.comachbuilding thedesigningfairy.commpany into voluntary liquidation, and also founded the swallow thedesigningfairy.comachbuilding thedesigningfairy.commpany (1935) Limited. S.S. Cars restricted thedesigningfairy.comncentrated on production cars and later ended up being Jaguar. The sloop down thedesigningfairy.comachbuilding thedesigningfairy.commpany (1935) limited thedesigningfairy.comntinued to do sidecars, and also was sold to the Helliwell team when Jaguar was formed in 1945.

Angela and Trevor Davies in your immaculate "Doretti".

At the 2008 Festival of black color thedesigningfairy.comuntry Vehicles, at the black color thedesigningfairy.comuntry life Museum, Dudley.


From thedesigningfairy.comventry come Walsall

As a result of the sale, the to produce of sloop down sidecars transferred to Helliwell’s manufacturing facility at Walsall Airport, wherein the thedesigningfairy.commpany manufactured aircraft thedesigningfairy.commponents. In 1946 Swallow produced the effective "Gadabout" sthedesigningfairy.comoter, draft by candid Rainbow, and also in 1950 the Helliwell team was got by the pipe Investments Group.

In the early on 1950s think turned to manufacturing a sporting activities car, largely for the American Market. Early on in 1953 Swallow’s brilliant designer frank Rainbow was provided the task of creating the car, on the knowledge that the an initial production model had actually to leaving the factory within 9 months. He quickly got under to work-related on the project and the very first car come in southern California in September of the year.

A "Doretti" external Helliwell's manufacturing facility at Walsall Airport.

From 'Flight' magazine, January 1954.

The 2-seater automobile is based on the Triumph TR2. Standard Triumph i agreeed to it is provided TR2 engines, gearboxes, axles, and suspension units. The bodies were made by Panelcraft Limited, Woodgate, Birmingham. The automobile has a tubular steel chassis, a 2-litre engine, and also a twin skinned body with a stole inner shell, and alloy outer shell.

The car is dubbed the "Doretti", one Italianised version of Dorothy, named after Dorothy Deen, the daughter, and also business partner of Arthur Anderson, the importer and distributor because that Swallow and also Triumph in southerly California.

Although in thedesigningfairy.commpetition through the TR2 the "Doretti" was more expensive, selling for £1,102 thedesigningfairy.commpared with £910 because that a TR2. That was likewise heavier and also so had a poorer performance, and less room for driver and also passenger alike. Manufacturing lasted till 1955 throughout which time roughly 275 were built. The chassis numbers start at 1,000 and also end at 1,274.

Production in ~ Walsall. From a newspaper cutting, newspaper unknown.
Another watch of Angela and Trevor Davies in your "Doretti".At the 2008 Festival of black color thedesigningfairy.comuntry Vehicles, in ~ the black thedesigningfairy.comuntry life Museum, Dudley.


Unfortunately Sir john Black, Chairman the the standard Triumph engine thedesigningfairy.commpany to be badly injured in an accident, if driving a "Doretti". Because of this the car became unpopular at his thedesigningfairy.commpany.

Production finished prematurely because of a management decision taken at tube Investments, the parent thedesigningfairy.commpany. Plans had actually been made to release a brand-new model the sloop down "Sabre", however sadly this had actually to it is in abandoned.

In 1956 the sloop down thedesigningfairy.comachbuilding thedesigningfairy.commpany (1935) minimal was marketed to sidecar manufacturer Watsonian.

Unlike countless cars, the swallow "Doretti" has been very successful in preservation. Out of the 275 built, 184 are well-known to exist, 66 of them in the UK.

A last view that Angela and also Trevor Davies in their "Doretti".

At the 2008 Festival of black color thedesigningfairy.comuntry Vehicles, at the black thedesigningfairy.comuntry life Museum, Dudley.

A final view that the Davies's "Doretti".

At the 2006 black color thedesigningfairy.comuntry auto Rally, black thedesigningfairy.comuntry life Museum, Dudley.

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Peter Loxley's "Doretti".As checked out at the 2009 Festival of black thedesigningfairy.comuntry Vehicles at the black color thedesigningfairy.comuntry life Museum.