Celebrating its fiftieth birthday, the Dolly Sprint was the perfect way to kick off the new series of Wheeler Dealers. The end result was a real treat for enthusiasts of this sporting British classic.
When a classic sports saloon is about to celebrate its 50th birthday it’s guaranteed to get Mike’s interest, which is why this first episode of the new series featured the brilliant Triumph Dolomite Sprint. Our favourite Wheeler Dealer just had to find one.
So it was off to see Sprint restoration specialist, Chris, who had the perfect car. Okay, so the first impression wasn’t great thanks to panels of varying colours and a ropey interior, but it was a solid example with a sound engine. Mike reckoned it felt like a real gem on the test drive. With the deal done for £6250 he just had to convince Elvis…
The master mechanic was slightly disappointed but soon got on-board with the project, so it was time to get cracking and the first job was tackling the inoperative overdrive. Identifying the problem as a faulty solenoid, it was an easy and cheap fix once the gearbox was removed. Elvis completed the work with an overhaul of the unit, including a thorough clean of the filters.
While the Sprint was off at the paint shop Mike could get on with tracking down a replacement interior, and once again Chris came up trumps. A complete set of seats and door cards – black instead of the original beige – was bagged for just £250.
But there was still work on the engine to do. It wasn’t running as sweetly as it should have done, so Elvis stripped and rebuilt the carburettors and made some useful improvements at the same time. £300 was spent on a conversion kit that would mean the British classic could run happily on E10 fuel, which would definitely make life easier for the next owner.
With the car back at the workshop and sporting fresh Pageant Blue paint the boys could get on with finishing this terrific project. Mike looked after getting the bumpers re-chromed, heading off to see a specialist called Alan; the results were nothing short of spectacular. In the meantime, Elvis had a slightly trickier job.
One thing obviously missing from the Sprint was the vinyl roof, so another specialist was called in to put this right. With Elvis helping out, Lee got on with carefully measuring and marking so this finishing touch could be fitted perfectly. There was only one chance to get it right! Lee’s expertise ensured it looked great and it was £520 well-spent.
With just a few last jobs completed the Triumph was done. The total bill came to a whisker over £9800, that money giving Mike and Elvis a desirable British classic they could really be proud of. All that was left was to enjoy a fun test drive, the pair heading to Llandow Circuit in Wales to pit the Sprint against a key rival in the shape of the Ford Escort Mexico.
As for selling it, an example this good was always going to find a buyer and Mike had no trouble getting the full asking price of £13,750. It was a brilliant start to the series, and we can’t wait to see what comes next.
Mike says: What an absolute treat to get a Triumph Dolomite Sprint through the Wheeler Dealers Workshop. This car was ahead of its time with its multivalve engine and overdrive gearbox.
Admittedly, it was a bit of a shed. When I found it, some of the restoration already been completed like the underneath, but all the panels on top needed a complete overhaul. The engine also needed plenty of work including the carburettors.
There’s always that dilemma when restoring a car whether to go completely original, which in this case would’ve meant a tan interior or do what the market wants and that would be the black interior. Of course I chose the latter, so I can get the car sold.
We had really good fun making this show because we put it up head-to-head against a Mark One Mexico Escort on a wicked little track. The truth is it really did hold its own against the Escort when the cameras weren’t rolling and although it didn’t handle as tightly in the bends it’s certainly have more power on the straight.
Having completed the car, we were delighted with the sale and we can’t wait to see how the owner fares with it in the future.”
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