1976 Triumph Dolomite Sprint

Ian Scanlon


Having become very interested in British cars in the second half of the 1960s, I was quite impressed with the article in the September 1973 edition of “Modern Motor” where Harold Dvoretsky introduced the Sprint to Australians. This was followed in the February 1975 edition with a full road test. In 1973 Harold claimed that for his money the Sprint was the best and most advanced model from British Leyland since the introduction of the Jaguar XJ12. Co-incidentally, I have a Series 3 Jaguar Sovereign V12. Nearly two years later before the Sprint was launched in Australia Harold stated that with that performance, comfort and economy the Sprint is an extremely practical proposition.

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1976 Triumph Dolomite Sprint.

Nearly every Australian delivered car was in Mimosa Yellow with a black vinyl roof.

Dennis Harrison wrote a review on Triumph Dolomite Sprint ownership is the August 1998 edition of “Australian Classic Car” magazine. Here he provides a brief history of the car. The Dolomite design goes back to 1965, but was released in the United Kingdom in 1972 with the Sprint released in 1973. They were built in Canley, Coventry. External differences from the standard Dolomite are few, with the obvious ones being the alloy wheels and the vinyl roof.

The stand-out feature of the Sprint is the 16 value 2 litre motor. The motor was the first mass-produced multi-value engine in the world and the Sprint was the first British car produced with standard alloy wheels. Performance was excellent (see graph below) and made it competitive with 2 litres Alfas and BMWs. All Australian Sprints were manual transmissions, a 4 speed with overdrive on third and fourth. 23 000 Sprints were built and only 620 came to Australia, all in Mimosa Yellow. Impressively Harrison states that whatever your size you’ll fit into a Sprint as the seat and steering wheel are both multi-adjustable. He adds that a walnut facia and wood capping on the doors adds a touch of luxury and that the layout of instruments and controls is for real drivers.


As with most people interested in historic and classic vehicles, I have my many favourites. Furthermore, like others, I am always on the lookout for a favourite vehicle or a bargain, or both. I noticed the Sprint in the back of a workshop in the Lower Hunter Valley of NSW in late 2017. It was covered in dust and was not going. It was mostly there and was owned by a guy from East Maitland. Over the next 18 months, I ‘looked in on’ the Sprint a number of times, and had a few conversations with the owner. We could not agree on a price until mid- 2019 when I took delivery of the Sprint. The Sprint was washed (see photo) then covered in the shed, awaiting some electrical work prior to getting it ready for the road and registration. The Sprint is a work in progress.

Motor Sport

As with many other British Leyland cars of the period, a number of "special tuning" options were available for the Dolomite Sprint, offering dealer fitted upgrades to the car that included larger carburettors, freer flowing exhaust systems, and competition camshafts. These upgrades were designed by the factory race team and offered in order to homologate the tuning parts for competition purposes. Sprints were raced in the United Kingdom, Europe and around the world including Australia.

The Dolomite Sprint was campaigned in the United Kingdom with some success, with Andy Rouse winning the Drivers' Championship in 1975, and also Triumph winning the Manufacturer's Title in 1974.  Andy Rouse and Tony Dron ran fifth overall in the Spa 24 Hours Race in 1974. In September Dron took 3rd place overall in the RAC Tourist Trophy race. In 1975 Andy Rouse won the British Touring Car Championship outright by taking the driver's title in a Sprint. In the 1976 British Saloon Car Championship, Rouse finished second in the two-litre class. 1977 saw Tony Dron win seven of the twelve races outright, and narrowly missing out on winning the championship outright. In 1978 Tony Dron won only one race outright and the Sprint managed to win class B in the British Saloon Car Championship. In Australia they competed in the 1977 Bathurst 1000, and then in Group C and Group A touring cars until 1985. Due to a heavier body shell and somewhat fragile engine, the Dolomite Sprint was less successful in rallying.



4 cylinder, 45 degree slant, 1998 cc, sohc, 16 valves, 127 bhp @ 5700 rpm, 9.5:1 compression ratio


4-speed manual floor change, overdrive on 3rd and 4th


Rack and pinion, 9.4 metres turning circle


Independent at front with coil springs, and 4 links live axle and coils at the rear.


Discs front and drums rear

Tyres and wheels

175/70 X 13 inch



0-80 kph

6.0 seconds

0-100 kph

8.8 seconds

Top Speed

185 kph (115 mph)

Fuel consumption

23 – 28 mpg (12 – 10 litres/100 kms)


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Novel and effective advertising highlighting the performance of a Triumph Dolomite Sprint.

Ian Scanlon

April, 2020.