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Swallow is a name immediately recognised in motoring circles for coachbuilt sidecars and car bodies of the 1920's and 30's, that ranged from the diminutive Austin 7 upwards.

In 1935, William Lyons founded SS Cars Ltd. (later to become Jaguar) as a subsidiary to the Swallow Coachbuilding Co., which he then put into voluntary liquidation in order to form the Swallow Coachbuilding Co. (1935) Ltd.


In order to concentrate on the car market, Lyons sold Swallow to the Helliwell Group in 1945 and in 1946, Tube Investments took over sidecar production.


The Swallow Coachbuilding Co (1935) Ltd., became involved in quite a lot of work for the aviation industry and moved to Walsall aerodrome in Staffordshire.

In 1954, they announced their intentions to enter the car industry again with a two seater sports car based on the Triumph TR2 sports car introduced two years earlier. A deal was made with Standard-Triumph's Sir John Black to supply engines, gearboxes, axles and suspension from the TR2.

As it was to be produced mainly for the American market, it was given the name 'Doretti' after Dorothy, the name of the American importers daughter.

Using a tubular steel chassis, the body was double skinned, with a steel inner shell and an alloy outer shell.

British testers remarked that it was heavier and slower than the TR2, but the American's disagreed on both points. However, despite the fact that it was more expensive than the TR2, it never really gave the TR2 any competition and the car fell from favour with Standard-Triumph when Sir John Black was badly injured while he was driving one.

Swallow stopped production in 1955 after building just over 100 Doretti's.  Except for two coupes (one of them being a 1955 protorype) and possibly one saloon, they were all open two seater cars.

The Swallow Coachbuilding Co (1935) Ltd. was sold to Watsonian, another manufacturer of sidecars in 1956.

Source: Reg J. Prosser

Models produced by Swallow






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