08 November 2010
David Wright documents all the diecast examples of the Dinky Toy that never was. ...
The Dinky Toy that never was
Triumph had been around since the 19th century, moving first from cycles to small cars. In 1933 the company decided to change direction into more sporting cars. It was the Gloria which began this trend, and it was Donald Healey that Triumph to turned for inspiration.
Donald Healey might not have been a trained engineer, or a trained stylist, but he always managed to inspire his teams to produce exceptional cars. The distinctively-shaped Triumph Dolomite Roadster was a fine example.
Already famous for winning the Monte Carlo Rally in 1931, Donald Healey joined Triumph in 1933, soon rising to become the company’s technical director. Having been allowed one expensive indulgence, the supercharged Dolomite Straight Eight, Donald then enhanced Triumph’s production car range of Glorias and Vitesses. The arrival of a new Dolomite range denoted the launch of a new family of four and six cylinder engines.
One feature of the new Dolomites in 1936 was the ‘waterfall’ style of radiator grille, which stylist Walter Belgrove had produced as an obvious inspiration from the latest Hudson Terraplanes. This was distinctive enough but, when added to the style of body which appeared in 1938, it produced a real effect. Well-trimmed and furnished, the Dolomite Roadster, which was produced in very limited numbers, was more ‘drop-head’ than ‘roadster’, and was available in two forms: a four cylinder 1,767cc type, or a six cylinder 1,991cc model with a longer (and even more elegant) wheelbase. On this body, the waterfall grille was matched to a two-seater front compartment, with a long sweeping tail concealing a lift-up panel which hid two further ‘dickey’ seats. Although this was already an obsolete feature, and the whole thing was a trifle over-the-top, it was striking and attractive...
*This is an excerpt of the article 'The Triumph that got away' first published in the December issue of Diecast Collector. To see which issues of Diecast Collector are available to buy online, click here.