The ex-London Motor Show Triumph Dolomite DMH1
This car has the distinction of being the only example of the straight-eight Dolomite to have been completed by the Triumph company. Road-ready in the summer of 1934, it was mechanically and stylistically inspired by the Touring-bodied Alfa Romeo 8C 2.3, the finest sports car of its day.
The brainchild of Triumph’s Donald Healey, already Britain’s best known rally driver, and motoring journalist Tommy Wisdom, a 2-litre twin overhead camshaft supercharged engine endowed this charismatic car with a top speed of over 100mph. Bearing the chassis number of DMH1, its initials echoed ‘Donald Mitchell Healey’. But a price of £1,225 was sufficient to deter buyers; so no more Dolomites were built. Three chassis had been laid down, and one of these, with chrome-plated mechanicals, was prepared for display at the 1934 London Motor Show.
Healey ran the Triumph in the 1935 Monte Carlo Rally with high hopes of winning but had the misfortune to be hit by a train on an unguarded level crossing in Denmark; fortunately Healey and his co-driver escaped injury. DMH1 was therefore rebuilt around the remaining chassis—which was accordingly re-stamped. In this form he ran the Dolomite in the 1936 Rally and was placed eighth, the first British car home.
In 1936 the company disposed of the entire project to a young Tony Rolt to race. A couple of years later, everything was bought by London-based racing driver and motor agent Robert Arbuthnot. He rebuilt both cars, enhancing them with open two-seater bodies by Corsica. After a succession of owners, DMH1 was purchased by Jonathan Turner of Ripon, Yorkshire in 2011. He entrusted its restoration to Blakeney Motorsport, the Corsica body being enhanced with Touring-inspired trim and an embryo tail fin – all in the spirit of the original. No static exhibit, Turner regularly drives this rare sports car in historic racing competitions in Britain and Europe.
Car displayed courtesy of Jonathan Turner
The ex-London Motor Show Triumph Dolomite DMH2
This Dolomite is based on the chassis prepared by Triumph for the 1934 London Motor Show. Enhanced with chromium-plated mechanicals, it featured in a Movietone News report of that exhibition. Unlike DMH1, its sister car, which was enhanced with Triumph-designed open two-seater coachwork inspired by the Touring-bodied 8C 2300 Alfa Romeo, DMH2 remained in chassis form throughout its ownership by Triumph. In the summer/autumn of 1936 the company disposed of the entire Dolomite project to a young Tony Rolt who required a car to drive during the 1937 racing season.
DMH2’s chassis formed the basis of his racer, and with it he broke the lap record at Leinster in Ireland; Rolt also participated in DMH2 in various other races over the summer of 1937, culminating in the 200 Miles event at Donington. Although Rolt completed that race he needed a faster car and advertised the Dolomites and accompanying collection of spare parts for sale in December 1937.
DMH1 and DMH2 were subsequently bought by London-based racing driver and motor agent Robert Arbuthnot who transformed them into road cars by having them re-bodied by Corsica. Probably because he only possessed one Dolomite radiator, Arbuthnot renamed DMH2 as ‘HSM’, so called after his High Speed Motors business. Both cars were unsold at the outbreak of the Second World War. Sometime during the war, they were acquired by Reg Parnell.
After the war DMH2 passed through numerous hands before being purchased by Alfa Romeo enthusiast David Cohen in 1979. He commissioned Tony Merrick, who specialised in the restoration of historic racing cars, to rebuild this Dolomite. Its Corsica body, by then in poor condition, was replaced with a replica of DMH1’s Triumph coachwork. The rebuild completed in 1985, DMH2 then passed through the hands of some American owners until it returned to Britain in 2014, having been bought by Tim Whitworth of Ripon, Yorkshire. It is now garaged only a mile or so from DMH1, its onetime stable mate.
Car displayed courtesy of Tim Whitworth