Donald Healey’s 8C Triumph Dolomite
The 8C Dolomite was a straight-eight supercharged near-copy of the Alfa Romeo 8C 2300. Wood’s Wood’s previous book explored the Squire, “an exact contemporary of the Dolomite” (a phrase used four times in the book) and it too was inspired by that iconic Alfa. Like the Squire book, the Dolomite book presents in-depth research, follows an engaging, readable format, and each chapter ends with salmon-colored sidebars featuring related subjects (like a coachbuilder history) and related biographies (ten in all, including one Donald Mitchell Healey), along with chapter notes. The parallel continues in regards to how these books became reality: two Squire owners commissioned Woods to record the marque, and the owners of the two surviving Dolomites (Jonathan Turner and Tim Whitworth) made this book possible.
The subject is covered in eight chapters, starting with a foreword by Donald Healey’s grandson, Peter Healey. The author weaves acknowledgments into the introduction, graciously recognizing the network of support he tapped into (of note, the archive of material and photographs at the Pre-1940 Triumph Motor Club). Like the Squire book, the introduction is followed by a “Landmark dates” section—a timeline that maps the arc of the story. A pre-chapter “Overture” sets the environment for the creation of the Dolomite, concentrating on the blow to British racing stature with an overview of racing powerhouse Bentley Motors and the effects of their withdrawal from racing in 1930 (later slipping into receivership and then acquired by Rolls-Royce just one year later). The parallel continues with a “Car-by-Car” section tracing the histories of the two surviving cars, followed by an appendix detailing the story of the two tribute cars that were made, and a bibliography and index. Both books were printed in China, this one via World Print Ltd.
It’s hard to not draw many parallels between the Squire and Dolomite books—and since they’re both excellent authoritative works, there’s no desire to refrain from doing so. While the Dolomite enjoyed in-depth period press articles, and two interesting treatments in Automobile Quarterly(Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 116–45 and Vol. 24 No. 4, pp. 364–75), both these books are—and will likely remain—the definitive works on these cars. However, there’s at least a chance that more will come with the Dolomite book. The author recognized that there are ownership history gaps and more, so his introduction concluded with an appeal: “The outcome is an extraordinary story of a remarkable sports car and of the personalities who shaped its design, evolution, competition record and rebirth. If anyone would like to contribute anything to this account I would be delighted to hear from them and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org. Those pre-Second World War Triumph company records must be somewhere!”
Copyright 2018, Rubén Verdés (speedreaders.info).
This review appears courtesy of the SAH in whose Journal it was first printed.