The Triumph Dolomite Club - Discussion Forum

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2015 8:27 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 01, 2014 10:43 am
Posts: 206
Location: Deux-Sèvres, France
I'd echo all the above comments regarding the 1850; engines are less stressed in the auto so that might be a good buy. I'm probably biased, but I bought mine recently on the recommendation of a mate who is a very experienced Triumph mechanic - he considers the 1500s have always been more fragile. Pricewise 3k should get you a good one if you are prepared to shop around and be choosy and patient.
Good luck in your search!


1980 Dolomite 1850HL Auto
1977 Dolomite 1500

PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2015 9:55 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2006 4:42 pm
Posts: 4084
Location: Forest of Dean
Just to throw an alternative POV in the mix regarding the age old 1500 vs 1850 debate.....

There's not a lot between an 1850 manual and a 1500 od MPG wise, a well sorted one of either will be in the 35 - 40 range.
I doubt there's a great deal between them off the line either, 1500 mechanicals are enormously lighter. Up to 60 at any rate, the 1850 will have the edge once a dolomites marvellous aerodynamics take over.
I don't think there's much between them on the maintenance front either, both need the bonnet up every 3k miles plus the annual summer lube/tighten/adjust session.
Both are twin carbs which need looking after. Dissy on a 1500 is much easier, no tappets to arse with on an 1850. 1500 engine bearings need changing as a 20k service item, 1850 is closer to the torque capacity of it's gearbox & axle.
There is nothing at all between them handling wise, they are the same car. The weight I think is perfectly balanced in a 1500 and I'm inclined to jump to 'it can't be better in an 1850' but I've not driven an 1850 enthusiastically. Honestly, they're probably so close it's down to the tyre choice taking the edge.

Advantages of an 1850:
Much smoother.
No really, much MUCH more like a modern than a 1500.

Advantages of a 1500 od:
If you have the tiniest bit of mechanical sympathy you can't kill one. Throw as much abuse as you like at an all iron triumph. Overheat it, ignore <insert any maintenance procedure you like here> and it'll keep going until it explodes. Have that tiniest bit of mechanical sympathy and it'll get you home. There's very little indeed on a 1500 you can't ignore until you simply cannot stand the noise any longer. When you get home it will be cheap to fix every single time other than the od box (same box on an 1850 by the way). Overheat a 1850 just a little bit and you're looking at a half walletectomy if you are lucky, the full YE_GODS_HOW_MUCH if the head studs do their much fabled trick.

So if you want easier than a mini to look after and indestructible at the cost of spinny and unrewarding performance wise then 1500 od.
If you want more refined than a mini, a cruiser, are prepared for more complex mechanicals and can cope if the fit hits the shan then 1850.

My history:
76 Mini 1000 auto, about 30k miles experience in and looking after for Mrs.
80 1500 later converted to od, north of 105k miles every one under my foot.
Helped fix dozens of 1850s and travelled in a few.
Sprint owner and perpetual fixer for far, far too many years.

Edited to add another thought as to how you might look at it:
When I was commuting once a fortnight from near Gatwick to Manchester my 1500 was ok. Only OK. It needed the overdrive I hadn't got at the time. I only did about 6 months of that.
When I was commuting daily from Gatwick to Heathrow (35 each way) and later Bracknell (40 each way) my 1500 with od was exemplary. Holidays in Scotland, Cornwall, North wales, Cumbria all no problem at all.
When I was commuting weekly from the Forest of Dean to Horsham (150 miles) and daily in between about 10 miles I really needed the longer, more relaxed legs of the 1850.

There's not a lot of difference in the latter two weekly mileages but long, long Monday and Friday week after week did not suit the 1500 even with od.

1978 Pageant Sprint - the rustomite, 1972 Spitfire IV - sprintfire project, 1968 Valencia GT6 II - little Blue, 1980 Vermillion 1500HL - resting. 1974 Sienna 1500TC, Mrs Weevils big brown.

PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2015 1:31 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2006 8:45 pm
Posts: 11469
Location: Middlesex
Just to put another POV to what Tin says and is entirely experience based in his case so worth hearing...

The weight difference between the 2 sets of mechanicals is actually a lot less than Tin says. The 1850 gets an alloy head and
an alloy bell housing. Off the line the 1500 can feel falsely its gear ratio set is so low in 1 and 2 especially.
An 1850 has a much closer ratio gearbox and will actually do 45 in 1st and over 60 in second. So if you hang on the the lower gears
an 1850 will leave a 1500 far behind...every time.

Not to mention it also has another 20+ bhp to hand....

Is it marginal on the driveline? Not just need to keep the diff oil level and front nose seal under observation.

The trick for a long and happy 1850 life is to keep an eye on the temperature gauge and NEVER let the heater run cold. I have had a couple of pretty major over heat incidents popped a gasket after coolant loss on a freezing night with a duff temperature gauge and the other didnt....cooled down and topped up and ran well for years. They almost never run big ends but do need a timing chain and water pump at 80 k miles. I'll take that over the long throw crank and the 20k between reshells myself.

And the 1500 needs a rear roll bar and doesnt get tinted glass...before we get on to the exhaust flange gasket and the core plugs behind the manifold....

My 2 cents. Either is a great choice...


Note from Admin: sadly Jon passed away in February 2018 but his humour and wealth of knowledge will be fondly remembered by all. RIP Jonners.

PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2015 4:58 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2007 12:21 pm
Posts: 210
Location: Liphook, Hampshire
Hello from North Hampshire.
Another vote for an 1850 here, if you can find a good one, an 1850 auto is a lovely daily. Failing that I'd look out for a 1850 od or 1500 od.

I use a 2 door Toledo as my daily, but I only potter about locally, it's a great station run car but terrible on dual carriage ways, too low geared. She'll wiz along at 70 but it's all a bit frentic. She'd probably do 70 all day every day but it's not relaxing.

When in the mood to bounce the valves a bit, she's more than willing and is great fun. I originally wanted to Sprint her, but the older and lazier I get the more likely she'll stay a 1300 till the crank falls out/drops a valve or just expires to be awkward (she's spoilt rotten on the servicing and body upkeep front).

I've also had a 1500 TC Auto which is not a bad old plodder.

As for 1850's (including TR7 engined ones) I've had no more than 5 over the years, but every one has been a cracker. The 8 valve lump idles how a car should, no tappet noise, like a sewing machine. Lovely old things.

Sprints - I've used and abused far too many, I'm trying to kill the engine in my current Sprint, POE (the whole running gear was going into the Toledo but laziness has caught up with me) so I've been trying to kill the engine on track days and general hooliganism. It will go bang sometime, and I can then put my go faster engine/box/axle/suspension in, which will probably go pop on my first outing and I'll regret killing my spare that POE is currently using. (I can't be arsed to pull out a perfectly usable engine to put another in - I'd rather blow one up and then do the swap, it's called being a lazy old b'stard).

As others have said - keep an eye out for a good condition car and you won't regret it.

PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 12:14 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 04, 2013 4:38 pm
Posts: 8
Location: Surrey
Hullo, LewBLew of Hampshire,
I'm in Guildford.
Did you find the car you wanted - you said "next year" in 2015? It's now early 2017.
Would you, or anyone, be interested in buying an early Triumph Dolomite, year 1972, with the 1854 Slant 4 engine (being "early" there was no choice of models so no designatory numbers after the model name). Tax exempt of course. 1 owner (me) from new, full service history, and maintained to manufacturer's standards regardless (almost) of cost continuing as our second car. Regrettably no overdrive available when I bought it. Big (very big) money just spent on sills etc for the MoT now valid for the next 11 months. Colour Saffron. I write a monthly Running Report in Dolly Mixture. It's time someone younger took over the car.
Michael (128)

Michael A Soubry

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