Designed as the successor for the upmarket variants of the front-wheel drive designs, and also for the 6-cylinder Triumph Vitesse, a sporting relative of the Herald, the Triumph Dolomite was presented at the London Motor Show in October 1971.
However due to a number of strikes and other industrial upsets, the car was not reported to be in full production until October 1972. The name "Dolomite" had been used by Triumph for a range of models prior to the Second World War and this name was revived for the new car. The car used the longer bodyshell of the front wheel drive Triumph 1500, but with the majority of the running gear carried over from the rear-wheel drive Triumph Toledo.
Initially, the only version available used the new slant-four 1854 cc engine, which mated an alloy OHC head to an iron block, providing 91 bhp (68 kW) which offered sprightly performance. This was a version of the engine that the company was already providing to Saab for use in their 99 model.
The car was aimed at the then-new compact performance-luxury sector, vying for sales against cars such as the BMW 2002 and Ford Cortina GXL, and was offered with a high level of standard equipment, including twin headlamps, a clock, full instrumentation, luxury seats and carpets, a heated rear window, and a cigar lighter.
Styling was similar to the Triumph 1500, with some updates such as a black painted rear panel, Vinyl D-posts, and new wheel trims. The car was capable of 100 mph (160 km/h), with 60 mph (97 km/h) coming up in just over 11 seconds. An overdrive gearbox was soon made optional, offering relaxed motorway cruising and improved fuel economy, and there was also an optional automatic transmission.
Source: Wikipedia, 2011