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Race, Daily, Restore: Sprinty Freshness

Peter Tanshanomi February 27, 2017 Race/Daily/Restore 28 Comments

Sprinters are fast. Maybe they’re not the fastest over the long haul, but for the short time they run, they run faster than anybody. In motorsport, sprint races are short, but intense. Today, we have three very different cars, all of which wore the word Sprint as part of their name, either as a trim level or in the case of the GMC, the model name:

  • 1986 Alfa Romeo Sprint 1.5L
  • 1979 Triumph Dolomite Sprint 2.0L
  • 1973 GMC Sprint SP 5.7L

Whether any of these deserve the association the term implies is quite debatable, but that’s beside the point. Today, we have other things to ruminate on. Your task is to decide which of the three you would:

  • RACE – build into some sort of dedicated racing machine (not street legal) for your choice of competition — any legitimate, sanctioned form of motorsport: road course, rally, drag, LSR, Baja, etc.;
  • DAILY – have as your sole street-registered car, for all your commuting and general transportation needs.
  • RESTORE – do a museum-quality, factory-correct, frame-off restoration, then add to your collection, but not drive on the street.

Your choices should be accompanied by your persuasive justification, or at the very least which choice you felt most strongly about.

Since most of you know the ground rules by now, they’re now available after the jump.

IMAGE CREDITS: Hemmings.com, Classiccarauctions.co.uk, Wikipedia.


  1. Assume that you’re given these three vehicles outright, so there’s no acquisition cost, but the cost of race-prepping, maintaining, insuring and restoring them will be on you.
  2. Assume the cars are in “average condition” for their age; neither junk nor in flawless condition.
  3. These are your ONLY three cars. You cannot factor in any other cars you might actually own, e.g., “I’ll daily the MR2 because I have a van I can take the kids in…” Likewise, you can’t sell the restored car to buy another vehicle.
  4. You must assign one of the cars to each category. You can’t say, “I’ll race my street car,” or “I’ll drive that one for a season then restore it.”
  5. You can’t half-ass a car you don’t like, such as theoretically racing Lemons or doing a “20-footer” cosmetic restoration.
  • Lokki

    The easiest yet:

    The Alfetta with its DOHC, hemi-head, nitrated crank, sodium-filled-valve engine, big disc brakes, and rear transaxle is half race prepped already. It will also be lightened by decades of oxidation-removed steel.

    The Triumph Dolomite is a beautiful car, and although a candidate for daily driver, is too rare here in the States anyhow for that use. So it gets the loving restoration. It’ll wow the TR-6 guys at the shows.

    The 73 GMC Sprint is not my favorite generation of El Camino (et al), won’t win at the strip, can’t road race, and will sit alone in a corner at most car shows. However, it has a nice slow turning V-8, a superior automatic transmission, and the best automotive A/C unit ever to freeze a side of beef in August cool the long legs of a girl in Daisy Dukes, on the planet. Parts are readily available, and will be even after this rig hits 400K miles. Sure, the interior will have disintegrated in to chips and the headliner will be hanging like a mosquito net, but GM cars run bad longer than most cars run at all.

    Done in one.

    • I’ll have what he’s having.


      The Alfa Sprint I think was based on the Alfa Sud, with a four cylinder Boxer engine and front wheel drive. The rear wheel drive was the Alfetta GTV, with many styling elements of the Sprint.

      • Alff

        You are correct. The verde shown above would have put out a whopping 104 to 116 hp.

        • BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ

          I didn’t know this onde.

        • outback_ute

          Hmm too slow on my part…

          So I will add a snippet to what it says in the article: the ZF transaxle was about the most expensive component on the car, because they had to pay a fairly ridiculous amount of import duty on it. I think they might have offset this to some extent with export credits by selling the Holden V8s (can’t remember where), but nevertheless Paul Halstead was a pretty creative guy.

          He also built a pretty mad De Tomaso Pantera race car, and had plans for a from-scratch carbon bodied second-gen Giocattolo when the stockmarket crashed.

      • Lokki

        Right you are!

    • crank_case

      I would race the sprint for the exact opposite reasons (being on its side of the Atlantic), plenty of specialists for BL stuff like Rimmer Brothers over here: http://www.rimmerbros.co.uk/

      It has a lot of racing pedigree, BTCC drivers championship in 1974 and manufacturers championship in 1975


      I knew someone who was building a Sud Sprint race car way back, don’t think he ever finished it, not quite the same support out there as for the RWD cars.

    • outback_ute

      It’s actually an Alfasud Sprint, so a flat four and fwd. So I would ‘restore’ it as a Giocattolo Group B, which was built by a guy in Australia by mid-mounting a Holden Group A 5.0 V8 and ZF transaxle.

      That leaves the GMC Sprint as a daily and a Triumph Dolomite Sprint to race, they were raced an rallied in period.

  • Alff

    Race Alfa
    Restore Lagunamino. Expect to sell it for what I put into it at Mecum 2030.
    Stateside Brit rarity be damned, daily Triumph. If Harrell can do it, I can.


      Interesting was the electric overdrive mounted on the stig in the Dolomite

      • Alff

        All the ladies are sure to be impressed when you brag about your “Laycock de Normanville unit”.

    • Of all the people who might look upon me as a role model, I’d have figured you had enough sense to know better.

      • Alff

        Call it senility.

  • Fred Talmadge
  • Andrew_theS2kBore

    Race: The Dolomite. To finish first, first you have to finish, and the Alfa probably won’t. Also, the Spen King-designed single cam 16V head is a work of art.

    Daily: The GMC. It’s practical, comfortable, and cheap to maintain.

    Restore: The Alfa. Looks are pretty much the only thing it has going for it.

  • Papa Van Twee

    Daily: Dolomite. I’m forced to daily this, since I’ll need to pick up the kids.
    Race: GMC. As much as I’d hate to, this is the most reliable, least special of the two remaining. I’d hope to LeMons it, and probably have to bring some really good bribes on top of that.
    Restore: Alpha. It (along with the Dolomite) belongs in a museum!

  • Alan Cesar

    Where the hell does the name Dolomite come from? It’s so bizarre. I’d race it because I like going fast in weird shit. Probably entails an engine swap.

    Daily the GMC, because trucks are always useful and I can strap child seats to the bed… somehow, in some definitely illegal, definitely unsafe way.

    Restore the Alfa by default?