Race, Daily, Restore: Sprinty Freshness

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 64 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here

28 responses to “Race, Daily, Restore: Sprinty Freshness”

  1. Lokki Avatar

    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.

    1. theskitter Avatar

      I’ll have what he’s having.

    2. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar

      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.

      1. Alff Avatar

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

        1. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar

          I didn’t know this onde.

        2. outback_ute Avatar

          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.

      2. Lokki Avatar

        Right you are!

    3. crank_case Avatar

      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.

      1. Rover 1 Avatar
        Rover 1

        The SOHC 16 valve head was what made the Sprint. If things had worked out a little differently we might have had these heads on a V8.

    4. outback_ute Avatar

      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.

  2. Alff Avatar

    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.

    1. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar

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

      1. Alff Avatar

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

    2. mdharrell Avatar

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

      1. Alff Avatar

        Call it senility.

    1. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar
      1. Alff Avatar

        Those are fighting words!

      2. Fuhrman16 Avatar

        How can it be the least favorite Sprint when it came with a turbo version?

      3. outback_ute Avatar

        1993 Ford Falcon XR8 Sprint (there are also the final-version XR6 Turbo & XR8 Sprints)

          1. outback_ute Avatar

            Because you thin of trains when you hear the word Sprinter… We have one here too, although it might technically be a rail motor. Runs on diesel though, except when they forget to fill the tank! Years ago I went to the maintenance workshop where they use 4 mobile hoists to lift the trains for maintenance! (50 tonne)

  3. Andrew_theS2kBore Avatar

    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.

  4. Papa Van Twee Avatar
    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!

  5. Alan Cesar Avatar
    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?

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

      It was named after a mountain range in the Alps.

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        The Triumph Dolomite was named after the Triumph Dolomite:
        Beyond that it’s safe to say that the mountain range, the mineral, and the rock were all named after the noted mineralogist Dieudonné Sylvain Guy Tancrède de Gratet de Dolomieu, although I prefer calling the rock dolostone to avoid confusion.