Swallow Sidecars & Scooters

Today in Motorcycle History

Swallow Coachbuilding Co

The Swallow motor scooter was made and sold by the Swallow Coachbuilding Co of Walsall, Staffordshire, from November 1946 until September 1951.

  • 1947 Already well known for its sidecars, the firm introduced the Gadabout. It was fairly basic and lacked performance. This was due to the combination of its weight and the use of the small Villiers 9D pre-war engine.

    1949 The Mark II model was introduced, it had rubber in torsion front suspension and the foot-change Villiers 10D engine with fan-cooling. Both Gadabout models had been available with a Swallow box sidecar, named the Gadabout Commercial.

    1951 Some later Mark II models were given the Villiers6E 197cc engine becoming the Gadabout Commercial Major Mark III The arrival of the sleek and stylish Italian makes brought production to a close.

    Note: The firm continued with its production of sidecars and then concentrated on the Swallow Doretti sports car.

    The company name came from Swallow Coachbuilding Co. (1935) Ltd. which was sold in 1945 by Jaguar formerly S. S. Cars Ltd. to the Helliwell Group which was taken over in 1946 by the British conglomerate Tube Investments.

    The first and only model produced by Swallow under TI ownership was the Doretti which had a tubular Reynold 531 Cromolly chassis with a body made of a steel inner skin and aluminium outer. Most cars were supplied with overdrive and they were capable of 100mph. 276 cars were made including a single fixed head coupe version. The car was designed by in-house engineer Frank Rainbow, and produced in the TI factory at the The Airport, Walsall, Staffordshire.

    Production stopped in 1955 when the parent company TI changed policy. Pressure from the British motor industry, most notably Jaguar itself, lead to the end of production of the Doretti. It is thought that the Directors of TI were convinced that continued production of the Doretti sports car placed TI in direct competition with their customers for raw materials creating a serious conflict of interest.

Source: Graces Guide