Home » Cold Start: One Of The Coolest Cars Named For A Rock

Cold Start: One Of The Coolest Cars Named For A Rock


Look at that Triumph Dolomite up there, being brought down to the good, mustachio’d peoples of 1970s UK. These were very cool little sporty sedans, competing with BMW 2002s and Ford Cortinas, and while they perhaps weren’t quite the equal of those cars in every way, I think they have a cooler name, so let’s go into that a bit now.

Dolomite is a mineral! I mean, the name sounds like some kind of mineral, but it’s an anhydrous carbonate mineral, and no, I’m not a geologist,  but I can Google like one, so I can tell you it’s composed of calcium magnesium carbonate, CaMg(CO3)2 and all I have to add to that is VW Beetle/Type I crankcases were made of magnesium.

The name also refers to a sedentary carbonate rock, which can be produced from limestone in a process known as, shockingly, dolomitization, which happens when magnesium ions replace calcium ions, like I’m sure you’ve seen happen in your own homes.

There’s also something called the Dolomite Problem, which has to do with the fact that the fossil record is full of dolomite, but we’ve seen relatively little made in modern times, so what the hell is going on?Dolemite (1975) - IMDb

Oh, and don’t confuse dolomite, with Dolemite, created by comedian Rudy Ray Moore, which was a ’70s Blacksplotation film about a badass pimp with a stable of kung-fu prostitutes who settles scores and, likely, hash.

Okay! Glad we got all that cleared up!

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19 Responses

  1. Also an interesting car as the Dolomite was rear wheel drive but it was developed from the earlier Triumph 1300 which was front wheel drive. So its a rare example of a car which started as fwd but was re-engineered into rwd.

  2. Maybe it’s such common knowledge around here, it claims the title “first mass produced multi-valve vehicle”.
    There used to be impressive fly by’s on some english race track of a turbocharged red Sprint on YT, I was unable to find them just now. Cheers!

  3. The famed auto journalist, Jamie Kittman lived in my area recently, and kept cars in several garages nearby. He took them out to get exercise, and there was often one of them parked outside on the street where I put my car the morning. I was particularly enamored of a Lancia Appia with the shield shaped grille and 4 saloon (he old western watering hole) doors with no B pillar at all. it was really a beauty, but he also had a bright blue Dolomite of this exact era that was quite attractive. Triumphs in those days with the stag influence were pretty nice looking cars.

  4. As a UK child of the 70s I love the style of the Dolomite. Michelotti performed a great mid life facelift. The original Triumph 1300 looks just OK to my eyes, made much better with longer rear and nose and twin headlights as the Dolomite. The front bodywork encloses the headlights just so. We knew the Sprint had performance credibility but visually with the black egg-crate grille, black vinyl roof and pillars, alloys and bright colours, it absolutely rocked, especially in Mimosa Yellow. Impressive given those 70s additions made most 10 year old designs look worse not better.

  5. Thanks for the last bit because I immediately thought of Dolemite when I saw the name and was going to reference it until you pointed out the different spelling. Dolemite was definitely a movie I double or triple featured with friends growing up. Plus without Dolemite we wouldn’t have had Black Dynamite and that isn’t a world I want to live in.


      1. The mineral is named in honor of the geologist Dieudonné Sylvain Guy Tancrède de Gratet de Dolomieu. The mountain range, in turn, is named after the mineral.

        Yes, I am a mineralogist.

        1. How do these old timey folk get so many names? Would I seem more fancy if I added a couple extras to mine?
          Thomas Kensington Smythe Northumberland Wellington Metcalf III, Baron of Niagara and Port Colborne.

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