Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Triumph Car dealers 6 - L F Dove of Wimbledon and Croydon

L F Dove Ltd is the subject of this the 6th article in my series about Triumph car dealers.

L F Dove Ltd Croydon,Wimbledon and Woking St Christoper badge
L F Dove Ltd Croydon, Wimbledon and Woking St Christoper badge
The Dove Group was established by LF Dove in 1925, initially in Wimbledon and then extended into Croydon in 1927. The Austin Rover Group dealerships were sold in the 1990s - for more about the Dove group: http://www.cambriaautomobilesplc.com/our_brands .

The Dove GTR4A

L F Dove Ltd is known for selling the GTR4 a special bodied TR4 converted for them by coachbuilder Thomas Harrington and Company of Hove. The car was sold in the UK and abroad with sales in Australia, Japan and the USA.
Advert for the Dove GTR4A built by Harrington for the Dove Group
Dove GTR4A advert

Triumph GTR4
Distinctive Charm of the Dove GTR4A
Distinctive Charm of the Dove GTR4A
The photo above shows Miss Motor Show 1965, seated on the wing of a Dove G.T.R. 4A. The young lady is Miss Angela Martin, of Whyteleafe, Surrey, Secretary to Mr. J. Godfrey, of L. F. Dove Ltd., Croydon, makers of the Dove.

The TR Centre

L F Dove Ltd was involved with selling the first TR sports cars from their UK launch in 1953. The business proved very successful and so it was in May 1955 that the official TR. Centre was duly opened, the only one of its kind having full manufacturer's approval.

TR Service Bay at L F Dove Wimbledon 1965
TR Service Bay at L F Dove Wimbledon 1965
Part of the Wimbledon premises was set aside for servicing, tuning, etc. and rapidly became a place where T.R. enthusiasts could call for advice and suggestions on preparing their particular cars for rallying, racing or just normal use. All staff from the works foreman downwards were sent to the factory for special TR. instruction and the Service Bay was laid out to tackle anything from a wash and grease to rebuilding a near write-off.

The special Service Department was backed up with the appropriate stores. A section of the Stores Department introduced racks and bins to take nothing but T.R. spares.

With all this T.R. interest surrounding this branch of L. F. Dove it soon became obvious that a T.R. Club was called for, so with the blessing of the Standard Motor Company an inaugural meeting was held at Dove's showroom and the Club formed known as the Triumph Sports Owners Association, London Section. The Club started with treasure hunts, etc., but it was not long before more ambitious events were called for and by 1962 included in the fixture list were day and night rallies, hill climbs, speed trials, driving tests, social side film shows, monthly noggin and natter meetings and a annual dinner and dance. The Club was very soon approved by the R.A.C. so in addition to the Club's own activities, invitations are received from a large number of other clubs giving the real enthusiast at least one event each week throughout the whole year. As of 1962 the Club had over 100 members.

Miss Greyhound Racing 1968 area finalists

Miss Greyhound Racing 1968 as driven by L F Dove
Miss Greyhound Racing 1968 as driven by L F Dove
'The TR People', L. F. Dove of Wimbledon, helped to solve the problem of transporting the seven area
finalists of the 'Miss Greyhound Racing 1968' Competition before the assembled racegoers at the 40th anniversary of greyhound racing at the Wimbledon Stadium. Nearly 7,000 spectators admired a display of pretty girls and cars: a TR5 PI, Herald 13/60 and 1200 convertibles, and a Vitesse 2-Litre convertible. To display the complete range of Triumph cars, Wimbledon Stadium provided facilities outside the main Grandstand entrance.

Dealer address and photos

In 1955:
L F Dove Ltd, 33/7 Russell Road, Wimbledon, S.W.19. (Official T.R.2 Centre.)
Works at: 3/7 Palmerston Road. S.W.19.


By 1959 the address had changed to 44/48 Kingston Road. Wimbledon, S.W.19 with the works as before.

In 1965 and 1968 dealer directory
L F Dove Ltd.• 44/48 Kingston Road. Wimbledon, S.W.19. (Official T.R. Centre)
Works at 3/7 Palmerston Road. S.W.19.

By 1972 the works is no longer listed.

Woking branch  L F Dove Ltd., Guildford Road, Woking Surrey are listed in all the directories I have from 1955 until 1974..

L F Dove, Kingston Road, Wimbledon 1965
L F Dove, Kingston Road, Wimbledon 1965

 L F Dove Croydon street scene as was
L F Dove Croydon as was
Doves garage Croydon October 2015
Doves garage Croydon October 2015

Adverts and key fobs

An old advert found on the Pinterest account of David Nicoll.


Key fob for the Croydon branch of L F Dove
Key fob for the Croydon branch of L F Dove
Key fob for the Wimbledon branch of L F Dove
Key fob for the Wimbledon branch of L F Dove

Dove Group window sticker
Dove Group window sticker
Dove Group advert in What Car magazine July 1977 for the TR7
Dove Group advert in What Car magazine July 1977 for the TR7

Plea for more information

If you have any more information or recollections about L F Dove or the Dove Group, photos of window stickers, dealer badges or sill plates etc please let me know. I can be contacted via the comments to this post or on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/stephen.weblin

Sources and links

Link to the other articles in this series.

Link to my Triumph Car Dealers Flickr gallery of images I have found on Flickr.

I have a collection of Standard Triumph car dealer directories: http://vitessesteve.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/triumph-car-dealer-directories.html

You can download a copy of the Triumph Sales and Service Directory 1968-69 which started me off on the search for info about Triumph car dealers.

Picture credits:Christoper Henry Perkins for the Croydon key fob; GTR4  photo me;
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