Written on: 24/04/2007 by gtwcmt (5 reviews written)
A classical design which is far away from the round same looking things that we get today.
A slice of history.
Great for summer fun.
Easy to find parts (cheap).
Handling (older models non-mod).
Body work (rust).
It may be that I am getting older or that in my job I get to see many classical cars at weddings, but it was time to take a look at a vintage car that had great body lines and was easy to get pars for. The Triumph Spitfire had appealed to me in the late 1980 and 90's when I first got my classic Vauxhall drop-snoot Coupe for more money that the spit fires which you could pick up for around £80 (or around £200 in today's money).
My first choice was the Austin Healey
, but they are costly and the spitfire hit somewhere in between the Jag E type and the Porsche 911 as well as the Healey so this was the car for me.
I had carried out quite a lot of research over the internet to find out what parts were like to obtain and the costs so that I could work out where I could go with this spitfire. I was presently surprised that there were so many and parts readily available.
If your are looking to buy a Triumph Spitfire then the first point is the internet to take a look at what is available, but you must see the car in the flesh as they often have hidden bits that the seller doesn't want to tell you about.
RUST - these cars were built using recycled steel from tanks from the Korean war and the other ones so they had rust to start with and this carried on into the 1980's British produced cars. You would be forgiven to think that a under-sealed car will not have rust, but you will be wrong, often this was used to hide the stuff. So give it a tap and don't be afraid to pull up the carpet to take a look.
There are panels available new to replace them should they be rusty so its not a big cost to repair, but do try to avoid poor cars
RUBBER (suspension) the rear suspension on early models spelled the doom for the spitfire, as it could not truly shake off the poor performance of the early models. The rear suspension was re engineered to improve things but still, you will find issues with it compared to more recent cars.
SAFETY. If I said none I would not be telling a lie, the chassis is good (if not rusted) for head on but there is no buffer/crumple zone and there is no side impact protection other than what you can see in the foot well that is thin steel. The body is held on by 8 bolts (if I remember correctly) so you may think of adding the roll bar that is readily available and could come in very handy in a side on.
I will be having bars put in to provide me with protection and its easy to be done, however it is up to you.
DRIVE - As you would or should know, this is a older car and wasn't really built for masses of speed like today's performing cars, that said, it has been known to be quicker than some new cars. Pottering around in the summer months these cars are ideal and if you can get behind the wheel they offer bum scuffing low to the ground seating, which to some may feel like you are actually laying on it!
The steering wheel is large and I find getting behind the wheel a bit of a chore, you can opt for a smaller wheel but the car has no power steering. Headroom isn't great either with the hard top on so you may bang you head a few times.
Breaks are there (somewhere) but adding a servo will give you powered brakes, its not hard to do and relatively simple.
Gearing wasn't always great so getting the overdrive box is pretty much essential to keep up, the speed is fair and the drive is fair. A set of alloy wheels with wider tyres will improve the driving experience as well as the springs and shock absorbers. But this car was built for the day where driving was more than just getting from A to B and everybody didn't want to be there the day before they left and road tax when on making roads nice to drive on not lining pockets..
The mechanics are simple; if you know about cars a comparison with the Mini will be apparent at first glance. There is no expensive electronics to mess up and involve costly garage bills. A simple manual and you will find that you can take enjoyment form carrying out any small jobs on the car yourself.
The maintenance is not a largely differing factor over modern cars, OK you may have high mileage but so do newer cars. They will need regular maintenance where you may let this laps on a modern car with out to much ill effect.
If you want to take life that little more easy, and enjoy motoring and every thing that includes, then why not? These are lovely cars and this sort of bodyline will not be repeated, they are bringing out the 4000 shortly if you want something modern but the style and details are missing. Owning this car is a little give and take.
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