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Triumph Spitfire/GT6

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      04.01.2010 01:15
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      wonderful cheap fun car

      Hi welcome to my review of the Triumph Spitfire.
      I love these little cars ! My first spitfire was purchased in 1980, a mk111 .
      After replacing the outer, inner and baffle sills, the rear wings, front wings and a tidy up i drove the car for many years. ( i still have it in my back garden waiting for its second revamp !) yes i have owned this car since i was sixteen , and still have it .(thats 29 years)
      I have worked on , owned many spits since , and have enjoyed them enormously, exciting, with character not like the bland cars on offer today.
      If you think you want one of these little gems , be careful , running one is cheap , good economy and bits are readily available, but if it is in need of restoration there can be much to do , bear in mind the age of the car.
      Once in good road going order i feel they are fine to drive in modern traffic , indeed i do whenever i can, top down at the first glimpse of sun.
      Best for road use would be from the mk111 thats about 1969 on, overdrive is always nice if you can find one.
      Things to look out for ;
      chassis damage , look down the car , does everything line up ? does the track look right ?
      rust , thats floors, wings , inner wings , sills inner and outer, bootlids and bonnets are expensive if needed.
      engines are simple and cheap to repair
      check for drive shaft wear and universal joints which can dry up and become rough.
      interiors can get tatty quickly , not helped by the soft top that can catch the seats when being lowered and raised, not to expensive to sort though
      most parts are available and alot can be sourced from ebay etc
      If you would like one , dont be put off , just be aware of what you are looking at , what it will need if anything and take someone with you to look , its easy to be blinded by how cute they are ! too many times i have had to buy one just to see it get some attention lol

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      27.11.2003 17:41
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      skip this first bit to be able to read the review with capital letters intact. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a
      . a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~ ~ Triumph was an old, indigenous UK car manufacturer who later went on to become part of the British Leyland Group of companies, back in the (good old?) days when there was still such a thing as an indigenous UK car manufacturer. They were well made motorcars, and in fact I passed my driving test in an old Triumph Herald 12/50 way back in 1968. Maybe that's why I've always had a wee bit of a soft spot for them. ~ ~ Triumph were also renowned as manufacturers of sports cars, the best known of which were probably the Triumph Spitfire, the Triumph GT6, the Triumph Stag, and two later models, the Triumph TR6 and TR7. I owned a Spitfire for a short period in the early 1970's, when I still considered myself a wee bit of a "jack the lad", and wanted to cut a bit of a dash with the ladies. It was a 1969 Mark Two model, with a 1600cc twin-carb engine, which gave it a wee bit more 'poke' than the original Mark One version which was first produced in 1962, and which was powered (underpowered!) by a upgraded version of the 1147cc 4-cylinder engine that was used in the Triumph Herald. If I recall correctly, this engine wasn't a standard fit, and somebody at some stage had nicked it from a Triumph GT6 and transplanted it into the Spitfire. Spitfires were built from 1962, right up until the last version (the Mark Four) hit the streets in 1980. ~ ~ The Spitfire was/is a very attractive little sports car, and competed very favourably with the more prestigious (and more expensive) MG Midget, which was one of it's main rivals. The car I owned was a soft-top, and finished in bright "Ferrari" red, with an all-leather interior and walnut dash and fittings. It was officially classified as a two-by-two, which meant that (in theory) you could manage to squeeze a couple of extra people into the very small bench-t
      ype back seat. In practice, this was impossible, unless the two people concerned happened to be circus midgets. You might manage to fit in one extra adult at a pinch, but really the back seat was only useful for fitting in a wee bit of extra luggage. The two front seats were very comfortable though, and the leather upholstery and walnut dashboard really finished the car off to perfection. The soft top was fairly basic, and wouldn't do at all on a modern car, where you can fold it away neatly at the touch of a button. In the Spitfire, this operation was done manually, and you had to ensure it was well stowed and strapped down otherwise it would flap around like your weekly wash on a windy day. Even with the top up, you were far from comfortable! Draughts abounded, and the wind noise (coupled with the engine noise) made conversation practically impossible! The boot (such as it was) would just about take a suitcase. ~ ~ Driving the Spitfire was also an experience. You had to get it started in the first place before you could go anywhere, and this took a lot of practice and precision with the old manual choke to get the "mixture" in the engine just right. The engine was very prone to flooding, and if this happened then you had little choice other than to sit it out for a while before you attempted to start it again, or else to "bump start" it if you were forward looking enough to have left it parked on a hill. But once you got it out onto the road, the Spitfire really came into its own, and was both fun and exhilarating to drive. I can only guess at the 0 to 60mph time, as try as I might, I can't rake up any "official" figures on the Web. I would reckon it was somewhere in the region of 14 to 15 seconds, which isn't particularly quick by modern day standards, but felt a lot quicker when your backside was only a few scant inches from the tarmac! ~ ~ It had four forward gears, and a gearbo
      x that was a law unto itself. To call it vague would be an understatement, and finding a gear was a matter of luck a lot of the time. But you did get used to it after a while, and at least you couldn't engage first gear at speed, as there was no synchromesh, and it soon let you know in no uncertain manner if you tried! Top speed was around the 100mph mark, and once you got over 60mph the engine noise was so loud that you felt like you were approaching take-off speed in the old World War Two fighter from which it took its name. Great care was required when cornering. You FELT as though you could zip through a corner at practically any speed you liked. But the reality was something different, and the back end was so 'twitchy' that I'm sure the car had various neurotic tendencies, and could have benefited from a consultation with a good shrink. In common with the Triumph Herald, on whose chassis the Spitfire was built, the turning circle was completely unbelievable. You could turn the front wheels literally at a 90-degree angle to the road surface, which meant it was very easy to get out of tight parking spaces. But if you overdid it, the front tyres could easily shed their tread! ~ ~ There were very few frills or bells and whistles on the Spitfire, and it was very basic motoring. The heater, like the gearbox, had a mind of its own, and would often blast out freezing cold air even when turned up to maximum. You had to go prepared on a long journey, and a good pair of thick, wool socks and leather gloves were a must if you didn't want to loose your fingers and toes to frostbite! The radio was an old 'Motorola', with manual tuning, but I fitted a huge old '8-track' stereo (how many of you remember them?) between the two front seats, which meant I could have my choice of music. The engine was very accessible. There was two metal catches on the bottom of the front wings, and once these were unclipped, th
      e complete front end (bonnet, wings, et al) swung up to reveal the engine compartment. This meant it was very easy to work on and maintain, and spare parts were no particular problem, as it shared many engine parts with most other Triumph cars. ~ ~ From reading all of this you might be led to believe that I didn't like this car, but you'd be very much mistaken. For all its faults and foibles, this was a fun car to drive. When you were zipping along at a high rate of knots with the top down, the wind tugging at your hair, and the engine roaring enthusiastically in your lugholes, it was one of the best experiences in the world. I still remember with fondness days out at Brighton, and trips down to the West Country in my Spitfire. And it carried me from the Home Counties back home to Scotland on so many occasions it practically knew the road by memory. Wherever you went in the Spitfire, it drew admiring and envious glances from lesser mortals in their run-of-the-mill Austin 1100's and Ford Escorts! ~ ~ I never parted with this car; it parted with me! I was returning home to my flat in High Wycombe (where I was living at the time) in the early hours of a winter's morning, and decided to give the wee Spitfire a bit of a "rip" on a quite country road. Great fun was being had, until I hit a corner at about 80mph plus, and the car decided enough was enough, and went into a violent sideways skid. I overcorrected, and it immediately fishtailed in the opposite direction. This continued for a couple of hundred yards, the car weaving from side to side, until eventually I lost it completely, and ploughed into a telegraph pole. At this precise moment, the old 8-track stereo decided to jerk into life, and began playing the Beatle's song, "It's Getting Better All The Time". Unfortunately, it wasn't, as despite there not being a lot of actual damage to the bodywork, I'd managed to tw
      ist the chassis, and the car was written off by the insurance company! ~ ~ I honestly can't remember how much I paid for the Spitfire. (Remember it's the best part of 30 years since I owned this car!) I was in a highly paid sales job at the time, and was earning so much money I was literally finding it hard to spend. But I've done a wee bit of investigation on the web, and even today the wee Spitfire (and lots of other Triumph cars) is popular amongst car enthusiasts. There's a plethora of websites about the car, and if you're interested, a quick search using Google will give you as much information as you can handle. At the "Autotrader" site, (www.autotarder.co.uk) there are about 10 Spitfires for sale, ranging in price from £600 to £7,000. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Copyright KenJ 2003 ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Footnote: The picky here at dooyoo is of the Triumph GT6, by the way, and NOT the Spitfire. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ This review is part of the Cars & Motorbikes of Memory challenge where members are asked to write about cars/motor bikes which bring back memories. By the way, are we limited to only ONE entry in this "Cars of Memory" challenge from Aefra. I've had so much fun writing this op, that I wouldn't mind doing a couple more. ~~~~~~~~~~~~

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        02.11.2002 05:51

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        " seater Convertable - Advantages: Great Looking, Cheap, Sounds Great - Disadvantages: Can have some body rust

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