I consider the purchase of my 1976 Triumph Spitfire to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve always loved cars, more specifically British sports cars, thanks to the beautiful Lotus Elan my Dad owned when I was a boy. When I realised a year ago that I had enough money to afford a sports car of my own it felt like I had finally made it into adulthood- I could finally have a proper car, a classic.
It started fairly slowly. I started to look at the classified ads in car magazines instead of just ignoring them. I’d recently read an article about a Triumph Spitfire, and remembered loving the way it looked- low to the ground, flowing lines, and a fantastic long bonnet. I had a look at some ads, simply looking at the pictures. I saw a few Spitfires priced high enough for me to ignore them. It wasn’t a big deal until I went online and started looking a bit more thoroughly.
At this point I became rather nervous. Seeing a handful of Spits that I could definitely afford online was genuinely exciting- especially after a bit of research into classic car insurance. Before going to see any, I spent hours and hours researching everything about Spitfires- to make sure I didn’t buy a dud. The first one I saw was exactly that- anyone who has bought a classic will know what I mean when I tell you the owner said “this bit of rust just needs a bit of welding”.
Now, the second car I saw- I knew I had to have it. Pimento red, with a fantastic-sounding sports exhaust fitted, and crucially- no rust. The seller seemed to be a very careful owner, and had added the exhaust system and a handful of other mods. Within a week the car was sitting in my driveway.
My time with the car has been wonderful so far- better than I had hoped for. Being so basic, with no driving assists, the handling is fantastic. Perhaps a little unsafe- I’ve had the tail out a few times in the cold and wet- but on the right road it’s incomparable to most of the modern metal I’ve driven. The closest car I can compare it to is a Caterham 7- and surely that’s nothing if not high praise. Obviously I’m not saying it’s the best handling car in the world, but for someone in my position it must be the most fun you can have on a public road.
I’ve barely had any problems with it, either. I was expecting more than just a sticky speedo, broken indicators (fixed with a new flasher unit the next day) and a flat tyre. Having said that I did fiddle with the carbs to get them working better, though it wasn’t strictly necessary- and ruined the balance. It was a stoke of genius in the end, because after strictly following the Haynes manual to get them back to normal the engine runs better than ever.
I’ve unfortunately got far too many plans for the Spitfire. I’ve been looking for a decent hard top for the colder months, and am hoping to fit a stainless steel manifold to go with the pipes.
Anyone who has attended a Pistonheads “Sunday Service” event in the last year or so will likely recognise my Spitfire, as I’ve been to as many as I could get to. As that community isn’t massively interested in classics it doesn’t get too much attention, but I like to think that everyone can appreciate the exhaust note- and the few nice comments I get are even more special. I even got a “coolest car here” once!
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