The Triumph Spitfire is a British front-engined, rear-wheel drive, two-passenger convertible sports car that made its public debut at the London Motor Show in October, 1962. It was manufactured between November 1962 and August 1980.
Styled for Standard-Triumph by renowned Italian designer Giovanni Michelotti, the Spitfire evolved through five production generations, with approximately 315,000 Spitfires made during its 18-year lifecycle.
In March 1965, the Spitfire Mark II – the model offered for sale here – launched with a retuned engine, increasing power from 63 to 67 bhp. The coil-spring design clutch of the Mark I was replaced with a Borg & Beck diaphragm spring clutch. Exterior trim featured a new grille and badges and the interior featured revised seats, covering most exposed surfaces with rubber cloth and carpeting replaced the original moulded rubber floor mats.
Its base price was £550; which was quite a bit more than the Austin-Healey Sprite's £505 and the MG Midget's £515. Top speed was claimed to be 96 mph and its 0–60 mph time of 14.8 seconds was at the time considered ‘lively’. Claimed consumption was a respectable 31mpg.
Production of the MkII continued to January, 1967 with 37,409 cars made.
Little is known of the history of RTW 450D other than it received its first UK registration in June, 1966. The last V5C was issued on the 12th May 2009 and recorded 14 former keepers, the last of which was into short-circuit racing.
Due to the downturn triggered by the pandemic, the current owner – a proprietor of a car restoration business - acquired the car in its present state with a view to its restoration as a private project.
However, the easing of the pandemic has seen the fortune of the car restoration and rebuild business improve to an extent that the owner can no longer devote the time and effort required to put this icon of British automotive history back together again.
There is a V5C registered in the former keeper’s name, however there is no online MoT history available for this car.
There is a small file of old spares/maintenance records to accompany the sale along with an interesting series of notes made by the former keeper regarding the refurbishment and geometric setup of the car’s underpinnings.
Inside, the shell appears sound but will need stripping back to ascertain its true condition. The roof lining on the removable hardtop will need renewing.
Sadly, the interior is rather incomplete having only the gauge cluster.
The Spitfire’s exterior is again basically sound but will require extensive refurbishment to return a degree of respectability to this icon of British motoring.
The vendor says all of the exterior parts are present, including the doors, rear window, rear lights, brightwork, headlamps and front and rear bumpers. The wheels would benefit from professional refurbishment and a new set of tyres.
Currently, the rather sad body shell merely sits atop a fully refurbished chassis and suspension setup as shown in the accompanying image gallery.
The engine has been built to a fast road specification and technical notes made by the former keeper that refer to the suspension and engine are quite comprehensive in nature with reference made to the new oil pump, new water pump, thrust bearing, etc., along with the standard refurbished gearbox and differential unit.
It will take devotion, patience, perseverance, a dollop of passion and a reasonable budget to make this 1966 Triumph Spitfire spit fire again. Once complete, the new keeper can decide to enjoy this historic queen of the road or move her on to pastures new where perhaps she can out her days in a more leisurely manner.
The many surviving Triumph Spitfires are almost exclusively lovingly cared-for and there is a wealth of information and technical support available online via Triumph driver’s clubs and associations, the members of which are as knowledgeable and enthusiastic as they come.
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