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Buyers Guide to:

Triumph Spitfire 1500

Useful Info

Manufactured

1974 to 1980

Fuel Type

Petrol

Engine Size

11500cc

Engine Type

Water-Cooled

Drive Configuration

RWD

Club Triumph

www.triumph.org.uk

The Triumph Sports Six Club

www.tssc.org.uk

Just Kampers

Odiham,
Hampshire,
RG291JE,
01256 862288,
www.justkampers.com

Background

‘Project Bomb’ as it was known was launched as the Triumph Spit re at the 1962 Earls Court Motor Show. The Triumph Herald underpinnings were clad in stylish Michelotti-designed bodywork, and the car proved immediately popular with buyers after a stylish roadster. So popular, in fact, that almost half of all cars made were exported, mainly to the United States. Available in a number of series over the years, the 1500 model was launched in December 1974 and became the best seller of all ‘Spits’ shifting around 100,000 examples by the time production ended in August 1980. A genuine 100mph car, key changes were in 1976 and 1977 when exterior and cabin upgrades arrived.

  1. Front valance
  2. Bonnet around wheel arches and headlights
  3. Rear wheel arches and wings 4. Windscreen pillars
  4. A-posts
  5. Sills
  6. Door bottoms
  7. Rear valance

The Checklist

  • For any signs of rust bubbling in the panels, as that’s often just the tip of the iceberg. Things could be much worse underneath
  • The panel gaps and door shut lines. Misalignment could indicate serious structural problems
  • That any previous sill replacement has been done properly. They are a major structural element on the Spitfire and the body shell must be braced during replacement to avoid twisting
  • The condition of the floor pan and foot wells, ensuring you lift the carpets (be wary if they are glued down.) Rust could have spread from there to the sills. Check the boot floor and inner rear wings, too
  • Whether the chassis has been replaced as many have been. They rot in the outriggers, behind the front wheels where it supports the bulkhead, around the body mounting brackets, and in the sections behind the front bumper
  • The exterior chrome for rust and pitting. Parts are available but the cost of replacement or renovation will soon add up
  • The engine for oil leaks and blue exhaust smoke; the latter points to worn piston rings or cylinder bores. Excessive crank pulley movement when the clutch is depressed means the crankshaft thrust washers are worn, meaning a re-build is due
  • That the oil and lter have been changed regularly – failure to do so causes premature camshaft wear. A rattling timing chain and overheating also need watching for, and look for oil in the coolant or ‘mayonnaise’ under the oil filler cap
  • The engine runs cleanly as problems could be due to worn SU carburettors; rebuilding them is a DIY task, though
  • For a gearbox that’s noisy, or that jumps out of gear. Inoperative overdrive may just be a poor electrical connection or low oil level, rather than anything more serious
  • That there are no clunks from worn universal joints, and that the differential isn’t excessively noisy or leaking oil
  • For corrosion in the suspension mountings, especially at the rear. Access at the front is good, so overhauling worn dampers or bushes is straightforward
  • For play in the steering, and worn rear wheel bearings. Replacing the latter requires special tools. Front trunnions should have been lubricated with EP90 oil, not grease. Brakes should be trouble-free and are cheap and easy to overhaul
  • The condition of the cabin. Budget for a re-trim if it’s especially tatty, although there are plenty of specialists that can tackle this at a reasonable cost
  • That all the electrics are working as poor connections and aged wiring will cause problems. Water leaks into the cabin will cause trouble, too, so be wary of damp carpets
  • The condition of the hood and its frame. Replacing a grotty hood cover isn’t especially costly, but it is ddly, so be sure to check if it’s folded when you view the car

Everything Check Out?

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