Triumph Spitfire Reviews from North America

1976 Triumph Spitfire 1500 1.5

Model year1976
Year of manufacture1976
First year of ownership2010
Most recent year of ownership2011
Engine and transmission 1.5 Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 6 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.8 / 10
Distance when acquired47000 miles
Most recent distance48000 miles
Previous carFord Explorer

Summary:

A fun, inexpensive 4 wheel alternative to a motorcycle

Faults:

Bought as a rebuild project for $300.00. Rebuilt engine; cam with Weber carb and manifold; 9:1 pistons; reground street performance cam; overhauled transmission; rebuilt front end; rebuilt brakes; clutch; etc. and performed 30+ years of deferred maintenance.

Only real fault was the left front vertical link and trunnion snapped off while driving at about 15 mph!

General Comments:

I had TR4's back in the day, but they are overpriced and serious rusters. So I purchased a pair of Spitfires for $1400.00 (1976.. $300.00 & 1978... $1100.00) with excellent bodies (no rust at all), decent interiors, and the 1978 ran well (OD equipped), but needed typical tune up and maintenance work. The 1976 did not run, so I completely rebuilt it with upgraded performance parts.

The cars are surprisingly good performers with all the pollution equipment removed and performance upgrades. The Webers, higher compression pistons and cam really give them a kick in the pants. Headers (4 into 1) are OK, but required some frame modification to fit.

The car handles very well, although it takes some getting used to non-power brakes. Watch out for the vertical link trunnions, which are fragile. Hit a curb hard and bend them, and they come apart.

I'm 6' tall, and it's a comfortable fit with everything within arms reach. The car is incredibly easy to work on, and parts are cheap and readily available. I don't think you could ask for a more fun car at the price. I had someone ask me if they were difficult to maintain. I told them "Not if you're a Triumph mechanic." Get the manual, expect to do your own work, learn about your car, and carry tools in the trunk.

When I showed up with the Triumphs, I told my wife that we could go touring up in the mountains with the top down with my 2 sons. "But they only have 2 seats" she replied. "That's why I bought two of them!" I said. She won't ride motorcycles with me anymore, and these Spitfires are as close to a motorcycle as you can come with 4 wheels.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th May, 2011

1965 Triumph Spitfire 2 seater sports 1.1 cc

Model year1965
Year of manufacture1965
First year of ownership2002
Most recent year of ownership2007
Engine and transmission 1.1 cc Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.7 / 10
Distance when acquired54259 miles
Most recent distance57684 miles

Summary:

A great, timeless classic..

Faults:

Nothing at the moment, may have to change the starter relay as the car sometimes decides not to start with the key, and I have to start it from the starter relay button, (a year when they still included this facility).

And perhaps a couple of electrical, so at least I know it definitely has Lucas electrics.

General Comments:

An excellent California car, you can see it on the Triumph Spitfire International Database, its the Mk2 picture.

I had owned a Mk 3 in the eighties, but I think the 1 and 2 were the best looking, before the bumper had to be raised to meet US regs.

I have had no problems with this car, or with my earlier one, as long as you keep an eye and ear on everything, nothing jumps out and bites you, it is, after all, a simple design, and parts are readily available, and cheaper than they were (proportionally) than back in the sixties.

This is a great, fun, rag-top which is a definite classic, in age as well as design, (good old Giovanni), and I would recommend this affordable classic to anyone who wants to follow the individuality on the road route, and to someone who likes to feel like he or she is "driving".

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th July, 2007

1976 Triumph Spitfire 1500 1.5

Year of manufacture1976
First year of ownership1988
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 1.5 Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.8 / 10
Distance when acquired25000 kilometres
Most recent distance65000 kilometres

Summary:

Great handeling and easy to work on convertible

Faults:

Put a rod through the top of the head at around 30000 miles.

U-joints right around the same time.

I had a big learning curve trying to figure out the SU carburator.

Smog hoses everywhere on the engine were dry rotted and leaking.

General Comments:

I acquired this car when I was 15 years old. Worked on it for a year before I was able to get my license.

Started to autocross the car and realized how well it really handles the twisties and tight tracks.

Seating is comfortable for me at 5'11".

Engine noise is loud in the cockpit. Makes the radio pretty worthless.

Leaf spring/suspension started to sag shortly after I started auto crossing it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th June, 2004

Average review marks: 6.0 / 10, based on 8 reviews