Triumph Spitfire Reviews from UK and Ireland

1973 Triumph Spitfire Mark IV 1.3

Model year1973
Year of manufacture1973
First year of ownership2008
Most recent year of ownership2008
Engine and transmission 1.3 Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Dealer Service marks 2 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.0 / 10
Distance when acquired68000 miles
Most recent distance72000 miles
Previous carTriumph Spitfire

Faults:

The starter motor wouldn't turn over the engine.

General Comments:

The car is a joy to drive.

In the engine bay, it's so easy to get at everything, even I can fix it, and I'm no mechanic.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th July, 2008

1975 Triumph Spitfire 1500 1.5 ci

Model year1975
Year of manufacture1975
First year of ownership2000
Most recent year of ownership2005
Engine and transmission 1.5 ci Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.3 / 10
Distance when acquired32500 miles
Most recent distance36900 miles

Summary:

This is the single most exciting and fun car that I have ever owned

Faults:

The alternator went on a camping trip.

The petronix ignition system went shortly thereafter,

The Weber carburator needle and seat loosened up on the way home from bowling.

The frame rotted and cracked two years ago.

General Comments:

This car is in restoration and I am looking forward to returning to little British car motoring.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th February, 2005

1972 Triumph Spitfire 1500 1.5 twin carb

Year of manufacture1972
First year of ownership1992
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 1.5 twin carb Manual
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Dealer Service marks 0 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.6 / 10
Distance when acquired72000 miles
Most recent distance110000 miles
Previous carRover - Austin Maestro

Summary:

The Spitfire is a truly great motor

Faults:

Structural body rust damage required 50% new metal. New panels much more resistant to rust though so worth it.

I have blown up 5 triumph engines since I have driven the car! but they are very quick and easy to replace. The engine oil in triumph spitfires overheats especially when in slow moving traffic the result low oil preasure and extreme wear on the big end bearings. Fitting an oil cooler is essential if you want an engine to last for more than 10,000 miles! I wish I had fitted an oil cooler with the first engine for it was the fastest one.

I have replaced the gear box for a better one, but later type gearboxes give little trouble.

I have replaced the entire braking system except the pedal. I used high specification parts. The rear cylinders will always sieze if you leave you car laid up outside over winter. Replacements are inexpensive however.

The electrical system took years to finally fix. Always carry spare reel of wire in the boot.

When replacing the starter motor the altinator and distributor I fitted modern equivslents. This by and large has made the car a reliable runner.

After having the whole right side of my car torn off by an encouter with an out of control combine harvester in a narrow lane my car is a little like robo cop or darth vader. It's made up of mostly replacement parts!

General Comments:

The Spitfire is a fantastic car. It can be used everyday whatever the weather. I was able to drive up a steep snow covered hills last winter where others had failed even including a 4X4. I think this was helped by the fact the Spitfire is rear wheel drive and is light it was able to skirm its way up the hill. I couldn't believe it either, but it's true the Spitfire can be a used as a snowmobile.

Needless to say the handling is dangerous and therefore fun. I have retro fitted standard skinny wheels and tyres for more fun at lower speeds.

I also have a Mk1 1800 Golf GTi (the 109) which totally goes faster than the Spitfire, but you find yourself easily going too fast in it.

So I have had a Mk1 Golf Gti for 7 years and the Spitfire for 12 and I choose to drive the Spitfire 90% of the time.

So there we have it all in all the Spitfire is more fun than the Mk1 even though it's not as reliable!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th August, 2004

1976 Triumph Spitfire 1500 1.5

Year of manufacture1976
First year of ownership2001
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 1.5 Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.0 / 10
Distance when acquired56000 miles
Most recent distance95000 miles
Previous carSAAB 900

Summary:

A pretty, cheap and fun slice of motoring history

Faults:

Not much wrong with it really, all the things I have fixed have just made it look better or drive more smoothly.

Drivers seat was torn through wear and tear, but adequately repaired, the replacement repair kits are quite expensive and replacement seats are about the only item difficult to source from breakers.

The dash board was a bit tired, but again quite easily cleaned, re-varnished and repaired where necessary.

Water ingress through top of windscreen on extremely wet days can be solved with 'duck tape' or else by delaying the journey!

It will need a respray (about £1500 if done properly) before long to look really good, but is perfectly usable meanwhile.

General Comments:

The car has proved very reliable and usable and above all a cheap and fun car.

It qualifies for cheap Road Tax, with a classic insurance of less than £100 per year fully comp, good petrol comsumption and cheap readily available parts it is an ideal toy.

The engine has perfect access and it is easy to work out what all the bits do, unlike most modern cars and hence is a good car on which to learn some mechanics - a vital, but fun part of ownership.

To get the most out of ownership join a Car Club, the Triumph Sports Six Club have proved invaluable for advice, cheap parts and a cheery chat.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th July, 2004

16th Feb 2005, 10:51

Mine is a 1974 1500, the only year without the catalytic converter in the US. I have converted to the dual SU carbs, much improved. Easy to work on engine, when it is needed (rarely). The electrics on the other hand do not impress me much, especially the main light switch which I finally wired to a relay system. Good gas economy and a really fun car to drive on a sunny day. Don't overdo it though or you will find yourself upside down and stay away from dirt roads. Parts are easy to come by and still relatively cheap. Rust is a big problem, check the rear frame near the rear wheels, it tends to rust out at the lowest point in the frame, no drain holes!!! Floor boards are a problem and the rockers.

Average review marks: 6.8 / 10, based on 15 reviews