A classy, elegant, fun motor
Broke down when I first bought it due to age and neglect of engine. Overhauled carburettors and replaced some fuel lines and ignition parts and got running.
At first service, replaced miscellaneous brake parts and replaced fluid.
Many many loose screws! The previous owner restored the body, but didn't do anything up very tightly. The first few weeks of driving involved listening for metallic chinks and clunks as suspension parts shifted relative to one another.
Shredded a front tire by turning too enthusiastically (the car has an incredible turning circle!)
Hood and tonneau cover in need of repair/replacement.
Clutch hydraulics failed.
This was the last mark of Spitfire with the bumper in the right place (UK)! US regulations meant the US edition and all editions of later models had the higher bumper that has become the recognizable face of the Spitfire.
Due to the age and history of the car I was fully expecting to have to spend time with greasy hands and I have not been disappointed!
That said, the car has never "surprised" me with failing to get me anywhere or failing to stop. Keeping an ear out for bumps and rattles has meant catching problems as the emerge rather than when they really manifest themselves.
The car is a joy to drive. I expected discomfort at speed or over distances, but it is a far smoother ride than other vehicles of the age / size.
The seating is comfortable though I use a rolled-up hand towel for lumbar support. It still beats my 14-year- old Ford Escort for comfort though.
The soft top does not fold away, but comes off completely! This is an inconvenience, but is a great talking point and means you can actually get passengers behind the front two seats!
With the top on you need to be either very short, quite flexible, or ingenious to get in and out of the car without embarrassment/discomfort.
The exhaust makes a great "brum" noise and the gears whine fantastically in first. There's a little wobble at 45MPH, but it cruises comfortably at 70+, although your ears take a battering.
Only four gears (overdrive was an option, not fitted) means quite a lot of noise at speed.
Surprisingly cozy in rain or chilly conditions.
Best driven at low speeds in your best shirt, or high speeds with a warm high-necked jacket!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 8th October, 2003