Triumph Spitfire Reviews from UK and Ireland - Page 2 of 5

1965 Triumph Spitfire Mk II 1.1

Year of manufacture1965
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 1.1 Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.5 / 10
Distance when acquired65000 miles
Most recent distance67000 miles
Previous carFord Escort

Summary:

A classy, elegant, fun motor

Faults:

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.

General Comments:

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

1977 Triumph Spitfire 1500 1.5

Year of manufacture1977
First year of ownership2000
Most recent year of ownership2002
Engine and transmission 1.5 Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 3 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.3 / 10
Distance when acquired92000 miles
Most recent distance0 miles
Previous carVolkswagen Passat

Summary:

Best handling, most fun classic you can buy for the money!

Faults:

Head gasket blew at 102,000 miles.

Clutch spring let go at 100,000 miles.

Chassis has bad rust which I had to get welded, which was not cheap.

Universal joints needed replacing at 96,000 miles.

Window wiper motor failed.

Drivers door handle broke twice.

Front trunnioins needed replacing at first MOT.

General Comments:

Despite the faults listed above, this is the best car I have ever owned. I use it every day, which I can't say I'd recommend, it is 25 years old. It's not the most reliable car, but it just looks and handles so well that I can forgive it for its short comings. Actually it handles so well it'll give most modern "sports cars" a run for their money down a country lane. However it could do with a bit more poke from under the bonnet, but the speed it carries through the turns makes up for it.

It is a very small car. Every car I park it next to dwarfs it, but that's not really a problem because you can get in and out of any parking space with ease. I'm 6ft4 and although a little cramped it is surprisingly comfortable.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th August, 2002

19th Sep 2005, 12:56

Wow! I thought I was the only tall spitfire driver! I agree with all your comments, it's a great car, even if I had to get a smaller steering wheel just so I could get into it!

26th Jul 2006, 13:00

Yes, I agree with everything you said about the Spitfire. I have just bought a 1977 Spitfire and it is a real fun drive. I am 6ft 2inches, but once inside it is quite comfy, and don't you just love the looks and comments that you get?

20th Jul 2008, 07:03

I am 6'6", with slight mods to the slides I fit in the 78 spit 1500 very well, with or without the top up... barely use the top really, I love the small light and nimble feel of the car and put it through its paces through many of BC's windy mountain roads... it may be thirty now, but I wouldn't sell it for anything. Have made many repairs during road trips and during the off season... all part of the joy of the small Brits, either behind the tool or behind the wrench its well worth the effort you put in, of course it helps that I am an electrical tech, there is always work with Lucas parts.

21st Nov 2013, 19:30

I had a 1977 Spitfire 1500, and it was, to this day, my favorite car I've ever owned.

I now have a brand new 2013 Mazda MX-5 (Miata) that is a hard top that converts to a convertible in seconds and it's maxed out... BUT I'll never forget the Spitfire 1500.

I bought when it was two years old in 1979. I had so much fun in it... although the hydraulic clutch kept going out all the time and it had other mechanic problems. I would give up my new Miata for a new Spitfire 1500. I was 19 years old when I bought it, and there's just something about being a young woman driving that car around and having so much fun!

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