1970 Triumph Spitfire Reviews

1970 Triumph Spitfire MkIII Overdrive 1.3 Twin SU Pot Carbs from Australia and New Zealand

Year of manufacture1970
First year of ownership1995
Most recent year of ownership2007
Engine and transmission 1.3 Twin SU Pot Carbs Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 2 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 4 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
4.8 / 10
Distance when acquired160000 miles
Most recent distance220000 miles

Summary:

A true sportscar. If you like to drive you'll love it

Faults:

This car has been a labour of love. Everything has been repaired, overhauled or replaced. General running costs are low, but to keep her in top nick has cost a fortune.

New panels: bonnet, sills, windscreen surround, floor, doorskins, bootlid

Full body restoration (10 year rust warranty). New soft-top, carpets, seat and door covers. Dashboard rebuilt.

Reconditioned Overdrive (J type) gearbox from a 1500 fitted to replace my worn out unit with the older D type overdrive and no synchro on first.

Motor reconditioned, new wiring harness.

Basically she is a bit like Granddad's axe (4 new heads and 3 new handles, but just the same as always).

General Comments:

With everything done she is a treat. Will cruise all day at 65mph plus with the CD player blaring away. Loves the windy bits as long as it is not too bouncy due to the dodgy Triumph rear suspension. This car is a family toy like an old pet. She is only a few months younger than me! Not the most comfortable place to sit and you sure can't use the cellphone.

Now I just need about 15 years of trouble free motoring to recover all the cash I've poured into her. Woe betide anyone silly enough to bump into me the road rage would be a sight to behold.

Best thing is the sensation of speed you get with your bum so close to the ground. Who needs to do 100mph (although we did get her into the late 90's on a massive long downhill straight in Otago) when 65mph feels like you're flying.

This is a car to enjoy and play with when getting from A to B is not the whole point of the exercise.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th August, 2007

1970 Triumph Spitfire Mk III 1.3 from Australia and New Zealand

Year of manufacture1970
Engine and transmission 1.3 Manual
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.3 / 10
Distance when acquired90000 miles
Most recent distance110000 miles

Summary:

Great fun - but be careful of old Brit cars that idiots have restored.

Faults:

Busted piston rings.

Air seeping past intake manifold gasket leading to lean running.

Burned out wiper motor.

Rear brake drum warped - needed replacing.

General Comments:

This was a lot of fun - but not very practical.

Apart from the breakdowns, we lived in Wellington and had no garage - so: lots of rain got into the car. My wife's caged bird that she took to and from school (teacher) used to kick seed out of his cage - it fell on the wet carpets and sprouted.

Now, as for the breakdowns... we bought this car as a restored classic from some idiot who had made a really shoddy job of it. He'd cut corners and pinched pennies and basically relied on a decent paint job to sell the car. The gearbox was from a Herald. It worked OK, but the gear lever travel was wrong and it banged into the radio knobs. The brakes were not right and needed several trips to a specialist to sort out, the wiper motor died, the motor just wouldn't run right until after I'd given it a valve grind and replaced just about every gasket on the intake side, plus replaced the SU needles and fiddled around endlessly. The seats turned out not to be black leather, but red with some kind of nasty dye on them that peeled off and stuck to our clothes.

Moral of the story: if you buy a restored car be very very careful about what you are getting. We really enjoyed the Spitfire for the short moments when it ran right. We sold it after only about nine months as it was too hard to keep it running.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd October, 2006

29th May 2007, 18:49

Spitfires are cheap cars that generally received no support through their life. I owned a 72 and suffered through 2 years of problem solving. The good news is that once I sorted the car out (correcting the previous owner's poor work), I enjoyed my MK4 Spit without problems for 9 years. Sorry your experience was so negative. Spitfires are a blast. If properly set up and maintained, they are cheap to run.

Average review marks: 5.5 / 10, based on 3 reviews