1976 Triumph Spitfire 1500 1.5 from North America


A fun, inexpensive 4 wheel alternative to a motorcycle


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

1976 Triumph Spitfire 1500 1.5 from UK and Ireland


A pretty, cheap and fun slice of motoring history


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.