Cheap 2-For-1: 1969 Triumph Spitfire

Okay, hands up those of you who love a 2-for-1 deal. If you have your hand up, then perhaps this 1969 Triumph Spitfire is the project car for you. Not only do you get the red car that you see here, but there is also a second car with a steel hardtop included in the sale. It keeps getting better, as bidding on the pair has only reached $250 in what is a No Reserve auction. You will find this dashing duo located in Essex Junction, Vermont, and listed for sale here on eBay.

The red Spitfire has undergone some body repairs and a repaint at some point in its life, and there is some evidence to suggest that this work may not have been completed to the highest of standards. The owner had no problems locating some fiberglass repairs in the rockers, along with patches in the floors. It looks like the next owner might have to redo this work, but the frame itself looks to be nice and solid. Getting the rockers right is pretty important in a Spitfire because even though the car is essentially a body-on-frame construction, those rockers do contribute to structural stiffness and vehicle integrity. The rest of the body looks quite reasonable, but the owner says that the top will need replacing. This might be where the spare car comes in handy, as it currently wears a steel hardtop that looks to be in good condition. If this was restored and fitted to the red car, then you would have a Spitfire that you could use all year ’round.

This is the spares car that is included in the sale. As you can see, it has no glass or interior trim, but it does have a full drive-train underneath, along with the steel hardtop. That could come in mighty handy for all sorts of little bits and pieces that might be needed to complete the restoration. From what the owner says, the frame is also quite good. That means that the option might be available to sell this car further down the track to recoup some of the restoration costs for the red car.

The interior of the red Spitfire is essentially complete, but it will require a complete re-trim. Someone has undertaken some amateur upholstery work in the past, and the finish really is an acquired taste. There is little in the way of upholstery available in the parts car, so the next owner will probably need to work with what they have here. Having said that, I have had no problems finding a source of new interior trim kits and seat covers, and the whole lot can be bought for under $1,500. That makes for a fairly inexpensive interior restoration.

The 1,296cc 4-cylinder engine in the Spitfire ran when it was parked around 5-years-ago, and while it no longer runs, it does turn freely. Backing that engine is a 4-speed manual transmission. These engines are about as basic as they come, so even if it should require a rebuild, it isn’t usually a difficult or expensive job. On a positive note, the parts car also has an engine and transmission, so if worst comes to worst, these could always be used to get the Spitfire mobile once again. Thanks to the need to comply with tightening emission regulations, the Spitfire engine did take a horsepower hit for the 1969 model year. Power dropped by 7hp over the previous year, to 68hp. Once again, it isn’t a lot of power, but it did allow the lightweight Brit to find its way from 0-60mph in around 14 seconds, and to wind out to a top speed of 95mph.

As I said in the beginning, there really is nothing quite like a 2-for-1 deal, and this looks like it is a pretty good one. The harsh reality is that the Spitfire is not a car that commands high prices, but they are still an enjoyable little car to drive. This one needs some work, but having access to a parts car is a real bonus. This really is a project where the vast majority of the work could be completed in a home workshop. That is probably key to the viability of this as a project vehicle because it is possible to secure some fairly nice examples for under $15,000 at present. However, I have seen a friend of mine take on a similar Spitfire restoration project, and he managed to do it to a pretty tight budget by following the DIY path that I have suggested here. So, if you would like to take on the restoration of a classic British sports car, starting points don’t come much cheaper than this.


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  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    A good pressure washing to chase the animals out and you might have everything you need to build a good car. Nice thing about these cars is being able to easily take the body off the frame to work on the running gear. These early models are getting hard to find so at least you could have a fun project that represents the early days of the English sports car years… and they are fun too!

    Like 1
    • Fordfan

      It’s wearing 1963 dodge dart wheel covers and they don’t look bad

      Like 5
  2. JohnfromSC

    Many years ago I took the same strategy with a 68 MG Midget. Had a 67 Sprite parts car that gave up loads of good stuff. With the 1275cc engine and headers it was a decent performer.

    Always loved the Spit but both it and the Midget are perilously small against todays all too prevalent oversized pickup trucks.

  3. SebastianX1/9

    Triumph Spitfire
    “You not only get a car and a girl, but a piece of history.”

    Cool 70s ad

    Like 1
  4. bobhess bobhess Member

    JohnfromSC…What you say is why we race our two Bugeyes and don’t drive them on the street. Initial 3 years of my Air Force career my main transportation was a ’62 Midget. Drove it all over the country but never forgot how big 18 wheeler wheels and tires were.

    Like 2
  5. robert kirk

    The 1300 is SO MUCH better than the later 1500. While I am more of a fan of the TR3 and 4, the Spits offer a lot of bang for the buck.

    Like 2
  6. Vincent

    Luv it
    My first restoration was a
    1969 Spit with a factory hardtop
    Word of warning if you do any structural repairs
    Make sure you put the hardtop on the car being fixed, that way when you done welding rockers etc. & you remove the HT for paint,
    You know it will fit back on the car right

    Like 1
  7. Kelly Breen

    I went the Midget route, but I do like Spitfires – particularly the earlier ones. Moss or VB or MBH offer virtually every part for these cars and they are pretty reasonable – particularly if you get in a club. I’ve found most British car owners want to help you out rather than make money. Triumph and BMC roadsters are the poor man’s entry into classic cars. I don’t think there is a lot of money to be made, but there is a lot of fun to be had owning one – and maybe a few tears skinned knuckles or bad words along the way.

  8. Brian M Member

    I am sooooo glad that it’s not summer and I’m not hanging out at my sister’s place in Warren, NH not far from Essex Junction because there would be a Uhaul in the yard with these in it to add to my burgeoning collection of Brit projects here in Florida! Of course they would probably come with divorce papers. Always wanted a Spit to back up the TR3A but will have to finish the Sprite, Herald and Moggie Traveller first. Darn!

    Like 1

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