Grounded Spitfire For $900!

1974 Triumph Spitfire

This barn fresh Spitfire has been grounded for a while and it’s starting to show. Listed on craigslist in Nashville, Tennessee, but parked in Goodlettsville and priced at just $900 is this 1974 Triumph Spitfire. There were approximately 96,000 Spitfires produced in ’74. The big plastic over-riders on the front bumper aren’t our favorite styling choice for these cars and would likely remove them to give the car a smoother appearance. Powered by Triumph’s straight 4, the 1500cc engine produced 53 bph and was said to give the car a top speed of 100 mph.

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There is very little information given in the ad. The owner claims this to be a barn find and that this is how he found the car. The odometer shows 49,216 but given the overall condition, we aren’t sure mileage really matters. There is some rust around the hood latches and along the bottom of the doors. No interior, floorpans, engine, truck and/or underside images are provided. We don’t even know if the engine spins, or if it’s under the bonnet (hood), but the front looks to be riding a bit high. The title is said to be “missing”, so that could be a problem. For all we know, with some starter fluid and spark plugs, this could be a runner. If you are around Nashville and are in the market for a yellow two-seater, maybe you should contact the owner?

Cheers,
Robert

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Comments

  1. Wayne Thomas

    When a project is under $1000 and is complete and not rusted out, then its a perfect project to take time on and do for the fun of it. I don’t see this site being a safe-haven for flippers anyway.

  2. jim s

    not enough text/photos to tell if there are $ 900 worth of parts. if close might be worth doing a PI. interesting find.

  3. Howard A Member

    I recently did some work on a car just like this for a friend of mine. He also got it cheap, $500 bucks, and was nicer than this, HOWEVER, don’t be swayed. Even in it’s condition, it was/is a mess, and a pain to work on. While the tilting hood makes access to the engine easy, the rear suspension requires a lot of repair, and very hard to get at. Anything inside the car, is also hard to get to. There’s a ton of parts for these, as my friend went through Moss,or VictoriaBritish, and they had EVERYTHING.( kind of reasonable, too) After working on the car, even my friend had reservations about buying a car like this, that needed so much work. These aren’t exactly rare, and clean examples come up all the time. I leaning towards this being a parts car, as well.

  4. ClassicCarFan

    Hmmm…..looks to be in pretty poor shape, been sleeping outdoors for a while and based on what you can see of where the rust has taken hold this probably has plenty more hidden away – rusted out floors and possibly trunk too because left out in the elements water usually leaks in they suffer. The soft-top is a reasonable design for keeping the worst of a rain shower off you out on the road, but it cannot keep out months or years of weather for ever especially once they begin to dry and crack up left out in the sun?

    Unfortunately, Spitfires are caught in the “inexpensively priced” trap. Because you can buy a well cared-for nice example for relatively little money it is rarely worth rescuing a car in this state unless you have some emotional/sentimental motivation. Sometimes folks just want a “project” for the sheer joy of rescuing a basket case for the experience but it doesn’t make much sense economically. You can spend thousands getting it into even nice driver condition and it will still won’t be worth much. They aren’t rare and there’ll always be another, better one along if you wait.

    This might make a good parts car but with no title and the poor overall condition I would doubt if anyone would want to even pay $900 for it – unless maybe it is hiding an over-drive gearbox in there, which is a very desirable option for these cars and worth a few hundred dollar on its own if complete and functional.

    Shame, because as a Spitfire fan, 1973 – 1974 US cars are some of my favorites with the 1500 engine and before they added the horrible enormous bumpers and other styling changes that spoiled the classic looks.

    As you state – the “smogged” US cars with the single Stromberg and other emissions equipment only made something like 53 bhp – but you’re wrong about the top speed. The UK/Europe 1500 Spitfire with the full fat 71 bhp engine and 3.63 diff would just about crack the “ton” with a road test top speed usually quoted at 101 mph. A 53 bhp spitfire would not make 100 mph unless it was pushed off a very steep cliff.

  5. Chris H.

    There was a mint, restored example for $3900 on Craigslist in Kentucky about a month ago. Not saying this isn’t a find, but I think you’ll see that the receipts would quickly add up to far more than that to bring this to “restored” status.
    I just picked up a MG Midget for $1500 in running condition. Floors are solid, barely any rust, and basically complete. Even doing a rolling resto, I wouldn’t break even.

  6. GAry

    Not a 74 Spitfire. Probably more like a 75 – 77 Spitfire. The 74 Spitfires had the “arrow” shaped front and rear bumper overriders. Also 74 had metal “1500” trim and not the stick on decals.

    Look at the rust just under the rear of the bonnet on both sides. That’s a pretty good indication that the outer rockers are shot. And the inner rockers usually rust out shortly after the outers rust. Odds are pretty good the floorboards are gone also. I would say this is probably not much more than a parts car at this point. And $900 is pretty steep for a Spitfire parts car. The 76 engine is fairly valuable as well as an O/D transmission – if it has those. Beyond that, there isn’t much value to late model Spitfire parts in this condition.

  7. ClassicCarFan

    @GAry. “Not a 74 Spitfire. Probably more like a 75 – 77 Spitfire. The 74 Spitfires had the “arrow” shaped front and rear bumper overriders. Also 74 had metal “1500” trim and not the stick on decals.”

    It’s not a 1976 (or at least, it does not have 1976 wheels fitted) The 1976 steel wheels had a one-year-only rectangular cut out pattern and not a round one. As you say, the 1976 engine with the (just like the rest of the world) 9.0:1 compression would have been a bonus.

    Probably not a 1977 either as most of those had the black painted door handle escutcheons rather than polished metal….(though those changes appear to have been made mid-year as some 1977 cars had the older style??) Same thing with the black painted mirrors and windshield wiper arms….that also changed around that time.

    Maybe a 1975 then ?

  8. Tundra/BMW Guy

    When I first read Spitfire/$900 I was like wow! Probably sold. Pulled up CL and low and behold it is still available! After reading all of the information and looking at all the pics provided (being extremely sarcastic), I was encouraged. Then I looked at days posted: Red Flag 22 days, still available?!?!?!
    Now I flip back to the BF Comments section and everything comes into crystal clear focus. Man, I love this site! I have learned so much about such a varied amount of vehicles since stumbling upon this site!!! The saying “Everyday, learn something new” has never been more true!
    Thanks!!!
    (When are you guys going to get around to rolling out the “Pay to Play” and keep this site afloat, plan?)

  9. gunningbar

    I dont care what f ing year this is. Otherwise the comments are right on.. i love BF!
    Yep… parts car…… 2015 Parts Car!

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