Just a Badge, Man: 1978 Triumph Spitfire

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

Triumph Spitfires certainly have spent plenty of time on the track, whether it’s a professional road course or weekend cone-chasing with the local autocross club. The seller of this rough ’78 Spitfire thinks he has a former race car on his hands due to a fancy plaque on the dash – one that came on multiple Triumph products in the 70s. Find this potential LeMons canidate here on eBay with a $500 opening bid and no reserve. 

The first clue should be the years captured on this otherwise racy-looking dash plaque: yup, 1965, 1968, and so on. Well before the Spitfire was even a thought on the production line. It’s easy to see how sellers can interpret such a plaque installed on a two-seater sports car as indication to some sort of racing pedigree, but it also goes to show the current owner doesn’t know much about vintage Triumphs.

And really, with the Spitfire in such rough condition, it’d be important to know what we’re working with so the next owner can go into this eyes wide open. It’s clear the interior has been gutted, with door panels missing, the carpet removed and a dash cracked in multiple places. The good news is a new carpet kit and weatherstripping is included, so it seems there were plans to restore it at one point.

The floors have already been cut out and replaced with fiberglass, and despite being from Texas, rust is still an issue. The seller claims it’s rock solid underneath, but this much rot-through on the top of the body is alarming. Still, if that’s the worst of it, it’s at least an easy area to access – certainly for a quick patch job before you go racing. But just remember: a dashboard plaque does not a race car make.

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Comments

  1. Dan

    A little more research may be in order here. The spitfire was introduced in 1962, and did win those SCCA titles.

    3+
  2. MH

    All those cars had that plaque. My 1980 spitfire had it.

    4+
  3. Chuck

    I think they mean that the seller thinks this particular Spitfire won scca titles, which is unlikely unless the driver had a time machine.

    3+
  4. Howard A Member

    I know, I see it. Too bad the most sought after option ( for me) is on the poorest example. How does a shift knob get cracked? Pull the motor and trans and scrap the rest.

    0
    • leiniedude

      I think you are on to something Howard. I have been saving up for an overdrive for my Willys wagon, around a grand. Maybe save the o d for a better rig. I am not sure how much one is worth for a Triumph.

      0
  5. Rx7turboII

    I will never understand why Triumph didn’t put the overdrive switch on the gear stick on the Triumph TR6 as well! It was such a good idea, why would you put it on the steering column? Didn’t the Stag have it on the gear shifter also?

    0
    • Tom S.

      @ Rx7turboII, my MGB had the OD switch on the steering column and it was fine. You can flip the OD on or off without taking your hands off the steering wheel, just like the paddle shifters on newer cars.

      1+
  6. Joe

    Simple question: Why doesn’t the seller indicate 1) whether the car cranks, starts, runs and drives? 2) Or engine turns by crank and (at least) rolls? 3) lights, gauges, signals/electricals work (even if not running). Isn’t that more important than a carpet set? I feel like I’m being sold a rotting boat anchor with new weather stripping.

    2+
  7. Mike Siebel

    A Spitfire might have won those races, but not this one!

    1+
  8. Pa Tina

    Future washing machine side panel.

    3+
  9. jw454

    Scrap it? Where are all the people who usually want to spray a coat of satin clear on it (to preserve it) and drive the heck out of it? LOL

    1+
  10. Don

    had one of these back in the day..if I’m not wrong, it has 2 side draft weber carbs that made it a bear for me to get timed properly..if you do it wrong, the carbs spit out gas liquid on fire.

    0
    • Gary

      The single Stromberg in the pictures is the correct carb for this car. But duel side draft webers were a popular conversion back in the day.

      I agree with most, the O/D is probably the only thing of any real value here. It’s at $760 now which it was too much for an O/D that you don’t know if it works.

      1+
  11. George

    The luggage rack on the rear deck sure must have come in handy while it was being “raced” and the driver was sure brave “racing” without a roll cage or even a roll bar.

    0

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