Like New Inside And Out! 1976 Triumph Spitfire

The Triumph Spitfire was a popular British sports car built between 1962-80. It saw a series of five production generations and quite a few racing wins across 315,000 units in 18 years. This 1976 Spitfire is newly restored, and the drivetrain has less than 500 miles since the makeover was completed. Located in West Palm Beach, Florida, this little beauty is offered here on Barn Finds Classifieds with a $13,000 asking price and the seller is open to offers.

As was the case with most British sports cars, the Spitfire (named after the WW2 fighter plane) had a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, two-passenger configuration. It was a shortened variant of the Triumph Herald chassis, and the Spitfire also shared that car’s running gear and engine. A manually operated convertible top was standard and a removable hardtop was added later as an option. The seller’s car has both and is from the last iteration of the Triumph, the Spitfire 1500, which was built from late 1974 to the Summer of 1980. That run of cars saw production just shy of 96,000 total units.

This ’76 1500 (for the 1493 cc inline-engine) has been treated to a frame-off restoration that began six years ago. Besides the motor and tranny, the suspension contains all new parts, and the car was lowered both in the front and back with new tires added, as well. The radiator, brakes, and gas tank were also replaced. The interior was given a makeover, from the seats and carpeting to the door panels and an upgraded stereo. The electrical system was beefed up as well.

Although no “before” photos are included, the floors were replaced on both sides along with at least one fender and rocker panel. If there was rust anywhere, it was jettisoned in favor of metal (no Bondo). The restoration of this car comes across as a labor of love, but other projects await and the room must be made to accommodate them, so the Triumph here is on the market.

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Comments

  1. Mikefromthehammer

    I am in lust with this one. It is a screaming deal for $13K. If only Santa would come through, I’d be all over this one.

    Like 5
  2. John Norris

    Two things I love about Spitfires: 1/ You can sit on a front wheel when you work on the engine! 2/ You can take the transmission out without having to go under the car!

    Like 6
  3. Howard A Member

    I’ll admit, it’s a clean one, but personally, having driven several 2 seat roadsters ( from various countries) in my life, I can say, the Spitfire was my least favorite. While I know the Spitfire has many followers, I think it was the cheapest rendition of a 2 seat British sports car England had to offer. Being an MG fan, I felt, even the Midget was a nicer car. Before I got the Jeep, I looked at a couple Spitfires, nowhere near this clean, in the $4,000 range but it was clear, the sellers stuck a TON of money into them, with a lot more to go, making them halfway drivable, but I could tell they had reached their limits and just wanted to get out. One, a 1500, no rust, ton of new parts, but needed a lot more, I bet I could have had for $2500. As usual, no O/D will be a challenge on interstates, but totally doable on back roads, where this car should be enjoyed anyway. Spitfires incorporate all the British bugaboos you’d normally expect (if you don’t expect problems then don’t even look) and I guarantee you’ll spill gas on the deck lid, and yes, sitting on the front tire does make repairs easier, but still, for entry level 2 seat British roadster fun, you can’t go wrong here. Someone already did the hard work, little things will be part of the ownership and the fun. Just make sure a “Moss” catalog is included, you’ll need it.

  4. bobhess bobhess Member

    Always appreciated not having to pull the engine to change clutches on these cars. Most Triumphs we worked on had the same feature. Unlike our Sprite race cars the only thing that doesn’t come out is the rear end in changing a clutch.

    Like 1
  5. Ben

    Lucas Prince of Darkness! I’ll never forget the spridget light switch I once saw, with 3 positions labeled Off Flicker Dim

    Like 1
    • Mikefromthehammer

      Hey Ben, if you are going to say something hilarious, please give me a heads up first. There would be less coffee snorted through my nose ruining my keyboard and monitor. I’d ask if you could contribute to the new keyboard and monitor, but hey, it was my coffee not yours. (I hate people who blame others for things they did themselves).

    • Paul R

      Lucas also made refrigerators and toasters.
      That’s why the Brits have warm beer and cold toast.

      Like 1
      • Brian M Member

        I have a framed advertisement for the Lucas vacuum cleaner, with the statement: “You know if it’s Lucas, it sucks!” Actually, it’s the only thing they made that didn’t suck, and it should have!
        I presently possess seven LBCs, two runners (TR3 and TR7) two projects (AH Sprite and Triumph Herald) and three TR3 parts cars. TR3, owned since 73, is a pleasure, the TR 7 is trying its best to be an insurance claim. and the two projects are stalled. At 77yo,, ambition is getting harder to come by, even though we are now in the good season for car work here in Florida.
        The first LBC I ever drove was a 62 Spit in 63, a trade in on a new TR4 at a Triumph dealership.

        Like 1
      • Robert Morris

        Paul, for all you Lucas put downs. Even today a number of F1 cars utilize a Lucas fuel injection system. Lucas made some mistakes, no doubt. However, the management of Lucas in the 1950’s-1980’s did not put much money into improvements, even though their engineers wanted to improve their systems.

        Like 1
  6. Robert Morris

    Would seem to me that any naysayer about ANY British car should not bother making any comment. I could go on for 200 pages about the myriad of problems every US automobile shared. In my mind 80-90% were ugly and heavy, their lack of sophistication was deplorable. In 60 years of driving I have only owned one American car. British, French, Italian, Swedish and German cars ALL have their foibles. Some of that can be charming, perhaps, but you learn to live with it and you take the good with the bad of what they were/are about.

    Like 2
    • Kim

      In the 70s I drove a Corsair Corsa. This set me up for a life long love for sports cars over muscle cars. I’ve owned many Fiats, a BMW, Bug-eye sprite, Opel GT, MR 2 and Fieros. I still have most of them. I just can’t let go of them, and most of them run. Keeping batteries and gas fresh is a challenge. I just acquired my first Spitfire. What an artistically beautiful body on the Spitty. How could I have not noticed these when I was cutting my teeth on sports cars. Definitely one of the most beautiful body shapes since the Jaguar XKE.

      Like 1
  7. matt

    Great little spit ! It presents well.
    I have not owned one, but in the past – the MGA, MGTD(twice), MGB(twice) TR4, TR6, XKE, and a Bug Eye. I would like to try one though. But I need to finish the TR4 I’m currently working on.
    I have pointed out to fellow car buddies that our cars will NOT return our youth, but still…I’m refusing to be inoculated against British Car Disease. (*shipwrights disease”)

    Like 1
  8. bobhess bobhess Member

    Late 60s through the ’70s was not good for the British car industry or it’s suppliers. They were starting to implode due to poor management and out of date, badly assembled cars. As for new designs there were very few, the TR7 as an example, where the designers must have all quit and left the job to the janitorial staff. Nice thing about our race cars is the only British parts left on them is the chassis, rear end housing and engine. Saying all that, this is a nice car done right.

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