Motoring Monday: British Car Week Candidate

spitfire

I noticed this pretty clean and solid appearing Spitfire Sunday night here on eBay, and since it’s British Car Week, it seemed like a prime candidate to be featured today. It’s located in Schnecksville Pennsylvania, and seems pretty solid despite having been off the road in a New Jersey hangar for 30 years. The last inspection decal in the windshield dates from 1982, so the claimed mileage of 52,000 may well be real. It’s also the very desirable Spitfire transition year with the round-tail body design but the square-tail’s more luxurious interior. So why is bidding at $76.00 (not a typo) with no reserve as I type this? I suspect it’s mainly because the car does not have a title. I realize there are title services that advertise nationally that “guarantee” they can procure a title for an older legitimate car; does any Barn Finds reader have experience with doing this? This is a seemingly solid, relatively low-mileage car with a huge “easter egg” included.

spitfire2

Although the seller didn’t take a clean picture of the entire car, they do state that the only rust is on the right hand sill and a new panel is included, and the detail pictures that are included lend credence to the claim. I’ve made that sill repair before on a Spitfire and it’s not a horrible one to complete; the Spitfire sills are “semi-structural”, despite a backbone frame. The rear suspension radius arms attach to the rear of the tub, but the repair is pretty straightforward if you have a good quality replacement panel. At the rear of the sill/front of the rear fender, there’s a body crease to hide the repair. And the bottom of the sill had visible spot welds in the first place, so there’s no need to hide the welding.

spitfire4

I did mention an Easter Egg, didn’t I? This is a factory MK III hardtop with a good rear window! Very rare and very snug – the Spitfire hardtops completely change the car from an admittedly rattle-filled, scuttle-shaking typical British open sports car to a snug little coupe that can be used year-round (especially if you’re not in an area that uses salt in the winter!) We put the hardtop on my Mom’s 1500 every winter and it so transformed the car that we were slow to take it off sometimes in the Spring. I’ve since had a MK II and I’ve acquired a hardtop for it as well, although I still have to refurbish it for winter use.

spitfire5

The seller removed the intake and carb, a single Stromberg CD150 in this case, although they are included in the auction. The Strombergs are dead simple to rebuild and parts are readily available for the entire car. Since the engine is free and intact, I’ll bet you could be driving this find for less than $1,000 total expenditure this summer if you were willing to do some work and utilize used parts – except for that pesky title! No, this isn’t the most glamorous of finds, and it won’t keep up with a Miata in most cases, but it will give you a dose of classic British sports car to celebrate BCW!

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Horse Radish

    Bidding was that low , because it’s
    1. a Triumph Spitfire
    2. a British car from the seventies
    3. wired like a British car from the seventies
    4. built like a British car from the seventies.
    5. in Pennsylvania

    Price has spiked because of your advertisement.

    It’s still only a Spitfire from the seventies.

  2. JT

    Would a CARFAX show it as stolen if it was? Is there any way to check prepurchase?

  3. Rodger Grantham

    It is pretty hilarious that “luxurious” and “Spitfire interior” were used together.

  4. John H

    I’m having the same problem referred to here. I have been given a 1950 car by the family who oned it for thirty years. Title long gone. It’s incredibly solid but hasn’t been registered in 20 years. The state where it was registered doesn’t have the old records because they pre-date digital archiving. My state doesn’t require title; only a document such as registration, but there is none. Anyone with experience?

    • Horse Radish

      Run a mechanic’s lien.
      in your state AND maybe the previous state that you know it was in.
      If it comes back ‘no record’ you should get a title in a ‘title state’ or registration elsewhere…

  5. 71 MKIV

    the air cleaner and gasket that is in the battery box is for the Weber DGV. I know, I have one on my car.
    The wiring isn’t usually a problem on these if you keep the grounding points clean.
    These things are stone simple, parts are plentiful and relatively cheap, and have the look of a much more expensive car.

    71 MKIV

  6. jim s

    for some people it is British Car Life not just a week!. i think i see more then the current bid in parts. not sure how to solve the title issue. nice find.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      @ Jim S …and that would be me :-)
      @ Roger Grantham: well, it was luxurious compared to my Mk. II. The seats recline, you could put the later wood dash in, and the headrests (lol…)
      @ Horse Radish: Spitfire folks (yes, there are a few of us) like the ’70 because it does have some of the best of both of the early and late cars…

  7. MikeH

    I have done the title bit. I had a car that had been imported to the US but never registered. The owner just drove it with its French plates and no one ever said anything. Many years later, I was given the car. I had no title, registration, shipping docs–nothing. From an ad in Old Cars Weekly, I contacted a firm in NY, sent them the info, and got back a NY bill of sale of someone selling the car to me. I held my breath, went to the DMV and everything worked like a charm. As I remember, this can only be done for cars up to [including?] ’73. Also, shop around–I think I paid $350 which was less than half what some other companies wanted.

    • Horse Radish

      I’ll do it for $300.
      I don’t think anybody would want the liability anymore.

  8. DavidC

    Each state is a little different but each has a form you fill out for no title, the highway patrol will verify the vin# and check the national database to see if it is stolen, the state will then issue you a title. You can call the highway patrol in your state for their exact procedure.

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