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My Spitfire’s Maiden Voyage

My Triumph Spitfire

Well guys after lots of late nights, countless parts runs, and more knuckle scars than I can count I finally was able to take my little Spitfire out for a short drive. When I say short, I mean down the street and back short, but it was a start! I still have plenty of issues to address and taking it out for a quick spin revealed a few new problems that will need fixing. Overall, it was just a blast to finally get behind the wheel of this project, even if it was for only 5 minutes! Those few minutes reminded me of what saving a barn find is all about, the reward of that first drive.

My Spitfire and RX8

So now that I have the new motor running and most of the auxiliary systems working, I still need to make it safe to drive any kind of distance. The old tires hold air, but I wouldn’t trust them for anything more than just a couple miles an hour, so those are on the list of things that need to be replaced. I also discovered an unusual knocking sound from the back of the car while underway. I’m going to guess it’s something rubbing as the result of the tired old rear suspension. I’ve added a complete suspension rebuild to the list of things to be done. I also plan on rebuilding the brakes and replacing all the hoses. As you can see, I still have a lot to do to get it ready for the first Barn Finds Rally! I would love to have her ready by then, but it doesn’t give me much time to get all the work done! Wish me luck!


  1. L.M.K. Member

    Glad you are on your way with your project. The thrill of this hobby is in full bloom at this time of the year for most of us…..Enjoy !

  2. Tim H

    The thrill of that first drive of a barn find is something that I haven’t experienced in some time. I have the thrill of getting a great deal on a car with issues. I don’t buy cars that don’t run and drive any more and my wife used to say the only time my cars looked done was just before I sold them. Well I have solved that problem, I just don’t sell them!

    Although the newer cars are too complicated for me, I finally have the tools and knowledge to work on older cars but now, insted of working on them, I read about what you all are doing. Whew, I think I am ready for a nap now.

    • Josh Staff

      Thats what we are here for! I have to admit buying cars that already drive can be a lot less headache while still providing lots of smiles. I think at this point in our experience, fixing up old barn and garage finds is a good opportunity for us to learn how to work on our own cars though! Plus we are able to get a few cars back on the road so others can enjoy them. At the end of the day though, what really matters is that you enjoy what you’ve got! If it’s a stuck LBC, a rusty Mustang, or a beautifully restored Porsche, all that matters is that you enjoy it. Whether thats working on it, driving it, or just admiring it in your garage! Thats what makes this hobby so fun, we all do it our own way!

  3. Jarod Rose

    Congrats! That Spitfires looks so clean. In my opinion the Spitfire is the prettiest little British roadster ever made.

    • Linda

      I agree Jarod Rose the Spitfire is IMO the prettiest of the LBC’s (Little British Car). I owned an early Spitfire for 30 years and it was my first restoration project but after 3 differentials I sold it for a Sprite. My good friend replaced 7 differentials on his new from the dealer Spitfire and he was a mechanic and got me hooked on the Sprite for the super low maintenance and more traditional rear.

      Knocking in the rear equals differential problems. Check fluids in the rear and search for suggested help. Good site for the Spitfire is:

      • jim s

        i too am hooked on Sprites and Midgets.

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        I’ll bet it’s just a bad u-joint. Yes, I’m an optimist!

  4. E55

    We know from your writing that you’re a passionate car guy, but the condition of your lawn compared to that of your neighbor’s provides tangible proof!

    • Josh Staff

      Haha I was hopping no one would notice how bad my yard looks! My neighbor has 2 big dogs he brings over to my yard to let them do their business. I guess he figures he’d rather see dead spots in my yard than his own! I figure right now in have better things to work on than the lawn, like the Spitfire and the Singer!

      • jim s

        is the rx8 a BF project car also? if the spitfire rear diff. is a issue will using a gt6 diff. solve the problem? glad you got the car up and running. there are products that will keep dogs off your grass.

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        Regarding bumpers (should have posted this lower down), a small amount of work will allow you to fit 71-73 (and rest of world 71-80) hard plastic covers that are a lot smaller. The rear bumper can be modified and rechromed, although when you remove the center large section the under part will not have a smooth finish and you will have holes to fill; many folks fill the holes and paint the bumpers black. At the show I was at this weekend I saw a really nice job on the front with home-made sheetmetal equivalents of the hard plastic covers. Good luck!

  5. SuperSport


  6. 67rebelsst

    great looking spitfire. Are you going to keep the front and rear rubber bumpers?

    • Josh Staff

      You know I haven’t decided yet. I’ve been so focused on making it drivable that I haven’t put much thought into visual changes. I will have to look at some without modified bumper gaurds! Once I’ve made a decision and act I will post more photos!

      • John

        If my memory is holding up (debatable) I think the big front rubber thingies cover some of the hardware for the bonnet hinges. But I also seem to remember walking around the garage with a Spit diff muttering words that would qualify me as a “rap” artist today. Its not hard to fix, and you’ll get used to it — practice makes perfect.

  7. Andy McNab

    Good luck with the Spitfire , having owned one about 26 years ago I loved it as a first car . I do remember that fitting 185/60/15 tyres on it improved the cornering no end . Though this may have been my downfall as after driving from the UK to the southern coast of Spain the steering collapsed with disastrous results . Have fun with it .

  8. Darrell Dirr

    Jesse, Congratulations on your first ride, Now you have to start hunting for a car for the Mrs.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      This is actually Josh’s car Darrell, but thanks and although my wife really isn’t into old cars, we are always on the hunt for another!

  9. bowtiecarguy

    Vredestein Sprint Classic tires and you won’t have to be afraid.

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