Reader Find: 1968 Triumph Spitfire

We recently received a message from Reader Carrie B about the story of the barn find that her 17-year-old son just discovered. Obviously, we love a good barn find story. And boy, this one is a good one! While Dylan didn’t find a super rare exotic, but he did find a great old classic British Roadster and it’s enthusiasts like him that will keep the hobby alive well into the future. We will let Carrie tell you the story below!

From Carrie B – My son, Dylan, was cutting down a field of very tall, very thick bamboo for a neighbor. While doing so, he couldn’t help but peek in the guy’s old dilapidated barn. Inside, my son found a 1968 Triumph Spitfire that had last been inspected in 1977. The car was in decent shape considering its age. All the original parts were there, almost no rust and only 22k miles. My son, being a big car enthusiast (and who will be majoring in auto body repair in college) took an instant interest in the Spitfire.

Although shy, my son went up to the owner’s house and asked about the Spitfire. One thing lead to another and my son was the proud new owner of the 52-year-old car…. for only $200 (no, I’m not missing a zero… $200). I think the owner liked the idea of a teenager taking the car into his loving care to restore.

To top it off, even though the car has been sitting dormant for 43 years, my son was able to get it driving in only TWO days! Of course, the overall restore will take quite a while, but he’s enjoying the whole process.

We want to congratulate Dylan on his find! These really are wonderful little sports cars and while this one is going to need a ton of work, it sounds like he is the right person to have it. I really hope we hear back from him as he makes progress on the restoration! Be sure to watch his video above and don’t forget to wish him luck.

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Comments

  1. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    Good for you, Carrie B., for passing on to Dylan the desire to keep part of our history alive. It’s a rarity in today’s world to see anyone under 50 being enthusiastic restoring anything mechanical-kudos to his mentor, which I’ll bet was in no small part YOU.
    These are a blast to drive and when he’s finished with it I hope you all share pix with us.
    Good on you, too, Dylan for summoning up the courage to approach the owner and ask if they’d to part with it! And the fact that you got it running as quickly as you did says something of your mechanical abilities. Can’t wait to see the final result!

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    • Carrie

      The crazy thing is that neither myself or my husband have a car-knowledge bone in our bodies. Dylan is a self-taught car enthusiast. He amazes us every day with his knowledge and skills. I believe that he got his talent via genetics. My grandfather, brother, uncle and cousin all share that motorhead gene.

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      • Andrew S Mace Member

        I have to laugh…because I’m like Dylan. In particular, my dad really liked cars and had some very cool ones in the day, not the least of which were the several Triumphs he had that got me started. But he was a librarian and philatelist…and the most UNmechanically oriented person in my family (as was well established by various mechanics, including yours truly, who worked on his cars over the years)! But perhaps it was genetic; my mother’s father was an engineer!?

        2
      • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

        The fact that you and your husband ENcouraged instead of DIScouraged Dylan to go ahead with this lends itself to say you are two very positive parents. Thank you. We need more positive, involved parents like you two-thank you all for setting a good example, Carrie.

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  2. Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

    Carrie, Dylan, if there are used Spitfire parts you need, let me know, I might a) have them and b) send them for shipping costs only. :-) Love to see someone new getting into the Triumph hobby!

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    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      That’s the spirit! The best encouragement is from someone knowledgeable, with experience (and parts) to share! Good on ya, Jamie.

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    • Howard A Member

      That’s how it used to be, folks. While I don’t care for Spitfires, a better start you couldn’t have. I don’t buy the 22K miles, Lucas gauges weren’t that reliable either, but doesn’t matter, I think it’s a great story, and hopefully, some of Dylans friends jump in too..

      5
    • Dylan Bryson

      There are quite a few parts that I’d like to buy used so I can get it on the road asap for as cheap as possible. What would the best way be to contact you to send you the list of parts that I need? Thanks.

      1
      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

        Dylan, I sent you an email — looking forward to seeing the list!

  3. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    As a new addict, welcome to the group Dylan! Very nice find. Make sure you take a good look around the garage when you get time. Could be more treasures hidden. Enjoy!

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  4. bobhess bobhess Member

    Great story!

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  5. ken tillyUK

    This is just what the movement needs, young enthusiasts. Let’s hope it rubs off onto some of his friends when they see what Dylan is doing with his young life. Well done so far young man. Please keep us oldies informed on the progress.

    10
    • Nick

      “The Movement” needs young enthusiasts but probably more important, it needs this sort of generosity from older enthusiasts. Dealers and flippers are making this sort of heartwarming story more and more rare. “The movement” has falling prey to a commodity market.

      7
  6. Don Page

    I’m glad to see that some of the younger generation are showing an interest in the hobby. Unfortunately, many of the older car prices are out of the reach for them. Kudos to the gentleman that sold it to him for a price far less than it probably worth.

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  7. ccrvtt

    Please Please Please post pictures of your progress as they become available. Those of us without the time, talent, or treasure get a lot of satisfaction from seeing someone tackle a project like this. Best of luck to you and have fun.

    4
  8. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Good for Dylan, it always good to see a new body into cars (other than just driving them). As a onetime owner of a 60’s Spitfire, here’s a couple of things to watch: the electrical, the clutch hydraulics and the steering coupler. The last two are easy to attend to, but the last one especially could be a big problem if in motion. Also had one of those small plastic tubes come loose on one of the carbs and tried to dump gas on the header while away from home and tools.
    It’s a lot of fun, and a good learning experience. Best of luck on the car.

    4
  9. BrauKnabe

    This is a great story that put a smile on my face.

    Let us know when Dylan gets to meet Joe Lucas, the Prince of Darkness!

    1
  10. Mikeh

    I watched the whole video. I enjoyed watching it almost as much as he enjoyed making it. I wish he had made one on getting it running. Damn, that’s fun. Makes me want to get another old junker and spend more money than it will ever be worth. But it will provide hours [years?] of satisfaction and that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it.

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    • Dylan

      I am making videos on the entire restoration of it. If you click on my channel, I have a video from when I got it running

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  11. Andrew S Mace Member

    Thoughts on watching the first two videos: As a 50-year-plus Triumph owner and as a 31-year father, I couldn’t help but wish I’d been there to help ID bits and lend assistance! I see the makings of a great project here, and I can only hope that a: Dylan’s enthusiasm level remains high; and b: he seeks out a local club (or that club seeks him out). Of course, many of us will say that this is one of the best years of Spitfire, and this one is startlingly nice!

    1
  12. Streakjerry

    Nice barn. Looks like my grandfather’s 140yr old one in Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore

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  13. Pete

    Very Cool Dylan, I bought my first car a 1965 Spitfire when I was 16 years old for $150 way way back in 1976. It only ran on 3 of the 4 cylinders after I got it towed home. My floor pans were rusted out, transmission had synros worn to bits. But a month later I had fixed everything including rebuilding the engine and transmission. Drove it for a year and a half and then sold it for a 300 profit. A Haynes manual was my friend. My dad was very unhappy with me for buying the car without his help. So all he would do was answer questions. He didn’t lift one finger. Which was good, because you learn by doing it yourself. I wish you the best of luck in your restoration. If you have any questions that Haynes book doesn’t answer Hit me up or some of the other guys up here. More than happy to help.

    2
    • ken tillyUK

      I stand to be corrected but I believe the first manual that John Haynes ever produced was for a Triumph Spitfire. Evidently he was in the Armed Forces when he and a friend decided to strip a Spitfire and restore it, however, he didn’t have much of a memory so decided to draw everything before he removed/overhauled it, so that he would know how to put it back together again. From that first book he made millions and eventually built the Haynes Motor Museum down in Sparkford, Somerset, UK, one of the best in England. For you guys there is even a very, very rare Dusenburg, SJ I think it is.

      4
  14. Charles Pospisil

    This is Charlie at British Motors of FAIRFIELD COUNTY IN BETHEL CT. Call me at 203-866-9307 at my shop and I’ll help you out. I bought my first British car at 16,it was a 1959 Austin Healey 100/6 in 1969!

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    • Andrew S Mace Member

      Likewise (and further to my previous comments), I am willing to offer information and advice as needed!

      h e r a l d 9 4 8 -at- a o l . c o m

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  15. Richard

    Nice job Dylan! As an old guy, this warms my heart. Please treasure and respect the car and take the old guy for a drive when you’re done.

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    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      Unless Dylan is going for a total tear-down, why wait that long? I’m sure that the seller would be thrilled to see the car running and driving, through several phases of refurbishment!

      One of the best sources of enjoyment in this hobby is keeping a former owner up to date on progress. It will bring him both of you joy that can’t be bought!

      2
  16. David J Dave J

    Wow! I would have felt like young Jim Hawkins finding Treasure Island. Way to go, Dylan. I must echo Richard’s sentiments. Please give the old guy a ride when you are done. :)

    3
  17. SMDA

    This is the way the hobby used to be. It is refreshing that some people are not greedy and young people have a chance to learn and grow in the love for all things automotive. The good news is that the old man didn’t give him an old hemicuda for 200 bucks. Then he would be restoring it for all the wrong reasons…to sell.

    4
  18. Tracy

    Great find! Those are great little cars. Clean it throughly first, that for me gets my enthusiasm going. Once you get it running work from one system to another until everything is working. Looking forward to seeing your progress.

    1
  19. PantherMan

    I am still catching up to the ‘Finds so I am a little late to comment, but this story made my day! There is hope for the hobby after all. Kudos to Dylan’s parents for the encouragement! Way to go, Dylan and I am confident you will in turn inspire someone else to jump in to the hobby.
    And to the readers offering parts and advice, you guys are the best. You are the hobby.

    Also kudos to Josh for the write-up and the entire BF staff for the wonderful site.

  20. DKW

    Love the early bodied Spitfires! Great find and story. Best of luck to the young man.

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