The Whole Truth: 1970 Triumph Spitfire


This nose is unique to the MK III Triumph Spitfire. The bumper is raised for new crash regulations and yet retains the chrome strips covering the weld lines along the tops of the fenders, something later cars lack. This Spitfire is listed on eBay has been stored for years in a garage in Wisconsin and is mostly complete. This posting is a great example of how a seller could use just a few pictures to fool a buyer. Some of the pictures in this posting make this Spitfire look really nice but the description is complete, honest and paints a very different picture. It’s refreshing to have a seller be so honest in their description. The seller has also provided 200 very detailed photos on their site. 


The seats actually look OK and the interior looks usable as it is. There’s no sign of rodent damage from here.


If you cropped this picture a bit, the dash could look OK, even with all those push buttons.


The center section of the dash is missing and an alarm has been added.


There is no word on the state of the engine. Although rather messy, things under the bonnet look complete and original. Although this Spitfire is listed as a Mark III, there’s only one carburetor. That would make it the Mark IV engine, the 1296 cc American version with lower compression, a single Zenith carburetor and only 63 horsepower instead of 75 that a Mark III would have. You can see the original white paint on the firewall.


The thick undercoating is quite possibly hiding rust as the seller says. They also say they found pinholes in the floor.


The top looks like it’s in nice shape. This picture makes it look like a really nice car. Bidding is just over $700 at this time and the auction ends Sunday. What do you think you’d find if you inspected this Spitfire? Maybe there’s a lot of rust in the floor? One picture shows a messy bundle of wiring in the trunk. Perhaps someone gave up on it because of the conflict between the Dark Lord Lucas and the aftermarket alarm system. There are several puzzling things about this Spitfire, including the engine. Could this have been a “Mark III and a half”? If it sells cheaply enough, could this be a project worth taking on? It will be interesting to read what you guys think of this little Triumph.


  1. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    The 1970 N. American Spitfire is just that — an in-between model. It got most of the interior from the upcoming Mark IV, one-year only badging (that RAF roundel badge on the nose) and a few other distinctive features. The 1970 also came with the single Stromberg, so it may well be the original engine.

    My son-in-law is refurbishing a 1970 Spitfire that’s been in the family for about 15 years. I like my Mark II better, but he’s happy!

    • Alex Member

      Just wait until the 70 is done, then we will see which one you like better.

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        ^^^^ My son in law. :-)

  2. Ken

    Like a Spitfire needs an alarm system…

  3. 71 MKIV

    I think this was a kid with dreams of lcd screens and awesome graphics, until reality got in the way.
    Several things stick out. What’s with the dash supports on either side of the missing center section? The bottom section of the dash has been cut away, this is what makes me think some sort of screen in the center. Something was going to be mounted there.
    In 35 years of playing with these things, Ive never seen those thick plates that are on the underside of the floor on any other Spitfire. So what’s up with that?
    Red fan, high flow for the hotter sections of the country, so this came from the south/southwest. Probably the most valuable part on this car.
    The mags are worth something, if you can find the fourth one.
    Parts car, it’s too rusty, looks like the floors and sills are gone, unless this is a labor of love, you would have less in a decent one to start with.
    That said, the MKIII is the best looking Spitfire IMHO.

  4. Andrew S Mace Member

    Parts car? Hardly, at least until a much closer inspection could be performed. Survivor? Yes, especially the way I define the term, which is a car that still exists despite previous owners’ attempts to modify, fix or otherwise “bastardize” a perfectly good car without having a clue as to what they’re doing. It’s one thing to use a later Spitfire 1500 wood dash and instruments, but it’s quite another to make it look like a “Kitt” (as in “Knight Rider”) car with all those buttons and such!?

    As Jamie noted, it is a bit of an “interim model”; the “MkIV-style” dash began with the “Federal” 1969 model year, but the lighting, badging, and such were again unique to the 1970 model year. Without seeing the the engine serial number, there’s no way to easily tell if it’s an original FE series, small-journal engine or a later large-journal 1296 or 1493. It looks pretty much like a typical Federal 1970 engine, though.

    Yes, I’d want to look much more closely at sills and floors before dismissing the car, and yes, I’d want to know what some of that bolt-on plating is on the bottom, but I’m not ready to summarily dismiss the car as a hopeless rustbucket. (I’m also not ready to buy it just on an eBay ad; I’d want right of refusal.)

    BTW, the 1970 Mk3 “Federal” is one of my very favorites of all Spitfires! (see attached picture; it’s mine and just happens to be an eBay purchase) :D

  5. Rspcharger Rspcharger

    I’ll just say that it’s refreshing to see such an honest seller.

  6. Ben T Spanner

    I had a 1970 Spitfire and a 1970 GT 6 at the same time. The GT 6 was my daily driver for 3 or 4 years. The Spitfire stuck around for maybe 2.

    I found it on a used car lot in Central Ohio in th middle of Winter. Therefore it was cheap. Mechanically and body wise it was solid with a cheap thick red paint job and and an after market hardtop.

    I liked my 1966 Spitfire better. A Toyota dealer took it in trade. Rebuilt engine with receipt from someone I knew. Needed paint. This was the only car I ever painted. It looked like a large green pickle with lots of lumps. I spent many hours wet sanding, and the end result was fine.


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