Tidy British Survivor: 1979 Triumph Spitfire 1500

Finding a clean and affordable classic car to park in your garage can be a challenge. Generally, any vehicle of this type with a four-figure asking price is going to need some work. However, that isn’t the case with this 1979 Triumph Spitfire 1500. The owner has managed to retain as much of the car’s originality as possible and has undertaken some recent mechanical work that has it ready to be driven and enjoyed by its next lucky owner. Located in Huntsville, Texas, you will find the Spitfire listed for sale here on Barn Finds Classifieds. All that you need to do is hand the owner $7,500, and you could be driving away in this little British classic.

The Russett Brown Triumph makes a positive first impression, and this is not deceptive. The paint holds a good shine, with no flaws or issues worth mentioning. The panels are impressively straight, while the gaps are consistent. The big news here is that the Spitfire appears to be rust-free. It has spent a good part of its life in Texas, and when you combine this with the fact that the owner keeps the vehicle stored in a garage, that has allowed it to remain structurally sound. The Black soft-top is in good order, with no rips or tears. The back windows have managed to stay clear, so there’s nothing here that will need attention. The trim and chrome are in good order, while the same is true of the wheels and trim rings.

With a few notable exceptions, classic British sports cars are not renowned for being the most powerful beasts on the planet. However, that is not always a bad thing because this lack of outright engine performance can make them more rewarding when driven enthusiastically. The Spitfire 1500 features a 1,491cc four-cylinder engine that produces 57hp. Those horses find their way to the rear wheels via a 4-speed manual transmission. That figure might not seem like a lot, but it’s worth remembering that this little four is tasked with moving a car that weighs a paltry 1,760lbs. That means that not only is performance more lively than you might expect, but sitting so close to the road makes everything feel faster and more exhilarating. That’s the key behind why these types of cars are so much fun to drive. This Triumph’s engine bay presents nicely, and this appearance is not deceptive. The owner has recently replaced the fuel tank, fuel lines, the fuel pump, and the sender unit. While he was at it, he rebuilt the carburetor, dropped in a new alternator, and adjusted the brakes. That has left the Spitfire in sound mechanical health. The owner says that it runs and drives extremely well, which means that it is ready to be enjoyed immediately by its next owner.

If potential buyers are looking for some part of this Spitfire that will consume money, it won’t be the interior. It is another aspect of this British classic in above-average condition, with no issues or problems worth noting. The upholstered surfaces are in excellent order, with no wear or tears. The same is true of the carpet, while the timber dash is spotless. It is this latter feature that is my favorite aspect of the interior. It might just be me, but timber trim of this type looks right at home in a British sports car. The chunky wheel should feel comfortable on longer trips, while it appears that there is a radio to provide entertainment on the move.

Between 1974 and 1980, Triumph produced 95,829 examples of the Spitfire 1500. Nearly 80% of those cars found their way onto American soil. This proved that the country’s love affair with the classic British convertible was ongoing. Finding tidy and original examples today can be challenging, but that is what is on offer here. Summer is here, and the sun is out. Can you think of a better time to buy a car like this Triumph than right now? I can’t.


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  1. Oldog4tz Oldog4tz Member

    I’d love to have it if I could fit in it.

    Like 1
    • Skorzeny

      It’s a convertible, you will. Just slide the seat back…

      Like 1
      • Oldog4tz Oldog4tz Member

        But I’d have to get out sometime. Getting back up is the real issue

        Like 5
    • Ron S

      Find a Miata. Sit in it if you can. Find a Spitfire. Sit in it. It’ll feel like a Lincoln Continental compared to the Miata.
      I’m 6’4”. I own a 2009 Miata Grand Touring.
      I wish that it had the room that a Spitfire or MGB has.

      Like 1
  2. MKG

    Getting in is easy, gravity does all the work. Now getting out is a different story, lol.

    Like 3
    • Mikefromthehammer

      Call 911. 😉

      Like 2
  3. Howard A Member

    Spitfires are fun cars. It’s about the only affordable British roadster today. This one has a header, and looks to have retained the original Stromberg, which is a good thing. Header may make for stumbling in the cold, but who drives a roadster in the cold? ( I did) No mention of O/D, so she’ll holler on the freeway, but looks like a nice car.
    Be advised, I helped a friend work on their Spit 1500, which every car like this will need, they knew nothing about the car, and ended up selling it when more problems popped up. Tinkering on these is part of the fun, but if you are inept, by all means, stay clear.

    Like 6
    • MKG

      Many years ago I had a 79. When I went to sell it a young lady called about it. My first question to her was, have you ever owned one before. No. Do you have the ability to repair it yourself. No. Well, as to my selling it to you. No. lol.

      Like 4
  4. bobhess bobhess Member

    My stepson has a ’58. Pretty much dog simple in most areas and fun to drive. The only weak area we found was the crankshaft thrust bearings mounted on either side of the center main bearing. Rather that being a full 360 degrees they are two 180 degree pieces, one on each side, taking all the thrust load. We just got in the habit of checking them periodically as they are easy to access and replace. If you rebuild the engines it’s a good idea to have a machine shop cut recesses in the block to take two more halves of the thrust bearings to make a 360 degree bearing surface. As for getting in and out, the seat goes a long way back and the doors are the largest of almost all of the British roadsters. Our Bugeye Sprites… smallest doors on the planet.

    Like 1
    • MKG

      The old hips and knees aren’t what they used to be, lol

      Like 1
    • CCFisher

      You might want to verify that model year with your stepson. The Spitfire was introduced in 1962.

      Like 3
  5. bobhess bobhess Member

    Try ’78 on the stepson’s car. Shouldn’t do numbers so early in the morning. Speaking of ’62, I went back and forth between the Spitfire and MG Midget as a car I wanted to buy until I finally got to a dealer and found the perfect ’62 Midget on the showroom floor. Never got back to the Spitfire but it was a neat car. The GT6 is one of my favorite cars and is on my best looking 5 cars list.

    Like 1
  6. Kelly Breen

    The Midget is even smaller and my 6’3″ son can fit in it. I have learned how to roll out of mine with grace and style!

    Like 1
    • Bill Potts

      About the only car smaller would be a Fiat X1/9 For me,they felt like driving a peddle car.

  7. Gregory Stegall

    Did anyone else notice the two different types of headrests?

    Like 2

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