When It Rains, It Pours!

1973 Triumph Spitfire

We were already feeling pretty good about the TVR when we got a call from a guy who had just seen our want ad for garage space. The caller said that he did not have any garage space, but that he did have a car we might be interested in. He said we could come take a look after he cleared some of the junk off it. I was leery, but agreed to stop by. As we entered his shop, I was surprised to see a dusty red Spitfire in the corner. Apparently, he had purchased the car 10 years ago with the intention of restoring it. He had since realized that he was never going to get around to it. The car definitely wasn’t perfect, but it appeared to be solid and complete so I asked him what he wanted for it. Ironically, he was willing to take the exact amount of cash I already had in my wallet! We weren’t even looking for another project, so it was nice how this one worked out. Let’s just hope this rainstorm doesn’t let up any time soon!

Needs Reassemebled

This one is going to need some reassembly before it’s going anywhere, but we are hopeful that it can be made a driver again without too much effort. There wasn’t any serious cancer that we could find and the engine turned over freely (1500 engines like to seize up). The original paint appears to have been Magenta so this is one time I am actually happy that someone preformed a color change! I’m sure it looked good in that hue, but purple is among my least favorite car colors. Anyway, no plans for a full restoration here, but it would be fun to see who’s Spitfire is faster. What do you say Josh – ready to get your Spit out?

Bullet Mirror

I know some of you think we should stick with only the popular American stuff, but we are just taking them as they come. We have looked at all types of vehicles lately (yes, even a Dodge truck with the same body style I once called “frumpy”), but have yet to find anything that we thought had profit potential. We do hope to locate an old Ford or Chevy pickup one of these days though, so if you run across anything cool in the Treasure Valley area please let us know! We aren’t trying to get rich doing this. We do hope to have fun while making a couple of bucks a long the way. Hopefully the experience will be fun and educational for everyone involved. We know we are having a good time!

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Comments

  1. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Great choice, guys, at least from the bang-for-buck standpoint! If I can help with parts let me know…I’m guessing I could build at least two Spitfires from my shelves alone.

  2. Chas

    Hi Jamie,
    I am looking for a good set of bucket seats, preferably in black for my GT6+. Do you happen to have a reasonably priced pair of seats for my car?
    Chas

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Chas, I don’t think so but I will check this weekend and let you know. I know I have tan ones, but I wouldn’t call them “good” by any means!

      • Chas

        Thanks Mate. I appreciate it. Just let me know what you may have.

  3. AMC STEVE

    Hey if you bought it right you shouldn’t lose

  4. dav

    I liked a part with price. :) and wallet

  5. Howard A Member

    Now this is a much better find for a flip. People can relate to a Schpitfire. For example, my daughter has a good friend, who knew NOTHING about cars, except, he wanted a British roadster, and didn’t have a lot of money. A guy had at his work, a ’75 Spitfire for $500, and it ran. So he bought it. Turns out, it was more than he can handle, but the want was there. While not my personal favorite Triumph, over the years, I knew several people that had them, and they were fun cars. These cars are so simple, it shouldn’t take much. Spring is around the corner ( not sure which one, as it was -16 in N.Wis. this morning) and you should have no trouble selling this one. ( btw, you guys may have opened a can of worms with this service, you could do well)

  6. Woodie Man

    You guys are brave!

  7. Ryan

    These two trucks are located in North Carolina. I have no idea what condition they are in, but the one on the left seems to have some big rust issues. I love classic cars, but I am certainly no expert. Unfortunately, it would seem that you guys are on the other side of the continent for these trucks. :( I just wanted to share them. If anybody is interested in these, reply and I can give you the address of the lot they are ‘parked’ in. (They are not mine)

  8. jim s

    you all have a Volvo, Audi, TVR, Mazda, Fiat, 2 Triumphs and what else, or what some people would call a used car lot. this has to be fun. i too think you can resell this one also. better to turn and earn a lot of items at a small profit, with a home run from time to time, then to hold out for just home runs. glad you had the walking around money to buy this with. as word get out that you are buying and can pay right away you will have more people contacting you. thanks.

  9. sunbeamdon

    I guess for a buck ninety eight you can’t go wrong; I’m not a fan of Spitfires, something to do with inappropriate rear suspension failures, as I recall.

    Best of luck – looks like a reasonable enough project

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Don, the later cars like this one (1971-on) have the issue solved with a pivoting transverse spring. Earlier cars can have the issue eliminated with something called a camber compensator, but to be honest if you are driving “normally” it’s not an issue. The suspension doesn’t fail, but the rear wheels will tuck up under the car if you corner…shall we say excessively quickly!

  10. Dave Wright

    I am not a big British sports car guy………I always thought an average German sedan would blow there doors off any way you want to go……..but I made a lot of money buying motorcycles in the winter the first years I was in Utah. I would buy all I could find at impound sales and wherever they were cheep. I had a mechanic partner that would maby wipe them off and get them started……that was all. The first warm day of spring we would run an ad…….I made at least 3-5 times what I had in them and would sell 40 in 2 weekends if the weather held…….so get this baby ready for the early warm spring days……ask more than you think it is worth……it should be a winner.

  11. piper62j

    It will sell.. These cars are still popular and you won’t lose..

    Good find and best of luck..

  12. Joisey Storm

    Good buy guys! These are great entry level, inexpensive cars and if you can shine her up and have her ready and running by spring, I think Dave is Wright (sorry Dave, couldn’t help myself). This car will sell.
    I vintage race with a lot of these and they can be developed into very fast, great handling machines. As others have noted the later models cured the wheel tuck problem and this is a layer model.
    Looking forward to following your progress on this one.

  13. piper62j

    If Wheeler Dealers can puff up a Triumph, sell it at a profit,,so can Barn Finds..

  14. Dave at OldSchool Restorations

    … looks like this one needs a fair amount of hours spent on it…..

    As I pointed out in the ” Flippin ” thread a few days ago, you can ( and will) find a lot more cars like this than it is practical for you to re-assemble…which is why ‘flippin them’ with doing anything becomes a necessity , unless you want to pass these hidden opportunities ( and I doubt that you want to ) …
    Taking a short profit on cars like this will pay the bills while you work on the TVR ( etc)……. Has certainly worked for me for many , many years.

  15. Doug M. (West Coast) Member

    I have found that when you have a little money to spend, the projects appear! I think your varied selection is great. I have always steered away from the classic fords and chevys because EVERYONE is looking for them and it’s hard to actually get a bargain. I always shopped the back line in car lots when these foreign cars were showing up on lots. They usually had something wrong with them and were mis-understood and un appreciated. That has worked well for me. Right now I have NO chevies or fords, but have Bmws, Mercedes, Porsches, and Volvos… all in my line-up ready to work on ( I can only concentrate on about one or two at a time). I think your mix is great! and with Ebay and CL, parts shopping is pretty easy. Have fun!!

  16. Bobsmyuncle

    If you take the comments to heart regarding “only Fords and Chevies”, you’ve got bigger problems ahead. I think your thread on flipping cars has really shown clearly which of your readers to accept advice from.

    Obviously we want the best for you, but as long you aren’t defaulting on the mortgage and the kid’s are eating, have some fun. Maybe some hard lessons ahead, but we all grow stronger from those!

    I personally am excited for you!

  17. piper62j

    Doug.. I find the younger generation prefer foreign cars over American these days, and you’re right, there is a demand for them which would put a better profit in your wallet.. Main street Fords and Chevies are too plentiful which drives the price down..

  18. Gary

    Jesse,

    You didn’t say what year the Spitfire is but looking at the front bumper overriders, I would say you have a 74. That is the only year that had the arrow shaped overriders. They are made from unobtainium. The front ones on your car look to be in good shape. Don’t lose them. Hopefully you have the rear ones but you can get away with not mounting them if they have gone missing.

    These are really fun cars. Very “tossible” around corners when set up correctly, despite their reputation.

    Have fun with it.

    Gary

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Sorry for not mentioning the year. It is a ’73. All the over riders are here and accounted for! By ’73 all the suspension issues that you referred to had been fixed. Car and Driver did a sports car comparison in 1973 and although the Spitfire was one of the slowest cars, it was also one of the best handling in the bunch!

      Here’s the link: http://michaeljay.tripod.com/spitfires/cdtest/

  19. ClassicCarFan

    Best of luck.
    on the plus side, these are very simply engineered cars and extremely easy to work on. Parts are freely available and not ridiculously expensive. Lots of specialist support, friendly and helpful (generally down-to-earth) owner community. These cars are cheap an easy to keep on the road and a lot of fun for a small modestly powered car.

    On the down side, even with all that above- it is still very easy top spend way more on restoring one of these than a good ready-restored one can be bought for?

    BTW – “1500 engines like to seize up” really? never heard that before. I’d be interested to hear the factual basis behind that statement. Other than being marginally larger diameter than the 1300 engine (obviously) the blocks are pretty much the same? why do you think the “1500” is particularly prone to sieze?

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