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Bob_Defly

Original Poster:

1,641 posts

116 months

[news] 
Friday 6th July 2012 quote quote all
Hi all, I have decided to buy and tinker with/upgrade/restore a Spitfire, as my first ever classic car and could do with a couple of things.

Firstly, exactly which model should I be looking at? Bear in mind I live in Canada, so will be looking at whatever was sold in North America. I'm thinking a Mark III or IV. Wikipedia seems to suggest the 1500 was a bit dodgy compared to earlier models, what do the experts on here say? One thing I am sure about though is I want the chrome bumpered model, not the one with big rubber bumpers. Not sure if the MK IV came with a combination of a chrome bumper with big rubber overriders here.

Secondly, is there a good book I can buy that would help with all the mechanical bits? I need something with LOTS of pictures, as I'm a complete numpty when it comes to cars, but I have time and garage space, so can learn.

thanks in advance!

P.S. I'm hoping to get something with a good rust free body, but that needs mechanical and interior attention, maybe even new paint. But I'm hoping to stay away from welding and fixing rust issues if I can help it. Is there a buyers guide for what to look for/weak spots when buying?

//j17

2,022 posts

108 months

[news] 
Friday 6th July 2012 quote quote all
Triumph never went the huge rubber-bumper route like MG. The worst you got were chrome bumpers with rubber over-riders, not that much bigger than the hard plastic ones the rest of the world got.

If I remember correctly the US never really got the Mk IV - they got it but because of us emissions rules it was so down on power that it had the 1500cc engine fitted from day 1. Other than the engine the Mk IV and 1500 are the same, give or take the odd tweak or update over the life of the body style.

To be honest there's not a lot wrong with the 1500 engine. No, it doesn't like to be reved high like the smaller 1.1 and 1.3 engines but it has a lot more torque to compensate so you don't need to work it so hard to get power out of it.

Parts availability for the later Mk IV/1500 is generally better than for the earlier cars, with some of the suppliers not covering the earlier cars. I think things have improved but 20-odd years ago when I bought my Spit. new body panels for the earlier cars weren't as easy to get hold of as for the later.

Book-wise I'd recommend:
- A Haynes workshop manual
- A Triumph workshop manual (I'd say get both as each is better on some jobs than the other)
- A Haynes restoration manual

If you're going to originality, or just some toilet reading then you might also want to grab a copy of John Thomason's A Guide to Originality

6fire

406 posts

36 months

[news] 
Saturday 7th July 2012 quote quote all
There's nothing wrong with the 1500 engine really. People bang on about it being weak, but so long as you don't try and drive it at 5,000rpm plus all of the time it's fine. As with any small engined car of this vintage it will be worth stripping the engine down every 100k miles and replacing journals, pistons, valves etc, but compared to a modern motor it's really not complicated - perhaps a weekend's job (minus any engineering work which may need doing).

The Mk IV/1500 handles so much better than the earlier cars, I think it's really worth going for over the Mk IIIs and earlier.

Bob_Defly

Original Poster:

1,641 posts

116 months

[news] 
Sunday 8th July 2012 quote quote all
Much appreciated, thanks both!

Spitfire2

1,357 posts

71 months

[news] 
Sunday 8th July 2012 quote quote all
6fire said:
There's nothing wrong with the 1500 engine really. People bang on about it being weak, but so long as you don't try and drive it at 5,000rpm plus all of the time it's fine. As with any small engined car of this vintage it will be worth stripping the engine down every 100k miles and replacing journals, pistons, valves etc, but compared to a modern motor it's really not complicated - perhaps a weekend's job (minus any engineering work which may need doing).

The Mk IV/1500 handles so much better than the earlier cars, I think it's really worth going for over the Mk IIIs and earlier.
+1 to all the above.

The USA cars were low powered though - if you can ditch the emissions nonsense and get twin carbs it is worthwhile.
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Yertis

12,274 posts

151 months

[news] 
Monday 9th July 2012 quote quote all
//j17 said:
Book-wise I'd recommend:
- A Haynes workshop manual
- A Triumph workshop manual (I'd say get both as each is better on some jobs than the other)
- A Haynes restoration manual
I'd add the Triumph Spitfire Spare Parts Catalogue to that list.

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