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Old 04-14-2007, 09:21 PM   #1
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Default Spitfire Project

I've been thinking about starting another project car lately and got an email about a 1979 Spitfire. It's being offered to me for 700 bucks. It runs, but needs the works. It comes with a new top and new interior. Other than driving my uncles early 70's Spitfire once, I really don't know much about this car other than it leaks a lot of oil. This obviously would not be a performance build, but more of an antique build. I think it would be pretty cool to have something in the stable that was the precursor to the miata. What do you guys think? Is a 1979 Spitfire worth rebuilding?

Last edited by Stripes; 08-19-2007 at 11:10 AM.
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Old 04-14-2007, 09:29 PM   #2
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Had a neighbor who restored one. Really fun car, but nowhere near as fun to drive as the miata. Like you said, it'd be more of a classic restoration rather than a performance car. Funny you should mention oil leak b/c that was the one issue with the car he could never really fix. But then again a bunch of us here fight that too...

For $700, it's aweful tempting, maybe try the $40 paint job method?
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Old 04-14-2007, 09:39 PM   #3
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I would definitely try the 40 dollar paint job if I bought it. Maybe the greddy kit would fit
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Old 04-14-2007, 10:13 PM   #4
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700 seems steep... go cheaper
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Old 04-14-2007, 11:51 PM   #5
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I've done a lot of work on old British roadsters, Spitfires included. In fact, my uncle bought the last spitfire I rebuilt.

The '79 is rubbish, frankly. It has the 1500cc engine that is prone to busted cranks (shared with the rubber bumper Midget), and the crappy rear suspension (but not as bad as the Mark I). Its handing has suffered terribly, as its ride height is way raised to meet US crash spec, as opposed to the lower, earlier cars.

Rust, obviously, is a big problem. If that one is clean, then it might make a good shell to build back to spec of an earlier car (takes quite a bit of work). One fun thing would be to take the body and swap it over to a Triumph GT6 chassis (these cars have a "tailbone" frame with a unibody on top). The GT6, as you may know, has an inline 6 and a better suspension setup (you'd need the hood of a GT6 with the bulge).

Sorry for rambling. It's awful tempting, but if all you want to do is a kind of restoration back to original condition, leave it. The '79 just isn't worth it for that. But if you wanted to have some fun, and that was rust-free...

If you go look at it, let me know, and I'll let you know what to look for (common difficult problems, hidden rust, etc.)
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Old 04-15-2007, 12:00 AM   #6
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this makes me think I'd like a triumph TR8
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Old 04-15-2007, 12:05 AM   #7
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If you can stand how they look, those are pretty neat.
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Old 04-15-2007, 10:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlanta93LE View Post
I've done a lot of work on old British roadsters, Spitfires included. In fact, my uncle bought the last spitfire I rebuilt.

The '79 is rubbish, frankly. It has the 1500cc engine that is prone to busted cranks (shared with the rubber bumper Midget), and the crappy rear suspension (but not as bad as the Mark I). Its handing has suffered terribly, as its ride height is way raised to meet US crash spec, as opposed to the lower, earlier cars.
Thanks for these tips. I heard the later spitfire models were not as desirable as the earlier years, but I had no idea why. If I were to do a classic restoration, I would want to restore it back to it's original specs. I think I'm going to pass on this one.

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Old 04-15-2007, 06:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stripes View Post
I've been thinking about starting another project car lately and got an email about a 1979 Spitfire.

I have TWO GT6 engines, trannys, hoods sitting in FL waiting for you at a fair price (as well as a big box of other parts) if you are interested. When I say BIG BOX I am talking about something you need a pickup truck to haul.

BTW, you could have had the Spitfire for $400 but it is gone now.
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Old 04-15-2007, 07:46 PM   #10
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And here I was thinking Miata owners might have learned the hard way, like I did. After a 1961 TR3, a 1961 Turner 950S and a 1977 TR7(a very tasty 2 AM funeral pyre!), I almost break out in a rash around British cars. I'd spend the $700 on vodka before another Triumph.
At least I get the "Lucas Refrigerators" joke.
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