1981 Triumph Spitfire 1500
Sound, usable Spitfire with lots of history; current owner 25 years; recently unearthed from 17 years in storage; nice number plate
First registered in August 1981, this Spitfire 1500 must be among the last batch made and must have sat around in a dealer’s showroom for a year before being sold as production had come to an end the summer before. It has been in the current ownership since 1995 but has been mainly kept in storage since 2003 when the last MOT expired.
An overdrive model, it comes with a good file of invoices extending back to 1990, the bills showing that it was treated to a major bout of expenditure in 1992/93, including new sills, radiator, alternator, suspension, steering rack, diff, wiring loom, rebuilt carbs, exchange gearbox plus much else besides.
More recently it had a new clutch master cylinder in 2018, a stainless steel rear exhaust in 2000 and new front brake discs in 1999 at 101,976 miles. Eight old MOTs show the mileage rise from 97,286 in 1995 to 103,196 in 2002, the odometer currently showing 103,651 miles. Other documentation includes an original owner’s handbook, factory repair manual, Haynes Workshop Manual, various parts catalogues and numerous insurance valuations over the years.
Said to drive well and certainly starting promptly and running nicely as we moved it around for these photos, it will doubtless benefit from a precautionary check over before being pressed back into use once more. It also has a rather eye-catching number plate, KAM 300X, which is transferable.
By 1971 the Triumph Spitfire was getting a bit long in the tooth so a major revamp was ordered. The new Mk4 featured a completely re-designed cut-off rear end, giving a strong family resemblance to the Triumph Stag and Triumph 2000 models, both of which were also Michelotti-designed.
The front end was cleaned up and the doors were given recessed handles. The interior was much improved: a proper full-width dashboard was provided, putting the instruments ahead of the driver rather than over the centre console. The engine continued at 1,296cc, but was modified with larger big-end bearings and the gearbox gained synchromesh on its bottom gear.
By far the most significant change, however, was to the rear suspension, which was de-cambered and redesigned to eliminate the unfortunate tendencies of the original swing-axle design. The Triumph GT6 and Triumph Vitesse had already been modified, and the result was safe and progressive handling even at the limit.
In 1974 the engine was enlarged yet again to 1,493cc and the name changed to the Spitfire 1500. Torque was greatly increased and the new engine at last made the Spitfire capable of the magic ton with 0-60mph coming up in 11.3 seconds. Other detail improvements included reclining seats with head restraints, wood-veneer dash, hazard flashers and electric washers. The last Spitfire 1500, an Inca Yellow specimen with hardtop and overdrive, rolled off the assembly line in August 1980.
For more information contact James on 07970 309907 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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