The Truth About Cars » Spitfire http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 16 Dec 2014 11:00:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Spitfire http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find: 1979 Triumph Spitfire 1500 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1979-triumph-spitfire-1500/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1979-triumph-spitfire-1500/#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2014 13:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=862769 The low-value British or Italian sports car that sits in rough condition in a yard or driveway for decades, then takes that sad final journey to the local U-Wrench-It— it’s been a staple of the American self-service wrecking yard landscape for what seems like forever. The MGB and Fiat 124 Sport Spider are by far […]

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09 - 1979 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe low-value British or Italian sports car that sits in rough condition in a yard or driveway for decades, then takes that sad final journey to the local U-Wrench-It— it’s been a staple of the American self-service wrecking yard landscape for what seems like forever. The MGB and Fiat 124 Sport Spider are by far the most common examples of this breed, followed by the TR7, Alfa Romeo Spider, and the Triumph Spitfire. So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’65, this ’67, and this ’75, and now we’re getting right to the end of the Spitfire’s 19-year production run with today’s ’79.
06 - 1979 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinLike just about all junkyard convertibles, the interior of this one is pretty well roasted to oblivion by many years of outdoor storage.
07 - 1979 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s possible that someone plucked this tube header before the car got crushed (I shot these photos last October in Northern Californai, which means this car is probably shredded metal bits in a shipping container in Shenzhen at this point), but there’s not much demand for smogged-up 1500s these days.
05 - 1979 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThose horrible 5 mph crash bumpers! Even in this apparently rust-free condition, nobody was willing to rescue this forlorn British Leyland machine.

The emergency run to the hospital in a Spitfire seems like a risky proposition, but it worked out fine in the commercial.

From the land of British Racing Green.

For the man who has lived long and well, it offers a respite from boredom.

This ad offers a more accurate portrayal of real-world Spitfire driving on American highways.

Chicks dug it, though, especially after pulling .87 Gs on the skidpad.

British Leyland had something for everyone!

01 - 1979 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1979 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1979 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1979 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1979 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1979 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1979 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1979 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1979 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Junkyard Find: 1967 Triumph Spitfire Mark III http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1967-triumph-spitfire-mark-iii/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1967-triumph-spitfire-mark-iii/#comments Mon, 10 Feb 2014 14:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=737417 Some old cars have managed to maintain a steady trickle of fresh examples into self-serve wrecking yards since I began crawling around in such yards, back in 1981 or so. The kings of this phenomenon are, of course, the Fiat 124 Sport Spider (in a few years of this series we’ve seen this ’71, this […]

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05 - 1967 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSome old cars have managed to maintain a steady trickle of fresh examples into self-serve wrecking yards since I began crawling around in such yards, back in 1981 or so. The kings of this phenomenon are, of course, the Fiat 124 Sport Spider (in a few years of this series we’ve seen this ’71, this ’73, this ’75, this ’78, and this ’80), and the MGB (so far, this ’67, this ’71, this ’75, this ’79, and this ’79 with Toyota 20R power). The MGB’s British Leyland cousin, the Triumph Spitfire, has been a rarer but just-as-steady find for me; first this ’65 and then this ’75, and the prehistory of this series gives us this Spitfire-sibling ’67 GT6 as well. What these cars have in common is near-scrap value when in rough shape, respectable price tags when in nice condition, and a tendency to be hoarded by guys who plan— someday— to turn the former condition into the latter condition. Eventually, reality sets in and a car that sat in a driveway from the time of the Chowchilla Kidnapping until a few months ago takes its final trip. Here’s a rust-free, fairly complete, restorable early-ish Spitfire that I saw last month in a Northern California yard.
06 - 1967 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinEvery time I write about a junked car like this, readers proclaim that the chrome pre-5MPH-crash-rule bumpers must be worth tremendous sums. However, these yards are prowled seven days a week by guys who make their livings buying parts that are worth much more than the flat-rate price charged by big junkyard chains (e.g., BMW E30 limited-slip differentials, Lexus Nakamichi amplifiers), and they never buy these bumpers. An overdrive transmission from an MGB or Spitfire is another story; that will be gone within two days of the car hitting the yard.
01 - 1967 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinLikewise, Jaeger and Smiths gauges aren’t worth a whole bunch (though some VDO gauges— and I ain’t saying which ones— are always worth grabbing).
04 - 1967 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Mark III got the new-for-1967 1296cc pushrod four, making an optimistically rated 75 horsepower. A junkyard shopper wanted the SU carbs, but the engine is doomed to the shredder and subsequent trip to China via the Port of Oakland.
02 - 1967 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars are fun to drive, they look cool, and they make fine projects thanks to the abundance of cheap used parts. Someday, though, the flow of those parts will dry up… and then we’ll all be sorry that we didn’t buy pre-Malaise Spitfires when they were cheap.

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Junkyard Find: 1965 Triumph Spitfire http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/junkyard-find-1965-triumph-spitfire/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/junkyard-find-1965-triumph-spitfire/#comments Tue, 19 Nov 2013 14:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=655762 By far the most numerous British sports car in junkyards these days— and, in fact, for the last few decades— is the MGB. We’ve seen many of these cars in this series, but today’s find is just the second Junkyard Find Spitfire, after this ’75. The Spitfire had a long production run, 19 years total, […]

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12 - 1965 Triumph Spitfire Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBy far the most numerous British sports car in junkyards these days— and, in fact, for the last few decades— is the MGB. We’ve seen many of these cars in this series, but today’s find is just the second Junkyard Find Spitfire, after this ’75. The Spitfire had a long production run, 19 years total, but Spitfires just weren’t anywhere near as sturdy as their MGB cousins and most of the non-perfect examples got crushed long ago. Still, every so often a forgotten project gets evicted from a garage or back yard, and that’s probably what this happened to this battered ’65 that I spotted in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service yard last month.
07 - 1965 Triumph Spitfire Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Mark 2 Spitfire was built for the 1965 and 1966 model years and was replaced by a version with a 1296cc engine instead of just 1147cc.
16 - 1965 Triumph Spitfire Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere’s not much demand for tiny pushrod engines these days, nor is anyone likely to buy these cute little SU carburetors.
14 - 1965 Triumph Spitfire Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMany, many years in the California sun for this car.
10 - 1965 Triumph Spitfire Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt doesn’t seem very rusty, but Spitfires just aren’t worth enough to make this one worth restoring.
17 - 1965 Triumph Spitfire Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars like to break axles, so perhaps some Spitfire owner will pull the ones on this car.

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Junkyard Find: 1975 Triumph Spitfire http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/junkyard-find-1975-triumph-spitfire/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/junkyard-find-1975-triumph-spitfire/#comments Fri, 18 Nov 2011 14:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=419096 A less-than-perfect Spitfire, like the MGB, typically spends a decade or three as a get-around-to-it-someday project car under a tarp in the driveway… and then it’s off to the junkyard when reality finally sinks in. I haven’t seen a beater Spitfire for at least a decade now, so this is one of many smoked out […]

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A less-than-perfect Spitfire, like the MGB, typically spends a decade or three as a get-around-to-it-someday project car under a tarp in the driveway… and then it’s off to the junkyard when reality finally sinks in. I haven’t seen a beater Spitfire for at least a decade now, so this is one of many smoked out of its hiding place by high scrap-steel prices.
53 horses. Do we really need to talk about that?
This one has been picked over pretty well, which indicates that some other Spitfires— ideally, pre-huge-crash-bumper examples— will benefit from this car’s sacrifice.

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Quattroporte, Stretch Limo, Model T, and More: The Greatest Gathering of LeMons Cars In History! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/12/quattroporte-stretch-limo-model-t-and-more-the-greatest-gathering-of-lemons-cars-in-history/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/12/quattroporte-stretch-limo-model-t-and-more-the-greatest-gathering-of-lemons-cars-in-history/#comments Fri, 03 Dec 2010 15:30:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=375299 With nearly 180 entries, the 2010 Arse Freeze-a-Palooza will be the biggest 24 Hours of LeMons race in history, and it also promises to have the highest concentration of never-belonged-on-a-road-course awesome machinery ever gathered in one location. At this moment, I’m wearing the LeMons Supreme Court judicial robes and busting cheaters, which means that I’m […]

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With nearly 180 entries, the 2010 Arse Freeze-a-Palooza will be the biggest 24 Hours of LeMons race in history, and it also promises to have the highest concentration of never-belonged-on-a-road-course awesome machinery ever gathered in one location. At this moment, I’m wearing the LeMons Supreme Court judicial robes and busting cheaters, which means that I’m finally allowed to share some of these fine machines with you and not ruin their grand entrances at the track.

We’ll start with a car we’ve been waiting for years to see at a LeMons race: a Triumph Spitfire. The going rate for a LeMons-grade Spitfire currently stands at about negative 200 bucks, but for some reason no team has been willing to run one… until now! Yes, the Sex Pistons will be running their punked-out ’80 Spitfire this weekend, and they haven’t even swapped out the Triumph Slant Four with a– how shall we put this nicely?– less terrible engine.

We’ve already made it clear to the Sex Pistons that they’ll need to blast the X-Ray Spex in addition to “Never Mind The Bollocks.” In fact, let’s hear some Spex now!


We’ve also been waiting quite a while for our first LeMons Mini Moke, and now it has finally happened. The two-time Index of Effluency-winning madman behind the Air Prance SChitroën and the Mr. Bean Austin Mini (which will feature blow-through turbocharging this weekend) has obtained the World’s Most Horrible Mini Moke and converted it to– get this– a replica of the Apollo Lunar Rover. Could it get any better than that?

Normally, such a feat would be impossible. However, at this race even a Mini Moke Lunar Rover can’t be assured of a slam-dunk Organizer’s Choice award, not when it’s facing off against the likes of the Fiaguzzi Fiat 600, which features a Moto Guzzi 1,000cc engine swap. Yes, the legendary Italian Stallions have replaced their X1/9 for a much cooler Fiat, and they’ve done this to it:

There’s nothing wrong with the 600 that nearly doubling the displacement can’t fix, right? Let’s see how it looks at a recent Thunderhill track day:


If there’s one thing we love in LeMons racing, it’s Italian cars. And the more needlessly complex an Italian car is, the more we love it! That’s why the Maserati Quattroporte has long been one of our Holy Grails, and Pendejo Racing has brought one this weekend.

You may remember Pendejo Racing as the team that brought the most radically depreciated LeMons car in history to the last Arse Freeze-a-Palooza; they claim the inflation-adjusted purchase price of their ’80 Quattroporte beats even the S600. All we know is that this car makes us deliriously happy.

Can you think of any reason that a full-stretch Lincoln Town Car limousine doesn’t belong on a crowded road course? Neither can we! The veterans who have been running the Lemon Demolition CRX (and the People’s Curse front-end loader) since the early Altamont races have caged this beast and painted it pink for its bachelorette-party theme. Best of all, I’ll be suiting up and driving the Rolling Chicane Racing Town Car this weekend, because members of the LeMons Supreme Court have a standing invitation to take the wheel of this excellent race car when and if time allows.

Prior to this weekend, the oldest 24 Hours of LeMons car was the Rocket Surgery Renault 4CV (unless you count the ’51 Chrysler Saratoga– a Carrera Panamerica car we allowed as a last-second replacement for a dead LeMons car in Lousiana– which we don’t). That record was annihilated at the ’10 Arse Freeze; make way for the Beverly Hellbillies’ ’31 Ford Model T! Assembled by Black Metal V8olvo crew chief Hellhammer, who knows a thing or two about cheap Model Ts, has horse-traded enough parts to squeeze a ’31 T body, a Model A frame, a Pinto suspension, and a Ford 302 into a LeMons-grade $500 budget. The team will be stacked with the same Spec Miata demons who drove the V8olvo to victory at the last Buttonwillow race, so this glorious heap might actually have a hope in hell of contending! Even if it falls apart on the second lap, it will all be worth it.

We’ve seen the Angry Hamster Honda Z600 before, but enough has changed between its last thrown-rod-a-minute race experience and today that we consider it a new car. The best-engineered LeMons car in history now has a Honda CBR1000 engine in place of the series of extremely fragile Honda V65 Magna engines it once ran. Will the Hamster finally live up to its incredible power-to-weight potential? We shall see.

There’s more! Sharing the track with the Quattroporte and the limo will be this black-bumper MG.

And this Shelby Lancer! I’ll try to post the usual timelapse video of the BS Inspection tonight, if the effort of inspecting 180 cars hasn’t made me completely incoherent by that time. Check in later!

LBW10-Preview-01 LBW10-Preview-02 LBW10-Preview-03 LBW10-Preview-04 LBW10-Preview-05 LBW10-Preview-06 God Save Our Spitfire! LBW10-Preview-08 1980 Triumph Spitfire 24 Hours of LeMons race car LBW10-Preview-10 LBW10-Preview-11 LBW10-Preview-12 Fiat 600 with Moto Guzzi engine swap LBW10-Preview-14 LBW10-Preview-15 LBW10-Preview-16 LBW10-Preview-17 LBW10-Preview-18 LBW10-Preview-19 LBW10-Preview-20 LBW10-Preview-21 LBW10-Preview-22 LBW10-Preview-23 LBW10-Preview-24 LBW10-Preview-25 LBW10-Preview-26 LBW10-Preview-27 LBW10-Preview-28 Town Car Stretch Limo 24 Hours of LeMons race car LBW10-Preview-30 LBW10-Preview-31 LBW10-Preview-32 LBW10-Preview-33 LBW10-Preview-34 LBW10-Preview-35 LBW10-Preview-36 LBW10-Preview-37 LBW10-Preview-38 LBW10-Preview-39 LBW10-Preview-40 LBW10-Preview-41 LBW10-Preview-42 LBW10-Preview-43 LBW10-Preview-44 LBW10-Preview-45 LBW10-Preview-46 LBW10-Preview-47 LBW10-Preview-48 LBW10-Preview-49 LBW10-Preview-50 LBW10-Preview-51 LBW10-Preview-52 LBW10-Preview-53 LBW10-Preview-54 LBW10_Preview-Moke-01 LBW10_Preview-Moke-03 LBW10_Preview-Moke-02 LBW10_Preview-Moke-04 LBW10_Preview-Moke-05 LBW10_Preview-Moke-06 LBW10_Preview-Moke-07 LBW10_Preview-Moke-08 LBW10_Preview-Moke-09 LBW10_Preview-Moke-10 LBW10_Preview-Moke-11 LBW10_Preview-Moke-12 Mini Moke 24 Hours of LeMons car LBW10_Preview-Moke-14 Beverly Hellbillies Ford Model T 24 Hours of LeMons race car Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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