Junkyard Find: 1979 Triumph Spitfire 1500
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 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.
Like just about all junkyard convertibles, the interior of this one is pretty well roasted to oblivion by many years of outdoor storage.
It’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.
Those 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!
Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.
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