Round Tail: 1963 Triumph Spitfire Mk I – Sold!
This second year 1963 Triumph Spitfire 4 Mk1 is a welcome change from the typical late seventies 1500 examples we typically pass by. Listed on Craigslist in Lewes, Delaware what the current caretaker describes as “a great early complete Spitfire for someone who wants a project car with all the correct parts that is ready for finishing as soon as you get it home.” for the asking price of $9,000. Referencing the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the current caretaker has his Spitfire 4 priced $2,300 less than the #2 “Excellent” estimate. While that sounds like a lot for a project car on the surface, the premium here is for all of the extra parts included and needed to restore this classic.
Triumph introduced their small, two-seat Spitfire to complete with the recently launched MG Midget and Austin-Healey Sprite twins. The chassis was based upon Triumph’s Herald sedan complete with that car’s Standard SC engine.
While Triumph fitted the bodywork to a separate structural chassis, to account for the open-top configuration Spitfire, the backbone chassis’ rigidity was augmented by the use of structural components within the bodywork, with the rear trailing arms being bolted to the body rather than the chassis. In addition to disc brakes, rack and pinion steering, and a coil-and-wishbone front suspension, at the rear was a single transverse-leaf swing-axle arrangement similar to the Corvair and Porsches of the period. This ended up being the most controversial part of the car: it was known to “tuck in” and cause violent oversteer if driven too hard, even in the staid Herald. Owners typically installed camber compensators to minimize the issue.
Similar to early Alfa Spiders, these Mk 1 Spitfires have a distinctive and prettier rear end than their newer siblings. With all of the spares needed to update this older restoration, its not too late to finish this project in time for warmer weather. Good luck with the purchase!
Here’s the seller’s description:
“1963 Triumph Spitfire 4 (MKI – Roundtail) with all the parts needed to restore it. Original motor and transmission run strong. The body is rust free, but an older restoration from the 1980s with body and paint that needs refreshing. Included is a re-chromed front bumper. Also, a complete interior kit from the UK, including carpets and seat foam with covers, worth more than $1,000. Also, original MKI seat tracks and seat frames that have been blasted and powder coated (hard to find). Also, the correct steering wheel and metal dash plate. Also, all the parts needed to redo the suspension, including new bushings, new shocks and new front springs. Also, a rebuilt and working, vintage blaupunkt radio and correct radio dash plate (also hard to find). The wheels are minilite-type, but the original steel wheels are included. British Heritage Certificate issued in 2016 shows the car was originally back with a red interior and white top and it was my intent to return it to that combination. This can be a great early Spitfire when complete for someone who wants a project car with all the correct parts that is ready for finishing as soon as you get it home. Buyer is responsible for shipping.“
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