by Steve Favill
The third British car that I owned was an altogether more sporting example, a 1976 Triumph Spitfire 1500, finished in the rather dashing (at least, to me…) colour of Tahiti Blue with black vinyl seats.
And what a great little car this was! My Spitfire, above all others is a constant reminder of my days as a single man.
Absolutely reliable, ridiculously easy to work on and fun to drive, the Spitfire quickly endeared itself to me. Gone were the days of “benign neglect” as unrestricted access to all of the car’s oily bits encouraged tinkering, I was able to adjust the valves, install new spark plugs and wires and carry out other tasks whilst seated on either of the front wheels.
Fuel economy was excellent, too. I can’t recall ever being concerned about excessive fuel consumption, and I would regularly take trips from my home in the English Midlands down to the south coast without giving it a second thought. Luggage could be accommodated by utilizing the well behind the seats, the boot and the luggage rack that I installed on the boot lid. This was my daily driver, and I remember being in a procession of cars trying to make it up a snowy hill on my way home from work one night being appalled at the stupidity of other drivers and wishing that they’d just get out of the way. Decent tyres and some weight in the boot helped of course but those skinny wheels enabled me to gain traction where others could find none and I was able to negotiate the other cars strewn at odd angles across my path and make my way home. I don’t think I even drove to the pub that night…
Of course all good things are destined to come to an end, and the same holds true for my Spitfire. Coming home from work one night I applied a little too much throttle on the exit to a traffic island in the rain, and the back end came around in a millisecond, the driver’s side rear wheel contacting the kerb. The little car got me home, and back to work the next day but I had to get it fixed and the car never really felt the same after this. Ah, the recklessness of youth…
I would recommend the Triumph Spitfire to anyone, especially in the current circumstances of there being anything and everything you might need to conduct any work that you might have in mind, from a routine service to a full-blown restoration. They are fun, full of character and easy to live with in every way.
to be continued
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