View Full Version : Spitfire Looking at a 1980 Spitfire 1500 - Questions

07-25-2006, 09:28 AM
Second owner, fairly low miles, passes smog no problem, good compression, clean oil, no rust, comes with both a metal hardtop and a softtop (clear window) in adition to a tonnu cover, new tires, good condition older lacquer paint job, etc. The electrical system has been gone over by a British repair shop. The car is in very good overall condition and needs nothing. It belongs to a good friend of mine who is offering it to me for $3,500 =/-. Is this a killer deal? What should I look for? I am a Mini guy but have always liked Triumphs. If I don't like it, will it be easy to recoup my investment?

Thanks guys.

07-25-2006, 09:55 AM
Hi Rick - I'm in Irvine. Where in OC are you?

I have a '73 Spit, so I know them reasonably well.

Does she have an overdrive? You should care to see how she shifts since the Spitfire transmissions aren't the longest lived when it comes to synchros.

Not sure if you have an experience with these, but parts are plentiful and cheap. There are couple of good shops locally if you want/need the help.

Spitfire's after 1974 started to lose a significant amount of power due to emissions controls. Not sure if this matters to you, and she'll certainly still run up and down PCH in grand style regardless.

That is right in the trading range, especially if she is in good shape (which it sounds like she is).

I'd be happy to go take a look with you if you want.

07-25-2006, 11:10 AM
Sounds like a decent car for a decent price....don't you mean fiberglass hardtop? Or is it an aftermarket job?...Spitfires are alot of fun, easy to work on, and parts are cheap. You'll enjoy it

07-25-2006, 03:11 PM
Thanks guys. Yes, it does have overdrive and appears to shift quite nicely. The hardtop is metal and not fiberglass but I am not sure if it is OEM or aftermarket. I live in Huntington Beach. The thing that worries me the most about this car is the fact that it will need to be smogged every year.

07-25-2006, 04:16 PM
My hardtop is metal as well.

Sounds like a fair price Rick, I'd even venture it is a pretty good deal with O/D.

The SMOG requirement is a drag, but I'd rather deal with than than a non-SMOG required car that is sick.

07-25-2006, 05:17 PM
With the condition described, a hard top, tonneau cover, overdrive and passing smog, I think that's a pretty good deal. Remember he said + or - (I think). Lacquer paint is old school, but can be buffed out if it fades. However, you can't likely get it touched up if it needs it in California.

07-25-2006, 09:53 PM
/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thumbsup.gifLatter Spitfires had a problem with the frames rusting out towards the back of the car. Look at the frame around the rear suspension where the leaf spring is attached and follow to the back of the car. Both sides. If it's Swiss cheese you may want to rethink the deal. Otherwise sounds like a great deal and I'd jump on it. You did all the correct things too by having someone go through the car. Good luck!

Andrew Mace
07-26-2006, 09:27 AM
All in all, the car does sound like a good deal. I recall that the valued options such as OD, hardtop and such were a bit more common in later years.

But it suddenly occurs to me that, as I also recall that the 1980 model year Spitfire was NOT available in California as it could no longer meet that state's emissions standards. Is it currently registered in the state? Does the car have some sort of smog exemption (is that even possible)? Is it a "California" spec. car?

07-26-2006, 03:25 PM
It sounds like a great deal. I wish it was in New England instead of California.

My '78 Spitfire, which I sold only a few years ago, came with a factory hartop, a very handsome metal one with triagular rear pop out windows. I did not have an overdrive and always wished I did. The Spitfire would need about 3500 rpm to achieve 65 mph. An '80 would have even less horsepower because of emission controls.

Aside from rust, there were two weaknesses in the later Spitfires. The first was thrust washer breakdown in the crank [mine spun a bearing at 78,000 - once rebuilt, it ran another 70,000 miles with no problems] and the other was in the transmission linkage [I never experienced any problem].

For $3,500 it sounds quite good. You'll love driving it!

Best wishes,