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Spitfire Just picked up this 73 Spitfire. Hasn't run in ten years. Where do I begin?

Mickey Richaud

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Welcome! Looks like a great find - Spitfire's are nimble, robust little guys. Should provide lots of enjoyment (and challenge....)

For starters, take a look at this great checklist and how-to from one of our own on this forum, Tony Barnhill. Though specific to MGB, it's applicable to virtually all older cars that have been sleeping a while: https://tidentenn.com/pdf/AWAKENING A SLEEPING MGB CHECKLIST.pdf

:cheers:
Mickey
 

Mickey Richaud

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You're welcome, and keep us posted.
 
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NNY73Spitfire

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Will do. I'm looking at sourcing most parts online. Roadster Factory, Moss, and Victoria British seem to be the most popular. Would you lean towards one business? Quality/price fair at most? Following the guide you provided, I need to replace hoses - 5/16" hose at Napa should work for fuel right? Can I get away with a Napa radiator hose? Do you recommend a specific antifreeze for the 1500? It gets -40 here in the winter. Would it be worth it (at my amateur level) to get electronic ignition instead of points? What about spark plugs? Is synthetic oil acceptable for these old cars?
 

Mickey Richaud

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Will do. I'm looking at sourcing most parts online. Roadster Factory, Moss, and Victoria British seem to be the most popular. Would you lean towards one business? Quality/price fair at most? Following the guide you provided, I need to replace hoses - 5/16" hose at Napa should work for fuel right? Can I get away with a Napa radiator hose? Do you recommend a specific antifreeze for the 1500? It gets -40 here in the winter. Would it be worth it (at my amateur level) to get electronic ignition instead of points? What about spark plugs? Is synthetic oil acceptable for these old cars?

As for parts from "The Big Three" you mentioned, you'll no doubt get several answers and everyone has favorites. In my opinion, they all need to be supported in order to keep them supplying our much-needed goodies. NAPA hoses, as long as they fit, should be fine; same with belts. Name-brand antifreeze (Prestone, etc.) is fine for our cars. As for ignition, I prefer points - again, you'll get differing opinions. Spark plugs? I like NGKs - probably BP6ES (or BPR6ES). And my choice for oil is either Castrol or Valvoline VR 20/50.
 

Andrew Mace

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Will do. I'm looking at sourcing most parts online. Roadster Factory, Moss, and Victoria British seem to be the most popular. Would you lean towards one business? Quality/price fair at most? Following the guide you provided, I need to replace hoses - 5/16" hose at Napa should work for fuel right? Can I get away with a Napa radiator hose? Do you recommend a specific antifreeze for the 1500? It gets -40 here in the winter. Would it be worth it (at my amateur level) to get electronic ignition instead of points? What about spark plugs? Is synthetic oil acceptable for these old cars?
So many questions; all good ones! Vendors first.

The Roadster Factory is arguably the best of the three you name, with prices usually competitive enough. Moss is the newest player in the Spitfire game and, IMO, is still feeling its way around. Victoria British is, in some ways, the JC Whitney or Western Auto of parts for British cars. Lots of good stuff, lots of less-than-good stuff, tech support well towards the lower end compared to other vendors. Two others very worthy of note and business are Spitbits and TS Imported Automotive, both for price, availability of parts AND technical advice.

NAPA or other generic hoses are ok-ish for radiators (although it's really best to have a hose with the built-in flexibility for the top rad. hose). Fuel hose from them is just fine; so is heater hose IF you can fit same without kinking the hose (some hoses are best replaced with correct molded-to-shape hoses).

"Classic" old-time antifreeze is just fine; nothing special needed. I tend to prefer quality conventional oils simply because leaks tend to make the cost of synthetics even higher. If you've got a well broken-in, leak-free engine, synthetics can be just fine.

I'm a points-and-condensor fan, too. Best argument I can make for a Pertronix or similar electronic ignition update is that it's tough to find especially points for Delco distributors that are worth the packaging they come in, let alone functional and durable in their own right.

I'm a Champion plug fan since...forever, although I also like AC plugs in these. Honestly, I think choice of BRAND of plug is more closely related to your own loyalty or whatever your dad / uncle / favorite corner mechanic swore by than it is to any scientifically proven reality! ;)
 

3798j

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Agree with Mickey on the need to support all of our suppliers. Here are three more good parts suppliers (particularly for your Spitfire)...Sports Car Parts Ltd (https://www.sportscarpartsltd.com), Spitbits (https://spitbits.com), and Canley Classics (https://www.canleyclassics.com/triumph-spitfire/). I'm a fan of both electronic ignition (although many here feel otherwise) and synthetic motor oil...some (like Mobil 1's 15w-50) even come with the needed zddp zinc additive. If you really get -40 degree temps, you won't want to be in your Spit.
 
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NNY73Spitfire

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Andy - thanks for all the information. I see you're located near Albany. I'm up in St. Lawrence County. Would you recommend a club in the area? The Adirondack Chapter seems a bit biased towards the capital region and the next closest is Ottawa, Ontario.
 

Andrew Mace

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Andy - thanks for all the information. I see you're located near Albany. I'm up in St. Lawrence County. Would you recommend a club in the area? The Adirondack Chapter seems a bit biased towards the capital region and the next closest is Ottawa, Ontario.
Honestly, you might be better off with the Ontario group! Nothing against Adirondack Triumph Association per se, but it is rather more centered around Albany and the Capital District, and it is much less a: active generally and b: Triumph-centric than it was when it started 40 years ago.
 

WayneB

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I'm in the same situation as you are, I bought a 1976 Spitfire 1500 about a month ago. A friend put me onto British Parts Northwest, in the state of Oregon. Found the prices good. I live in Wisconsin and the parts were delivered within days. I have been watching forums for other places to check for parts..
 
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