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Triumph Spitfire: A Brief History And Buyer's Guide

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The Triumph Spitfire is a classic, two-seat convertible sports car, first launched back in 1962 at the London Motor Show. The original prototype was designed by Standard-Triumph in 1960, but the car wasn't put into production until after the company was taken over by Leyland Motors the next year.

Built on the same chassis used by the Triumph Herald, albeit with a welded body for greater stiffness, the original Spitfire used mechanicals derived from the Standard Eight and a tuned version of the Herald's 1,1147cc engine.

The Spitfire was in production for 18 years, with a design modestly refined and upgraded over the years, with progressively more powerful engines being fitted. Five models were manufactured: Triumph Spitfire 4, Triumph Spitfire 4 Mark 2, Triumph Spitfire Mark 3, Triumph Spitfire Mark IV, and the Triumph Spitfire 1500. The first two models are fitted with 1,147cc incline 4 engines, while the Mark 3 and Mark IV models received an upgrade to a 1,296cc, and the 1500 boasted a 1,493cc engine. Although designed as a convertible from the outset, a removable hard-top was later introduced.

Buying today, there's no real difference in value of each model. Later models are arguably better to drive, yet the earlier models are favoured for their design. The MK 3 is perhaps the most popular model, renowned for its nicer lines compared with later models, whilst still being relatively usable.

The Triumph Spitfire is one of the most affordable convertible sport cars you can buy. It's not particularly fast, but its light weight offers a spirited drive. A decent Spitfire can be bagged for around £3,500 - £4,000; restoration projects can occasionally be found for less than £1000. However, prices are rising quickly and restored models can fetch five-figure numbers.

The Triumph Sports Six Club is a great recourse for all things Triumph, so check it out.

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