Lot C515


1963 Triumph Spitfire Mark I
Reg. no. OKU 173A
Chassis no. FC8085
Engine no. FC8426HE
The Spitfire was born out of Standard-Triumph’s desire to compete with the successful Austin-Healey Sprite. Much as the Sprite used A35 underpinnings, the Spitfire shared much in common with the Triumph Herald, using its drivetrain and a much-modified version of its chassis. Like the Herald, it was styled by famed Italian Giovanni Michelotti. Financial problems at Standard-Triumph meant the start of production was delayed, with the car only starting to roll off the production line in 1962, once Leyland had taken over and provided much-needed funds.
The Mark 1 Spitfire – or ‘Spitfire 4’, as it was sometimes called, presumably referring to the number of cylinders – was in production for two years, 1962-64. Underneath the bodywork, a Herald owner would have found some familiar parts – the rack-and-pinion steering and coil-and-wishbone front suspension was carried over, as was the rear swing-arm setup. Notably, the front brakes were discs instead of the Herald’s drums, and the engine was a tuned twin-carburettor version of the 1147cc unit from the Herald 1200. This produced a useful 63bhp, 24 more than in the Herald, and was enough for a top speed of 92mph and a 0-60 time of 16.4 seconds – performance that was considered lively for the time. Drive was transmitted through a 4-speed manual gearbox, with overdrive an option for 1964. While by nature not a luxurious car, the Spitfire was nevertheless somewhat better-equipped than, for example, a Sprite; it had wind-up windows, exterior door locks, and good instrumentation. It was still a cheap sports car though, and sold well, with 45,753 being produced before production moved on to the Mark II.
This Spitfire is in all-round excellent condition, having been bought by the owner in 2003 and restored over several years until 2007. Garaged and covered at all times, it has only averaged around 375 miles per year since completion, only in the summer and mostly on classic runs and shows. Completely stripped back during the restoration, it was treated to several new panels, new seat coverings and carpets, and the engine and gearbox were both rebuilt. The car is fitted with a factory hard top and is said to be a pleasure to drive, with upgrades consisting of Minilite wheels and electronic ignition. It was assessed by the Triumph Sports Six Club in 2017 and judged to be in A1+ condition. This is a rare car now – the vendor believes there were only 20 MK1 Spitfires registered in the UK in 2020 – and this must surely be one of the best examples. Only for sale due to the vendor finding access difficult now, it comes with an MOT until July – the vendor preferring to have it MOT’d every year despite it being exempt – plus various bills and a V5C.

Extra details and estimates:

£14,000 - 16,000

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Not sold

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