Triumph Spitfire 3500

The photographs below show most of the rebuild of a Triumph Spitfire 1500 belonging to Club Triumph member Chris Gray.  The original brief was to fit new sills then convert to V8 power and reassemble. Chris and his Dad brought the car all the way from Norfolk for me to do the work. If I had inspected it a bit more thoroughly I may have sent it straight back again! It was as bad as they come and realistically scrapping it was the sensible option. 'Sensible' is maybe not the most appropriate word anyway when you are talking about V8 conversions - so sure enough I got stuck into it.  I'll add some pictures of the remains of the bodyshell during repair when I find them.

                      

One good used 3.5 litre engine, ex Land Rover competition vehicle, supposedly rebuilt and healthy it had some surprises in store - later.  Engine installed with strong mountings, aim is to be as low down and far back as possible without going silly .  Engine is fitted with a Weber carburetter on an Offenhauser manifold. SD1 heads, a 3.9 camshaft, block hugger headers and a Mallory dual point distributor will all help to achieve something around 200bhp.

                     

Modifications to the chassis for large radiator. Something I learned with my own conversion - if it won't stay cool easily you will always be worrying about it. At each stage consideration has to be given to bonnet clearance, pipe routes, servicing and maintenance, ground clearance, the list goes on.

                    

Bonnet repaired and in place, but that air filter, no no that looks daft. So a K+N cone filter was positioned in the only available space and a low height air intake fabricated to feed the carb. Only downside to this is the lack of cold air feed but the owner preferred this to a large filter out in the open. Still doesn't quite go under the bonnet though.

                     

The end result is a cosmetic scoop to cover the intake. Scoop was made open at the rear to allow air through it. However studying the tracks left by rainwater through dirt, one day when it was in for repair, showed that the air flows up to, and neatly around the scoop, but not through it. Can't win!  

                     

And there it is, subtle yet obviously not standard it looks really good. Exhaust note is deep and very pleasing from the twin box system. Performance is very, very good, if you want faster you need a motorbike!

One good looking engine.

Unfortunately after a short time back with the owner the car started to have trouble. Clouds of blue smoke under certain conditions signified all was not well, and excess oil breathing from the crankcase confirmed it.  So it all came out again, and this time the block was stripped to find that the 'rebuilt' engine was indeed rebuilt  -  with 7 of the 8 pistons fitted with broken rings!  Unbelievable.

The misfortune didn't end there as Chris was in an accident which did this - 

            

So I did this -

            

A full set of side panels, reskinned used door, more paint, new hood and door internals. Rebuilt NSR suspension, plus plenty more got it back on the road again. The agreed value insurance policy was well worth the premium in this instance.