Every one of us assumes that we can’t buy a sports car if we don’t have a lot of money. But the Triumph Spitfire from England can give everything you expect from a sports car.
Brief History Of Triumph
Seigfried Bettmann founded Triumph in 1863. His company was well known for making bicycles and motorcycles near Coventry England. Eventually, his company grew and it began making automobiles too. In 1930, the company was reorganized and renamed to Triumph Motor Company.
Triumph was also among those companies that were affected in the upcoming World War II. They already have financial problems and the war only made it worst because Triumph’s manufacturing plant was destroyed by a bombing raid. Their production of cars was stopped in 1940.
Standard Motor Company purchased Triumph in 1945 and after only five years, Triumph was back on manufacturing cars and since then, they have been focused in making 2-seater performance models and Saloon style sedans. In 1955, Triumph released The TR series sports cars.
The Birth Of Triumph Spitfire
This Triumph Spitfire was a small 2-seater sports car and it first appeared at the London Motor Show in 1962. It was a direct response to Austin-Healey Sprite. It was fun to drive and it was more appealing than its rivals. This car features a manually operated convertible top, coil and wishbone front suspension, rack and pinion steering, front disc brakes and it was powered by 1,147 cc 4-cylinder engine paired to a twin SU carburetors.
This car was a success behind its early model defects. This car was produced until 1980. It was an inexpensive car with a decent performance. Its engine produce 68hp and it recorded a top speed of 90 miles per hour. Although this car wasn’t meant for high-speed road racing, its 30 mile per gallon was praised by many and it was an impressive statistic even by today’s standards.
The Spitfire Mark II
The second generation of Spitfire was released in 1965 and it was very similar to its predecessors. The only significant change you can notice to its appearance was its upgraded grille while for the performance upgrades, they improved the car’s clutch design and a highly tuned engine was used. The Spitfire Mark II’s top speed was somewhere near 100mph. Although its performance was improved, this car still managed to do the 30 mile per gallon.
For this release, the interior of this car was disliked by many critics.
The Drastic Makeover
A major transformation was given to the third generation of Spitfire in 1967. The car’s front bumper along with its front coil springs was raised to meet the requirement for the new crash regulations. This modification made the car looked like it was out of proportion. In the interior, it also featured several improvements such as the 15 inch steering wheel and the folding hood that replaced the “build it yourself” arrangement from the previous generations.
This redesigning of Spitfire was effective in increasing its sales. In 1968, just after a year since its release, it already reached the 100,000 production mark. The start of the third generation of this car was impressive because it is not only famous in England. Most of the Spitfires are sold in the United States. Although unfortunately, this success came in a wrong timing because America was having a tough time with the increasing regulations.
Last Of The Mark Series Spitfires
Like many other vehicles in this period, Triumph also decreased the engine power of their Spitfire for its fourth generation release in 1970. The horsepower was dropped to only 68 with the addition of positive crankcase ventilation and exhaust gas recirculation valves.
The acceleration from 0 to 60mph almost took 16 seconds and its top speed was dropped to 90mph. The Positive side of this struggling with the performance was, Spitfire continues to improve with its exterior design and the comfort of its interior was also developed. The sales were also maintained and it still enjoys its success.
Another major transformation on the exterior of Spitfire was released in the end of 1974 and this car was called Spitfire 1500. It also marked the end for the Mark series car names. The sales remained steady although its performance continues to suffer and its engine was more prone to failures. Despite this ridiculous performance, Triumph still exerts effort in developing some of its aspects. That includes the handling of the car and the redesigning of the exterior that resembles a modern European look.
The Budget-Friendly Sports Car
Its value ranges from $5,000 to $10,000 and this car can even compare itself to other successful cars such as Jaguar XK 150 or mid-60s E-Type Jaguar. Its overall number of production units was 314,332 and although this car wasn’t a great investment, it was still a good car to start your classic collection.