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1978 Triumph Spitfire 1500

First Look - In-Situ Project

In this article we taking our first look at the restoration project of the 1978 Triumph Spitfire. The first step of any project, but particularly in-situ restorations is getting a really good close look at the car to figure out the extent of things that need to be repaired or restored as well as the proper order to do the work in to ensure you maintain driveability of the car.

In-situ restorations can be hard at times, because the most visible items that require restoration are generally the last ones that you will work on. So, as much as you may want to start working on body, paint, and interior you need to restrain yourself. There's no point in looking pretty as your brakes fail and you fly into the car in front of you!

Now, on to going over the car

Watch the video!

In looking at the driver's side, you'll not that the car's lines look good. There's no major flaws in the body work. Another problem area on the Spitfire s the area where the door meets the rear of the body, you'll see that there is no sag which indicates that the frame is in good shape.

The rear is nice and level (despite the picture, the street is pitched). All the chrome is bright and without major flaws. The lights are all in place and have been tested, they all work.

The front is also level, the bonnet lines are clean and the paint is good. The overriders look good, the chrome is good. The lights have nice halogen bulbs.

The driver's side matches the passenger, If you look closely you can see one little ding in the middle of the door.

It's here, in the interior that you first see any major signs of age. The dash board lamination has seen better days, as has the carpet.

The passnger side parcel shelf has decayed quite significantly. You can also see some electrics that are not connected anywhere. We'll need to figure out where those are supposed to go.

The passenger side carpets aren't terrible. It was quite evident that there was nowhere near the amount of passenger time in the car as driver time.

The speedometer doesn't work. I'm fairly certain it's the speedometer cable (that's the general cause for these sorts of issues). Mum's not keen on the steering wheel, so it will likely get changed out for a wood one. The shifter boot is oddly bodged, and will need to be fixed. The radio doesn't appear to work (but who wants to listen to a radio instead of a nice exhaust note?). We haven't teasted out the heater controls yet.

The driver's floor really shows a lot of wear in the carpet. We'll eventually want to change it all out. I lifted up the carpet and only saw minor flashing rust under the carpet, nothing to be terribly worried about.

The seat covers are in a similar strait to the carpet. The webbing in the seats (I'm assuming there's webbing) and foam has mostly collapsed at this point. When the interior is redone, we'll re-do the seats.

Overall the boot (trunk) area is in good shape. It does need a carpet kit. You'll also note the standard spare bits in the back. This car also came with the jack and lug wrench.

Since there's no carpet, it's easy to se the condition of the metal in the trunk. You can see a little rust, but nothing there that would cause any major concern.

Here's more of the trunk area. Again, little to no rust, and everything appears intact.

The passenger side is just as good as the driver side. You can also see the rear light wiring covers and the original Stromberg carb for the car. The P.O. had it off the car as he rebuilt it.

The lights and wiring all work well. We'll want to come through here later and clean all the connections.

Again, the passenger side matches the driver's side.

This spare was supplied with the car. The bolt pattern appears to match up, but it doesn't match the wheels that are presently on the car.

The underside of the bonnet is nice and clean. The P.O. had the sticker masked off during the respray to make sure it was protected

The headlights work well, and I didn't see any rust in the area. I have the suspicion that these should be black, we'll confirm this over time.

The driver's side is the same as the passenger side.

If you look closely at the Brake Master Cylinder you can see some old seepage. There's some questions we'll have to determine later regarding the shape of the brakes. Overall, they work pretty well, but they may be due for a refresh. The Clutch Master Cylinder is missing it's rubber boot cover and that'll need to be replaced. The fuse cover window should also eventually be replaced. The Coil looks really old. When the ignition system is gone over, that'll be evaluated and possibly replaced.

Continued on Page 2

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Contents copyright 2008, 2009 - Jody F. Kerr

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