Hoonage Classics – 1974 Triumph Spitfire IV

It’s convertible season soon enough. Everybody’s swapping their winter tires to summer rubber, there’s that certain feeling in the air and it won’t take long until everybody gets their steering feel back (winter tires always feel different, somehow mushier). And it’s just like stepping outside and getting your pipes full of fresh air, when you start seeing the cars that only see summertime usage.

This 1974 Triumph Spitfire, then, must be the first swallow of the spring even if it still has a tin top for the time being.

The 1962-1980 Spitfire is at least as well known as the MGB that was built for vaguely the same time period. The Spitfire appears longer and daintier, but that’s probably just down to the sideline bump. The MGB has a more bullet-like shape in comparison; in a way the MGB is the MX-5 and the Spitfire is the S2000, if we’re talking strictly appearances.

The Spitfire here is the fourth iteration of the series. It’s developed somewhat far from the original 1962 car, but unlike other British roadsters the looks haven’t been ruined by excessive rubber-bumpering. True, there are large rubber overriders clearly made for bumping, but it’s not like the whole front end is made of sponginess.

There’s the 1300cc engine, and while the 1973-onwards car had its power output cut to 63 hp/94Nm, it’s still not as weak as the later 53-horse 1500cc US model. 53hp really sounds like even a sub-800kg car would have trouble getting out of its own way.

This angle is especially good for the Spitfire, and you see the wooden dash and relatively large but thin-rimmed steering wheel. It also looks like the side glass is perfectly straight.

I did find an old ad for the car, which proclaims the car is the last one imported by the original Finnish importer company. The ad says the plates are the original ones and that the engine has been overhauled, the driveshaft has been balanced and that there has been repairs made with the steering. “Completely original spec, everything works.” I wouldn’t put it past it that it has been completely restored, since it does look very nice. And the steel wheels could be brand new.

The side profile, especially with the orange 206 behind it, looks very low-slung. I also like the way it looks you could access absolutely everything under the bonnet (yes, the word bonnet is suitable here instead of hood, since in my mind the word even sounds like the Spitfire’s front end) with the way it opens.

And another thing about that front: it looks like someone’s smashed the front indicator on the Triumph. The orange plastic is still on the ground, so someone’s hit it when it’s been stationary. I only realised the shards have come off it when going through the photos a minute ago; I must’ve looked suspicious as hell walking around the Triumph taking photos of it.

By the way, yesterday’s Ka made an appearance again. It’s kind of easy to spot.


[Images: Copyright 2012 Hooniverse/Antti Kautonen]


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