The Purchase

This blog is to document my purchase and restoration of a 1963 Triumph Spitfire. I have been a car guy since I was in high school, but had to put that hobby away around 2001 when I graduated from college. At that time, I sold my car, a 1981 Mercury Capri, to a mechanic friend of mine, and I think I know where the car is but that’s another story.

I’ve been wanting to get a car to tinker on for several years, but the time wasn’t right until now. I don’t have a lot of space to restore a car, so I was thinking about getting something smaller that would fit in my garage while it was in pieces. A friend of mine used to have a Triumph Spitfire and it was a fun little car, so I started looking at those, but didn’t pull the trigger until I found out from another friend that he had a line on a Spitfire with very little rust and two engines. I took a look at the car, showed the pictures to my better half, who was very happy it was a convertible, and gave me the go-ahead.

Fast forward a couple weeks, and I picked up the car today in exchange for $500 cash. I took lots of pictures, and won’t put them all on here, but here is a sampling of the what it looks like now:

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It looks pretty rough, but it doesn’t have any rust that will require anything other than sanding and it looks like pretty much all the parts are there. From the looks of it, the last person had started down the road of a restoration and gave up. Since I knew any restoration wouldn’t be a $500 project, I have been waiting until it wouldn’t be a financial hardship to start such a project. Eight years after graduating from law school, I think we are there.

The Commission Number for this chassis is FC81512L, and the odometer shows 63,537 miles. I have no idea if the mileage is accurate. There are two engines. The one installed is FM85239UE, which I understand means it is a 1500 cc engine from a later model. The one sitting where the driver’s seat would be is FE76468E, which I understand is a 1300 cc engine also from a later model. Unfortunately, it appears neither of these are the original, as a 1963 would have come from the factory with a 1197 cc engine. It also appears from different parts of the chassis that the original color would have been British Racing Green or similar.

I don’t think there is a good chance of finding a solid 1197 cc engine to make this like a factory original car, so I will need to decide whether to go with the 1300 cc or 1500 cc engine. I don’t know what kind of shape either is in, so that may dictate my choice.

I am going to try to document the process of taking this vehicle down to the frame and performing a complete “frame off” restoration. With the amount of time this will take, who knows how much time I will have to devote to recording my thoughts, but I’m going to try.


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