1964 Triumph Spitfire Mk1 Roadster
|Engine||In-line 4-cylinder, 1296cc|
Conceived as a rival to the Austin-Healey Sprite and MG Midget, Triumph’s sleek new Spitfire was first unveiled in 1962 and proved a huge success, ultimately remaining in production until 1980. Based on a shortened Herald platform, the Spitfire’s styling was, like its TR big brothers, outsourced to the talented Italian designer Michelotti. Using well-proven mechanicals, the Spitfire was initially powered by a 1147cc four-cylinder engine with twin SU carburettors, developing 63 horsepower. Rack and pinion steering, coil sprung independent front suspension and front wheel disc brakes were all part of the original specification, with centre-lock wire wheels and a removable hardtop optional. From March 1964 the option of Laycock overdrive offered more relaxed freeway cruising and these early Spitfires had a top speed of 92 mph (148km/h). Triumph built 45,753 of the original Mark 1 Spitfire before an updated Mark 2 appeared in December 1964. The model earned praise from road testers for its relaxed long distance ability thanks to the optional overdrive, along with the high equipment levels compared with its rivals and the undeniably attractive styling. Triumph even raced the Spitfire, entering a team at Le Mans in 1964 and they also competed in International rallies with some success. Total Spitfire production over its near two decades run amounted to 314,342 units, with a little under half of those finding buyers in the USA. Today these early Spitfires remain popular for the purity of their design and remain one of the most enjoyable and rewarding British sports cars of the 1960s. Today’s Spitfire owner is fortunate enough to enjoy a strong network of clubs and specialists around the world, with good spares availability.