1980 Triumph Spitfire 1500

They were cited by motoring journalists as an example of the thrills to be found in driving slow cars quickly


The Triumph Spitfire 1500, according to the original brochure, is a true sports car whose classic lines express “the harmony of power and grace which is the car’s hallmark.” The brochure boasted that the 1,493-cc engine is strict on fuel but generous on power. Developing 71 bhp at 5,500 rpm, “the sharp, confident acceleration can take you up to the 100-mph mark,” while the optional overdrive is reported to allow 50 mpg.
There’s no question about it, any car that only shows 35 original miles on the odometer can be considered brand new. On top of this, it’s also the last of its kind, as Triumph ceased production of the Spitfire in 1980. This car stayed in the hands of a Triumph dealer for many years.
Finished in white with a black-and-white interior, this car is equipped with factory overdrive, a luggage rack, and is complete with its original Certificate of Origin, invoice from Triumph to the selling dealer, and a letter to the dealer (dated 1985) with regard to a warranty claim.
The 1980 Triumph Spitfire 1500 features essentially brand-new all-around independent suspension, positive and accurate rack-and-pinion steering, radial tires, and an anti-roll bar on the front. The nine-inch disc brakes in the front and drums to the rear were barely used; in fact, over the course of 35 miles, one could probably guess the brake pedal was depressed a few dozen times.
Contoured seats with headrests are faced in hounds-tooth-patterned brushed-nylon fabric, and interior appointments include a walnut veneer fascia on the dashboard, pile carpet, front parcel shelves, and a center armrest. A cigar lighter, a padded steering wheel, and a two-speed electric windshield wiper round out the amenities.
“The Spitfire has performance, it has style. It is economical and robust. It has impeccable road manners, which come from the proud traditions of the Triumph sports car, a pedigree which assures you of technical excellence and reliability with styling and appointments to appeal to the individualist.”
This is what car collecting is all about, as this Spitfire represents a time machine from Triumph showrooms in 1980, a car for any collection and worthy of a museum.

Gary Anderson

Gary Anderson - SCM Contributor - %%page%%

Gary is also Editor in Chief of The Star, the magazine for the Mercedes-Benz Club of America. He has been active for many years in the Austin-Healey Club USA and is co-author of MBI’s best-selling Austin-Healey Restoration Guide, as well as editor of the Austin-Healey Magazine. An avid vintage race driver, he ran his 1960 MGA in three Monterey Historics, four Wine Country Classics, and the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. He is the author of Motoring: Getting the Maximum from Your New Mini, a comprehensive guide to the new MINI Cooper, available through Amazon.com.

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