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93EXCivic
93EXCivic SuperDork
4/26/11 9:48 a.m.

Ok so I maybe getting my hands on an old Spitfire project and I have a few questions. I was wondering what are some common modifications for the Spitfire, what is a good auto-x class for it and how will it hold up to HPDEs?

purplepeopleeater
purplepeopleeater Reader
4/26/11 9:50 a.m.

Stock you'd be in HS & not competitive. Mount a camber compensator if it's a swing axle car.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic SuperDork
4/26/11 9:51 a.m.
purplepeopleeater wrote: Stock you'd be in HS & not competitive. Mount a camber compensator if it's a swing axle car.

Which years have the swing axle?

Should mention it has a roll bar and no windshield.

Brotus7
Brotus7 Reader
4/26/11 9:54 a.m.

All Spitfires are swing axle cars. Autox and HPDE will be fun, but be warned that those cars are low on power and tiny.

Only a few GT6's weren't (circa '68-70 I thought).

carzan
carzan HalfDork
4/26/11 9:58 a.m.
Brotus7 wrote: Only a few GT6's weren't (circa '68-70 I thought).

'68-'72 GT6s

Ian F
Ian F SuperDork
4/26/11 9:58 a.m.

How much money do you want to spend?

E-Mod seems to be where they are most competitive... although they aren't very streetable.

I've seen a few classed under FSP, although in reality, the engines aren't legal (aftermarket cam swaps). Not competitive against a modern FSP car.

HPDE's I don't know about... would probably need to go with a group that allows convertibles (Porsche club?). The factory (steel) hardtop might get around that, but helmet clearance may be a problem if you're near 6' tall.

"Common" mods usualyl involve just keeping it running. Replacing the OE single carb with dual SU's, header and exhaust, shocks & lowering springs, etc. Basically standard stuff.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic SuperDork
4/26/11 9:59 a.m.

The only ones that would need the camber compensator is pre-1970s if I understand correctly.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic SuperDork
4/26/11 10:01 a.m.
Ian F wrote: How much money do you want to spend? E-Mod seems to be where they are most competitive... although they aren't very streetable. I've seen a few classed under FSP, although in reality, the engines aren't legal (aftermarket cam swaps). Not competitive against a modern FSP car. HPDE's I don't know about... would probably need to go with a group that allows convertibles (Porsche club?). The factory (steel) hardtop might get around that, but helmet clearance may be a problem if you're near 6' tall. "Common" mods usualyl involve just keeping it running. Replacing the OE single carb with dual SU's, header and exhaust, shocks & lowering springs, etc. Basically standard stuff.

I am not planning on dumping money into it. I was considering basically improving the electrics and maybe a little suspension work. And HPDE days require hardtops even with a roll bar?

Ian F
Ian F SuperDork
4/26/11 10:19 a.m.
93EXCivic wrote: I am not planning on dumping money into it. I was considering basically improving the electrics and maybe a little suspension work. And HPDE days require hardtops even with a roll bar?

Depends on the organizing club. Some don't recognize most Spit roll-bars because if it's tall enough to be truely effective, it prevents use of the top. Most are just decorative.

A Spitfire is arguably one of those rare cars where the stock (in good condition) suspension holds the car back less than the engine does.

"Clarify 'improving the electrics'? There are things to do that can help things like lights (adding relays), but those have nothing to do with track performance.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic SuperDork
4/26/11 10:22 a.m.

In reply to Ian F:

Probably adding relays to the lights and a Pertronix electronic ignition. The car was a race car back in the day which is why it has no top, no windshield and a roll bar. So I am assuming it is a track legal bar. I will need to double check on that.

foxtrapper
foxtrapper SuperDork
4/26/11 10:31 a.m.

What year? Makes quite a difference on recommendations.

If its an early one, with round tail lights like pimples on its backside, the engine is about as good as you're going to get. Camber compensator because it would have a fixed spring. Good shocks, good tires, you're done.

If it's a later one, with flat tail lights and a single carburetor, switching to the dual SU's helps tremendously with the engine. Skip the camber compensator, you've got the swing spring. Good shocks, good tires, and you're also pretty much done.

Electricals are not the nightmare people tend to make them into. That said, a previous owner armed with snips and electrical tape can make a remarkable mess of things.

Most likely you'll have a 4 speed transmission. Many consider the overdrive a very worthwhile upgrade for highway driveability.

racerdave600
racerdave600 HalfDork
4/26/11 10:31 a.m.

You want to be sure and have things like the hubs and axles magnafluxed to check for cracks. I've personally witnessed a local Spitfire here break a rear hub and spin around on it's nose totally vertical, twice. Once from the timing trailer, I could see his feet on the pedals. He was very lucky not to land on his head.

Not trying to talk you out of it, as they are fun cars to autocross, but be sure you treat it the same way road racers do and have the appropriate items checked regularly.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic SuperDork
4/26/11 10:47 a.m.

I am trying to figure out for sure the year. I was talking to a friend and he said he had a Spitfire he started restoring a while ago and it has a rebuilt engine and rebuilt brakes. He asked if I would like it.

foxtrapper
foxtrapper SuperDork
4/26/11 11:06 a.m.

Regardless of the year, Spitfires gloriously fun. I've enjoyed mine.

spitfirebill
spitfirebill SuperDork
4/26/11 11:30 a.m.
foxtrapper wrote: Regardless of the year, Spitfires gloriously fun. I've enjoyed mine.

Every time I pull mine back into the garage after a drive and it was running right, I have a big ol' smile on my face. but sometimes I come back with a frown.

As Foxtrapper said, they aren't much fun on the open road without an OD.

Rusted_Busted_Spit
Rusted_Busted_Spit Dork
4/26/11 11:52 a.m.
  • 1 on the OD. I drove mine from Ohio to Louisiana and then back again a couple of years later and I REALLY wished it had OD on it.
triumph5
triumph5 Dork
4/26/11 2:31 p.m.

1296cc engine or 1500cc? The crankshaft on the 1296 is so much lighter, the engine lends itself to (relative, understand) good bump up in hp, and 7k redlines.

The 1500, otoh, while a capable engine, has a very heavy crank, and not as condusive as easily as the 1296 to hp increases.

The OD is worth chasing after. The stock rear end gear will buzz the engine at anything close to today's interstate speeds.

That said, I ALWAYS smile after driving mine. They're simple, easy as pie to work on, open the hood, there's everything...and tons of aftermarket support. And add a petronix or Crane fireball ignition, either is worth every cent.

you can determine the year of the engine and.the body by simply using the MOSS catalog, in paper or on line.

I love driving the back roads around here, looking UP at the bicyclists on Sunday mornings in the summer.Kinda freaks them out or makes them smile.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic SuperDork
4/26/11 7:02 p.m.

What series engine is the 1296cc and 1500c?

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon SuperDork
4/26/11 7:24 p.m.

foxtrapper pretty well covered Spits.

Early Spitfires were Mk1 and Mk2, they were at first 1147cc, in 1968 the Mk3 1296 was introduced. That engine was used till 1974 when the 1500 was introduced.

Mk1, 2 and 3 1962-1970 (small taillight) all need a camber compensator.

1971-1980 (flat tail with large taillights) are all swing spring.

Triumph engines aren't usually thought of as series, unlike MG with the A, B, C engines. They are separated more by displacement. The Herald/Spitfire/GT6/TR6 engines are also one of the earliest examples of 'modular' design, as in you kept stacking cylinders to get what you wanted.

Having said that, the 1147 was a 'single port' head (the intake ports were siamesed) and the 1296 was a dual port design (each intake valve ahd its own port). The bad news: 1968 was the only year 1296 dual port with dual SU's brought to the States which makes the intakes tough to find, in 1969 US market cars went to a single Stromberg. The good news: Triumph used dual SU's in the home market on the 1296 and 1500 all the way to the end of production and those intakes pop up on eBay all the time.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic SuperDork
4/26/11 7:31 p.m.

In reply to Curmudgeon:

What about Weber conversions or if I got crazy motorbike carburetor setup?

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon SuperDork
4/26/11 8:32 p.m.

DD Webers are great for street driving, DCOE (sidedraft) work well but are somewhat grumpy at low RPM. Either is a valid swap. PRIRace's motorcycle carb setup looks great, but I have no hands on experience with it (although I would love to fiddle with it).

Damn if it don't look cool, too. This one is a homebuilt setup. No reason you couldn't do something similar.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic SuperDork
4/26/11 8:41 p.m.

In reply to Curmudgeon:

Esp. since I have a friend with a machine shop.

Are there any good Spitfire forums?

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon SuperDork
4/26/11 9:38 p.m.

Dunno. I don't restore them; I chop them up and turn them inside out. Not many forums devoted to that.

Ian F
Ian F SuperDork
4/27/11 8:14 a.m.
93EXCivic wrote: In reply to Curmudgeon: Esp. since I have a friend with a machine shop. Are there any good Spitfire forums?

Yeah, the PRI set-up is nice, but pricey. Especially for relatively easy/cheap to source carbs (typically, ones from a 600-750 cc I-4 are used). Granted, a good part of what you are paying for with the PRI set-up is the fact they apparently arrive pretty much ready to bolt on and run, whereas a home-built set-up would require some fiddling and tuning.

Port injected Megasquirt conversions have been done as well. I know a couple of guys who've built this.

Forums... about the best we've found so far is the NASS (North American Spitfire Squadron) yahoo group. A bit of an archaic format to use, but the knowledge base is good. britishcarforums isn't too bad either, although the Triumph forum there tends to have a bit more of a TR-focus.

If your car is a retired race car, all bets are off on what engine/trans is in it.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic SuperDork
4/27/11 8:53 a.m.

Holy crap RPIRace sells some cool stuff.

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