WhiteAndGold New Reader
7/18/17 11:25 a.m.

British cars are what got me into cars in the first place, so they've always held a special place in my heart. Perhaps that's why, despite overwhelming advice not to, I bought this beauty: a 1964-ish Triumph Spitfire with a TR6 2.5L swap. Then again going against common sense I decided to drive it 300 miles back from Detroit to Lafayette Indiana. Shockingly, with a little prep work at HippieWagon's garage she actually made it all the way home with no real issues. That is not to say however that there is no work required here: I put 5 quarts of oil in to keep the engine topped off over the course of the trip and it would appear that literally every gasket on the block is leaking. Also there is no top on it at the moment since the old soft top frame is broken and crusty. Fixing that is priority numero uno since as mentioned up there in the title, I don't have a garage, or a driveway for that matter for at least the next year. So for now the Spitty is living under a car cover on the street with the Danger Ranger watching over. I've scoped out a factory hardtop but I need to figure out the timing of when I can go pick it up wince it's 8 hours away in western PA. I think I can fix the soft top well enough to get the job done for now, assuming the canvas is still watertight, but we'll see. Another top priority is getting more insulation in the pedal box and replacing the leaky, rusted out exhaust since I burned my ankle pretty well on the drive home from Detroit. My goal is to make the car comfortable and reliable enough to get to work most days (only 3 miles away, and my standards for comfort are super low so not too tall an order) and then work on making perform better. It is already loads of fun to throw around on backroads, with a little work it could be a seriously quick little runabout.

mck1117 GRM+ Memberand Reader
7/18/17 11:59 a.m.

I'm going to blame Wreck Racing for at least most of the mental illness that caused you to do this.

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/18/17 12:29 p.m.

In reply to WhiteAndGold:

You live in Lafayette? I used to work there & have several close friends/car guys who still do. It was pretty much my second home through my late teens/early 20's.

NOHOME UltimaDork
7/18/17 12:40 p.m.

Not usually the gaskets with the Brit cars. It tends to be the seals that are torn up by shaft surfaces that have developed a grove. The answer is "Speedy Sleeves" but that of course entails a lot of work.

I am an MG guy, so not allowed to say nice things about Triumphs,but I bet that thing flies when it is on song!

dculberson PowerDork
7/18/17 12:44 p.m.

Gorgeous color!!

Woody GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/18/17 2:31 p.m.

Is there a GT6 frame under there, or did they do it the hard way?

WhiteAndGold New Reader
7/18/17 7:42 p.m.

In reply to Woody:

From what I understand, yes there is a GT6 frame under there. Basically the previous owner wanted a convertible GT6 so he built this from like 2 or 3 basket cases.

NOHOME, thanks for the advice I'll have to investigate further once I can get it over to my buddy's garage. Hopefully I can at least slow the leaking for the medium term outlook. My plan is to keep it going well enough until I move to a more permanent location where I can set up shop properly.

ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual)
ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual) Reader
7/18/17 10:40 p.m.

I have no constructive advice, except to say those pics and that color are "da sexies"!

HippieWagon New Reader
7/19/17 7:27 a.m.

In reply to ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual):

I dont think there is "constructive" advice for this level of crazy...

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
7/19/17 7:44 a.m.

damn imgur... (blocked at work) ...so I'll look at the pictures at home.

I have occasionally attempted to daily my Spitfire (std 1500). Granted, my commute is fairly long (40 to 50 miles, each way) and involves some highway stints at 70+. If temperatures are reasonable, it's definitely doable. Unfortunately, my car does not like traffic and hot weather, which is always a risk in the Philly suburbs.

Also - a hard top doesn't help as much as you would think when it comes to keeping you dry, if that was your thinking.

Always commute with a change of clothes. You WILL stink of British car (gas and exhaust) by the time you reach your destination. And if it's warm, you'll be drenched in sweat. Double the clothing reserve if there's a chance of rain. On the plus side, whatever you keep in the trunk will stay reasonably dry.

jnoiles None
11/8/17 5:19 p.m.

As a series one Elise owner who dailies it, I salute your bravery.

dherr GRM+ Memberand Reader
11/9/17 7:30 a.m.

After commuting 150 miles daily for 25+ years, I always told myself that if I had the opportunity to work locally, I would drive something impractical as a daily. So fast forward to 2017, I have my MX5 and two Triumphs, one being built up now with Miata drive train. I also salute your bravery, as all the current comments are correct.  I guess my biggest question for you is the Indiana winters? I remember driving my 67 MGB in the snow and it was quite the adventure!

Apexcarver PowerDork
11/9/17 8:08 a.m.

If only you were closer..   I have a top frame that I wont be using.   If you can figure out a way to get it to you from south of DC, its yours.  (I am laid up right now, so I cant bring it any distance)



Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
11/9/17 10:04 a.m.

The Magazine owes this one a readers ride snippet for taking the insanity level to 11.

WhiteAndGold New Reader
11/10/17 8:40 a.m.

Haven't updated in a while but *shockingly* the whole "daily a crazy engine swapped British roadster" thing did not entirely pan out. That is not to say I am not trying to get this old girl moving a bit better! About a month after I brought it home, the car started vibrating like crazy in the back when I got on the gas at all above 35 mph. So that put me out of commission for  a little bit while I solicited around at work for a place where I could safely get under the car (I may be crazy, but not enough to try rolling around under a jacked up car on the side of a street.) In the meantime, I found a guy selling some old custom GT6 headers on the ebay machine so those were had and added to the "seeking garage" project list. Got the car up in the garage and as expected, the rear u-joint was 100% toasted - got the new one in after some grinding and filing to get some pesky nicks out of the pinion. 

Then it was on to the "easy", "it's a bolt on" exhaust job.

Lies, all of it. Had the wrong gasket so I had to wait a few more days then when it came to bolt everything up I could only get 1 of the 6 exhaust bolts on due to the curve of the tubes. One manifold stud kit later and we have 5.5 tightened connections - good enough for me. New problem - I didn't realize the GT6 engine/trans combo was different dimensionally from the TR6, but it is, so my headers are dumping straight into the trans-engine mounting plate. Cut about 3" out of the collector and now I have just enough room to get a bend in there to route the pipe around the trans. Next step is to weld and hang the new exhaust, it's still a really tight fit at the front and with winter rapidly approaching here it's looking like I may just button everything up for winter and wait to hit that till spring.

I needed some roof structure for the winter though so I was looking to repair the top and get that in. Turns out 5 of the 6 body mount locations for the top are ripped out of the sheet metal so I have one proper bolted connection and 5 pegs essentially right now. I have deemed it good enough for now, I've been thinking I might get a tonneau for it eventually since I really don't want a roof that much anyways, especially with DD duties going to the Fiesta now.  So as it sits currently I have an insanely loud open header Triumph that runs great and may or may not keep rain and hopefully snow out of the cabin as long as it's under the cover. Also because having one project and no garage was too easy, I picked up a super cheap Fiero last weekend for the winter beating, rallycross (if I can ever find some close enough) then the Detroit Gambler 500 in April and hopefully later the $2018 or 19 challenge depending where I land for work after this summer.

Ovid_and_Flem Dork
11/10/17 9:42 a.m.

In reply to WhiteAndGold :

So happy to see another "good enough for now" builder.  Much better than letting it sit for 2 years unused and not enjoyed while waiting to finish it.laugh

fidelity101 UltraDork
11/10/17 10:31 a.m.

The city won't complain about a covered car on the street? thats pretty nice - where are you located?

spitfirebill MegaDork
4/3/18 2:08 p.m.

The color with the wheels and big tires give it a Cobraesque look. 

You are probably going toe find that there are more than one type of TR-6 head and more than 1 GT-6 engine.  The problem with Spit 6's is that are often Frankenstein cars.   

Smoke New Reader
4/6/18 1:29 p.m.

+1 for the Dodgeball reference. 

irish44j UltimaDork
4/7/18 6:40 p.m.

In reply to fidelity101 :

I mean, if they're not complaining about the ratty Fiero winking one headlight parked behind it......

Indy-Barely Functional-Guy
Indy-Barely Functional-Guy SuperDork
4/7/18 6:59 p.m.

In reply to WhiteAndGold :

It was great to meet you today. This is a really cool Ride

Claff Reader
4/7/18 8:23 p.m.

My first job out of college (1993) was 60 miles from home. My '79 Civic was laid up for some reason so I started that job commuting every day with my '71 MGB. It actually wasn't too bad as I mostly stuck to secondary roads. I did pretty well until one morning, maybe halfway there, when the throwout bearing came apart. Got it to work, and even got it home, but I realized that I was playing with fire depending on that car. The MG got fixed but so did the Honda and that got almost all the commuting miles after that.

WhiteAndGold New Reader
4/11/18 9:17 a.m.
irish44j said:

In reply to fidelity101 :

I mean, if they're not complaining about the ratty Fiero winking one headlight parked behind it......

Yeah - somehow that one has never been ticketed, but the Spitfire started getting the attention of the local PD so I moved it into a storage unit this week. Guess they finally decided to start enforcing their parking ordinance.

egnorant SuperDork
4/12/18 8:41 a.m.

I used a 1960 Bugeye for my daily for about a year. Bad coil, shorted out tail light socket, broken axle were the hazards thrown at me. I thought the previous owner had actually taken good care as he was the owner of a local Cadillac dealership. I took it on the Interstate a bunch and often knew I had just dodged death. 85 mph in a Bugeye among the Semi trucks and the crew cab dually, lifted, oil field trucks was terrifying.


Rain was a chore and a full face helmet was always on hand!



You'll need to log in to post.

Our Preferred Partners