The Triumph Spitfire is a classic British sports car which emerged during what turned out to be a golden age of motoring for the UK.
The Spitfire made its debut in 1962 and its two-seater design was a big hit, with Italian maestro Giovanni Michelotti behind the long bonnet and tapered rear end.
While the Spitfire was very much an independent vehicle, it did borrow heavily from the Triumph Herald, with components such as the chassis and drivetrain transplanted across to this new model.
The main intention of the Triumph Spitfire was to give its manufacturer something to throw out to rival the Austin-Healey Sprite, which was a similarly affordable sports car of the same era.
Triumph was better able to adapt the Herald into the Spitfire thanks to the fact that the chassis was distinct and more conducive to modification, which meant that producing this sportier model was actually relatively inexpensive.
The Spitfire was noteworthy because upon its release it had handle-operated windows that could be wound up and down, while its rivals like the Sprite and the MG Midget were lumbered with old-fashioned sidescreens.
Using the same engine from the Herald, albeit with a few tuning tweaks, the Spitfire generated 63bhp and could hit 92mph going flat out. Its 0 to 60 time of 17.3 seconds is certainly sluggish by modern standards, but its low-slung body and good looks meant that this mattered little.
The Mark I Spitfire was replaced in 1965 with the Mark II. While it did not divert too much from its predecessor's core components, the Mark II did focus more on performance, upping the output to 67bhp and 0-60mph time to 15.5 seconds thanks to an improved exhaust system, amongst other things.
Just two years later saw the Spitfire Mark III make its appearance on the market, with a number of significant changes made to the aesthetic aspects this time around. The interior was made to be a little more luxurious and a new engine produced 75bhp to make it the sportiest Spitfire yet.
The quick turnaround in Spitfire model updates continued when the Mark IV arrived in 1970, with designer Michelotti going back to the drawing board and coming up with a car that looked rather more similar to other models he had since designed for Triumph, such as its 2000 and Stag.
The final update to this range came in 1974 when the Spitfire 1500 arrived, with the numbers denoting the use of a new engine. It continued to be produced until 1980, after which the factory in which it was produced would close in a matter of weeks.
The Spitfire enjoyed an 18 year run, during which it built up a loyal following and sold well in the UK and overseas. It remains a popular classic sports car, with British engineering and affordability combining with European flair in the design department.
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