Spitfire – A Historic, Vintage Racer

At last week’s SPOKES autocross, I met up with Robert.  Apparently I had met him & his car at my first autocross observation in Pearsall, Texas, last June.

Spitfire on grid

Robert’s Triumph Spitfire is a strikingly prepared historic piece of vintage iron.  Here’s what Robert told me about his Spitfire (he spoke like a proud papa, as he should).

Spitfire with detail

It’s a 1962 Triumph Spitfire MK I, serial #921, the 12th oldest of this model in the States, the 25th oldest in the world.  He found this car, ignored & rotting away in some barn (the restorer’s dream) about a year & 1/2 ago.  Its former owner had passed on & the widow wanted to get rid of it.  After lots of love, blood, sweat & tears (and about $10K), this is the result.  He has lowered it, put in a 1147cc full race motor, Kevlar brakes, and a secure & safe roll cage.

Detail of Spitfire long lug bolts

I asked him about the long lug bolts on the wheels – they protrude at least 1″ beyond the lug bolts.  Robert said that he followed the 1970’s SCCA sports car rules; this dictacted he restore his Spitfire to be period correct.  Apparently that is what they did at that time.  The only reason he figures it was done was to allow spacers to be placed between the hub & wheel.

Cool aluminum disks for headlights

Instead of headlights, he has these cool spun aluminum discs in their place – they look sharp!

Spitfire cockpit detail

In the cockpit (above), Robert pointed out to me how he had the left side of the roll cage (along the driver’s left leg) extend into the door shell to give him more room to properly fit & perform.  It looks well done, too.

Fuel cell in Spitfire

In keeping with safety regulations, Robert had the fuel cell mounted in the trunk, properly protected & secured with the roll cage.

Robert doesn’t baby this car, vintage status that it is.  Earlier this year he placed 2nd in the SCCA Divisional series for his class,  G Production.  In looking at this vehicle, I’m sure it has the legs to go beyond just autocrossing.  This seems like an ideal road race machine, as well.

Vintage & historic racing equipment is great stuff, but one needs to be personally up to date & on his game to become Racing Ready!


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