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First Classic - Spitfire Mk2


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I've already posted another thread but I thought I'd say hello here. I'm in Surrey and have just purchased my first classic - 1966 Spitfire mk2. Really excited to pick it up and doing lots of reading. 

Thanks for the answers to the questions I've had so far - hopefully one day I get to the level of knowledge where I can return the favour!

 

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Hi Rich-Tea-Biscuit, that's a sweet looking little motor. Welcome to the forum (also known as "the madhouse"). I am a relative newcomer and have to say that the level of knowledge and the sound advice that is available here far outweighs any Haynes manual (file them under F for Fiction). Look forward to seeing more posts from yourself as time progresses.

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I've been doing a bit of Googling and am not quite clear - how do I drive it? 😁 The oldest car I've driven was about 15 years old.

Any advice on what fuel to put in it? I assume highest octane. 

Any tips on how to shift gears? I assume it's not like a modern manual. 

Still trying to figure out how to use a choke and what overdrive does!

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yes best to use 97ron fuel  its close to what these were intended to run on

gears  just the same as a modern  start in 1st  cruise in 4th 

overdrive  works on 3rd and 4th gears only 

it raises the final drive to reduce engine revs best to use over 30mph 

flick the switch you will feel the change  handy if you overtake in 3rd and then engage OD saves the time of a gear change

you can feather the clutch or change throttle to smooth out any neck jerking under power same as changing gear  for smooth progress

cold engines need choke to richen up to start the first 1/2" just ups the idle   a full pull increases revs to 1500 or ther abouts 

push it in as soon as the engine runs and pulls from cold ok .

Pete

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Really don't worry, driving your Spitfire will become second nature in no time.

The gear change is just like any modern car except that it probably doesn't have synchromesh on first gear. That means if you try to shift down to first gear while the car is moving it may crunch and refuse to engage.  To change down into first smoothly you will need to 'double declutch' To do this you press the clutch down, move the gear lever to neutral, release the clutch, rev the engine to the revs it would be doing if it were in first gear, quickly dip the clutch and put the gear lever into first and release the clutch. It sounds complicated but if you practise, you will soon be playing tunes on the gearbox.

I always use 99Ron e5 petrol, it does make a difference. The little 1147 engine is an absolute jewel, it's free revving, willing and with a surprisingly amount of torque, much more than modern small engines.

The choke allows you to give the engine a richer fuel mixture to help start it from cold. You should only need full choke on a really cold day and you should push the knob in as soon as the engine will run happily. All engines are different and you will learn yours very quickly.

Overdrive is like a fifth gear, and it is  achieved by having a small 2 speed gearbox attached to the back of the main gearbox. 

I have just noticed that 'Uncle' Pete has replied too. His post will be gospel.

Enjoy it when it arrives!

Adrian 

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RTB, all the above is spot on. You are clearly a youngster and will soon get the hang of driving a proper car 😃. I have the advantage of being a 'little' older and passed my test in 1970 in a 13/60 so a choke, lack of synchro on first and reverse, no power steering or power brakes is the norm.

You will soon find that you have never smiled so much before. Drive the car and enjoy it, it does look gorgeous.

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11 hours ago, RichTeaBiscuit said:

Any tips on how to shift gears? I assume it's not like a modern manual. 

As others have said, it's pretty similar to a modern. One difference that hasn't been mentioned but does catch people out - there is no spring return to the 3/4 plane, so when going from 2nd to 3rd you can't just let it find the gear, you have to actually pull the gearstick to the right. The clutch probably bites at a different point to any modern you've driven, too, so that takes a bit of getting used to. Sometimes the H-pattern seems to be a weird shape, with 4th very close to 2nd. This allegedly shouldn't be the case but nearly every small Triumph I've driven was a bit like that.

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as 1st is a crash gear  its real use is more hill starts  fully loaded  steep 1 in 3 hills etc 

on a level road you can use 2nd  and pull away without increased clutch slip times  

often 1st gear in their day was emergency use rather than normal 

its all down to preference and how you wish to take off .

save petrol too  

Pete

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Id say that with the sixes but think a 1300 Spitfire will normally need 1st gear from stationary and it shouldnt crash much if the clutch doesnt drag and after pressing the pedal you wait a second for the gears to stop spinning before engaging👍 

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The handbrake!

The early cars have a 'fly off' handbrake lever which foxes everybody. To release it,  you lift the lever without touching the button. To apply the brake you lift the lever and lock it in place by pressing the button. I keep a card with these instructions in the car so that I can leave it for MOT testers and tyre fitters. 

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yes I have a local lass with a nice Mk2 and the fly off takes some reverse thinking she is also unfamiliar with classics 

there are no quirks but you do need to add a bit of planning to what you are doing 

you do the opposite to your modern   to engage  raise the lever then press the button to lock the lever   in the applied position 

to release just rasie the lever and let go it will drop freely to Off

if its not a fly off then its as all other cars but i always press the button to avoid the ratchet wearing out as the teeth climb over each other 

Pete

 

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When it’s MOT time find a suitable local garage as modern mot chains don’t understand our Triumphs . Your front wheel bearings are tapered and need a degree of play to operate . Tighten them up and they will seize . If you don’t have the gear layout on the gear knob leave a paper show the H box layout . My local garage lets me drive in and I stay with the car assisting the MOT guy doing what he says . He even invites me in the pit to see the underside . 
Paul 

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we have not  said  to get reverse its press down and shift left and forwards 

if the gear change is like stiring a pudding witha stick   it needs a re bush kit . there are a number of pivots in the remote extention and they do wear out .

when looking at any clues there are two gearbox designs 

you should have whats known as a 3 rail  ( has 3 selector shafts )  and later cars like 1500 have a single rail (only one selector shaft ) 

the internals of both are pretty much the same but a singe rail reverse is to the right and forwards   so when reading duff information you can be lead down the wrong road 

stick to the forum for any clues , ask on FB at your preference 

Pete

 

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50 minutes ago, Pete Lewis said:

i always press the button to avoid the ratchet wearing out as the teeth climb over each other 

My IAM instructor would have agreed - he used to say that yanking the handbrake without pressing the button could cause head injury... when he clouted you for wearing out his ratchet.

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28 minutes ago, NonMember said:

My IAM instructor would have agreed - he used to say that yanking the handbrake without pressing the button could cause head injury... when he clouted you for wearing out his ratchet.

My driving instructor had pretty much the same approach back in 1970, it was so effective that I still press the button in, on my modern as well as the Triumph.

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36 minutes ago, NonMember said:

My IAM instructor would have agreed - he used to say that yanking the handbrake without pressing the button could cause head injury... when he clouted you for wearing out his ratchet.

Mine too, I got glared at repeatedly when that dreaded rattle was heard.

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