Jump to content

"one careful lady owner"

Unkel Kunkel

Recommended Posts

OK , a bit of a cliche - and  the expression does  invite  'what about the other owners?,  but this is in  praise of lady drivers - or at least one I knew well who was a devoted Spitfire owner.

When I bought my  a Mk 1V  Spitfire from her , it was genuinely a one owner.

A lady owner .In fact a very delightful elderly  lady  and keen driver who bought it new in Devon in 1973 and  drove it with great care.She and her husband kept   every scrap of documentation from the original invoice.

When I bought it  about ten years ago, It had been standing  her garage for a few years.Sadly, her  health and  her Spitfire's bodily health, ie rust in the "usual places',  had almost   simultaneously brought an end to their motoring fun. 

It had a genuine 97,500  miles in the clock when it started its "slumber" in 1990. It had been  used for a combination of local runs and  many long trips from Devon  up to Southport where her daughter was at school.In the mid eighties she, her husband and the Spitfire " emigrated" from Devon to my  neck if the woods.

Although the body work was  very rusty (and is  still proving  to be a long term project for me to restore) , the 'mechanical bits'  were /are  really  quite remarkable:

The engine has never been touched other than routine maintenance .It runs very smoothly,  quietlty and lustily.

There is barely discernable crank shaft end float.

it still had  its original clutch.

The gearbox is fine apart from a very slight whine and sticky  2nd synchro when cold.

The diff is silent with hardly any backlash and on the bench, the bearings are fine and even the 1973  gear oil was remarkably clear with only a trace of debris when flushed out recently.

The propshaft joints are fine.Even original drive shaft joints are fine.

The trunions  were  original but I  changed then .likewise the  track rod ends which felt fine.

The front wheel bearings were in mint condition.

The discs and calipers were the originals.

Front springs /dampers = original.

The rear dampers were replaced in the early  80s  - and these   Girlings  are now weak.

Interesting to reflect :

From the extensive documentation, it is clear that this car was  always greased and oiled as "per the book".Nothing special , but it never  missed an oil change or service.It had   quite a few relatively long runs.

Perhaps, unlike many Spitfires   in the seventies and eighties,   this car did not have "young blades' doing "standing start " gladiatorial take offs from the traffic lights  (and  perhaps most importantly) skimping on servicing and it   perhaps it  benefited from  her more sympathetic style of driving. 

She was really attached to her Spitfire.My   purchase  of the car and its emergence from the garage  was celebrated with a bottle of champagne  and  a tearful farewell  from her an a reiterated pledge  from me that  I would restore it.Each   year I sent her a Xmas card  with pictures showing the   where  latest stage the slow restoration had reached - I do regret not having completed the restoration before she died.

Her devoted  travelling companion for many of those long miles  was her  small dog- a remarkably smelly dog, I remember.Despite most of the car having now been rebuilt  , I swear there is  still  an elusive essence of  smelly dog somewhere in there at times..






Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...