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New Owner of Spitfire 4


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Hmmm.... that chassis damage is highly reminiscent of what we concluded must have happened to my brother's first car - a 1966 Mk2 Spitfire - at some point in its past. He hadn't noticed when he bought it but had a small prang and on looking at the damage thought he'd bent the chassis badly. Then I took a look and pointed out the huge weld seam along the top of the crease. The chassis had clearly got into the state yours is in but the PO of the time didn't replace it, just did a partial cut-n-shut to get it close enough for the repaired bonnet (and given the amount of filler and rippling we discovered, that bonnet had clearly been straightened from something like yours) to fit.

I'm glad to hear you intend to do the right job! It'll be lovely when it's done.

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Ian - that's interesting.  Would that be a specialist Triumph restorer or a standard body shop?  Any suggestions more than welcomed.  Would much prefer to stick with the original.

Mike, yes, it's a Weber and alternator but there is no documented history with the car to say what may or may not have been done to the engine.  Although I do know that it was a significant rebuild in 2015 and underneath is pristine.  I can't spend the time this week but I need to dig into any possible upgrades.  I also want to check that the engine number matches the V5.  When I was just starting to drive in the 60's it was so common to get reconditioned engines fitted after a few years that having the original is a game of chance.  I'm waiting for the Heritage Centre to confirm the original build details.

Here's a close up of the chassis behind the impact point.  The nearside front wheel is dinged on the rim but also full of earth at that point and has been pushed back.  The suspension there looks OK but I need to get it stripped down to be sure.

fullsizeoutput_1c45.jpeg

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I guess the club members in your area will know some good body shops. 

as you already have another, if it were me, I would make a wooden jig to using the good bonnet as a template, then panel beat repair, cut weld the old bonnet till it fit, 

its not easy . if your not confident get a price in a body shop. one good piece of advice I got, I was going to buy a new bonnet for my gt6, but a friend who did the same advised to get a good second hand one as you know its been fitted to a car before. he had mega problems getting his new one to line up and gap, he still wasn't  truelly happy with it when finished.

anyway my point is yours is worth keeping.

 

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1 hour ago, Ian Faulds said:

 one good piece of advice I got, I was going to buy a new bonnet for my gt6, but a friend who did the same advised to get a good second hand one as you know its been fitted to a car before. he had mega problems getting his new one to line up and gap, he still wasn't  truelly happy with it when finished.

I'm not convinced. If the bonnet needs any but trivial repairs, any goodness of alignment is lost. My Spitfire has its original bonnet (well, OK, original to my ownership, not the one it left the factory with)  with new wings, arches and D-plates. The jig was fabricated from that very bonnet to ensure everything went back the same. My GT6 got a Heritage bonnet when it was done. The alignment on the GT6 is massively better than the Spitfire.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The spare bonnet has its issues.  The visible ones in that the n/s headlamp ring and the edge of the n/s wing at the front are damaged.  I can get the headlamp ring (which is too far gone) and, if it comes to it, the outer wing panel but I think I'll wait until the main rebuild is pretty much done before trial fitting it.  I want to do the repairs myself but I am a novice welder and since the bonnet is such a large piece I may have to put that out to experts.  On the positive side the Heritage Certificate arrived and the engine block is the original, as is the Conifer Green colour and black interior although all have been restored fairly recently.  And it was built on my 12th birthday.  I've found Aaron Radiators locally in South London who are Veteran and Vintage radiator specialists and who are going to redo the crushed original as best they can.  The bottom will be a little bit rumpled apparently but all of their work that I have seen is pretty good.

I'm following the advice of Pete and others from this forum and spending hours learning the car and so on before starting to seriously strip it.

IMG_4825.JPG

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I am fairly sure that is not the original radiator, as it would probably not have been that wide.

A full width replacement fairly recently I reckon. 

And the mountings look wrong as well. Can't think what the spacers are for unless the brackets are missing from the chassis.

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1 hour ago, thescrapman said:

I am fairly sure that is not the original radiator, as it would probably not have been that wide.

A full width replacement fairly recently I reckon. 

And the mountings look wrong as well. Can't think what the spacers are for unless the brackets are missing from the chassis.

Do any of the "full width replacement" ones use a separate header tank? I have a vague recollection of the wide-with-header being a very early feature (this is a Mk1, remember).

I agree on the mountings, though.

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I think its only the early Vitesses (and maybe GT6s) that had separate header tanks and it was because the rad had to go so far forwards the bonnet slope forced the cap to be below the height of the cabin heater. Triumph in their wisdom thought the only way to keep the system full was with a remote tank mounted higher however later they realised it wasnt necessary as the heater fills itself by syphon action anyway.... 

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2 hours ago, johny said:

With the radiator Neil Ive seen full width aluminium upgrade replacements for as little as 80 pounds delivered....

Currently £109 on eBay with free delivery, but for the later Spitfire models with no header tank - I'd guess the other versions are also available, but as I'm not familiar with the exact spec I can't search properly for the header version. 

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