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Spitfire 1500 shell or repairs

Fin McCaig

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Hi there, 

So, currently, I am restoring a 1980 triumph spitfire 1500. I have finished the chassis and now I'm just refurbishing bits as well as buying new bits to bolt back on. In other words, I'm halfway there (implying there is an ending to the project....hmmm). However, I am only 18 so I am not rolling in money and I have a rusty shell. I personally like the look of a retro preserved look, however, I would like a car that is structurally sound. The shell is safe however it could do with some new sills and that will be costly. I have two questions:

1: Does anyone know of anyone who would be able to do the work for me in the local area (Petersfield, Hampshire) that I can get in contact with?


2: Does anyone know of any stripped spitfire 1500 shells that are within 100 miles or so of Petersfield that are available to buy?

Thanks for the help,

Fin McCaig

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Hello Fin

You may be better to go for new sills, all three - inner, outer and middle. Any shell will be worst or the same as what you have. 

Remember the majority of the welding of the sill is spot wielding and you can rent a 240v spot welder. The ticky part is the flange in the floor which may/ need to be replaced.

This flange will need cutting out and at worst the whole length replacing. This work need a mig welding.

Have you thought of learning how weld yourself, at the age of 18 you have plenty of time to learn a skill which you can take forward. 

If you learn how to weld you will be the person to go to.

If interested in old cars then this will be an important skill.


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Hi Graham,

Thanks for the reply.

I have considered learning to weld but if I am honest I haven't done a lot of looking around at courses but your right now would be a good time to learn. The skill would definitely be a great advantage for future work on cars as well as being able to help others with cars as well. 

Thank you for the help,

Fin McCaig

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Pretty much agree with the above.  Unless your shell is particularly rough you will be unlikely to gain much bu buying another unless you are very lucky.

One important point - when repairing a shell/tub it should be properly fitted to the chassis and you need the doors to hand as well.  If you have a hardtop, this should also be fitted.  All this is to ensure that the shell ends up the correct shape after welding and your doors still fit properly.  Bear in mind that if it is very rusty it may have already changed shape and you might actually have to take steps to move it back to where it should be.

Here's one we did a few years back.  This tub could possibly have been a candidate for replacement but he wanted a project (and got one!) and it had almost not previous repairs which is is usually a good thing and unpicking crappy previous repairs is no fun.......


If yours is rustier than this was....... then you might find a better one!


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Hi Nick,

The shell itself has a few issues. The shell had the driver's floor and sills done. This was done long before the previous owner and badly carried out. I believe the car was not braced therefore the panel gap is completely ruined leading to a misaligning door on both sides. The car floor was then covered in filler and I haven't had the guts to scrape it all back let alone the thick underseal over the external welds to see what I am completely dealing with. There are a few patches that I need to make but I am less worried about that, no problem, I am just worried about the sills and the panel alignment.

I was very impressed by your restoration that you and your son carried out and I would like to complete to a similar standard. My car is more structurally sound than yours which is reassuring and gives me hope.  Thank you for the feedback and I hope you don't mind if I message you for advice.


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18 hours ago, Nick Jones said:

you need the doors to hand as well

Fin,  fully endorse Nick's words on this.  Car restoration course I did on  leaving the RN many years ago stressed building the car around a good pair of doors, and ideally with them fitted in place so you get the gaps aligned; bit late for me at the time!  Body on the chassis means you have the right jig for that body given all the variables that will have occurred over time not least with previous repairs.

As to learning to weld, if funds permit a MIG welder, a grinder and lots of scrap steel to practice on!  Rather than spot weld you can plug weld which is rather more forgiving if steel is not perfectly clean and aligned.  Will PM you some phots idc.


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