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Triumph not Spit(ting)fire


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Hi guys,

So, currently sitting in my garage is a late model Spitfire 1500 which has not been on the road for 10 years. The bodywork seems good, interior is a little tatty (or missing) But no great concern. The problem is, the engine won't start. It turns over,pumps fuel (which is fresh) but no start.

The questions are, therefore, what should I be looking at? What perils usually lurk within a Spitty that hasn't moved in 10 years?

As far as the engine is concerned, there's no spark from the coil (put the lead out next to bodywork to check), should I replace it? I'm presuming I'll need to sort out everything under the dizzy cap. To that end is it worth switching to electronic ignition? Or should I sort the old points condenser system first? As far as electric ignition can anyone recommend one, and any to avoid.

Right. That about covers it for now. Sorry if it's a lot but I'm new to this game so please be gentle. this car has been inherited from my dad so I'd like to get her up and running.

Thanks in advance for your help,




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If the points have been static for years the pivot can seize so the points stay open

make sure you have a bothb feeds to the neg coil terminal one ign on and one when cranking

take off dizzy cap, make sure the points have a 0.015"gap with follower on the lobe of the cam


check the points actually move , old can stick on the pivot post

check the condenser is secure and leads from coil pos + and condenser are connected to the sprung end of the points, if its a post with a nut , both fit under the plastic bush with nut on the plastic.if its a hook connector is it tight and clean


check the small braided wire which earths the plate is complete


make sure the ht coil terminal is not all green inside


dont replace anything till you are sure whats fitted is the culprit

new condensers have a poor reputaion , some are just an empty can,


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Get it at least running on points before you think about going electronic.  It's not working and adding a new variable in the form of potentially duff electronic ignition parts won't make your life easier.


Once it's running, even if really badly then you know you've got the basic fuel+compression+spark and can look at electronic ignition to make it run better.

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  • 5 months later...

I have the same problem tonight on my 78 Spit 1500

No spark from the coil.

Have changed coil have changed condenser. Rotor arm rotates and points have been set.

Have a live feed to the +ve side of coil. If this connection is removed from the coil (it has 2 wires to 1 connector) i measure 12v . When connected to the coil i measure just under 6v.

There are 2 separate connectors on the -ve side. One from the condenser and on from???.

Any ideas what to check next?

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The white /pink is the ballasted feed from ign switch to the + coil terminal there will also be

white /yellow thats from the same coil + to the starter side of the stater solenoid this gives the 12v boost when cranking


you dont need a condenser on the coil unless you use an old radio with MW so suggest you get rid of this.


the coil -NEG only has one black wire to the points in the dizzy. If you have changed the points make sure the internal leads are not making any contact with the base plate or point mountings




does this help



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Thanks Pete

I will check later.

I changed the condenser in the dizzy.

There is power to the +ve side of coil so I presume the issue is from the coil onwards.

I will check grounding.

There is 2 leads from the -ve side of the coil. 1 to the dissy and 1 I'm not sure of.



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Second wire could be the trigger line for electronic revcounter


In my days it has to get its pulse from the dizzy side of the coil

there have been cases where the rev counter has a fault and runs everthing to earth, so have a easy try with it disconnected





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