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Homepage. This page: My classic Triumph 2500cc Spitfire Mk3/GT6 Mk2 in 1993/1994

Triumph Spitfire 2.5 Litre

Triumph Spitfire / GT6 2500cc
The story of how I came to buy this 2.5 Litre Mk3 Spitfire first appeared on the site in 2002, and was updated with more information and photos late in 2008. Now, winding the clock back to 1993...
It was late 1993 and I was missing my topless days, running around in a tintop. Even though it was a stylish Volvo 121 Amazon, it was denting my somewhat dubious style nonetheless. A brief perusal of the local Auto Trader furnished the following advert .. "Triumph Spitfire Mk3, GT6 Convertible ... requires paint and trim to finish ... ". Those words 'requires paint & trim' would haunt me thereafter, as these were the least of its problems!
Having talked those who must be obeyed into the many merits of acquiring another rotten Spitty, I dragged dad and brother up to Stalybridge to look over this half-built machine. Paint and trim were the least of its worries. Someone had done a great conversion job on this one, and then it seems given up. Then I think someone else had stepped in to finish the job off, and made a right lash-up of it. The spec ran as follows : 2.5 (the guy thought it was a 2.0 - hehe) straight 6, running twin carburettors (straight out of a 2500S saloon), mounted 1ft back in the (MkII GT6 spec rotoflex) chassis to aid weight distribution (see photo), 5.5"J wide steel rims, GT6 radiator, fully modified bulkhead, chassis rails, shortened prop, gearlever etc etc .. that was the good bit of the conversion. Someone else (I assume) had then conspired to lash the rest of it together, wiring the thing up with single strand household electrical wire!!!! the sparks behind the dash had to be seen to be believed!!!!! The floors were rotten, and the car was definitely needing a lot of work.
Anyway, I bought it - had to really, it made such a fantastic noise through its bespoke sports exhaust system. Another Spitfire, reg GRO 536G, had joined the fleet. Welding on this one consisted of repairs to the bulkhead, and full new floors, enthusiastically welded in by "Sealey 180" Steve, to whom I'm really grateful (he also welded up 2 of my Volvo Amazons). A new loom was made up, and various repairs made to the chassis, interior etc. A hardtop was located in a local free ads paper. A new oil cooler was purchased, and plumbed in with aeroquip braided hosing, as was a spin-on oil filter conversion. The (lowered) suspension was all checked over, and deemed ok.
Set off with new silver on black plates, GROG really looked a treat, and, one engineer's report later, was soon out burbling away around the roads of Cheshire, ably setting off car alarms with the merest blip of the throttle. I suspect the engine had seen some tuning in the past, but even in standard 120bhp form, it would explain the tyre-smokingly quick getaways that GROG could perform.
However my taste for tyre smoking soon disappeared when one-too-many prompt getaways caused a rear driveshaft to tear itself away from the diff, the torque load getting the better of the U/J. Embarassingly I once had the front stub axle shear off (yes I had oiled it!) at the top of the road, entailing a very slow reverse back down the road, with the front perched on a trolley jack - the clutch didn't smell very nice after that, and the road surface was never the same again either.
Spitfire drives home on a trolley jack
Spitfire drives home on a trolley jack
At the time I was a member of the Triumph Sports Six Club (TSSC), and attended a number of gatherings and shows in the North West with the Spit. One day Andy (a pal of mine) and I took part in a run over the Peak District. On the way back, somewhere near Buxton I think, the car expired and refused to fire up.It was having none of it, so sadly we had to call the AA and while we waited, we retired to the nearest watering hole. It turned out that the carbs had packing pieces between each carburettor body and the manifold. These had deteriorated, and some bright spark (not me!) had bogged them up with a sealant, that over time had dried out and dropped off. The engine was therefore sucking in way too much air, not enough fuel, and consequently wouldn't run.
On another run, we went for a blast around the back lanes near Manchester Airport, running out of fuel close to the perimeter of the airport, near an old Trident airliner that was used for fire-fighting practice. Needless to say there was no spare tin in the boot, so we pushed the car to the nearest petrol station, well over a mile away by which time we were on our knees!
But all in all GROG was a fantastic mode of transport, its TR6-esque soundtrack being music to the ears. Yet again however other projects came along, and to finance them, sadly GRO 536G was put up for sale in 1995 (to fund my purchase of a Series 1 XJ12), finding a buyer up in Clitheroe. And thats the last I've seen or heard of this entertaining sportscar - if you know where this mid-blue rocket ship is now, please let me know!! A check on the DVLA site in 2008 suggests that GROG is still on the road, it'd be great to see it again.
Update. What should arrive via email in October 2011 but an email from the Spitfire's current owner?! The car survives, albeit no longer propelled by six of Triumph's finest cylinders, and would I like to buy it back? Decisions decisions. In the end I declined the offer, but it'd be nice to keep in touch with it.
Here is a selection of photos showing the 2500 Spitfire during the resurrection, back to roadworthiness. Click on any of these photos for a larger version.
November 1993, the day we bought the 2500cc Spitfire.
The day we bought the Spitfire
Welding in the new floors begins, Steve the welder gets to work. The cut-down gearlever and gearlever extension can also be seen in this picture. The handbrake had been moved from the centre of the tunnel.
Welding the Spitfire's floors
Welding work on the nearside outer sill and floor section.
Welding the Spitfire's underside
Similar work required on the offside sill. Note the car was fitted with 5.5" wide steel wheels at the time, ex-Marina I think.
Welding the Spitfire's underside
The welding continued. Steve was also responsible for welding up the Volvo 121 shown here.
Spitfire jacked up in the air
Engine detail, note how the engine has been moved back 12" or so, requiring the bulkhead to be cut away and the heater box removed. The engine mounts pick up on the rear of the front turrets, rather than the front. Offset air filters had to be found.
Spitfire 2.5 engine in place
The modified Spitfire back on the road at last, and ready to go hunting Golf GTis.
Spitfire on the road
Seen here on a run out to Anglesey, Menai Bridge in the background.
Spitfire Mk3
1994, the Spit now fitted with refurbished 5.5J Triumph wheels (ex Formula Ford) & factory hardtop.
Spitfire reg gro 536g
Triumph Spitfire/ GT6 conversion
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