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1978 Triumph Spitfire Convertible Brown RWD Manual

Convertible BODY TYPE
1.5 Litre 4 cylinder ENGINE
Gasoline FUEL

1978 Triumph Spitfire California Spec With Overdrive Description:

Vehicle Details


The Spitfires original California 1st owner repainted the Spitfire during his ownership on the West Coast. The California Sun did it no favors in its early years BUT, The Repaint after all those years since, still looks Terrific today...keeping perspective, not perfect (think patina, a light scuff/scratch here and there) but still looks Very,Very Nice! Rust, is not a word that applies here as the pictures Illustrate.

13" Minilite "Panasport Looking" wheels are part of the ground control and they look Great. Stainless trim added around the windshield.(not an easy task but so worth it looks-wise!);also had Custom Made"Triumph Laurel Wreath" lower body/rocker Stripes that I installed. Looks the Business and ties into the wheels and hood/trunk callouts perfectly.

Spitfire "LeMans" Hood Scoop is an actual functional item to direct cooler air into the cabin. (easily removed if you prefer the non-scoop look!)When Spitfires actually raced back in the day, and especiasly when they utilized a hardtop configuration, this item brought cooler air to what was at times, depending on condition, a stuffy cabin.

Front Chrome Bumper modified and backdated with Mk IV shorter style overrider caps. Rear Bumper backdated to no overriders or "chrome cap" over the center part of the Bumper. Foglamps installed by previous owner. All glass, luggage rack and other vehicle trim is original.


- carpet, door panels, dash wood, sun visors and plastic trim are all original. 1/4" foam padding added to carpet underside for noise suppression and heat deflection. Dash pad has an older high quality cap; hard to tell this is an overlay. The left and right "cubby holders" are original. Seat covers are replacements...not a super-pro install by previous owner, but nice overall aside from a minor scuff....Very presentable and Very comfortable.

-"Smiths" Brand Mechanical Temp/Oil Pressure Gauge added to left side of dash and a Smiths Voltmeter gauge added as well. Chrome bezels added to all gauges to backdate it and bring a more vintage look. ALL GAUGES, are lit by LED green bulbs, not too dim, not too bright, but just the right illumination...Fantastic!

-Overdrive "toggle" Switch relocated to left lower center console below Radio; this modification allowed for a traditional Chrome shifter lever and wooden knob to join the wood rimmed 13" steering wheel to the party.

-Radio is a period correct Audiovox AM/FM "Automatic", back lit "Green", in fact (!). An upgraded 4" speaker behind the original cover in the passenger Cubby. Sounds good.The seat belts, retractors and belt holders all work fine. Courtesy lights under the dash even work.

-Convertible Top...aside from a streched piece of top material by one of the hold down button tabs, the Top, the Tan Boot Cover and the FULL Tonneau Cover are all ORIGINAL and in Good shape.

Exterior Lights/Electrical:

New Sylvania Headlights, all bulbs, directionals, high beams, side marker lamps, brake, reverse, and license plate lamps ALL work. Grounds cleaned throughout and wire looms re-wrapped, especially in the Hood/Bonnet area. New HD Battery. HORNS work and are LOUD!


-Trunk Courtesy light works! Trunk carpet added at some point, Spare tire on a 13" steel rim is Original. Original tool bag and jack are there as well as the 4 lug nuts for the steel rims and a ratchet and socket for the minilites. Pictures show a clean floor. Newer fuel gauge sending unit had been installed by previous owner...gas tank itself is in Excellent condition.


Removed Engine and Transmission for full service/upgrade work. California Emissions Equipment is long gone from the engine bay,(Potential Buyers Please Note: no catalyst system is present currently!) but I did capture about 85% of the system in a dedicated orig. emissions equipment box and that is included. The increase in performance is substantial from the original stock "slow show".


No Vintage British Car is exempt from leaks...that's part of British Car Character! I did my best to eliminate them as much as possible by replacing the following: Oil pan gasket, timing cover gasket, waterpump gasket, intake/exhaust gasket and rear main seal. New motor mounts! All water jackets cleaned, all threads cleaned for fittings throughout. 180 degree thermostat and the radiator is "new(er)" upon inspection. Temperature is always consistent @ 180 degrees whether cruising on the highway or driving around town. A new single wire oil pressure sensor, Purolator "extra capacity" oil filter and threaded adapter were installed. Accuspark Electronic Ignition w/Vacuum Advance (Distributor+Coil),NGK Wires and Champion plugs added. Retorqued the Cylinder head and Rocker assembly studs. Valves Adjusted to proper Spec. New starter and starter solenoid. Alloy Valve Cover with proper "oil catch can" system installed to mind the pcv duties and not "oil out" the very nice Dual SU HS4 Carburetors, which are Fully and Professionally restored! #3 fuel needles and "local/ISOA" Triumph Club Schooling, allowed me to balance and tune these Carburetors to a very nice running state. Fuel duties are minded by a precision Italian made Malpassi Adjustable Fuel Pressure Regulator. A Euro sourced Fuel Pressure Gauge allows setting the psi for the SU Carbs EXACTLY where the pressure should be.(1.5-2 psi) A very important upgrade that helped tune the carbs even better.

What goes in, must come out...


New: Bell stainless 4-2-1 exhaust header, thermal wrapped and spray coated to prevent any corrosion. This continues on to a U.K. branded MANIFLOW "Twin Box" (Resonator+Muffler). It Performs and Sounds Fantastic! Some custom pipe work done to make everything fit underneath nicely. Not loud but not quiet...just great music coming out the pipe! Polished stainless etched Maniflow tip ends it all.


New Parts:

Overdrive unit filters ( a total of two: a conical one-replaced and a flat rectangular screen type, cleaned) serviced. Pennzoil Synchromesh Fluid used. New single rail type shifter "cup" bushing. New O/D Transmission Mount, New Sachs Clutch kit: (Clutch, pressure plate and release bearing). New OEM pilot bushing. Flywheel surface cleaned and true'd. New Clutch fork brass bushings, knurled sleeve insert and clutch fork "improved" Holding pin. New LUK clutch slave cylinder; system fully bled with fresh fluid. These improvements really make it super nice to Shift Gears and Drive!

Suspension/Brakes/Rear Differential:

Aluminum differential spacer installed by previous owner to provide a correct even stance. I inspected the Rear traverse leaf spring and it is in good shape (have pics). Differential only gets Valvoline 80/90 "GL4" spec fluid...L+R drive shafts and drive joints look fine. NEW driveshaft Universal Joint, Rear brakes cleaned, adjusted and trunions lubed. Emergency brake works nice and easy. Tires are decent all the way around.

All 4 ( F+R) rubber brake hoses replaced...The "originals"(saved in a bag) were still on there when I got it. I said: "no way, must be changed!"

Front brakes in good order, front wheel bearings repacked, spindles cleaned, trunions oiled, tie rods replaced as well as front sway bar bushings with new rubber units.

A few last thoughts...

-I have 3 sets of keys

-original "tattered" owners manual

-receipts for the parts I got and installed/replaced and some other misc. paperwor from previous ownership.

-a Bentley Spitfire 1500 Drivers And Workshop Manual combined. This is PRICELESS and will help keep things right if you choose to DIY!

-3 small boxes of Very Nice Spares and Maint. Items and 1 box of the original California Emissions stuff.

- A custom fitted car cover.

And Finally,

A Clean and Clear Illinois Title and a Bill of Sale will be provided to the new owner.

This is a no nonsense, Well Sorted, get in and drive Spitfire. Drove it down to Southern Illinois 2 months ago to a British Car Festival. To My Surprise, The Spitfire took 1st place in its class! It made the 350+ mile round trip without skipping a beat! So Nice to Drive! Driven several times a week. It has also been a real hit at the local Cars and Coffee gatherings too.

This Spitfire is a 45 year old British Roadster and like all vintage cars, it will need to be minded as time goes. This Spitfire has a Great Balance going for it. A nice mix of originality and updates where it counts; making it an Excellent Example at a more than a fair ask. I have a "make offer" option available. Silly or Ridiculous Lowball offers, Scammers, VIN Verifiers or Consigners will be turned away/"declined" faster than a bad credit card. Respectful offers are Encouraged.


Item location:Homewood, Illinois, United States
Trim:California Spec With Overdrive
Engine:1.5 Litre 4 cylinder
Drive type:RWD
Vehicle Title:Clean