Cheap and cheerful, Spitfires are often passed from one owner to the next many times during their life. Rarely is it worth the expense to fully restore one but occasionally someone does and I'm a sucker for a little Spitfire, so here goes.
It came as a rough looking (but not particularly so) car in Tahiti Blue having been won by the owner in a prize giveaway at a classic car show. The earliest recorded 1500 left.
Obviously a body off restoration was required. The chassis looked worse than usual and the body underside looked awful!
Look at the state of the rear floor! There really is nothing much left apart from the bit above the axle. It wasn't any better at the front either, and with new sills and rear wings also needed - for the first time I had to throw away a bodytub.
Here is the chassis part way through repair. It needed new front outriggers, front crossmember, bonnet hinge boxes and gussets. To be honest this too should have been 'binned' but with
no original body I felt I should restore as much as possible of what was left so we could call it the same car.
Even the rear of the chassis needed extensive repair - Spitfires are never rotten here!
Roll forward a few weeks and the chassis and all suspension and bracketry is blasted and powder coated ready for reassembly.
I think it took around six months to find a good bodytub but eventually a Californian tub already converted to RHD came up complete with good UK doors and a bootlid. This was trial assembled on a slave chassis with new bonnet and a hardtop before going to be painted the original colour - Topaz orange.
Painted body about to go on the fully rebuilt chassis in the foreground.
Starting to look good, dash and electrics first, then bulkhead and engine bay before moving on to the body and interior.
How nice is that underneath? Truly better than new.
A lovely drive and sure to be around for many more years.
Always criticised for rattles and squeaks, Spitfires when built well don't do either. If you are building one, tighten everything up and put all the screws and bolts in that you took out, they feel so much better that way!
At first this was a real 'love it or hate it' colour, but I have come to love the unusual colours. You know the ones you find underneath British Racing Green or bright red. A Spitfire as good as this looks great any colour.