Triumph Spitfire 3.5 V8 conversion

The photographs below show most of the rebuild of a Triumph Spitfire 1500.                                                                                                                               The original brief was to fit new sills then convert to V8 power and reassemble. 
The owner brought the car all the way from Norfolk for me to do the work and if I had inspected it a bit more
thoroughly I may have sent it straight back again!   It was as bad as they come and realistically scrapping it
was the sensible option. 'Sensible' is maybe not the most appropriate word anyway when you are talking
about V8 conversions - so sure enough I got stuck into it.

One good used 3.5 litre engine, ex Land Rover competition vehicle, supposedly rebuilt and healthy it had some surprises in store - later.  

Engine installed with strong mountings, aim is to be as low down and far back as possible without going silly . Engine is fitted with a Weber carburetter on an Offenhauser manifold.
SD1 heads, a 3.9 camshaft, block hugger headers and a Mallory dual point distributor should all help to achieve something near 200bhp.

Modifications to the chassis for large radiator. Something I learned with my own conversion - if it won't stay cool easily you will always be worrying about it.

MGB V8 radiator has the capacity and the hose connections in the right places.  By dropping through the chassis it fits comfortably and not too obstructed by the chassis.

Bonnet repaired and in place, but that air filter, no no that looks daft.

So a K+N cone filter was positioned in the only available space and a low height air intake fabricated to feed the carb. Only downside to this is the lack of cold air feed but the owner preferred this to a large filter out in the open. Still doesn't quite go under the bonnet though.

The end result is a cosmetic scoop to cover the intake.

Scoop was made open at the rear to allow air through it. However studying the tracks left by rainwater through dirt, one day when it was in for repair, showed that the air flows up to, and neatly around the scoop, but not through it. Can't win!

And there it is, subtle yet obviously not standard it looks really good in a 70s kind of way.

Exhaust note is deep and very pleasing from the twin box system. Performance is very, very good, if you want faster you need a

A good looking engine.
Unfortunately after a short time back with the owner the car started to have trouble. Clouds of blue smoke under certain conditions signified all was not well, and excess oil breathing from the crankcase confirmed it. So it all came out again, and this time the block was stripped to find that the 'rebuilt' engine was indeed
rebuilt - with 7 of the 8 pistons fitted with broken rings!   Unbelievable!

The misfortune didn't end there as the owner was in an accident which did this -

A bit of a mess and a bit further forward would have been impossible to repair.  Fortunately the strong area around the A post and bulkhead side was missed so repair was possible.

Having already had sills etc the structure was very difficult to unpick.  A bit scary when you are in this deep.

A full set of side panels, reskinned used door, more paint, new hood and door internals. Rebuilt NSR suspension, plus plenty more got it back on the road again. The agreed value insurance policy was
well worth the premium in this instance.

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