Spitfire 4 Restoration Page

I spent from June 1987 until April of 1998 restoring this car. Of course there was a period of about seven years that I couldn't work on the car since I was working overseas. This particular car was a good example of what kind of car NOT to buy for restoration! When I went to look at the car it was out on a farm close to Boulder Colorado on a saturday night, at midnight, sitting in a field and there was no moon. Couldn't really see the car at all. The PO told me that the person he bought it from said the motor had just been rebuilt. He couldn't prove it to me though because he couldn't get it started. Because of that I got him down some more in price! Turns out one of the reasons it wouldn't start was because of all the sand in the gas tank. I think about 1/3 tank was filled with sand and other miscellaneous items such as a childs little plastic shovel. So I have pretty good idea of where the sand came from.....

For the most part the car has been returned to original form. I have installed a Spitfire MK3 wood dash, MK 2 temperature gauge and carpeting rather than the old rubber matting. I think even if the rubber matting were available today I would still opt for the carpeting.
I will be replacing the MK 2 temperature gauge shortly because I just came up with an NOS MK 1 gauge. It had been bothering me that I had the wrong gauge in the car!

This was my first attempt at a full blown restoration and it was quite a learning experience. When I started this project there weren't any reproduction parts available like there are today. I spent hour after hour scouring junk yards for parts and calling any adds I could find in Hemmings Motor News. For the longest time I didn't think I would ever find a front bumper but finally a call to one of the adds produced a really nice one. During the first year and a half of the project I spent many hours at place called Scotland Yard in Denver. They were invaluable in helping me locate a lot of the more obscure parts. One thing I did find out from the manager of Scotland Yard was that the prior year they had crushed more than 100 spitfires. At the time there just wasn't any market for them. I'm happy to see that seems to be changing finaly.

Thanks to Lewis Mckillop I now have a set of wire wheels to install on the car. (Sorry Joe!) Also I have installed a D-type overdrive and am quite happy with how it performs. Sure does make a difference on highway.

Another option that I have yet to install is the original factory hardtop. All the rubber seals on mine are shot and I'm waiting for them to reproduce the rest of them before I tackle that project. As is typical for a restoration like this I spent far more than the car is worth, but I enjoyed it at the time!!

I have added a cruise control to the car and it sure does make a huge difference when driving on the highway! Add to that the D-type overdrive and it makes for a pretty decent highway car now. That is if I ever get a chance to change out the noisey rear end which is definitely showing signs of wear.

One other intersting feature about this particular spitfire is that it originated in Belgium. It appears to have been a CKD car that was assembled in Belgium. I would have to guess that some service man must have purchased the car while stationed there and then brought it with him when he returned to the United States.

I always wanted one of the Amco luggage racks and finally located one at British Miles in Philadelphia. When I called I was surprise not only did they have one of the luggage racks, they had an NOS rack! We settled on a price and a week later I had the luggage rack in my hands. It was still in the original box and wrapped in the original plastic bag.

Needless to say I'm quite happy with this find! One thing however, it isn't really a "no drill" luggage rack. I did have to drill two 1/4" holes along the bottom edge of the boot lid. But I think thats a small price pay to have a "period" style of luggage rack on the car.