VotW – Wheeler Dealers 1980 Triumph Spitfire

Our video this week comes from the popular British television show Wheeler Dealers. Even though one of the main guys on the show has recently been replaced, the episode we are looking at is before that. Back when Edd China was still on. But he is not the focus of the video, a 1980 Triumph Spitfire is.

In case you don’t know, Wheel Dealers features two presenters (in this case Edd China and Mike Brewer) on a mission to save old and repairable enthusiast vehicles, by repairing or otherwise improving an example of a particular make and model to a budget, then selling it to a new owner. Basically, we are talking flipping cars instead of houses. Along the way, you learn the finer and not so fine points of these cars and have fun watching other folk muck about in the garage instead of doing it yourself.

Due to its affordable price and easy going behavior, the Spitfire was a popular product from the start. It was introduced at the Earl’s Court London Motorshow in 1962 and remained a mainstay of British sports car production for the next 18 years. With sleek Italianesque body styling by Giovanni Michelotti, the Spitfire was sexy when released and remains sporty to this day. The engine and running gear were derived from the Triumph Herald, but the look and attitude of the Spitfire were as different as a sedan and a sports car can be. Some even compared the Spirfire to a baby Jaguar E-Type due to the sensuous curves.

Triumph Spitifre and MGB

The Spitfire got a major styling update in the late ’60s, but in profile, it stayed the same. The model Wheeler Dealers uses in this episode is the final iteration with a 1500cc engine, electric cooling fan, and many other upgrades that unfortunately made this the heaviest and slowest of the entire production run. It did have the most creature comforts, however.

These are fun little British sports cars in one of their most pure and simple forms. There is one sitting in my garage right now, and trust me when I tell you that it always a blast to drive. The reason your drive a Triumph

The reason your drive a Triumph Spitfire? More smiles per gallon.

Michael Carnell
Editor at Just British

Michael Carnell is the editor and founder of the Just British Online Motoring Magazine. As a lifelong British car enthusiast, he has owned or driven British cars of all ages from Austins and MGs to Jaguars and Triumphs. He currently owns a 1966 Vanden Plas Princess 1100 and a 1977 MGB. But there is always room for more - no matter what his wife says.