To buy or not to buy

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Well ladeez i've seen a triumph spitfire in my local area, it's done 250k miles, however the guy who is very genuine said the new engine which he rebuilt some 6 years ago has done about 50-60k miles, i'm still awaiting the bills and reciepts that he might have, it's brown at the mo :ohcrap: however rust has made passionate love with the bodywork and it needs a full re-spray, the bonnet was so stiff it hardly opened when he showed me so new bonnet, doors hardly open, it will defo need new seats, the chasis is fine, as is the engine, its a 1978 1500 mkv and has been sitting in the guys drive for about 18 months, it also has overdrive, now a few questions if i may, first how does overdrive work? how do you determine whether the car is tax exempt? and finally how much do you reckon it's worth? i know the price but i'd just like to hear opinions.

posted by  Ali T

OK, here's some answers in a slightly random order.

Overdrive: this is, in effect, a separate 'gearbox' that sits behind the main, 4-speed gearbox. It's operated by a solenoid, that switches the unit between two ratios (when switched off, it drives through a central shaft and makes no change to the gear ratio, when switched on, rotation is passed through a system of planet and sun gears). This sort of shows you the basics:

overdrive has the advantage of not requiring the clutch to be depressed when you select/deselect it. It has the disadvantage of sapping power.

As to the Spitfire, the bonnet is by far the most expensive bit on the car. If it's junk, it might be worth looking for a different car. A solid chassis is important, but it's not actually that difficult to repair: everything unbolts from it, like Meccano. The chassis outriggers are particularly prone to rotting, but again are fairly cheap and easy to replace.

It's very hard to put a value on the car without seeing it, or at least pictures of it. Is it MOT'd? With such a high mileage, rotten panels and no MOT, it probably isn't worth more than a couple of hundred quid. You might also be better off buying a better example in the first place: it's probably cheaper than restoring a bad car.

You will have to pay car tax in this vehicle. Gordon Brown froze the 'classic car' status to apply to cars registered before the end of 1972.

posted by  heebee

Great reply from heebee :thumbs: - thats the mother of explaining almost anything about almost anything. :thumbs: good 1 :smoke:

posted by  Lukaz

cheers chaps i'll try to get sum pics up, i actually brought it yesterday, for the body work is it worth me just sanding down all the panels and re-spraying it rather than replacing individual panels?

posted by  Ali T

Well, congratulations on taking the plunge! I think the best advice I can give you now is: don't rush it, and ask lots of questions! People are normally happy to help.

As to the panels, it depends on their condition and price. A replacement bonnet will be expensive, so it is likely that it's worth recovering (can we see some pics?). Repair panels are available for some of the areas that normally rust, but you might also be able to pick up decent doors etc. second-hand. It all comes down to budget and time.

It's absolutely essential that you get rid of, or neutralize, all rust before putting paint on any of the panels. If you don't it'll come back really quickly. Preparation is the key. I think Haynes do a book on panel repair: it would be a good starting point. I'd also join one of the Triumph owners clubs, as they're bound to be full of useful advice.

posted by  heebee

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