Mike Jankowski 1978 Spitfire

Oh where to begin? I bought this Spitfire in 2008. It was on a Craigslist ad in the San Antonio section, yet was located 15 minutes from my home in Austin. Better yet, I was in Morgan Hill, CA for a week at Specialized Bicycle Co HQ for training. Circuitous, but it worked.

After haggling on price, I towed away the non running but straight and rust free car, and set about working on it to get it running. Due to my road cycling career and managing a bike shop, it took two years to get it on the road. Even when I did, I had no top, so sometimes I got wet. I also showed up at bike races with my bike in the passenger seat. It was quite a sight.

From March 2010 until the present day I've covered 108,000 miles in this car. 7 of those years it was my only car, survivng Austin heat and traffic. I even drove it non stop from Austin to my parent's in Hilton Head, SC with my dog a few years ago at Christmas. In addition I kept tweaking it to perform better at autocrosses.

In 2013 I won my local autocross club's F Street Prepared season long championship. The following year I finished in 2nd place by just a few points. I didn't bring it to a VTR autocross until the 2016 South Central Regional. I won my class, and was 4th overall. At VTR Nationals that same year, I won my class and was 5th overall. I repeated the class win in 2017 and 2018 at VTR Regionals, plus took Fastest Time of Day in 2017 and 2018 as well.

This was a story of overnight success that took a few years to happen. I've made many upgrades for performance but haven't done anything extravagant. Pertronix ignition, twin SUs, poly suspension bushes, cross drilled and slotted rotors, stainless brake lines, a quick ratio steering rack, upgraded studs with TR8 wheels, aluminum radiator with twin electric fans controlled by a thermostat, EBC brake pads, Pacesetter header mated to a GT6 + exhaust, upgraded springs and shocks, and an aggressive alignment. that is it mechanically. No overdrive, nothing trick.

Cosmetically, the car shows a life of hard use. I found an old hardtop with no rear window. So as an experiment I painted it with spray cans, and made a rear windshield out of Lexan. The trunk had a luggage rack on it, but when I removed it I noticed the dealer had used self tapping screws which bowed the metal up. I had a choice of pound, weld, grind, etc, or walk 3 feet over to a spare yellow trunk lid, grab it, and swap it onto the car. The bonnet, now blue, was replaced with a white one when a person reversed their SUV at a traffic light one evening. Then the white one began to tear at a hinge mount point. So it went, and the spare blue one I had was installed.

For visibility and to test striping ideas, I added reflective tape to give the car whiskers. Not what I really want, but effective. The interior needs to replaced yet again, and that will happen after I repaint the car all 1 color. Color choice is not yet decided. That will wait until the 62 TR4 is finished, and the 70 Spitfire is on the road as well.