Trey Hilbert's 1976 Triumph Spitfire
This 1976 Triumph Spitfire 1500 was purchased as a gift for my wife’s 40th birthday. She had always wanted a Spitfire and I came across one from an original owner. The car was purchased in Oklahoma and transplanted to Wilderado, Texas. It had a mere 42,132 miles and had “good bones.” Although the car had had excellent care, the paint was faded from years in storage and the seats were rotted. The owners decided to part with their Triumph and took it for one last spin. The tires were squared and suffering from dry-rot, which caused a blowout that damaged the right side of the bonnet.
I purchased the car in January 2003 and set myself a goal to give a “completed” car to my wife as a surprise for her “mid-life crisis” birthday present in July. My 18-year-old son and 15-year-old daughter helped me disassemble the car. We took piece by piece off the car, placed the parts in labeled bags and kept a photo book as we went along. The car was in surprisingly good condition and ultimately rust-free. The engine was taken apart, inspected, and rebuilt to factory specifications.
Once the engine work and body work was completed, it was time to start working on the details and to let my wife in on the secret. She and I took the dash and re-veneered it with walnut veneer to match the walnut gear shift knob. The whole family took part in the interior makeover. She selected the exterior and strip color.
All of the work on the car, from the engine work to the painting, was done by the family and in our own garage. Victoria British LTD. played a large part in the restoration of the Triumph Spitfire, as many of the parts were purchased directly from the catalog.
The birthday gift was a great success. She recently entered her Triumph in the Top of Texas Car Show and won the Sport Compact category.