• Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
The Triumph Spitfire was built from 1962 through 1980, nearly as long as the MG Midget (which started as the Spitfire's rival and ended as its British Leyland stablemate). Plenty of the fun, affordable little Triumph convertibles were sold in the United States, particularly in California; a Silicon Valley self-service yard is where I found this well-worn '66.



The commission tag still bears the Standard Motor Company's name, though Standard disappeared when Leyland Motors took over Standard-Triumph in 1962. We can assume that the Coventry plant that built Spitfires wanted to use up all the tags in stock, incorrect company name or not.



The one-piece front body is gone, making this car look more stripped-down than it really is. Most of the mechanical stuff is still there, including this header-equipped 1,147cc pushrod engine, rated at 67 horsepower in 1966. The Mark II Spitfires weighed under 1,500 pounds, so 67 horses was enough to make driving enjoyable... until you broke a rear axle shaft, of course.



The owner of this car was a George W. Bush supporter, back in 2004.



It's banged-up and has plenty of body filler, but the coastal California climate kept it relatively safe from the Rust Monster.



A factory AM radio, which was pretty snazzy for a cheap sports car in 1966.



The Prince of Darkness contributed his special touch to these cars, which made maddening electrical problems their main weakness.



Spitfires remain fairly easy to find in this kind of wrecking yard, if you're patient, as long-abandoned project cars trickle in year after year. I have photographed a half-dozen or so of these cars during my junkyard travels of the last few years, though most of them were the big-bumper cars from the middle-to-late 1970s.

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