Triumph Spitfire Mark IV
|1970 to 1974|
|Production||1970–1974 70,021 made|
|Engine||1,296 cc (1.3 l) I4|
|Transmission||4-speed manual with optional overdrive on top and third|
|Curb weight||1,717 lb (779 kg)(unladen UK spec)|
The Mark IV brought the most comprehensive changes to the Spitfire. It featured a completely re-designed cut-off rear end, giving a strong family resemblance to the Triumph Stag and Triumph 2000 models, both of which were also Michelotti-designed. The front end was also cleaned up, with a new bonnet pressing losing the weld lines on top of the wings from the older models, and the doors were given recessed handles and squared-off glass in the top rear corner. The interior was much improved: a proper full-width dashboard was provided, putting the instruments ahead of the driver rather than over the centre console. This was initially black plastic however was replaced with wood in 1973.
The engine continued at 1296 cc, but in 1973 was modified with larger big-end bearings to rationalize production with the TR6 2.5 litre engines, which somewhat decreased its "revvy" nature; there was some detuning, to meet new emissions laws, which resulted in the new car being a little tamer than the Mark III. Peak power was reduced to 63 bhp (47 kW) at 6000 rpm, and the peak torque was now 69 lb·ft (94 N·m) at 3500 rpm. With the overall weight also increasing to 1,717 lb (779 kg) the performance dropped as a consequence, 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) now being achieved in 16.2 seconds and the top speed reducing to 90 mph (140 km/h). The overall fuel economy also dipped to 32mpg. The gearbox gained synchromesh on its bottom gear.
An all-new hardtop was also available, with rear quarter-lights and a flatter rear screen.
By far the most significant change, however, was to the rear suspension, which was de-cambered and redesigned to eliminate the unfortunate tendencies of the original swing-axle design. The Triumph GT6 and Triumph Vitesse had already been modified, and the result on all these cars was safe and progressive handling even at the limit.
The Mark IV went on sale in the UK at the end of 1970 with a base price of £735.
The Triumph Spitfire is a small English two-seat sports car, introduced at the London Motor Show in 1962. The vehicle was based on a design produced for Standard-Triumph in 1957 by Italian designer Giovanni Michelotti. The platform for the car was largely based upon the chassis, engine, and running gear of the Triumph Herald saloon, and was manufactured at the Standard-Triumph works at Canley, in Coventry. As was typical for cars of this era, the bodywork was fitted onto a separate structural chassis, but for the Spitfire, which was designed as an open top or convertible sports car from the outset, the ladder chassis was reinforced for additional rigidity by the use of structural components within the bodywork. The Spitfire was provided with a manual hood for weather protection, the design improving to a folding hood for later models. Factory-manufactured hard-tops were also available.
1971 Triumph Spitfire Mark IV USA SPEC
The Triumph Spitfire was originally devised by Standard-Triumph to compete in the small sports car market that had opened up with the introduction of the Austin-Healey Sprite. The Sprite had used the basic drive train of the Austin A30/35 in a light body to make up a budget sports car; Triumph's idea was to use the mechanicals from their small saloon, the Herald, to underpin the new project. Triumph had one advantage, however; where the Austin A30 range was of unitary construction, the Herald featured a separate chassis. It was Triumph's intention to cut that chassis down and clothe it in a sports body, saving the costs of developing a completely new chassis / body unit.
Italian designer Michelotti—who had already penned the Herald—was commissioned for the new project, and came up with a traditional, swooping body. Wind-up windows were provided (in contrast to the Sprite/Midget, which still featured sidescreens, also called curtains, at that time), as well as a single-piece front end which tilted forwards to offer unrivalled access to the engine. At the dawn of the 1960s, however, Standard-Triumph was in deep financial trouble, and unable to put the new car into production; it was not until the company was taken over by the Leyland organization funds became available and the car was launched. Leyland officials, taking stock of their new acquisition, found Michelotti's prototype hiding under a dust sheet in a corner of the factory and rapidly approved it for production.
Triumph Spitfire Mark IV rear view
|Model name||Engine||Year||Number built|
|Triumph Spitfire 4 (Mark 1)||1147 cc inline 4||Oct 1962 – Dec 1964||45,753|
|Triumph Spitfire 4 Mark 2||1147 cc inline 4||Dec 1964 – Jan 1967||37,409|
|Triumph Spitfire Mark 3||1296 cc inline 4||Jan 1967– Dec 1970||65,320|
|Triumph Spitfire Mark IV||1296 cc inline 4||Nov 1970 – Dec 1974||70,021|
|Triumph Spitfire 1500||1493 cc inline 4||
– Aug 1980
1971 Triumph Spitfire wheeler dealers Trading up