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Student's Spitfire case study

Craig has completed a course in Classic Vehicle Restoration Level 2 as a mature student with Banbury and Bicester College based at Bicester Heritage. For his project, Craig chose to work on a XNM 118 – Triumph Spitfire:

“Having a quite a few classic cars already, I wasn’t looking for another; that’s how it often happens!  Someone mentioned, at my local hostelry, that their in-laws had a classic car and it hadn’t been in use for a few years. It was a Triumph Spitfire and they wanted to move it on as they were elderly and wanted to clear the garage.  I was thinking, ‘This is not my thing’; to this point I have not been a Triumph enthusiast, but then I heard the magic words, ‘They don’t want much for it. They just want it to go to a good home.’

The car had been bought new by the elderly couple, laid up twenty years previously and dry stored in the garage. It was very 70’s; yellow, with a black and white interior. They only wanted a nominal sum, just about reaching three figures, but they wanted to ensure that it would be cared for. I collected it the following week and it was with some sadness they said goodbye to it.

That is how I came to adding this Spitfire to my wife’s collection. Being on the second year of the Classic Vehicle Restoration course, I thought it would be an ideal restoration project to start the second year.

I decided to go for a light restoration rather than full renovation as it was in a reasonable condition and I had limited timescales at the college. With some care, the engine started and the car runs really well with plenty of power for its 1500 litre engine.

I stripped down the suspension and the braking system. Replacement parts where necessary along with the electrical system which just required a new fuse box. I replaced the clutch assembly and then overhauled the hydraulics. Moderate welding was required; I was concentrating on the structural integrity rather than just what was required for an MOT.

The car has now been put back together, additional jobs being the steering geometry and checking and adjusting where necessary for the front and rear tracking and it is now nearly ready for MOT.”

Craig is now planning to progress on to the Diploma in Vehicle Restoration Level 3 programme next year, in September.