With an experienced team and a lot of data.
Protect your 1972 Triumph Spitfire from the unexpected.
The 1971 Spitfire Mk IV was a brilliant re-design by Giovanni Michelotti that improved the roadster in almost every degree. While completely recognizable, the front fenders were now part of the one-piece nose, and the cowl was modified to add two inches depth to the windshield. Michelotti had wanted to introduce pop-up headlights, but just like the Bugeye Sprite of 1958, additional cost eliminated that option. In any event, both the press and the public liked the redesign. Sales rose to 20,577 for 1971, as the price rose to $2649.
The rear was cleverly reshaped to resemble the TR6 and Triumph Stag, with large rear lights within a Kamm tail. Full-width chrome bumpers wrapped around front and rear, with large rubber blocks affording a little protection. Door handles were recessed GT6-style within a scoop.
The biggest news was the rear suspension, which corrected eight years of grumbling. At last Triumph redesigned the swing-axle setup to allow the transverse leaf spring to pivot over the differential, eliminating the terrifying tuck-under of the rear wheels under hard cornering. In addition, the new model’s track was two inches wider.
The 1296cc engine returned for 1971-72 and Stromberg carburetors replaced the SU units: two of them in Europe but only one in the U.S. European cars still developed 75 bhp at 6000 rpm but U.S. models strained to produce 58 bhp at 5200 rpm. Still, both engines had a heavier crankshaft, longer-life bearings and an eight-blade cooling fan. An all-synchromesh 4-speed gearbox was introduced, with optional overdrive available.
On the plus side a superb new steel hardtop was available, crisply styled to suit the redesign. It created enough headroom that the new reclining seats could allow access to usable storage space behind them. On the minus side, even bolt-on wire wheels were no longer available from the factory.
For the 1972 Triumph Spitfire, compression ratio was 8:1 but the rear axle ratio was lower, so despite power dropping to 48 bhp at 5500 rpm, acceleration felt a bit quicker. Nevertheless, top speed dropped to 80 mph. The rear panel was painted black to make the taillights more visible. Production stayed steady with 17,746 units sold that year.