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Restoring A Triumph Spitfire


Restoring showroom look to a Classic British Sports Car

The car is a 1978 Triumph Spitfire 1500 with 1493cc engine. These were produced from December of 1974 through August 1980. Note the huge bumper extensions added to meet US safety regs. Looking forward to spring, the owner of this beauty made it his winter project to restore the dash and seats to showroom quality. The dashboard, in particular, required meticulous craftsmanship.

First, a little background

The current owner has had the vehicle since 1998, purchased from a dealer in upstate New York. He says that when he purchased the car, it was mechanically okay, but time had taken it's toll on the paint. He paid $2400 for the car in 1998, and has since put about $3200 into it over the last 14 years. New top-$250, new suspension-$500-$600, brakes and muffler-$800, interior-$700-$800, new stereo and speakers-$300, heated seats-$90, repaired odometer-$200.

Making A New Dashboard

The Old Dash

The Old Dash

The current owner did the first interior renovation including carpet, seats with new handmade covers and foam, and all interior panels, the suspension including new front coil and rear leaf springs and shocks, heated seats and stereo. He had the brakes and muffler done, and, this time, had the seats reupholstered by a pro.


With the old dash out, a template was made for the creation of new one.

The Old and The New


Using the template, an exact copy of the original dash was made from marine grade plywood with a cherry veneer.

Putting it all back together


While the dash was apart, the owner saw it as the perfect opportunity to also send the odometer out for repair.

Now the seats!


In this shot, the new dash has been installed. Next is to reinstall the seats just back from the upholsterer.


The Old Vs. The New

Here's a comparison of what was coming out and what was going in... those new seats are mint!

New Seats Installed


Final shot of the completed work


The "enhancements" are complete, the sun is out, the top is down and she's ready to go. Nice job!

Spitfire Restoration Project

This is obviously not the same Spitfire as we've featured here, but it is a prime example of the same model.

Restoring A Vehicle?

If you are attempting a similar project and need help in getting the reupholstering done in a timely and professional manner, the owner of this vehicle suggests Al Cummings in Upstate NY.

  • Cummings Custom
    Auto Upholstery and Interior Design Complete Interior Design and Installation Factory Original or Custom Made

About Triumph Spitfires and Automobile Restoration

For more information on Triumph Spitfires and automobile restoration:

Guestbook Comments

brian_pelton on June 15, 2012:

This is such a great lens! The information you provided is very thorough. You set a great example for other lensmasters!

hntrssthmpsn on June 08, 2012:

Gorgeous job! Such a beautiful old car, and you really made it shine again. Love your pictures of the old & new dashboards side by side.

cstrouse lm on June 04, 2012:

I love old Triumph cars and would like to get a TR4 to restore myself.

curtmaxwall on June 02, 2012:

looks great!

anonymous on May 30, 2012:

Great car lens!

Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on May 29, 2012:

Wow! Awesome project!

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