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Re: mgb vs spitfire

To: MG List <>
Subject: Re: mgb vs spitfire
From: Max Heim <>
Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2001 10:10:51 -0700
I have a buddy that is also fascinated by the look of Spitfires. He has the
excuse that one was his first car (that wasn't a hand-me-down from his
parents). They have a curvaceous, mini-E-Type shape -- I can see how it
would be appealing from a visual standpoint.

Keep in mind that the Spitfire was a smaller, cheaper car than a B over its
entire career. It is really more the equivalent of a Sprite or Midget,
although it is more sophisticated in many respects (it actually priced
between the Midget and B -- the "Triumph premium"). Early Spits had a nasty
swing axle rear suspension, but this was more-or-less remedied.

A Spit would be tighter in the cockpit for large people, although it has
plenty of leg room, and it would be a little more claustrophobic with the
top up. It has the usual LBC vices and virtues, and some unique points. One
virtue is the engine access, which is magnificent due to the tilt-up front
end. The other side of the coin is cowl shake and the expense of replacing
that unit if damaged. You frequently see Spitfires that appear to be sagging
in the middle, with remarkably uneven door gaps. This seems to be a result
of their unusual construction, and is something I would really want to check
out in a potential purchase. They must be tougher than they look, however --
I am acquainted with two rather serious wrecks involving Spitfires, and the
driver's compartment came out intact in both.

I would think that any broad-minded person who enjoyed Bs would also enjoy a
Spitfire, but possibly for different reasons. Each has its good and bad
points. Performance comparisons of these cars at this point in time are
ludicrous, as my friend and I were discussing on the Santa Cruz run last
weekend -- what difference does 8/10ths of a second make (0-60) when you're
already 1-2 seconds slower than a modern econobox? It's all about the
driving experience, not the stopwatch or (even more ludicrously) the

Compared to the ubiquitous B, any other LBC is far less common and therefore
more difficult to find in any particular region or condition. But Spitfires
don't seem to be highly sought after, and are moderately priced. Your
biggest issue, I suspect, would come from the difference between a known
quantity (your 76 B) and an unknown bundle of potential problems, which
would be the case with any LBC purchase (other than a professional

My 9 1/2 cents worth...

on 4/18/01 8:05 PM, Bill Saidel at wrote:

> Here's a question you older, nay more experienced, LBC and MG owners
> might help me answer so I can explain in detail to my SO. I have a nicely
> running and seemingly
> stable 76 RBB.  She just saw a Spitfire in not so good shape and said to
> me, "I like that shape. Why don't you have one of them?"    I could not
> answer.
> Can someone or ones generate a comparison of either a CBB (which I am in
> the lookout mode for) or a RBB (which I might be loathe to replace because
> it is my 1st) with a Spitfire?  I guess I am at least looking for info on
> price, potential availability, ease of repair, ride, and anything else
> you might have to say.
> Bill
> Bill Saidel       (856) 225-6336
> Dept. of Biology      (856) 225-6312 FAX
> Science Building      E-Mail:
> Rutgers University 
> 315 Penn Street
> Camden, NJ 08102-1411
> For more information about my science, check
> "Sacred cows make divine hamburgers."


Max Heim
Studio L'Image/San Francisco
415 643 9309 : 415 643 9307 fax
Studio L'Image/New York
212 242 3366 : 212 242 3399 fax


Max Heim
'66 MGB GHN3L76149
If you're near Mountain View, CA,
it's the red one with the silver bootlid.

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