Triumph Spitfire 4
A new small-capacity sports car to challenge the Sprite and Midget market is something of an event. Standard/Triumph have succeeded in extracting another variation from the Herald backbone chassis with the new Spitfire, a striking looking addition to the sports-car ranks. Although the car has the Herald backbone shortened by 8½ inches it does not require the large outriggers for its smaller body, which is an all-welded steel shell. The chassis specification is very similar with wishbone front suspension and transverse leaf independent rear end. Disc brakes of 9 in. diameter are fitted at the front in conjunction with 7-in. rear drums. The engine is the Herald 1200 unit with twin S. U. carburetters and 9 : 1 compression ratio, which gives a claimed 63 b.h.p. at 5,750 r.p.m.
We had an opportunity to try the first two cars off the production line for an hour or two round Coventry recently but owing to torrential rain could come to no useful conclusions on handling and braking. However the car accelerated briskly if not as quickly as one might expect with 63 b.h.p. pulling a total weight of 14 cwt., while the Herald 1200 gearbox has good synchromesh and nicely spaced ratios. The wind-up windows are a great boon and the hood allowed no rain to enter. There is 6.7 cu. ft. of luggage space in the boot which is supplemented by a space behind the two bucket seats. The suspension appears to be rather stiffer than one would expect on an all-independent layout and this led to some scuttle shake over rough roads. We did not see more then an indicated 80 m.p.h. but Triumph claim 93 m.p.h. and a 0-60 m.p.h. time of 16.5 sec., with a standing start quarter-mile in 19.5 sec. It is not expected to start exports until the end of the year and as journalists have not yet been allowed to test the same company’s Vitesse it looks as if some time will elapse before independent performance figures are available. At a total price of £729 15s. 3d. the Spitfire is dearer than the M.G. Midget but its more advanced specification may sway those enthusiasts who are tired of the rigid axle.
The Pininfarina Austin-Healey.
This car, built by Pininfarina at Turin, was actually designed by three German students at Ulm University, who entered the design in a competition sponsored by the Swiss motoring year book “Automobile Year”. An international panel of motoring journalists chose this design as the winner, part of the prize being that a prototype would be built by Pininfarina. Built in steel on the standard Austin Healey 3000 chassis, the bodywork is carried out in steel and looks very attractive in metallic green. The pointed nose has horizontal slats for cooling purposes and the headlamps are faired in behind Perspex covers. The rear end has a large window which can be opened up for ventilation or for reaching objects inside. Another excellent feature is the recessed edge of the doors for opening and closing. At the moment there are no plans to put the car on the market but with B.M.C. one never knows.
Jaguar? No, Daimler V8
When Jaguar took over Daimlers in 1960 Daimler distributors were told that no new designs had been taken over with the Company and no new Daimler models could be expected for five years. This naturally did not meet with general approval so Jaguar found a fairly simple solution of providing Daimler dealers with a reasonably priced car by fitting the 2½-litre Daimler V8 in the Mk. II Jaguar chassis. The 140 b.h.p. 2,548 c.c. engine has been mated to the lightweight type 35 Borg Warner automatic transmission which has required some modification in its Daimler installation. A heat exchanger is installed in conjunction with the radiator to cope with the great heat generated in the gearbox by the 2½-litre. Previously this unit has only been used on 1½-litre engines. A fluted version of the Jaguar grille is the main external difference from the Jaguar Mk. II range but Daimler hub caps and so on are used. Top speed of 114 m.p.h. is claimed, which makes the car quicker than the Jaguar 2.4 but slower than the 3.4 or 3.8. The price is £1,785 15s. 3d.
Daimler seem to be attracting a rather larger share of Motor Show publicity than in previous years. David Ogle Ltd., of Letchworth, revealed their attractive design on the SP250 chassis on Press Day attracting a good deal of attention from the Press while even Signor Pinin Farina came over from his nearby stand and ran an appraising eye over the sleek glass-fibre coupe. Practically anything could look better than the standard sports body on the SP250 but the Ogle body is very attractive indeed. The car is a two-door coupe with two reclining seats and two children’s seats. The interior is fully sound insulated and is more luxuriously trimmed than in standard form while the instruments are fitted in a re-styled facia. The body is finished with twelve coats of cellulose. Mechanically the car is virtually identical to the standard model and the initial production batch will be for six cars. No prices are yet available.