Triumph created one of the most popular of all small sports car in 1962. The spitfire was based on the chassis of the 1959 Herald saloon, with a curvy two-seater body by Michelotti an 1147 cc twin-carb engine with 63 hp and disc front brakes. Overdrive, wire wheels and removable hardtop were soon added to the options list and from 1965 there was a MkII version with more power( now 67bhp) and better trim,
The GT6-a Spitfire with a fixed fastback roofline and 2.0 litre straight-six engine was added to the range in 1966. The following year the MkII Spitfire was introduced with a higher front bumper to meet new North American requirements More importantly there was now a 1296cc engine under the bonnet delivering 75bhp and bigger front brake calipers. The GT6 adopted the new nose and revised rear suspension the following year.
The styling was tidied up by Michelotti for the MkIV Spitfire and MkIII GT6 of 1970 integrating the high mounted bumper more nearly into the nose and introducing a new one-piece bumper/wings panel. The rear end was also reworked to echo the styling of the new Stag and MkII Triumph2000.At the same time the gearing was raised and the swing-axle rear suspension revised.
The GT6 was dropped in 1973, while US-market Spitfires received bigger 1493cc engines and in the late 1974 that engine was made available to home market buyers in the Spitfire 1500.Though the 71 bhp power output was less than the MkIII had boasted back in `67 the 1500 was the most numerous of all Spitfires: nearly 96000 were made before production ended in 1980.
The Spitfire clearly used Triumph Herald components to produce a compact good value sports car. For two decades it was the arch enemy of MG Midget/Austin-Headly Sprite. A GT^ coupe with a fastback rear end and 6-cylinder engine was available from 1966.