Monday, June 19, 2006

Le Mans Spitfire laid bare

Ever wondered what the inner workings of genuine Le Mans Spitfire looks like? Well here's a one off opportunity to see one in a dismantled state. I have started to empty my garage at home of the complete project (all be it in a very dismantled state!) we had aquired over the past few years from a local source with impeccable provenance. Having been in the same ownership since it's factory racing days, it hasn't moved out of it's Midlands home for over 35 years. Complete less some of the more fragile components, the remaining bodywork is however in a parlous state. Disassembled after a major off, every panel now displays some form of damage. Worse still at some point many years ago the fragile aluminium panelwork was either shot blasted, or paint stripped, and has spent many years corroding as a result. The chassis is badly bent, and everything forward of the engine turrets has been hacked off and discarded.

For the uninitiated the factory circuit cars were unique both by the method of their construction, and the materials used in that construction. It would be next to impossible to replicate today given that virtually every part was handcrafted, or used factory tooling now long gone. Being all aluminium (apart from the fibre roof and front wings), means that to construct an all aluminium tub today would probably cost the same as a new Ferrari! Mark Field had a good go, but took the sensible/economic route and used a steel GT6 tub as the basis of his replica.

We aren't sure exactly how far we can progress the restoration of our car, it's simply a huge task being that it's been stripped down to every last nut & bolt, and every rivot has been drilled out of that precious aluminium panelwork? In the short term be aim to stabalize any corrosion and repair any damage that occurred in in it's 1960's accident so that we can carefully reassemble as much of the bodywork as possible. To that end once we have itemised, catalogued, and photograped every last component, the bulkhead/tub panels are going into our ace aluminium guys workshop for conservation, and reassembly. So take a good look this is the last time you might see this car for some time! If in the meantime you want to get up close and personnel with a part of this car then the TSSC have it's petrol tank in their museum, I'm sure they wouldn't mind you popping over for a look.


  1. So is it at your works or at home if anybody wants to go on a pilgrimage

  2. Very interesting Dave.

    I had no idea that so much of the original cars were made of aluminium. That might just account for some of their incredible performance at Le Mans.

    Again, a GREAT blog.

    Thanks for the insight.

    Best Regards