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Spitfire 1500 Options and Changes

Note: this page may or may not be totally applicable to US spec. cars. For instance, not covered are the US emissions changes; there were constant revisions throughout the years.

It appears that US cars received many changes that were later adopted by Non US cars possibly to ease in manufacturing complexity or to conform to European safety legislation updates.

Also, I (with lots of help from Joe Curry) have added a separate table discussing the Commission numbers 1977-79 to ease confusion regarding the model year, manufacture year and 1/2 year designations.

Because info was taken from many sources, it may not be totally accurate. If there are any glaring inaccuracies, please me.

Spitfire 1500

model year

changes from previous model

commision number
(FM=US, FH=the rest of the world)

body #

engine #

1975

Body: Commission plates had "Spitfire 1500" at top (very early 1500 used the last of the Mk4 plates), license plate holder, decal 1500 badges, silver knave plates (hub caps), black boot trim edging at rear, boot gasket now press-on not stick on, US rear bumpers strengthened by adding a large chrome "cover" between uprights and other under-car brackets
Engine: larger dashpot tops (non US), heat shield between manifolds (non US), "4-2-1" exhaust with cut out in frame for clearance (non US), electronic tach, close ratio single rail transmission, input shaft from 10 to 20 splines, larger 7 1/4" clutch plate, new bumper guards, larger rear bumper, red valve cover with chrome filler cap,"full flow" oil filters fitted, larger 7-bladed fan made from white plastic (non-US), US got viscous coupling fan, Catalyst (California only)
Interior: light in trunk, electric tachometer, sill plates, passenger seats get seat belt pressure sensor pad, handbrake grip redesign with center armrest (US only)

FH75001
FM28001U (US)

28001FH

 

FM28001E-FM40000E
(US had UE suffix)

California: FM34714UCE- FM40000UCE

1976

9:1 compression, Emissions label fitted under bonnet, windshield washer bottle no longer had "Tudor" label, windshield wipers were painted black, square holes in wheels (US only)

FH80000
FM40001U (US)

38001FH

FM45001E-FM80000E
(US had UE suffix)

California: FM45001UCE- FM80000UCE

1977

7.5:1 compression again (US), round holes in wheels again, wipers/washer switch, ignition switch and horn button to steering column, new carb, new distributor, new exhaust & intake manifolds, deeper seats with cloth inserts, smaller steering wheel, radiator with electric fan, catalyst (US only)

FH100000 (March)
FM60001U (US) FM60001UC (Calif.)

FM85026

FM80001E-FM109889E

California: FM80001UCE- FM109889UCE

1978

black side mirrors & door handle mounts (area connecting handle to the door), bonnet safety "hook and latch" (US only)

FH105734
FM70001U (US)
Commission numbering became confusing at this point. See below for more info.

FH109890

 

FM109890E-?
(US had UE suffix)

1979

electric coolant fan, fatter steering wheel, 5" wide wheels, stronger bumpers with larger guards
1979 1/2: black bumpers

FH130001
FM90001U (US)
See below for more info.

US at 10/79:
TFVD2AT (TFVD6AT-overdrive)

California at 10/79:
TFZD2AT (TFZD6AT-overdrive)

?

FM150002E
(US had UE suffix)

1980

door side impact bars

TFWAD1AT000001
FM102488U

?

FM168502E
(US had UE suffix)

The last Spitfire made: August 1980 and had the VIN number TFADW5AT 009898 in FAB Inca Yellow

Spitfire 1500 changes

after commission #

FH76285

hood cover snaps now plastic coated brass

FH78674

front light lenses now shared with MG (flatter shape)

FH80000 (Jan 1976)

"Luxury package" option became standard, door mirror & windshield wiper arms painted black, value cover securing nuts changed to slotted screws, inside battery boxs no longer painted black and side brackets reduced in height, negative batttery cable no longer yellow, all export cars get brake master cylinders with plastic reservoirs like US cars

FH84398

Seatbelt lock now all black with out chrome edge (non-US)

FH85802

"Waxstat Jet" carbs fitted and air filter box gets B.L. Cars logo (non-US)

FM95001

Rubber bumper covers (US only)

between FH100020-FH130000

UK cars get brake master cylinders with plastic reservoirs like US cars

FH100020 (March 1977)

door handles painted black, chrome trim rings fitted to wheels (only to FH100447), TR7-style steering column covers with ignition key up at wheel and wash/wipe put on stick, electric windshield washer, cigarette lighter added to non US cars, new solid spoked steering wheel with non-functional horn button, turn signal indicator light moved to below hazard switch, houndstooth cloth seats

FH105278

Non US cars have another carb revision (shorter dashpots, different Waxstats and needles, different float chamber tops and overflow pipe),

FH105734 (Jan. 1978)

Non US cars get the US's visous fan

FH113678

interior vinyl changed from "coarse" to "smooth" pattern, houndstooth pattern changed slightly. See photo (from the book Triumph Spitfire and GT6-A Guide to Originality)

FH114523

carpet material changed from tufted pile to loop pile (including door panel), thinner seat recline lever fitter (around this time)

FH116000

simpler rear license plate lights on bumpers replaced "Triumph" light bar (non-US)

FH127151

revised air filter box with staggered air inlets (non-US)

FH130000 (Jan. 1979)

wheel rims increase to 13x5J, notches in wheel nuts were added to help prevent the chrome from flaking off, Non US cars get US's tandem brake master cylinder and PDW valve with dash warning light, another steering wheel design, new speedometer with 110 mph max (non US), passenger side interior light and door switch

VIN001198

some cars got factory fog lamps at rear, also some got passenger door mirrors, some bonnet catch handles were painted body color, some boot lid trim got plastic end caps instead of welded on metal

Spitfire 1500 changes

after date

October 1975

British Leyland square "house" badges (on bonnet by catches) were left off the passinger's side. They were fitted on both sides before October. None fitted in 76.

1976

Emissions label fitted under bonnet, windshield washer bottle no longer had "Tudor" label, square holes in wheels (US only)

December 1977

Bonnet bracing bar simplified, extra bonnet bracing added to prevent bonnet from hitting windshield in the event of frontal crash (US only although some UK cars had it)

1978

Laminated windscreen standard, plastic tool bag replaced canvas roll (non-US)

Mid 1978

Mota-Lita steering wheel with leather grip

October 1979

VIN number plates replaced the Comm. number plates, later a small VIN plate was welded to right side boot gutter

Options (dealer)

option

price

Base Price

£1290 (1975-£1509.30 )

Soft-top conversion kit

£51.00

Hard-top kit

£77.22

Skid plate

?

Headlamp conversion mask

?

Oil cooler

?

Radio, aerial and speaker installation

£60.00

Mud flaps

?

Touch-in paints

?

Wooden gear knob

?

Hood stowage cover-for use with hard-top

?

rubber floor mats

?

workshop manuals and parts list

?

Options (special order)

option

price

Overdrive

£113.14

Laminated windscreen
-standard from 1978

£19.07

Front upper ball joint with grease nipple

?

Competition DS11 brake pads

?

Luxury pack: stainless steel driver's door mirror, inertia-reel seat belts, head rests, map light, center arm rest, dipping rear view mirror (standard after FH 80000 on non-US cars)

£39.78

Commission Numbers
Including 1/2 Years

model year

date when change was made*

commission number

1973

Aug. 1972

FM1

last 1973
first 1974

Oct. 1973

FM7699
FM10002 (10001 not found by BMIHT)

last 1974
first 1975

Sept. 1974

FM20461 (possibly higher)
FM28001

last 1975
first 1976

Sept. 1975

FM35336 (might be 36343)
FM40001

last 1976
first 1977

Dec. 1976

FM51271
FM60006 (60000-60005 not found by BMIHT)

last 1977
first 1978

Oct. 1977

FM67333
FM70001

last 1978
first 1978 1/2 (may be listed as 1979)

June 1978

FM79310
FM90001

last 1978 1/2
first 1979

Sept. 1978
Aug. 1978**

FM93189
FM95001

last 1979
first 1980

Sept. 1978
Jun. 1979

FM102488
FM110001

last 1979 w/VIN
first Spitfire with VIN
Oct. 1979** FM111120
TF????AT000001
the last Spitfire August 1980 TFADW5AT 009898

* date when car was assembled. For instance, the last 73 and the first 74 was built in Oct. 1973

** cars apparently were coming off the assembly line as different model years at the same time.

More information about VIN numbers...click here.

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