Jay Nunn

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Jay Nunn

Triumph Spitfire EV Conversion: Body Modifications

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Another Spitfire aficionado I had met agreed to do the bodywork for a good price, so we sat down to figure out where to repair and where to modify. This is where the irreverence of the project starts to take shape with a paired-down and decidedly non-70s minimalism, plus a few radical modifications (ahem, no door handles…), and I’m really happy with how this turned out.

Patch, repair, straighten, streamline, and paint.

  1. This is going to be a topless Spitfire. Rag tops are heavy and only detracted from the car’s looks in my opinion, and hard tops are expensive, heavy, and cumbersome (I’d go back on the no-hard-top decision eventually, but the ‘topless’ philosophy still applies).
  2. With no top, there’s less need for side windows and that weight can be eliminated and the doors rounded on top to clean up the lines of the body
  3. With no top, the exterior door handles could be removed to clean the lines of the body
  4. Remove the superfluous chrome trim bits and streamline the body
  5. 1960s side mirrors
  6. The chrome gas cap and placement (between the cockpit and the trunk) is iconic Spitfire to me, but impractical for an electric vehicle. The plug would be located behind the front grille instead of trying to repurpose the chrome gas cap.

Some things I wish I had done differently:

  1. We decided on a heavy duty black bedliner paint/coating for the interior, but it should have been painted to match the exterior to look cleaner (I didn’t/don’t want to use carpeting on the interior).
  2. The luggage rack was removed for weight (and because the one I had wasn’t in great shape), but I think I would like the lines of the car better with the luggage rack still on.
  3. In a fit of weight-saving fervor, I decided that windshield wipers would not be necessary since this car is topless and would only be driven in perfect Southern California weather, so the holes in the body for the wipers and sprayers could be filled in. Clearly this was a bad idea.
  4. Shinier silver paint
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Stripping, sanding, and bondo-ing begins
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Chrome trim around the trunk and tail is removed, the ‘fins’ grinded down and the body rewelded. Holes for the rear bumper filled in.
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The hole for the gas cap is filled, as are holes for badges and side running lights.
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Extensive work was done to streamline and clean the Spit’s shell. This ‘topless’ Spit won’t need side windows or exterior door handles.
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With ‘extras’ removed, the elegant lines of the Spitfire stand out even more.
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Body work is complete, and now it’s time to start reassembling.

 

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