Dreams have a tendency to remain just dreams until some impulse shocks them into life. There is a moment when they erupt from the corners of our minds into a stark and pulsating reality.
With Project Viper this occurred one winter's night early in 2017 when an idle internet search stumbled upon the availability of a good RHD Spitfire 4 available for restoration. ... In Germany...!
Contacting Rolf I found that although not yet sold, someone from the south of England had already made arrangements to fly and view that coming weekend. The disappointment at being beaten to what could have been a good basis for a project was sweetened just a little when I learnt that a Jigsaw Racing prepared 1296cc engine was also available with weber carbs and appropriate inlet manifolds. And so a tachycardic rhythm of emails, phone calls began - that has today resulted in shipping being arranged to return this tuned engine to the very workshop in which it was built. Late in 1965 the Triumph Works Dept experimented with switching from the 70x 1148cc engines to 1296cc tuned units. On this basis, Project Viper will have a Stage Two tuned engine similar to those available for the MKIII Spitfires of 1967.
Welcome to Project Viper ...
In this blog I will attempt to record the trials and tribulations of restoring a 1964 Triumph Spitfire 4 to a condition that celebrates, and hopefully enhances the rallying heritage of ADU467B.
This car was unique in many ways. She was prepared by the Triumph Works Dept and Stirling Moss Automotive Racing Team ( S.M.A.R.T.) for Val ( "Viper") Pirie who competed in UK and International Rallies in 1964 / 65 with very modest success.
Graham Robson, Triumph's one time Competitions Manager is in fact so critical of Val Pirie's contribution to the competitive history of small triumphs - I feel duty bound to restore not just a car but some reputation!
Many works rally Triumphs have already either been restored or have had replicas built. Whether these be Standard 10's, TR4's, 2000's, Dollies or the Wedgewood Blue GT Lemans Style other Rallying Spitfires - but non have yet tried to revive and promote the contributions to 1960's British Rallying made by women. In building this "evocation" of Val's car, I hope eventually to have a car eligible to compete in today's Historic Rally Car events. Wouldn't it be great to see such a car race again around the roads used by The RAC, Alpine and Monte Carlo Rallies!
In later posts I hope to re tell the tale of this particular car and record the details of our reconstruction. Partnering me in this project is Mark Field of Jigsaw Racing - who in addition to rebuilding and re racing the Le Mans Spitfires has also already restored ADU 7B - arguably the most successful of the small rallying Triumphs.