Triumph Spitfire vs MGB. Comparing the classics

When it comes to classic British sports cars, few names evoke as much passion and nostalgia as the Triumph Spitfire and the MGB.

These iconic vehicles have captured the hearts of automobile enthusiasts for decades, showcasing the best of British engineering and design.

In this comparison, we will diveinto the details of both the Triumph Spitfire and the MGB, exploring their performance, design, features, and overall driving experience.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear understanding of the strengths and unique characteristics of each car, allowing you to make an informed decision on which one is the right fit for you.


Triumph Spitfire

The Triumph Spitfire, first introduced in 1962, was designed to offer an exhilarating driving experience with its lightweight construction and nimble handling.

The early models featured a 1.1-liter four-cylinder engine that produced around 63 horsepower. Over the years, Triumph made several improvements to the Spitfire, including engine upgrades and refined suspension systems.

The later Spitfire models, such as the MKIV and 1500, boasted more power and performance. The MKIV, released in 1970, came equipped with a 1.3-liter engine, producing 75 horsepower.

The final iteration, the Spitfire 1500, introduced in 1974, featured a 1.5-liter engine delivering 71 horsepower. These enhancements resulted in improved acceleration and overall performance.


The MGB, introduced in 1962 as well, is known for its classic design and sporty characteristics. It initially featured a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine producing around 95 horsepower.

The MGB’s performance was complemented by its excellent weight distribution, resulting in a balanced and enjoyable driving experience.

Over the years, the MGB underwent several updates and modifications. In 1965, the MGB Mark II was introduced, featuring a more powerful engine and improved braking system.

The MGB Mark III, released in 1970, brought further refinements, including an optional overdrive transmission and enhanced interior features.


Triumph Spitfire

The Triumph Spitfire is celebrated for its timeless design, characterized by sleek lines and a compact, two-seater body.

Its low-slung profile, curvaceous fenders, and rounded headlights contribute to its distinctively British aesthetic.

The folding convertible top adds to the Spitfire’s allure, allowing drivers to enjoy the open-air experience.

Inside the cockpit, the Spitfire offers a driver-focused layout with a simple and functional dashboard. While the interior is compact, it provides adequate space for two passengers and essential amenities.

The interior design reflects the era’s charm, with a focus on simplicity and classic British styling cues.


The MGB, with its elegant and refined design, exudes a timeless appeal. Its smooth lines, chrome accents, and signature chrome bumper make it instantly recognizable.

The MGB also features a convertible top, allowing drivers to enjoy top-down motoring when desired.

Step inside the MGB, and you’ll find a well-appointed interior that combines comfort with a touch of nostalgia.

The cabin offers a blend of leather and vinyl upholstery, a wood-trimmed dashboard, and a classic instrument cluster.

The overall design of the MGB’s interior emphasizes a balance between functionality and a sense of elegance.


Triumph Spitfire

The Triumph Spitfire, despite its compact size, offered a range of features to enhance the driving experience. Some notable features included:

  1. Folding Convertible Top: The Spitfire’s soft-top roof could be easily lowered or raised, allowing drivers to enjoy the thrill of open-air driving.
  2. Rack-and-Pinion Steering: The Spitfire’s responsive rack-and-pinion steering system provided precise handling and a connected feel to the road.
  3. Front Disc Brakes: Many later models of the Spitfire were equipped with front disc brakes, offering improved stopping power and enhanced safety.


The MGB, too, came equipped with a variety of features designed to enhance comfort and performance. Some notable features included:

  1. Overdrive Transmission: The MGB Mark III introduced an optional overdrive transmission, allowing for relaxed and fuel-efficient cruising on highways.
  2. Independent Rear Suspension: The MGB’s independent rear suspension contributed to its exceptional handling characteristics, providing better traction and stability.
  3. Chrome Bumpers: The MGB’s iconic chrome bumpers not only added a touch of style but also provided added protection to the car’s bodywork.


The Triumph Spitfire and MGB were designed primarily for performance, so it’s no surprise that comfort and features were not top priorities.

That being said, the MGB does offer a bit more in terms of comfort with its larger cabin and more adjustable seats.

The Spitfire, on the other hand, is quite cramped and lacks any real adjustability in the seating. Both cars have minimal features, with simple gauges and basic heating systems.

The MGB does have an advantage with its roll-up windows compared to the Spitfire’s side curtains, but overall, neither car offers much in terms of comfort or features.

However, it’s important to remember that these cars were designed for a different era. They were meant to be fun, lightweight, and affordable sports cars, not luxury cruisers.

The lack of comfort and features is part of their charm and appeal to enthusiasts. The driving experience of these cars is what makes them special, not the amount of gadgets or plush seating.

So while they may not be the most comfortable cars on the market, they make up for it with their unique character and raw driving experience.

Cost and Value

If you’re a classic car enthusiast, you’ll want to know about the cost and value of these two iconic sports cars.

The Triumph Spitfire has always been known for its affordability, making it a popular choice among budget-conscious collectors.

In fact, you can find a decent Spitfire for as little as $5,000, which is significantly cheaper than an MGB of the same vintage.

However, keep in mind that the Spitfire is not as reliable as the MGB and may require more maintenance and repairs in the long run.

On the other hand, the MGB is generally considered to be a more valuable and sought-after classic car. Its timeless design, superior performance, and larger engine make it a more desirable choice for collectors.

As a result, you can expect to pay a premium price for an MGB, with some models fetching upwards of $20,000.

However, the investment may be worth it for those who appreciate the MGB’s superior handling and driving experience.

Ultimately, the decision between the Triumph Spitfire and MGB comes down to personal preference and budget, but both cars offer unique value for classic car enthusiasts.

Driving Experience

Triumph Spitfire

The driving experience of the Triumph Spitfire is defined by its lightweight construction and nimble handling.

With its low center of gravity and responsive steering, the Spitfire excels in maneuverability and cornering. The open-top design further adds to the sense of freedom and connection to the road.

While the early Spitfire models may lack the outright power of their later counterparts, they compensate with their engaging driving dynamics.

The later models, particularly the Spitfire 1500, offer improved performance and a more refined ride, making them suitable for longer journeys.


The MGB delivers a smooth and enjoyable driving experience, combining sportiness with a touch of sophistication.

Its well-balanced chassis and responsive handling inspire confidence on the road, allowing for spirited driving through twisty roads.

The comfortable seating position and well-insulated cabin contribute to a relaxed and pleasurable driving experience.

The MGB’s larger engine, compared to the Spitfire, provides a bit more power and torque, making it suitable for both city driving and highway cruising. The optional overdrive transmission in the MGB Mark III further enhances long-distance comfort.

Triumph SpitfireMGB
Engine1.1L to 1.5L four-cylinder engines1.8L four-cylinder engine
HorsepowerRanged from 63 to 75 horsepowerAround 95 horsepower
PerformanceNimble handling, lightweight constructionBalanced chassis, responsive handling
DesignSleek lines, compact two-seater bodyElegant design, signature chrome bumpers
Convertible TopFolding soft-top roofFolding soft-top roof
SteeringRack-and-pinion steeringResponsive steering
BrakesFront disc brakes (on later models)Standard disc brakes
TransmissionManual transmissionManual transmission
InteriorSimple and functional designComfortable with wood-trimmed dashboard
Driving ExperienceExhilarating and engagingSmooth and enjoyable
FeaturesFolding convertible top, responsive steeringOverdrive transmission, independent rear suspension, chrome bumpers


In conclusion, both the Triumph Spitfire and the MGB are iconic British sports cars that have left an indelible mark in automotive history.

Each car possesses its own unique charm and characteristics, appealing to different types of drivers.

The Triumph Spitfire offers an exhilarating driving experience, emphasizing nimble handling and a lightweight design.

Its timeless styling and open-air driving capability make it an excellent choice for enthusiasts seeking a pure and engaging driving experience.

On the other hand, the MGB showcases classic British elegance and a refined driving experience. Its balance of performance and comfort, coupled with its iconic design, make it a compelling option for those seeking a blend of style and everyday usability.

Ultimately, the choice between the Triumph Spitfire and the MGB comes down to personal preference. Both cars embody the spirit of classic British motoring and provide a rewarding ownership experience.

Whichever you choose, you’re sure to enjoy the nostalgia and thrill that these legendary sports cars offer.

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