My First Spitfire

 I’ve grown up around car’s all my life.  My father was a master mechanic in the British Army (Polish section after he escape from prison in WWII).  We would repair and overhaul cars for friends and neighbors throughout my youth.  I was the parts washer and hander of tools mostly, but I did learn a few things. 

Then my Yellow 73 Spitfire came into my life in my 20’s.  My partner in business was getting married. His fiancé owned the Spit and thank God he hated it.  Something about Lucas electricals. Anyway, he persuaded her to part with the car to my great joy.   When I took it over, the dealership, mine you, had installed Chevy horns, a Ford Coil and other nifty mods to solve some persistent problems.  My father was overjoyed that I bought such a fun looking “British” car with a proper amount of working area around the engine.

It was the most fun I’ve had with a car.  Warm summer nights cruising the back roads, trips with my partner, him on his Yamaha and me in the Spit after a long week stopping at watering holes and other scenic spots through Northern Michigan and Canada.  And one of the best dates I can remember. On a first date I took a girl to the old Pouchitrain Wine Cellar Restaurant where they invented Cold Duck.  I had made reservation for a Saturday evening on which it turned out the Fireworks had been postponed until. Following a Free Press news car with my little yellow Spit we weaved through the police barricades to the empty parking lot. The Spit looked so official who would stop it. We and 4 other lucky couples had a great dinner.

I always carried the “Standard Triumph spare kit”, jumper cables, coat hanger, brake fluid and full tool kit. I carried a rubber hammer under the seat to jar the tach needle into action from its resting place. But let me not focus on the fun challenges.  Let no one outside of the family cast stones on its reliability as I rely this story.  On a fishing trip up North with the guys, one of my friends who will remain nameless (Harpo) did not want me to take my beloved Spit on the trip. “It going to break down”. I insisted, we’re in Michigan and I could be driving my fun car for days. So off we went.  Stopping at Indian River for lunch he still was singing the same tune, until he went to start his car.  “Need a jump Harpo” I asked.  Next time bring a reliable car. He barely talked too me the rest of the trip, but I gave my LBC a little pat in appreciation for the moment.

Then a family came and a Porsche 911, the Spit was driven less and less.  As the Spit continued to rust, I ended up selling her to a guy who promised he would restore her. 2 years later I saw my poor little Spit still leaning to one side with shades of brown all over.  The Porsche was OK, but could not match my little Spit for Fun, except for the time I saw 12 quarts of oil spill all over a Quickie Oil change shop floor. The lesson I learned again was “always stay true to your first love”. 

This year I turn 50.  The Porcshe is gone, I have a great new love in my life, so I decided to treat myself to a Birthday present.  I wanted the best car I ever owned back. So,  I watched Ebay for a cheap restorable Spit, and the God’s were looking out for me.  Each day I saw this cherry (blue) 76 Spitfire that had been fully restored from the frame up.  It’s too much I told myself.  But there I was 15 second before closing putting in the winning bid.  Oh, now what.  I shipped it home.  Wow it’s better than I ever though it could be and the trunk is full of new parts including a Weber DGV. So to celebrate, I’ll take my girlfriend on an evening cruise, what could be more romantic. It was until the battery died and the tow truck brought us home.  But, being my dad’s son, I found the problem and attempted to repair the connections.  I took it to Murray’s to test, “What still No?” “but we have 8 rebuilt units in the warehouse, sir”. OK I’ll take one”.  Since then I’ve had a great summer with my LBC.  We went to the Battle of the Brits and met a lot of nice people.  And I am on the Net constantly reading material from TTN  etc. and calling Nigel at Spitbits to order parts or talking with John at Downriver Sportscar for advice.  But I’ll stop here because now I’m onto my second Spitfire.    Bob Owsinski

Reliable 73 Spitfire next to car rescued on Fishing Trip.

My New Baby