Advertising the Spitfire
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by Eric Kieboom &
Jacob Poortstra
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From 1962 to 1980, Standard-Triumph and later British Leyland (see also Spitfire history) marketed the Spitfire in more and less enthusiastic ways in the USA and on the home market. This is a selection of mostly US-market advertisements. Click on a thumbnail to open the full-size ad in a new browser window.

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Click to open large size ad in new browser window It's August 1964 and there's a good ad in the British car mag 'Motor Sport' about the four ways in which the Triumph Spitfire reflects better value, complete with picture of a Spitfire4 and its reflection in the wet. Only 640.19.7, including purchase tax.
Click to open large size ad in new browser window Country life annual of 1965 (a splendid publication, we're sure) carried a lovely ad with a Spitfire4 complete with factory hardtop in an Oxford setting.
Click to open large size ad in new browser window 'We made lifelong friends in England last summer'.
Although almost the same picture was used by Triumph for advertising the Spitfire (see previous ad), this is not a Triumph advert at all - it's for a British Travel Agency. But it shows a 'modern triumph on a medieval Oxford street'.
Click to open large size ad in new browser window 'This month Triumph introduces next month's two best-selling sports cars'. A combined ad for the Triumph TR-4A and the (NEW! IMPROVED!) Triumph Spitfire Mk2. 'Still swings, only faster'. What was it with swinging? The Mk2 didn't even have the rear swing-spring yet!
Click to open large size ad in new browser window Americans, like many people elsewhere in the world, liked to take their Triumphs racing. And Triumph liked to make a lot of hoopla about that in their American market advertising in 1964: 'Triumph Spitfire finishes 1, 3, 4, and 5 in class G national championships. Beats Sprite, Midget'. You can clearly tell this is still pre-BL days.
Click to open large size ad in new browser window First American colour ad for the Mk2: 'The new Triumph Spitfire Mk2 still swings. Only faster.'
Clearly, these were the days in which things that we think 'rock' today, still swinged. And it was still only $2199.
Click to open large size ad in new browser window 'There are two things to consider before buying a real sports car - Triumph TR-4. Triumph Spitfire.'
Difficult choice.
Click to open large size ad in new browser window This is a weird ad. It features the old 'swingers' reference again ('Made for swingers. Dig?') and shows a picture of a seemingly drunk girl being a passenger in a Spitfire Mk2. Ah well, anything to sell Triumph Spitfires.
Click to open large size ad in new browser window The girl in this picture looks slightly less drunk than the previous one, but still not completely sober. The ad boasts about the readers of Car & Driver magazine voting the Triumph Spitfire Mk2 "Best GT sports car selling for less than $2500". Apparently, the GT6 hadn't been introduced yet, or they wouldn't have called it a 'GT sports car'.
Click to open large size ad in new browser window 'What could be more fun than the Triumph Spitfire? (The new Triumph Spitfire Mark II)'
This is a British ad for the 'Mark II' or 'Mk II', not the 'Mk2' as it was called from the start in the US. This ad features the Standard-Triumph logo next to the Leyland logo, Leyland being the company that had owned Standard-Triumph since 1961. When introduced to the British market, the Spitfire MkII cost 666.2.11 without and 699.19.7 with hardtop.


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