Roof down, we blast up the road past Glorious Goodwood’s racecourse, the bark of that Twin Cam becoming truly infectious as the revs grow, with the throaty twin Weber 40s adding to the aural drama.
The Lotus Elan’s Twin Cam engine produces 105bhp
The four-speed Ford ’box is notchy, with a short, positive, mechanical feel – just as well, because you need to keep the engine percolating above 2500rpm for best results.
Body control is tight, ride firm, and the high-geared steering delivers sensational levels of feedback.
Low gearing in top (around 20mph per 1000rpm) is perfect for these twisty South Downs lanes: point-to-point, there would have been few to touch it back in the day.
The MGB (rear) pressures the Spitfire (front) with a huge 43lb ft torque advantage, while the Elan walks away from both thanks to its 153bhp per tonne
So is it a case of half the price, half the thrills with the Triumph?
Jez Woods’ October 1962-built car, chassis FC301, is one of several Spitfires he’s owned since the 1980s.
177 CRX was fully restored by Triumph specialist Jigsaw over a four-year period, and is now resplendent once again in its original Powder Blue livery.
Even by the standards of the early ’60s, the cabin is spartan and copious body-coloured surfaces abound.
Although the Lotus Elan (middle) offers a more sporty ride than the Triumph’s (top), both cars are heaps of fun to drive
The central four-dial binnacle would have minimised production costs between right- and left-hand drive, and the Smiths readouts are the height of clarity.
Pull away and a first-gear whine reveals the car’s Heraldic roots, as does its tiny turning circle (a mere 24ft).
The steering is quite low-geared and, with a fair chunk of free play off-centre, you quickly learn that a light touch is advisable as speeds rise.
But the accelerator demands decisiveness at all times; attempt to pull away on anything less than half-throttle and you kangaroo like an L-plated 17-year-old.
Steel wheels with chrome hubcaps on all three