One day, I suddenly had a very serious overheating problem in the '79 Spitfire. Since I purchased the car, it has always run in the 3/4 range of the temperature gauge, which is normal. One day I noticed the temperature had reached almost maximum hot. I checked coolant level and oil level, and both were OK. Next I checked my fan operation (electric on a '79) and it was functioning properly. I discovered that the air inlet had dropped down at the rear, but after reattaching it, there was no change.

I posted messages on bulletin boards and got responses telling me of timing set way off, carb set too lean, blown head gasket, restrictions in the engine block, bad water pump, tired thermostat, etc. All of these were good suggestions. Before I had a chance to do much with these, another Spitfire owner emailed me. He said he, too, had a Spitfire that ALWAYS ran very hot. Then one day, he removed the front license plate! His Spitfire began to run cooler.

Guess what? The night before my problem began I had installed a license plate on the front of my Spit. I removed it and VOILA!! I am back down to the 3/4 temperature range!

What do people do that own Spitfires in states that require a front license plate?

UPDATE: I replaced the 180 degree thermostat with a 160 degree model, put the license plate back on and it runs cool. I also replaced the radiator cap and flushed the radiator. The temperature is back to normal with the plate on.

                                                This is it!!  
                                  The offending plate!