The Austin-Healey Sprite was announced to the press in Monte Carlo by BMC on 20 May 1958, just before that year’s Monaco Grand Prix. It was intended to be a low-cost model that “a chap could keep in his bike shed”.
She was designed by the Donald Healey Motor Company, with production being undertaken by Austin-Healey. It first went on sale at a price of £669, using a tuned version of the Austin A-Series engine and as many other components from existing cars as possible to keep costs down.
This stunning example has a build date of 17th October 1958, this is an early ‘2 stud’ Frogeye Sprite so would have included all the initial updates that were introduced.
Complete with its Heritage Certificate, this car is an original UK car, first supplied by P. Pike Ltd, Exeter. The first owner being a hotelier in Lyme Regis. The car was rebuilt using an all-steel Stage 3 Wheeler & Davies bodyshell, supplied by The Frogeye Spares Company. Finished in its original colour of Speedwell Blue, body panel gaps have been perfectly aligned. Prior to being painted the shell was also seam welded.
The car has been fitted with an uprated 948cc engine making this a smooth and more comfortable ride. This engine drives through a later rib cased gearbox to a rear axle with a 3.9:1 differential and uprated rear half shafts. The car also has later disc brakes, ‘Sebring’ pedal box, uprated suspension and wire wheels.
The interior has been retrimmed in black with white piping. A new wiring harness has been fitted along with numerous other new components. The car comes with a body coloured hard top, black soft top and matching tonneau, side screens and stowage bag. There is also a full car cover.
There is a good history file including an original green logbook, a CD of photos of the restoration and lots of invoices! The rebuild was completed in the summer of 2019 and 191AUO has done about 360 miles since then.
On the road, she is a delight and fun to drive especially as she now has plenty of power from the modified engine. £32,500.