SORRY NOW SOLD – SIMILAR WANTED
A concours contending 1959 UK supplied Austin-Healey ‘Frogeye’ Sprite.
All-steel unitary construction, rear chrome bumper overriders, number plate illumination, floor mounted headlamp dip switch, non-cancelling directional indicators, self-parking windscreen wipers, headlamp beam warning light, ignition ‘on’ light, Smiths instrumentation comprising of: speedometer and distance recorder, fuel gauge, oil pressure/water temperature gauge, passenger grab handle, dash mounted rear-view mirror, door pockets. Factory options: Heater, rev counter, windscreen washer, tonneau cover.
This Frogeye Sprite is finished in a high-lustre Cherry Red as supplied when new and verified by a British Motor Industry Heritage Certificate. Having been subject to a lengthy and professional nut and bolt restoration, every component has been meticulously removed and replaced, refurbished or re-plated, the finish is virtually flawless. Only a tiny paint blemish behind the nearside door can be seen, even upon close inspection. Dedication, vast expense and patience have achieved very straight panels and linear gaps, arguably better than BMC’s efforts! The underside, detailed to an impeccable standard, is simply stunning and thousands of hours of painstaking work is clear to see. Attention to detail has matched the incredible workmanship with the correct round Sprite badge wearing the coat of arms and the original metal Sprite badge on the boot lid proudly aged. All chrome has a mirror finish and the lenses are all genuine Lucas glass fitment. As exceptional as it is characterful.
‘The car that offers so much – for so little’ is reflected in the sparse and functional interior. The dash and controls look wonderful and all function precisely including the Smiths instrumentation and optional heater. The original seats recovered in correct Red PVC coated fabric with white piping are perfect, as is the quality tailor made carpeting throughout. Designed with the absence of a boot lid to aid structural rigidity, the large rear luggage area housing the spare wheel and jack is accessible only from behind the seats, a process affectionately nicknamed by enthusiasts as ‘potholing’! A compact environment for two offering immense fun and presented in pristine condition.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
A familiar ‘A’ type B.M.C four cylinder O.H.V engine retains twin SU carburettors to produce a healthy 42.5bhp and quoted top speed of 81mph and 0-60mph in 20.5 seconds. Excellent parts availability and simple servicing will please DIY mechanics. The large original steel front end lifts to reveal a pristine engine bay with stunning detail complete with plates and stickers. Meticulous attention to accuracy even extends to the glass washer bottle, correct for year yellow steering arms and engine block in correct British Standard (381c) 223 Middle Bronze Green. A common and accepted upgrade to a ribcage 4-speed gearbox offers light and precise gear changes.
WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES
The original 13 x 3½in pressed steel wheels with AH embossed chrome hubcaps are pristine and shod in quality and period looking Remington radial tyres, a division of Goodyear, with masses of tread. An upgrade to the standard Lockheed hydraulic system includes a front disc conversion to offer improved stopping power compared with conventional braking systems of this period.
The Mk1 Austin Healey Sprite, affectionately known as the ‘Frogeye’ or ‘Bugeye’ in America, was announced to the press in Monte Carlo by the British Motor Corporation on 20 May 1958 and remained in production until 1961. The British Motor Industry Heritage Trust have confirmed this vehicle to having been produced for the home market (note absence of front bumper) on the 26th November 1959 and a certified copy of a factory record certificate is included in the history file. Date of dispatch to the supplying dealer, B S Gelston & Company of Dartford, was 28th November 1959 with first registration on 22nd December 1959. The original green buff log book confirms the original colour of Red to match the information held on the Heritage Certificate. The previous keeper, Mr Stephen Wing a professional classic vehicle restorer, purchased the car in 1991 and an amazing 26 year journey has seen the car enjoyed and then stripped fully back to bare metal ready for a nut and bolt restoration. The incredible process has thankfully been recorded in almost 200 photographs, with final completion in 2014. The resulting car is now simply outstanding.
Tax exempt, HPI clear.