Lot 234 - 1960 Austin-Healey Frogeye Sprite
|Odometer reading||51,345 miles|
|Estimate||£16,000 - £19,000|
The Austin-Healey Sprite was announced to the press in Monte Carlo on 20th May 1958, just before the Monaco Grand Prix. It was intended to be a low-cost model that 'a chap could keep in his bike shed' and yet be the successor to the sporting versions of the pre-war Austin Seven. The little Sprite quickly became affectionately known as the 'Frogeye' in the UK and the 'Bugeye' in the US as its headlights were prominently mounted on top of the bonnet, inboard of the front wings. There were no exterior door handles; the driver and passenger were required to reach inside to open the door. There was also no boot lid and access to the spare wheel and luggage compartment was achieved by tilting the seat-backs forward and reaching under the rear deck.
This 1960 Healey Sprite has a very good history after 1985. The first owner was Barbara Clements who had the car until 1971, it then changed hands to Gary Northway, he kept the car for two years until 1973 where it changed hands a couple of times being sold to Peter Bukenham then Jennifer Fellows and ending up with David Wheeleker in November 1973. He had the car repainted in the original colour of Old English White and in 1979 he put the car into storage due to an increasing family and some problems with the original engine, which was removed. In 1985 Anthony Marsh bought the Sprite through John Coombes garage in Wiltshire as a restoration project. On getting the car home he set about the restoration by replacing the floors and sills and completely rebuilding the front and rear suspension so by July 1986, the car had an MoT but was not back on the road until 1988. In 1989, a new differential was fitted with a 3.9 ratio and the old speedometer, reading 76,189 miles, was replaced with a new one reading 35,505 miles. 1990 saw the Sprite Mk. III 'Gold Seal' 1275cc complete engine rebuilt using a fast road cam and the gearbox overhauled. The work continued on the car with a re-spray in 1991, new carburettors in 1992, stainless steel exhaust in 1996 and, looking through the maintenance log book, it shows it has been fully maintained by Mr. Marsh through to 2011. It was sold to Ms. Carole Smith in 2013 and acquired by the vendor at the beginning of this year, he then overhauled the rear suspension and replaced the rear dampers. Finished with maroon leather interior, this 'Frogeye' sprite is supplied with a V5C registration document, an MoT test certificate which expires in May 2015, the original buff log book, a large file containing invoices, old MoT test certificates, correspondence between Mr. Marsh and Mr. Wheeleker, various notes and information and a little notebook record on the car. Also supplied is the original engine that requires overhaul and a blue hard-top which has never been fitted. This very fast road car has only covered 16,000 miles in the last 25 years and has been restored and fully maintained to the highest of standards.
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