Lot 287 - 1959 Austin-Healey Frogeye Sprite
|Odometer reading||24,500 miles|
|Estimate||£12,000 - £16,000|
|Result||Sold - £14,000|
The Austin-Healey Sprite is a small, open sports car which 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', yet be the successor to the sporting versions of the pre-war Austin Seven. The Sprite was designed by the Donald Healey Motor Company which received a royalty payment from the manufacturers, BMC. It first went on sale at a price of £669, using a mildly tuned version of the Austin A-Series engine and many other components from existing cars to keep costs down. The little Sprite quickly became affectionately known as the 'Frogeye'. The 43bhp, 948cc engine was upgraded with twin 1 1/8" SU carburettors. The rear axle was both located and sprung by quarter-elliptic leaf springs, again with lever-arm shock absorbers. 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 charming example recently underwent a restoration in 2014 with a large file of bills and photographs accompanying the car detailing the work carried out; bills from specialists such as AH Spares, PBW Spridget Specialists and A Head 4 Healeys Ltd. and Moss Manchester. Recently resprayed in white with a contrasting black interior, it is supplied with a black hood and side screens to keep inclement weather at bay. An MoT test certificate with no advisories along with ten old certificates are found in the history file along with a V5C document. A hugely enjoyable and usable British classic.
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Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each lot prior to the sale. Buyers are advised to inspect the car in person or use a professional to carry out this service.