Lot 178 - 1961 Austin Healey Sprite Mk. I 'Frogeye'

Lot 178 - 1961 Austin Healey Sprite Mk. I 'Frogeye'

Lot 178 - 1961 Austin Healey Sprite Mk. I 'Frogeye'

Lot Number 178
Registration 780 DON
Chassis Number AN5/4316
Engine Number 45057
Odometer reading 41,693 miles
Estimate £18,000 - £22,000
Result Sold - £16,800

The 1958 Austin-Healey Sprite was announced to the motoring press in Monte Carlo on 20thMay 1958 and just prior to the Monaco Grand Prix. Designed by the Donald Healey Motor Company, the car came under the BMC umbrella with production being carried out at the MG works at Abingdon in Oxfordshire. Its specifications were basic and involved there being no exterior door handles, the driver and passenger were required to reach inside to open the door; access to the spare wheel and luggage compartment was achieved by tilting the seat-backs forward and reaching under the rear deck. This cost cutting exercise kept the price down to £669. Power was supplied by a 948cc OHV (overhead valve) engine derived from the Morris Minor and Austin A35. The cute looks led to it soon being known as the Frogeye in the UK and Bugeye in the US. Its nickname derived from the headlights prominently mounted on top of the bonnet and inboard of the front wings.

The example offered today has been in its current ownership since 2015. The coachwork presents very well in Leaf Green and is complemented by the lovely green leather and upholstery. This Sprite underwent an extensive restoration during the 1990s and still looks very good today, a testament, no doubt, to the quality of the workmanship at that time. For ease of starting and reliability, an electric fuel pump has been fitted. Apart from that, everything is pretty standard; it even boasts its original steel bonnet. There is a complete set of weather equipment including hood, tonneau cover and side screens. The history file contains its original buff log book, Driver’s Handbook, various invoices, old MoT test certificates, photographic record of the rebuild, magazine articles, parts catalogues, an Austin-Healey Service Parts List, a workshop manual and its current V5 registration document. Interestingly, there is also a period Austin Magazine dated May 1961 priced at 9p. This is a lovely example of a Mk. I Sprite and will be surely enjoyed in and around the country lanes.

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.

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