Lot 134 - 1959 Austin Healey Sprite Mk. I ‘Frogeye’
|Odometer reading||56,123 miles|
|Estimate||£17,000 - £22,000|
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 superb Sprite has been extensively restored to a good standard and as such presents in fabulous condition. The light blue coachwork is unblemished as is the interior. The hood is new and the car has been very well trimmed inside. Upon turning the key the engine fires up immediately and we are advised this ‘Frogeye’ drives every bit as good as she looks. These fabulous cars are remarkably simple and can be taken care of by any reasonably competent DIY mechanic. Parts are easy to obtain as the cars are well supported by the various owner’s clubs. Always popular when they come to market, examples as good as this will always create additional interest in the auction arena.
Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each lot prior to the sale. Accordingly, buyers are on notice that each vehicle is offered ‘as is/as seen’ subject to the Terms and Conditions for the auction. Buyers are advised to inspect the vehicle in person or use a professional to carry out this service. Historics will not entertain disputes over descriptions.