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Lot 48: Austin-Healey Frogeye' Sprite

Car, H&H Sales Limited (21 April 2010)

Thanks to its prominent, bonnet-mounted headlights, the original Sprite quickly became known as the 'Frogeye' - a moniker that has stuck to this day. The little two-seater, designed by the Donald Healey Motor Company and built by BMC at the MG factory in Abingdon, was launched in Monte Carlo immediately prior to the 1958 Monaco Grand Prix. The unique, one piece bonnet covered a mildly tuned, 43bhp 948cc version of the BMC 'A' series engine already found in the Austin A35 and Morris Minor. The suspension was coil spring and wishbone with lever arm damper at the front and quarter elliptic springs and lever arm dampers at the rear. The construction was 'integrated' rather than a full monocoque and featured forward projecting chassis legs of the type used in the D- and E-Type Jaguars. The specification was minimal, there being no exterior door handles and no boot lid. Some 49,000 Frogeyes are said to have been built between 1958 and 1961, when the model was replaced by the more conventional-looking MKII Sprite. The Sprite was quickly adopted for competition by privateers and the works - the latter's first major success being the win of John Sprinzel and Willy Cave on the 1958 Alpine Rally. The cars proved handy on the race track too and to this day can be found in sprints, hillclimbs and autotests. Built in September 1960, 574 JRT was supplied to Mann Egerton in Norwich and is blue with a blue vinyl interior. According to the vendor, this righthand drive Frogeye has been the subject of an ongoing restoration for the last 20 years, which was completed just two months ago. This included: new inner and outer rear wings, new floor panels throughout, fresh suspension - complete with competition rear springs - a replacement brake system and new wire wheels. The engine, now 1,098cc, features a gas flowed and ported cylinder head fitted with oversized valves, plus a '731' camshaft. Both the clutch and fuel tanks have also been replaced. The vendor describes every aspect of the car as 'good', apart from the paintwork which he classes as 'very good'. He feels the Sprite 'would be a credit to any Austin Healey collection'.

Lot Details
Auction Car
H&H Sales Limited, The Pavilion Gardens
Lot Number48
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Condition rating
Registration number574 JRT
Chassis numberAN5/46240
Engine number10CCDAH7728
Engine capacity (cc)1100
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2