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Lot 29: Austin-Healey Sprite

Auction of Cars, H&H Sales Limited (26 February 2011)

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 at the front and quarter elliptic springs at the rear, with lever arm dampers all round. The construction was 'integrated' rather than a full monocoque and featured forward projecting chassis legs of the type used in the E-Type Jaguar. The minimal specification excluded exterior door handles and boot lid. Some 49,000 Frogeyes were built between 1958 and 1961. The Sprite was quickly adopted for competition by both 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 model is still proving handy in rallies, races, sprints, hillclimbs and autotests to this day.

The 1958 Sprite on offer, '888 HPA', is reported to have been originally converted for racing by the Naylor Brothers. We are further informed that it was subsequently modified to 'Sebring' specification during the early '60s before the fitment of a Lenham Fastback in 1965. The current owners have used it to compete in classic road rallies including the: Monte Carlo Challenge (1st in class), Coronation Rally on Epynt (2nd in class), and the 2008 Classic Marathon (5th in class). Formerly British Racing Green and later Red, it is currently finished in Yellow with Black trim. The vendors regard the two-seater's coachwork and paintwork as "very good", its 1100cc 'A' series engine and four-speed gearbox as "good" and its interior trim as "average for a race/rally car".

Lot Details
Auction Auction of Cars
H&H Sales Limited, Stoneleigh Park
TypeCar
Lot Number29
Estimate£10000-£12000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)£10450
Year1958
Condition rating0
Registration number888 HPA
Mileage-
Chassis numberAN/6378
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)1098
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors