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Homepage. This page: Great little Mk1 Austin Healey sportscar from 1958, one in England, the other seen in Australia.
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1. Mk1 Austin Healey Sprite.

Several different Austin Healey Sprites feature on this page. The first two photos feature a 1958 Mk1 "Frogeye" Sprite that belonged to Les.
Austin Healey Sprite
"My pride and joy, a 1958 'frogeye' Healey Sprite taken in 1971. Note the wide wheels etc the rage at that time, yes I kept the original wheels. Look at those number plates, worth a fortune now, the Sprite by the way had its original steel bonnet, whereas many at that time used the fibre glass replica."
Frogeye Sprite
The Mk1 Sprite was the only version to feature the distinctive, frog-like, headlamps. The Mk2 A-H Sprite would be a much squarer affair, and shared its bodyshell with the more commonly-found MG Midget. This particular Frogeye has a number of nice accessories in addition to the aforementioned deep-dished steel rims. Note the snug hardtop, radio aerial, boot luggage rack, and slightly widened arches to accomodate the chunky tyres. Where did "13 FUR" end up I wonder?

2. A 1958 Sprite in Australia.

Early in 2010, Brian emailed me from Australia with some photos and memories of an Austin Healey that he once owned, a car that he purchased while doing National Service. He adds: "I purchased it in 1967 from the famous Geoghan brothers, who were amongst the top racing car drivers in Australia. You will note that it had a fibreglass hard top that sloped down to the rear of the car. This was manufactured by JWF Fibreglass of Brookvale, Sydney NSW. JWF were manufacturers of many famous racing car bodies and in particular the "Milano", that usually had a six cylinder Holden 179 motor, and had a great power to weight ratio. The Sprite was painted in the colours of a cigarette company that had a racing team at the time; Gallaher. It was silver with two red stripes."
Austin Healey Sprite Mk1
"One night on the way to see the roller derby at the Sydney Stadium, I ran into the car in front and buckled the bonnet. Rather than have the bonnet repaired I went to JWF, and they designed and made a "Milano" front for the Sprite and we painted it red. As you can see in the photo (below), it looked fantastic but its performance or comfort never matched the looks and eventually we traded it in on a new 1972 VW Superbug, that was not only more comfortable, but outperformed the Sprite in every way. What I wouldn't give for that Sprite now though!"
Repainting the damaged Sprite
"It kept breaking crankshafts as it was bored out to almost the water jacket. In the end we put a Morris Minor 1000 OHV engine in it. You can see the primitive conditions we worked in in those days of the sixties and yet we got good results. I remember the trouble we had trying to tune the twin SU carburettors to the same settings. The problem was finally solved when my father-in-law made a board with a "u" shaped polythene tube with markings on it. We filled the U part of the tube with a coloured liquid and the other end to the carburettors. When the jets were adjusted so that the coloured liquid was the same height markings for both carburettors all was well. Simple but effective."
Working on the Austin-Healey's engine
Now some more photos of the Mk1 Austin Healey Sprite, after Brian had fitted the new fibreglass bonnet and repainted the car red. The hardtop reminds me of the replacement roofs offered by Ashley and Lenham in the UK. Thanks for the photos and story Brian. Does anyone know what became of EMX 207? If there are any more early Frogeye photos out there, I'd be interested to see them and add them to this page!
Fibreglass hardtop and bonnet
Photos of the red Austin Healey car

3. A Sprite seen on a holiday in Scotland.

David kindly sent over the following photograph, taken in 1971 of his modified Mk1 Austin-Healey Sprite. Modifications included the fitment of a fibreglass Ashley bonnet, replacing the traditional "Frogeye" item, complementing the painted wire wheels. The standard headlamps have also been replaced with 7" Lucas Tripod lamps.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
A Mk1 Sprite fitted with Ashley bonnet

4. Frogeye with hardtop.

6561 UE was a 1960/1961 Warwickshire-registered Mk1 Sprite that belonged to Brian Reid, this colour shot included in a collection of photos he sent over in 2014 for inclusion on OCC. The scene is decidedly wintry, hence the wise fitment of a factory hardtop, a desirable option then and now. Thanks for the photo.
Sprite with hardtop
Motoring Photographs Page 1.
Tales of restoring a 1961 Sprite (in Australia) can be found in the Your Cars section of this site, and free ads for Mk1 Sprite parts can be found here. A series of photos from the 1960s that feature a 1959 Sprite, tuned-up with goodies from the BMC Special Tuning Department at Abingdon, can now be found here.

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