The Austin Healey Sprite is recognised by many as one of the greatest British Sports car designs of all time. Featuring a 948cc version of the legendary A Series engine, they are widely regarded as THE car to have for the B Roads of Britain. Prices for these excellent little cars are ever appreciating with the early models (in particular the Mk1 "frogeye" version) being the most desirable and it isn't hard to see why when you see that cute little front end either trundling on it's way to a picnic or hammering it up a hill climb course.
This particular car has recently returned to the road after a 30 year period of lay up and a comprehensive restoration to bring it back to its former glory. It is presented in fabulous condition ready to be enjoyed by a new, loving owner.
The paperwork that accompanies this car is one for the motor historians who like a bit of bed time reading. It has not only it's current UK V5C documents, but also a British Motor Industry Heritage Trust certificate which shows where the car was originally delivered to and, perhaps most importantly; this car still has its original buff logbook which gives an insight into the ownership of the car prior to being taken off the road in 1973.
The current owner spent many moons getting the car re-registered with the DVLA using its original London based registration number, but his hard worked paid off and the car now wears the original number with pride.
The interior of a an early Sprite is renowned for being a pleasurable place to be; they feature only the necessities needed for the enjoyment of the British B Road with no ugly extras to get in the way of the driving experience. The gauges in the car are the focal point of the vynide covered dashboard and are all the hard to find original Smiths type which are unique to the model and are presented in a wonderful original condition and all work well. The switches for the controls are also all of the original type and feature their original bakelite knobs.
The black leatherette seats are in good original condition without noticeable rips and tears and are very ergonomic given this was an entry level sports car in its day and should give many miles of pleasure.
The car features its original black steering wheel that appears to have had some level of reconditioning with its matching original Austin Healey horn push. The previous owner has opted to fit a wooden gear knob which adds to the 60's period appeal.
The carpets appear to be new, high quality items which colour coordinate nicely with the rest of the car.
You won't see a happier looking car on the road and finished in stunning Colorado red you won't miss it coming down the street either.
The bodywork has been subject to a significant level of restoration and there are not signs of any corrosion or bubbling anywhere. There is one small paint chip hidden away on the offside rear arch which could easily be touched in if it is felt necessary. The hood is in overall good shape, but the rear window is showing some signs of age and is not completely clear, so the prospective owner may wish to have this replaced. New windows and new hoods are readily available.
The original factory bonnet has been replaced at some point in its past with a fibreglass item which is a very common practice with these cars. Although not completely original, this does prevent rust on this very large panel although for complete originality a pressed steel item will have to be sourced.
Mechanically this car appears to be in fine fettle and when we visited the car it ran very sweetly. The owner tells us the car is very pleasurable to drive and should provide many miles of happy motoring. The A Series engine was apparently rebuilt by the previous owner and we have no reason to doubt this as when we visited it appeared to have no obvious oil leaks or drips as is common with these cars. The rubber hoses appear to have all been replaced during the restoration with new items and the combined oil/temperature gauge holds good oil pressure and temperature. The rocker cover has been replaced with a later alloy item which is less prone to oil leakage from the rocker gasket area.
All of the brake lines appear to have been replaced and cylinders rebuilt or replaced where necessary and we are informed it stops effectively.
The current owner has been using lead additives when fuelling up in order to ensure the longevity of the valve seats.
Sprite Mk1s are renowned for their characterful "facial expression" and never fail to get a smile from passer-by or the owner. They are the essence of the legendary British Sports Car and their back-to-basics design has earned the Sprite in particular a hugely popular following from groups of all ages. They handle extremely well with near on telepathic steering thanks to the rack and pinion system inherited from the Morris Minor and their revvy A-Series engines are both cheap to maintain and are very easy to tune if you are looking for more power.
Grabbing the keys to this for a weekend drive on some of the country's great B Roads for a picnic will leave you hankering for more time in the driver's seat than at the actual destination. If you've not experienced the Sprite magic, surely it's time to find out what everyone has been raving about?
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