Introduced in May 1961, the Mk. II version of Austin Healey's Sprite sported an updated look with a full-width grille and wing mounted headlights. Other niceties included a rear bumper and opening boot lid. More civilised but slightly heavier than its 'Frogeye' predecessor, the Mk. II boasted more power and torque courtesy of improved carburetion and a close-ratio gearbox. Reputedly capable of 85mph, the lightweight two-seater was a fun little sports car at an affordable price.
According to the Heritage Certificate in the history folder this smart Sprite was built in July 1962 and delivered to Henlys Ltd later that month. First registered in April 1963 it had 3 owners prior to the seller who purchased the car in 2019 to join his small collection of classics. It was comprehensively restored in 2013 by the previous owner from Bristol. There are photos and plenty of invoices that document the work undertaken which was all completed to a high standard. Having enjoyed the Sprite over the past couple of years whilst adding a further 1000 miles, he has decided to sell it as space is needed for a new project.
The 2013 restoration is well documented with photographs of the Sprite in its original condition, work in progress, and the finished result. There are invoices for all the parts used during the work. There are a few old MoTs in the file, the earliest showing the mileage in 2013 to be 30,812. The last MoT on record expired in June 2018. The Heritage Certificate substantiates the numbers matching status of the Sprite that is in lovely condition throughout.
Also included are a Midget/Sprite expert guide, a repair manual and further book on Sprites and various owners’ magazines.
The simple interior is in excellent condition as most has been replaced or restored. The seats are new and near perfect, the carpets also appear to be new and are unmarked and fresh. The dashboard, trimmed in black, looks new and all the dials are new, clear and appear to function correctly. There is an aftermarket steering wheel fitted that suits the car. The Sprite is complete with a full, zipped tonneau cover that fits perfectly. This is how the owner preferred to keep the car, although there is a brand new soft top complete with side screens and frame that will come with the car. In addition there is a removable hardtop in good condition which the seller believes to be an original. It has not been on the car during his ownership but would look very smart in black, with a white roof lining.
The boot is clean and appears corrosion free, and is complete with spare wheel and jack.
As can be seen in the photographs the Sprite looks lovely except on the rear of the car below the boot lid where the finish is poor although it may improve with some rubbing down and polishing which would be a nice weekend project for the new owner. Apart from that area the rest of the paintwork is excellent with a good lustre and shine. The chrome was restored at great expense during the restoration and is still near perfect.
The 13 inch steel wheels feature correct Austin Healey chrome hubcaps that look like new with no dents. The tyres are all Primewells which are virtually new, except the spare wheel that is fitted with an older Pneumart tyre.
Upon purchase the seller went through the Sprite to address a few areas where he felt it could be improved. Firstly the engine was removed and stripped down to remedy an oil leak. On inspection there was very little that needed doing so it was reassembled. It should also be noted that the cylinder head had been rebuilt to run on unleaded fuel. The engine bay was a bit shabby, as was the wiring that looked like it had been poorly finished. So he rewired the car, and repainted the engine bay before reinstalling the now pristine engine. The gearbox was replaced with a slightly later “ribbed” version which is nearly identical to the original but has a stronger case and components, and better spare parts availability. He also rebuilt the brakes for peace of mind. When we visited to get the photos the Sprite had not been started for 3 weeks, but with a bit of a choke it started immediately with no evidence of smoke or rattles. The seller says he has enjoyed his time with the Sprite as it drives beautifully, but it has to go to make space for a new project.
Rarer than its MG sibling this Sprite would be an excellent choice as a first classic. With so much work completed there is nothing that would stop you hopping in and driving off to a local show. Everything is either new, or original and restored. It would not take a great deal of effort to take it to the next level, with just a few weekend jobs to keep you busy. With such originality, low mileage and only three obviously careful owners the Sprite is going to make one lucky bidder very happy!
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