AUSTIN HEALEY SPRITE 1959
Compact, excitable, and just all around buckets of fun, the Austin Healey "Frogeye" Sprite is amongst the most fun of all our cars to drive. The low riding frame and charming happy face are totally unforgettable, and guarantee endless smiles as you wind around the twistiest roads of Provence.
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FUEL: Unleaded Petrol Only
TRANSMISSION: Four Speed Manual (Non-Synchro 1st)
ACCELERATION: 0-60mph: 20.5s
TOP SPEED: 82.9mph
FUEL ECONOMY: 43mpg
SEATS: 2 with lap belts
LAYOUT: Front Engine Rear Drive - LHD
KEY FEATURES: Engine enhanced with larger carbs and high lift cam. Disc brakes powered on the front. Rear telescopic suspension upgrades & anti-roll front suspension.
The Austin-Healey Sprite is a small open sports car which was produced in the United Kingdom from 1958 to 1971. The Sprite was announced to the press in Monte Carlo by the British Motor Corporation on 20 May 1958, just before that year's Monaco Grand Prix. It was intended to be a low-cost model that "a chap could keep in his bike shed".
The Sprite quickly became affectionately known as the "frogeye" in the UK and the "bugeye" in the US, because its headlights were prominently mounted on top of the bonnet, inboard of the front wings. The car's designers had intended that the headlights could be retracted, with the lenses facing skyward when not in use but cost cutting by BMC led to the flip-up mechanism being deleted, therefore the headlights were simply fixed in a permanently upright position, giving the car its most distinctive feature. This gave the car its appeal as a result of its much loved cute appearance.
The 43 bhp, 948 cc OHV engine was derived from the Austin A35 but upgraded with twin 11⁄8 inch SU carburettors. There are no exterior door handles; the driver and passenger were required to reach inside to open the door. There was also no boot lid, owing to the need to retain as much structural integrity as possible, and access to the spare wheel and luggage compartment was achieved by tilting the seat-backs forward and reaching under the rear deck, a process likened to potholing by many owners, but which resulted in a large space available to store soft baggage.
Our car has been painstakingly restored with a bare metal respray, rebuilt engine with electronic ignition. It has much improved performance with high lift cams for the engine, disc brakes and improved suspension. It is just a superb fun car to drive on small roads and always brings a smile to people.
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