The Austin Healey Sprite set a record for sports car affordability in the U.S. when it went on sale in 1958 for less than $1,900. It was both simple and advanced at the same time – simple in its small size and no-frills approach to comfort and interior appointments, and advanced because it was the first mass-produced unit-bodied sports car. Find this original, unrestored Bugeye with less than 30K miles here on Hemmings in Medway, Massachusetts for $18,000 or best offer.
The Sprite was truly an entry-level sports car. It featured rubber mats on the floor and flexible plastic side curtains that attached onto the doors with screwed clamps instead of roll-down windows. When you wanted to open the “windows” you stopped the car, undid the clamps, and stowed the side curtains in a pouch behind the seats. To reduce costs and increase the structural integrity of the tiny unit body, there was no outside trunk lid.
There is not a lot of information about this Sprite. It is described as being in excellent original, unrestored condition, and currently registered for road use. The photos show a car that, although not original in many respects, does appear to be in excellent condition, with no visible rust. Among the many components that are not original are the wheels, seats, steering wheel, valve cover, carb setup, and the oil cooler. The car is missing the front bumper, but does include a fiberglass hardtop and the original seats and SU twin carb setup.
The car is described as having some Sebring modifications. We can see wire wheels and an oil cooler next to the radiator with a large Weber carb in place of the original twin SU carb setup. However, the official Sebring modifications included larger twin SU carbs, so strictly speaking this car is not really done to Sebring spec. Also, there is no mention of disc brakes.
Although it is not cheap, this Sprite looks to be sound and free from rust. We would love to know if the “modifications” were done by Speedwell in the UK or if a previous owner just bolted on a few extras. This would greatly affect the value of the car for us. If you would rather have the real deal you could always go for this one, but it will cost you.