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Affordable Fun: 1965 Austin-Healey Sprite


With classic car prices on the rise with no signs of stopping, it is always nice to find an affordable little project like this 1965 Sprite. The seller bought it back in 1970 and enjoyed it until about 10 years ago. They claim that the paint and interior are still original, but that it is going to need a little help to get back on the road. Unfortunately, they have Parkinsons now and would like get the car into someone’s hands who can enjoy it. Find it here on craigslist in Los Altos, California. Thanks for the tip Gil P!


It is a rare occasion to find a 50 year old car still wearing its original factory sprayed paint. I always get excited though because that means there are no nasty surprises hiding underneath the surface. Body shops and DIYers have been known to do unscrupulous things while repairing rust and dings. No one likes to discover a wadded up newspaper under a thick layer of bondo! You won’t find that here though so with minimal investment you should be able to have a fun and attractive driver.


The engine has 130k miles on it, but hasn’t had any major work done to it. The transmission was rebuilt about 20 years ago so it should be fine, but I bet the engine could benefit from a rebuilt sometime soon. It was running when parked so I would want to attempt to get it running before pulling anything apart. Then if the compression turns out to be low, I would source a later 1275cc lump to drop in there while I rebuilt the original.


The little bugeye Sprite was the start of something big. It was popular enough that it went on to be produced for many years under both the Austin-Healey and MG (Midget) badges. By the time this one was built, it had lost the unique headlights and gained conveniences like wind up windows. Luckily though it still maintained all the virtues that made the first cars so great. It was simple, cheap, and fun. What more could you ask? There are other classics out there you could buy, but none will provide as many smiles per dollar as this little Sprite!


  1. Rob Stevens

    Guess somebody already snatched it up, the listing’s been removed.

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  2. David C.

    Craigslist posting has been deleted by the owner, so it looks like it sold. How much was it listed for?
    From the show “Home Improvement”, I still hear Tim “the Toolman” Taylor exclaiming to his wife when she bought a little car like this one: “But, its British!!! How am I supposed to work on it??”

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  3. rancho bella

    What a little sweetie. This is why I ditched big engines for small ……….no one expects much out of the four pots. I’m also into the off white cars so this is spot on.

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  4. hhaleblian

    gone in 60 seconds

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  5. jim s

    they look good in white. love the steel wheels with hubcaps. a lot of changes between 1964 and 65. i will take a 64 or older sprite/midget with 1/4 springs in the back and side curtains. great find, i hope the new owner is on this site and keeps us updated.

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  6. David C

    I owned a 67 back in the early 70’s. What a great little car, just too small for me (6′-3″). When I was 18 I packed everything I owned in that little car and moved from Atlanta to Mississippi to go to college. I had a ton of fun in that car! Believe it or not it was a chick magnet! I finally traded it for a VW (more leg room).

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  7. Wiley Robinson

    Must have been cheap, sold before all the naysayers could post their silly comments about the paint not being really original

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  8. Jeff V.

    Didn’t this car have LUCAS (prince-of-darkness) electrics? lol

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  9. RickyM

    Cute! Love it’s original condition. British cars keep on popping out of your US storage places! Not sure if that is because they kept on being unreliable so were just put away………..

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  10. boysie


    Not sure about the unreliable bit ?
    I have J plate 1970 healey Sprite in the garage, starts every times, never ever let me down.
    I dont know of a an old english classic with reliability issues, foreign cars yes and by foreign just over the channel foreign.
    The newish TVR’s or Lotus’s now thats what you call unrealiable

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    • Dolphin Member

      Definitely agree. My ’58 Sprite started and ran well every time and never let me down—and that was a first-year car. No problems with the electrics, either. The SU carbs might have needed tuning every once in a while or the engine might not rev right to redline quickly, but as for everyday reliability it was one of the best I owned back in the day.

      Like 0

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