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Austin Healey Sprite Barn Collection

We have found that many of the project Barn Finds we come across found their way into the barn with the hope of being restored one day, but as life is, other things take priority over the restoration project and the car, or in the case cars, get left in the barn. The owner of these Austin-Healey Bugeye Sprites has found themselves in this exact situation, but instead of leaving them in the barn to decay further, has decided to sell them off as a complete package. These project Sprites can be found here on eBay or in Ripon, Wisconsin

The seller bought these cars in ’98 from a barn, with the intention of restoring them, but marriage and a family took priority. They somehow managed to fit these cars in their garage and it looks like a tight fit, but it hopefully protected the cars enough to keep them from rusting away. The seller is including the three rolling cars seen in these pictures, plus another tub and a lot of extra parts in the auction.

There is one ’58, two ’59s, and one ’60, making for a good a range of Sprites. There are complete engines for three of the four cars, including one 950cc, two 1098cc engines, and one unassembled 950cc engine. These cars will need a ton of work, but it appears that one could easily build at least two complete cars with all the parts the seller has.

The Sprite might not be a fast little car, but they are still a blast to drive. The larger 1098 is a popular swap for the Bugeye and increases power from 43 hp to 56, but if either of the smaller engines are the matching numbers engine for these cars, we would want to put them back in their proper engine bays.

The three rolling cars look solid, but the tub looks to be too rough to restore. These are great little sports cars and parts are cheap and plentiful. One could probably put together one of the cars and sell it to pay for the rest. Does this look like a good project for you, or too much to take on?


  1. jim

    Love bugeye’s! If I had the know-how and inclination to do it myself I’d buy these in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, I neither the know-how nor the inclination to restore cars. Nor the desire to pay someone else to do it for me. I will own one of these some day though!

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  2. chris

    how much?

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  3. Will

    I love these cars. These would be a great project/ projects.. But I made a personal policy years ago that I will never deal with anything motorized with no title again. its just not worth it to me. To bad. as these would be perfect. I could see them as 3 identical cars for the wife and kids.

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  4. paul

    Jim as far as restoration projects go these would be about the easiest projects one could do , the interiors are as basic as can be, no roll up side windows assemblies to deal with, no electronic wizardre like AC, no power brakes, steering or anything else power. & Will I am going to guess that you could possibly make one out of three here.

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  5. Dolphin Member

    paul is right—these are very basic cars and are easy to work on. The whole front clip comes off easily and exposes the car from the firewall forward, including suspension. I owned one around 1960, bought cheap with a bad 1st gear. My father and I lifted the engine out using a rope slung under the engine and over a 2X4, which we lifted up with our arms. I lifted the transmission out by hand.

    Downside is often the rust that attacks these unitbody Sprites. It can require more to fix than the car is worth.

    If you have always yearned to become a Sprite restorer/dealer, this auction is for you. It gets you an instant stock of cars and parts. However, I see some potential downsides:

    1) Not clear that the cars have titles. Any time a seller doesn’t make that clear in a listing—and it is not clear in the listing—I think it’s prudent to assume the worst, and I look for a better/safer deal.

    2) Seller won’t sell cars/parts individually. One consequence is probably that he will get significanty less than if he sold them individually. There are not that many people who want to become instant Sprite restorers/dealers. Another consequence is that if you buy them as a lot, shipping/hauling all those bodies & parts without damaging or losing some of them will not be easy.

    3) Lots of time, work, and $$$ required to put these cars together to sell them for good prices. Unfortunately, they are unlikely to make you rich, or even allow you to break even, assuming you want to pay yourself more than a few dollars an hour for your work.

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  6. Chris

    With parts readily available, here might be the classic father/son car project. Build two, one for son and one for dad too.

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  7. Dolphin Member

    Not sold with a high bid of $5001.
    Not many people want a collection of 3 Sprites that all need work.

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  8. Kelly Breen

    It would make more sense to sell each one individually. Practically the entire car is still in production through MOSS or British Motor Heritage. Also the Frogeye Sprite is just as “correct” modified as it is stock.

    The history or rationale of the car was it was meant to be an inexpensive sports car. The average person could store it in a bike garage and do most of the servicing themselves with basic tools.

    There is no reason all 3 could not make it back to the road.

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