BF Auction: 1966 Austin Healey Sprite

Josh MortensenBy Josh Mortensen

Update 10/16/17 – After double checking the VIN, Alan discovered that while his Sprite was registered as a 1967, it is actually a 1966 Mark III model with the 1098 cc engine.

If you’ve never experienced an Austin Healey Sprite you’re missing out! These little cars don’t look all that sporty, but what they lack in cubic inches and tire width, they more than make up for with their light footed handling prowess and offer one of the purest sports car experiences out there. Seriously, if you haven’t driven one and know someone that owns one, you need to get them to let you drive it. Better yet, just buy Alan N’s Sprite project and fix it up! Yes, it needs a ton of work, but these are dead simple and Alan’s car comes with tons of parts and even has some race history. He is moving and doesn’t want to take it with, so he has asked us to auction it for him! It’s currently located in Sebastian, Florida and is being offered without a reserve.

Alan did a great job of telling the story of his Sprite, so I will let him tell you more about it in his own words! From Alan – This Sprite was owned and raced in Phoenix in SCCA events by Greg LaTraille, from whom I bought it 23 years ago. That’s why it has a roll bar, and, as Greg proudly showed me, a hi-mount brake light on the roll bar. It also had the Arizona plate “SPRITE” which Greg mentioned he was offered $500 for by the soft drink company. Despite that, Greg had an MG Midget radiator grille as he preferred that marque. The intervening years are a blur of never having enough time or facilities, as we moved from state to state.

I have to now own up to being a complete failure in fixing old cars! We’ve been in Florida for the past six years, and it is definitely too hot or stormy to do much outside! We are moving this month, and the car has to go. As you can see from the photos, I think the car is beyond the economic project stage now, and just a parts car. The engine has been kept oiled up and turns, but I haven’t started it in twenty years.

The trailer which goes with it and covered 2000 miles six years ago with no problem, is now a little suspect as the wooden floor is rotting. So why would anyone want it? Because it includes $1000 worth of upholstery – the carpet, soft top and seat covers, which are in new condition and have never been fitted. (I had to send the old passenger side seat cover in as a pattern, which is why there is none there now). So Sprite enthusiasts, please save my marriage and take it off my hands, you will get a good bonus!

This could turn out to be a killer deal! Not only are you getting a complete Sprite, but a new interior and a trailer to haul it on! You’ll want to replace some of the trailer’s wood before heading out, but that shouldn’t be too difficult. Once you get it back home, you will have some work on your hands, but for a car that has been in Florida for the past 6 years it looks to be in solid shape. There’s definitely going to be some rust to repair, but I’m not finding anything too scary in the photos.

Being a Mark IV III car means it’s powered by the 1275 1098 cc engine that was fitted in the Mini Cooper S. It features just 59 horsepower, but it received a number of improvements including a stronger block and larger crank bearings. If it really was being raced, there’s a chance it has already had some work done, but you won’t know for sure until you get it pulled apart. Head work can do wonders for these little 4 cylinders and would help to get power closer to the 70 horsepower range. If you want to get real crazy, you can fit the turbo setup from an MG Metro Turbo to get some serious power…

Whether you modify or restore this Sprite, it will be a fun machine to drive! Alan needs it gone quick, by the end of the month, so be sure to take that into account before bidding. If you have any questions about the car, be sure to leave them in the comments. Our thanks to Alan for listing his Sprite with us! If you have a project that needs to go quick, please consider listing it here on Barn Finds!

Location: Sebastian, Florida
Title Status: Clean
Mileage: 90,000

[wpauction id=”38″ /]

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Comments

  1. Mark Steven

    Great project

    2+
  2. DrinkinGasoline

    Owning an original 66 VW type 1 1300 with a whopping 49-ish HP, I couldn’t help but to want to drop in a warmed over FoMoCo 260 into this ‘Lil scrapper. Frenching those tail lights with inverted chrome bezels would be a slick addition. Sorry folks…I’m not an off-shore purist unless it’s a Sunbeam Tiger.

    2+
  3. John H

    I bought a Sprite while I was in high school — I think I paid $50 for it and its long list of needs. Didn’t have too much rust, especially for a Pennsylvania car, but the rust it had was on the rails under the seats. Or, more precisely where the rails had been. It also had a trashed tranny.

    I found a decent tranny and hauled it into the Ag shop at school where the instructor helped with the welding. A friend and I pulled the engine (lifted the engine, we didn’t have a hoist in my parents’ garage).

    It was a fun little car, had it on the street and autocrossed it a few times but it didn’t stick around too long. I got tired of having to put the top down to peel myself out of the thing! Even then I didn’t bend well.

    3+
  4. Gary D.

    The standard 1967 Mk III Sprite was a gimpy 59 horsepower 1098. The 1275 cc’s napping under this Mk IV’s bonnet might make this Brit mini-bruiser (and the interior kit) worth a trip up state to the Innlet. Figure a few thousand quid for a heritage body plus the cost of moving your friendly neighborhood mechanic into the spare bedroom and, once the divorce is finalized, you’ve got yourself a minty fresh driver for the cost of gum – and a new Kia. Take the Healey. And the trailer. Leave the Kia. Somebody jump this.

    3+
  5. leiniedude

    Glad to see the auctions back, although somewhat wondering about the closure on some of the auctions. 1963 Alfa, 1969 Stingray and 1961 Ladawri that I have never heard of. Did these sell? An update would be nice. Not looking to buy, well depending, but looking to sell here to help the BF site.

    0
  6. 1978 MGB

    Love the “Caddy” logo on the rear! 😎

    3+
  7. Alan N.

    Hi Alan here.

    I’ve been verifying the paperwork, and this is a MkIII Sprite, registered in April 1967, original list price $1890. Think that makes it the “gimpy” 1098 (thanks Gary!).

    If you want to check further, the VIN# is HAN8L58721.

    0
    • Gary D.

      Or you could drop in a 289 …

      0
  8. Tony K

    Alan, you’re killing me! I had a primrose yellow ’62 Sprite when I was 18 and boy, do I miss it!

    I just wish I had room for yours right now (already the HOA is complaining about my three cars but only a two-car garage).

    BTW, you are right down the road from me: I live on Hobart Road on the south side of the Indian River County fairgrounds! I’m prolly less than 3 miles from ya! Good luck with the auction. I’m passing the word locally.

    1+
  9. Ron C

    Does the hardtop go with the car?

    0
  10. Alexander

    Alan, I am the high bidder on this package. I have a couple questions about the trailer….tires good? What kind of receiver and wiring pigtail does it come with if any. Any lights to speak of? On the Sprite, the listing mentions an MG grille but I don’t see it in any photos. Is the car being covered up with the tarp still, except for taking the photos? Thanks.

    0
  11. Alan N.

    Hi Ron. Yes, everything goes. The hardtop is solid, but would benefit from a new skin (see last photo).

    0
  12. Alan N.

    Hi Alexander. I have not moved the trailer in a while, but will let you know about the wiring and lights when I do. The tires are old, with 1/4″ tread, but don’t show too much cracking. You can probably see from the pictures that the trailer is small, a tight squeeze even for the Sprite, so if you have a larger flatbed it would work best to carry car and trailer together.

    I attach a picture of the grille – a faded MG badge but otherwise looks sound.

    0
  13. Alan N.

    Alexander. Picture of the rear of the grille. Some surface rust top and bottom around the screws.

    The tarp is still on and fairly new, periodically I replace it when it starts shredding in the hurricanes!

    0
  14. Alan N.

    Alan here. Just pulled out the trailer. One tire isn’t holding air, I’m checking on the the trailer spare wheel now. The wiring is broken in several places, so didn’t work when I plugged it in – it’s a flat four pin connector. The overall size of the trailer is 7 feet wide (outside the wheels) x 14 feet long from rear to receiver.

    0
  15. Josh Mortensen Josh Mortensen Staff

    David had to retract his bid due to unforeseen personal reasons. We have retracted it for him, so Edward is currently the high bidder at $750.

    1+
  16. Alexander

    Thanks, Josh/Barn Finds team! I didn’t want to be “one of those guys” that bids and turns into a deadbeat with buyers remorse minutes later. My wife thinks I’m a deadbeat, but that’s another story!

    0
  17. CW

    Hey Alan,
    Do you have a title for the car?

    0
    • CW

      Duh sorry just saw the clean title notice.

      0
  18. Ron Bunting

    It looks to be in fine shape and would make a great historic racer/street toy. The English ‘weld’ up far worse sprite than this one. When fixing an old car,it’s a matter of ‘eating the elephant. one bite at a time. I helped rebuild the engine on this bugeye about 30 years ago.http://www.spriteparts.com.au/garage/fright.html

    0
  19. Don Zieammermann

    I had a ’64 Sprite and it was a great little car. I bought it when I was 17, and we rebuilt it in auto shop class in high school. It was a total basket case when I got it, and it took a year and a half to put it together. The worst part was getting parts for it. I drove it for 3 years and sold it. I had a lot of fun with it, and the girls liked it too !

    0
  20. Denny

    Owned a 66 and a 74 Midget. Took the same 360 Interstate on ramp every day. Both cars loved the curve at speed. I kept going a bit faster as time went on until i heard and felt the rim edge rubbing the concrete. Maybe a modern tire might allow even more speed in the curve! Loved those little cars! Fun!

    0
  21. jdjonesdr

    First Sprite I’ve seen with a hard top. Great project car.

    0
  22. Alexander

    jdjonesdr–hardtops exist for Sprites and Midgets going all the way back to the beginning of production. I’m storing two right now for future use. There were factory hardtops and plenty of aftermarket opportunists back in the day. This one appears to mimic a “factory” BMC hardtop that someone along the way decorated with white vinyl, leaving the black finish around the quarter glass. As far as I know, a true vinyl hardtop was never offered by anybody, just the vinyl look using different techniques on fiberglass.

    0
  23. Alan N.

    CW – yes, I have the Arizona title from way back when I first got the car. I’ve lived in several states since then, but never titled it there as it wasn’t on the road.

    Alan

    0
  24. CW

    Oops Arizona title! $400 charge to title in Florida.

    0
  25. Ron Creak

    Hi Allen: I am the successful bidder for your car. When can we get together to transfer title and pick up the car?
    Thanks,
    Ron

    0
  26. Alexander

    Ron….congrats on being the high bid. Depending on where you are relocating it to (and what level of rebuild or resto) I would be interested in the faded plastic console that goes the length of the transmission tunnel and up under the dash. I have that same accessory on my car now, in great shape, but it has been cut for a later car with the factory radio box under the dash. LMK

    0
  27. Gary D.

    An interesting and informative auction. And a fair price. But am bummed. With my Healey appetite whetted, stumbled across a “starts and runs” Bug-Eye at a junkyard less than two miles away. After sitting for months, it had just sold the previous afternoon. For $500. Story of my life …

    0

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