On The Sprite Hunt

Sprite Hunt

It would seem that Barn Finds reader Mark D has been on a bit of a Austin-Healey Sprite hunt, as he recently sent in 5 Sprites of various years, conditions, and prices! I like having options, especially when it comes to car buying. If I was in the market for a Sprite, I’d want to make sure I’m buying the right one for me. Which leads me to the question, which of these would be the right one for you? Have a look at each example and let us know which one you’d like to own!

1958 Austin Healey Sprite

The first one up is this 1958 Bugeye Sprite, which can be found here on craigslist in Syosset, New York. With a $10k asking price, it isn’t the cheapest option out of this group, but it’s setup for racing with a factory hardtop, roll bar, stripped out interior, and mesh grille and headlight covers. It also has some SVRA stickers and has obviously seen some racing action in the past. The seller claims it has been parked for a number of years and as Mark pointed out, it has the dust to prove it!

1959 Austin Healey Sprite

Next up is this 1959 example, which is in fantastic condition. It appears to have been fully restored at some point and with a $15k asking price it should be in great condition. The seller doesn’t provide any information about it in their listing, which can be found here on craigslist in Porterville, California. This is the most expensive Sprite in this group, so hopefully that means it will also be the cleanest and will need zero work to be enjoyed.

1960 Austin Healey Sprite

The next two Sprites were both built in 1960, but that’s about the only similarities they share. I love a bargain, so we will look at the cheaper of the two first. This yellow example clearly started life in a different color, I’m going to guess the green found in the engine bay and interior, but it’s hard to say for sure. The seller claims that it runs, drives, and stops, but that it will need some work. They mention that a previous owner installed a turbo, so I’m curious to know if that’s still attached and what impact it may have had on the original engine’s longevity. At $6,500 it is the cheapest of the Bugeyes in this bunch, but it could also turn out to be the most troublesome. If your willing to tackle its issues, find it here on craigslist in El Cajon, California.

Blue 1960 Austin Healey Sprite

Unlike the other ’60 Sprite, this blue example appears to be ready to enjoy. Price and condition wise it is about in the middle of the pack, with a $9k asking price. The seller claims it has spent its entire life being garaged, so I assume that means it looks and drives great, but isn’t perfect. The seller is the second owner and has had it since ’78, which would also suggest that it’s been well cared for. Take a look at it here on craigslist in Sedona, Arizona.

1962 Austin Healey Sprite

Finally, our last Sprite is the only none-Bugeye in the group, but it’s also the cheapest. The seller is asking just $1,800, but it is a bit of a gamble as the car hasn’t been started or driven in 26 years. Their pictures aren’t great, but from what can be seen, it looks to be complete. For having lived its life in Richmond, Virgina, it appears to be very solid and rust free. I would want to inspect it in person and make sure the engine is free, but this could be the best bang for your buck out of these Sprites. Find this 1962 Sprite here on craigslist.

I know there are a lot of Sprites out there, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to find the right one. I honestly can’t say which of these I would go for, but if I had to have a Bugeye my money would be on the blue 1960. If I just wanted a fun classic to work on, drive, and enjoy than I would be tempted to jump on the ’62 and use the extra cash to fix any of its issues and make it reliable. That’s just my opinion though, so which one would you go with? Thanks for sharing Mark!

 

Like This? Get Our Daily Email

Comments

  1. RB

    If you are going to buy a sprite. Buy a bugeye. Everybody loves a bugeye. I have one and always get thumbs up no matter where I go. Then buy a stock version so it retains the classic value. The blue 60 looks like the best value and least hassle to just have fun with. Having fun is what it’s all about.

  2. rapple

    I agree with @RB on all points. However, I would like to know more about that red one beyond the two poor photos and VERY spare details. It has an interesting stance and the notation of 1499cc raises some equally interesting questions as to what is under the bonnet.

  3. Dave Wright

    I love Sprites, Midgets and Minis………I have always been too big to use a Sprite for other than play but have been on racing teams with bugeyes and raced a mini for a season. That being said……….the Bugeyes and MK2 or the Midgets have never belonged in the same class. The Bugeyes have always been more expensive than the newer cars by a factor of 3 or 4 mostly because of there H production racing provanunce. With the low prices of the later cars they may actually have more of an upside as an investment and are equally fun to drive. They are all wonderful simple machines that have a huge parts availability and knowledge base to draw from. I have even built and enjoyed several Minors Minors. All great cars for the enthusiast without deep pockets.

  4. Dolphin Member

    If you are interested in a Sprite this is a great group to choose from. I’d like to own most of them, especially the yellow one with the tubo. I’ll bet that would get the 0-60 time below the usual 15 seconds. You also get the original twin carb setup just in case you decide you need to get more than 30 MPG. And it’s cheap, altho I’d like to know more about that odd area where the front clip meets the body. It looks like rust, but even if it is, the rest looks pretty good and the price is right.

    If Mark does buy one I hope he will submit some photos and tell us about it.

  5. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    I’d take any of them, but the blue one is my favorite. Not so nice I’d be afraid to park it anywhere but nice enough I wouldn’t have to do a lot after purchase. If the non-bugeye was a later model with roll up windows, I’d take it though as my very first car was a ’69 Sprite when I was 12…

  6. Mark E

    I’d personally go for the yellow one. It looks easy enough to return it to stock and I’m fascinated by what a turbo does to such a small engine. Plus there’s the added benefit of being able to restore it right rather than buying a restored one and having to correct the mistakes the restorer made.

    Someone told me sprites are so simple and easy to work on that I imagine they’re like a model A or T. Either way, as was mentioned, the bug eyes are the way to go. I’ve never cared for the Spridget….it looks too much like an MG Midget for my taste…

  7. jim s

    they are all interesting but since i had a 64 with side curtains i will go with the 62. why no motor photos? i think i could have it in great shape for less then the cost of any of the others. i would leave the ” you can park me anywhere and not worry ” paint job as is. just make it safe and drive. great finds

  8. Cameron Bater UK

    I do love the AH “Frogeyes” and to some degree the AH “Midget” but, if I’m honest, I’d rather own an MGB variant, (classic bumper) in Bronze Yellow with Rostyle wheels and it just so happens my father has one that has won awards in the past.

  9. julian

    If I wanted a sprite, I’d only buy the very latest I could find. With the bigger engine, windey windows, better hood, better heater, better brakes etc. etc.

  10. Patrick

    There is a nice ’64 on eBay. I haven’t seen one with a hardtop in a while. The list of work done is very interesting.

  11. Richard Member

    I’ve had bugeyes or frog eyes as some call them. I would go for the green race ready one and make it street legal. The bug eye was very popular for the race crowd and to have one from that era to drive on the street would get the most looks and fun to drive. I like seeing all the race stickers and race set up equipment. Make it street legal and sometimestake it to the vintage races. I would definitely negotiate the price on this one as well.

  12. david silberkleit

    Hi Folks, glad to see this post and all the great comments! We specialize in Bugeyes and I have found that so many of these like the examples featured here need serious sorting. All fun projects! One of our cars leaves tomorrow on a 1000 mile (winter!) drive from our shop in CT to Florida. It was an ebay car that needed a month worth of restoration before it was roadworthy. He better make it! The pressure is on! We’ll have some videos at bugeyeguy.com if anyone is interested in following this particular Bugeye adventure! The driver is 6’4″!!!

    • Jesse Staff

      Welcome to the site David! Be sure to send over any barn find Bugeyes you stumble across. We all love them here!

    • jim s

      great site and cars. thanks for sharing.

  13. Fred

    I’ve had both. The Bugeye will always be the most valuable. Still the newer model will be just as fun, and it has a real trunk and room behind the seats for stuff. It also has hood/bonnet that makes it easier to work on. And a larger engine. Even later have roll up windows, the very nice 1275 engine, front disc brakes. Get the ’62 use the money to upgrade engine and brakes and then go have fun.

  14. Chris A.

    I’ve always liked these, but my favorite in this group is the yellow one. However the bonnet would be set aside when making the car a John Spritzel/Ian Walker Speedwell Sprite fiberglass conversion kit replica to really make it look different. And fast.

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks. Don't post your car for sale in the comments. Click here to get it featured on the homepage instead.

*

Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.