One Owner? 1959 Austin-Healey Sprite

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What constitutes a one-owner vehicle? Is it a car that was only kept and driven by a single person, or one that after a long time may have passed into another set of hands but otherwise remained undriven and undisturbed? An argument for the latter could be made with this 1959 Austin-Healey Sprite available here on eBay. According to the current seller, it was bought new by a maritime engineer who kept it for more than 60 years and was well on his way to restoring it before passing away last year. It appears untouched by the current seller who acquired it in its unfinished state.

This is a second-year example of the “Bugeye” Sprite that was manufactured from 1958 through 1961, a hit with American foreign car enthusiasts of the time. The photos are a bit fuzzy, but this pint-sized roadster appears to be a solid example with a black exterior complemented by a presentable red interior. There is a black folding top and side curtains with sliding windows which all appear to be in decent condition.

According to the listing, the long-time original owner of this Sprite began a thorough restoration that included an engine rebuild, a new clutch/pressure plate, brakes, five tires, stainless steel exhaust, and rear quarter panels. A new carpet set is included along with a used fiberglass top. Open top British sports cars of this era are not known for exactly being weatherproof, so the hardtop is a big plus. The seller also mentions that he carefully inventoried all the new and used parts that come as part of this project, and these are documented in the photos. The stash includes a chrome luggage rack, mirrors, overriders, as well as taillight lenses, extra keys, and an assortment of brake, suspension, and engine bits.

The buyer of this Sprite will also receive a good amount of literature including service manuals, restoration guides, catalogs, and compilations of road tests. There is no reserve, and at the time of writing, bidding is still under $7000, so this could be a great way to get into the world of classic British sports cars. Most of the hard work seems to have been done, so it could be a matter of just some reassembly and shaking down to have a sunny day driver, or you could take it further with new paint. Would you like to be the unofficial second owner of this vintage British roadster? 

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  1. Geoff

    Oh, nice! I keep thinking that one of these would be a lot of fun. A neighbor had a decent-looking one for sale a year and a half ago for cheap ($3500?). I never stopped to look at it because the last thing I needed was more temptation.

    Like 2
  2. Jon Rappuhn

    Back in 1961, I was 14 years old and a customer on my paper route had a good running Sprite like this as well as the large Austin-Healy. I thought the Sprite was a cute car that would be fun and one day he offered it to me for 1 free year of the paper. (Probably about $90 if I remember right) I thought it was a good deal, but unfortunately my Dad said no. We ended up moving shortly after that, but when I see one like this, I always wonder what if? (1st of many cars that has slipped thru my fingers over the years, !!!) Another customer had a Tucker in his garage but he NEVER made me an offer of any kind for it, lol.

    Like 1
  3. Gary R

    The BugEye Sprite brings back memories from the early 70’s when a classmate and his dad had a ‘59 Sprite project, The engine could easily be picked up by hand and moved around from one work bench to the next. At the same time our other classmate had an Austin Healey 3000 (if my memory is correct). In comparison the A/H was twice the size of the “Bug Eyed” Sprite.
    In a town of only a few hundred it was quite the site to see a couple of teenagers (well over 6’ tall) driving, or more like “wearing”, this unique vehicle.
    Of us three kids I was the unlucky one saddled with driving my old
    1955 Chevrolet BelAir (2 door hardtop, of course) which I had purchased for a whopping $35.
    Boy do I miss those days!

    Like 1
  4. leiniedude leiniedudeMember

    Ended:Apr 23, 2021 , 4:00AM
    Winning bid:
    US $9,600.00
    [ 12 bids ]

    Like 0

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