Reader Find: Uncle’s 1965 Austin-Healey Sprite

As Found

From Simon G. – I follow your page regularly so thought i would share this with you. My uncle bought this car 6 months from new (in 1966) from the main dealer in Newport. It was on the turntable and my dad has fond memories of going to collect it with his big brother at the age of 15!

Theres Dad

It was used as more or less as his everyday car until 1986, during this time it had an “incident” in the well known locally Whyllie Bends involving an over enthusiastic cornering maneuver and a lamppost. It then gained a Lenham bonnet to repair the damage…

Mini Friend

During the long period he was using the car, it obviously went  through various stages. At one point hill climbing was considered, so a stage 2 lightened and balanced engine, 1.5″ carbs, and a mild cam were fitted with a gas flowed head and bigger valves. Also early cosmic alloy wheels. The hardtop is an Ashley (I think) GT style which fitted by removing the bootlid. Later a towbar was added as well so a fold out caravan trailer could be taken on family holidays. Multi purpose vehicle!

Ashley Top

In 1986 he bought his first series 1 Land Rover to use as an every day car, and the sprite was pushed into the garage. As the years passed more interesting things got parked in front of it (Alvis, Corvette etc..) so the Sprite got pushed further back and used as a shelf/workbench. This sounds unbelievable but we’ve all done it. It even shared space with an Aston Martin, but that’s another story.

Lenham Bonnet

As I’ve just started my own car restoration workshop, he has agreed for me to complete a restoration/recommission on it, so today was my first visit to the very back of his garage in quite a while to check out what is going to be involved. It had new rear 1/4 panels and sills in the 80’s, so apart from surface rust they seem pretty sound/ The entire front is grp and is covered with cracks and could use some form of reinforcement. The interior is, um, interesting and the engine is locked solid so this should be quite a task all in all. It is currently under going a full restoration!

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Gazzer

    Not to nitpick but the C suffix on the registration number means it’s from 1965.

  2. jeffryh

    I love the E type nose.

  3. Dave at OldSchool Restorations

    it’s a ’65, but he bought it new in ‘ 66…..

    NICEST GT Hardtop I’ve seen

  4. sir mike

    love that front end and hard top…send an update…probably in a few years…when it’s back to it’s former glory….best of luck

  5. SimonG

    Last on the road 1986…

  6. jim s

    i too would like updates and to see it back on the road. love the hood and hardtop. thanks for sharing.

  7. SimonG

    Thank you for the enthusiastic comments, I wrote that story a little while ago ago and the car has moved on a bit since.
    I have a few Facebook albums of current progress so I’ll speak to Jesse and see if there is a way to share them if barnfinds are ok with it…

    Simon

  8. Dolphin Member

    Not all aftermarket hoods/bonnets and hardtops that I’ve seen look good, but these sure do. They really transform the car. I hope you can get replacement Perspex (if I got that name right) headlight covers because they look really good in the vintage photo. If not, I heard somewhere that if you warm flat plexiglas to the right temperature it will get flexible enough to conform to a curved surface that is the shape you want.

    I’ll look forward to seeing the latest photos.

    • Tim

      You would need a vacu-form machine to do that without distortion. I work in a special fx shop so I have used those before, and it would be possible to recreate the covers, but not easy. If spec covers can be found, I would go that route. Otherwise, you would need to create a form, probably of wood or fibreglass, and then with some trial and error, the vacuform machine slowly heats the clear acrylic and then sucks it down over the form. The flashing is then cut away, some polishing and you’re all set.

  9. Tundra/BMW Guy

    For those of us who don’t use Facebook (YES we do exist) I hope that whatever update pics that are to be shared, are shared on a platform that all might be able to access. Sometimes those of us that are not as socially acceptable as others, get left out when comes to the “Just go to Facebook” and look at the pics!
    As for the vehicle, I don’t care what it is, I love to see the restoration process as it progresses!

    • simong

      Hi,

      I know that non facebookers are out there but you should be able to see the albums regardless! If not I’ll try to find a photo sharing site.

      Thanks

      Simon

  10. SimonG

    The hardtop and GRP front are still available:

    http://www.lenhammotorcompanyltd.com/

    http://www.ashleygt.co.uk/

    I’m not sure which one is which on the car… I will try and make sure the pictures are acessible for non facebookers too. I think if albums are shared to public on facebook they can be viewed by anyone…

    Thanks

    Simon

  11. simong

    Hi,

    These albums are set to public so even non facebook users should be able to have a nose..

    https://www.facebook.com/simon.genner/media_set?set=a.10155534512870570.1073741860.631285569&type=3

    https://www.facebook.com/simon.genner/media_set?set=a.10155808219835570.1073741870.631285569&type=3

    An mgb i’ve been playing with too, I started my place april this year and it’s just me (my dad and a few mates help when they can but you know what I mean) plus I work a day job tues to thursday, so I’m still learning and progress can be slow at times…

    https://www.facebook.com/simon.genner/media_set?set=a.10155961533685570.1073741871.631285569&type=3

    Thanks for all your interest.

    Simon

    • Tundra/BMW Guy

      Simon,
      All three links come up –
      Sorry, this content isn’t available right now
      Sorry, this content isn’t available right now
      The link you followed may have expired, or the page may only be visible to an audience you’re not in.
      Balls back in your court………….

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