Ready To Restore: 1962 Austin-Healey Sprite

When the Mark II version of the Austin-Healey Sprite was introduced in 1961, the most immediately noticeable difference between it and its predecessor was the front end styling. The “Bugeye” treatment that had been the hallmark of the Mark I  was now gone and the Sprite assumed a more traditional appearance. This 1962 model comes from around the mid-point of Mark II production and appears to be a solid car that should make for a relatively easy restoration project. It is located in Novi, Michigan, and is listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding is currently sitting a $5,100 in what is a No Reserve auction.

The first piece of positive news about this Sprite is that it is apparently rust-free. There is an older repair in the front floor. The rest of it looks very clean, and rather encouragingly, the doors open and close cleanly. That’s always a pretty good sign with a Sprite. The Robin’s Egg Blue paint is looking quite tired, but with straight panels and good glass, this really is looking like a fairly straightforward project. The original soft-top comes with the vehicle, but it sounds like it has shrunk over time through lack of use, so this might need replacing.

Overall, the interior of the Sprite is also quite good and should come up quite nicely with a thorough clean. There aren’t a lot of issues to be dealt with, and the majority of those seem to revolve around the gauges. The tachometer looks like it is permanently stuck at around the 2,000rpm mark, so that will need attention. The odometer also doesn’t work, but the needle has also fallen off the speedometer for good measure. That sounds like someone may have had it apart in a bid to fix the odometer, and the needle has fallen off during reassembly. There is an aftermarket radio fitted to the car, but while it appears to be close to period-correct, I would probably remove it.

Powering the Sprite is the 1,098cc 4-cylinder engine, which sends its power to the rear wheels via a 4-speed manual transmission. The owner has done a reasonable amount of work in this area in recent times. The front end has been partially rebuilt, but there are a few items that will need to be replaced, and the car will also need a wheel alignment. The car has also been fitted with new brake hoses, a new slave cylinder, the carburetors have been rebuilt, plus sundry other smaller tasks have been undertaken. The car is said to run and drive quite well and just needs some fine-tuning and adjustment to get it right.

With only 56hp at your disposal, the Sprite could never wear a high-performance label. What you get for your money is a fun little car that is perfect for top-down cruising. This one looks like the sort of car where the restoration work has commenced, and it could be completed in a home workshop. Do we have any British sports car enthusiasts who are willing to take it on?

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Comments

  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    All the radios were aftermarket on these cars as not even the builders had radios to put into the cars. There are two major instrument rebuilders in the country, one in the NE and one in California. Moss Motors has a kzillion parts for these guys including power enhancements. One of the best we’ve seen in a while. If anyone needs details on rebuilders or suppliers let me know here. Oh, and put the pump and filter back by the tank, not over the exhaust manifold.

    Like 2
  2. Ben T. Spanner

    Easy to install a new top, as it is not permanently attached to the car. You will never break a window regulator as it has side curtains. New side curtains probably cost more than a new top, but why bother, just outrun the summer storms. Super simple car. A new clutch requires engine removal, but that’s not difficult. Early ones, up to 1968 are more fun. If I fit, I’d have one.

    Like 2
  3. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    These are an absolute blast to drive!
    Had the MG (Midget) version, a1961, with drums and 948cc of this in high school.
    Showed the Big Block boys the advantages of suspension on some very narrow mountain roads nearby.
    Of course, the BB boys would still give me grief Saturday nights on the main drag through our town or on school days between classes when 3-4 of them would pick it up and stuff between the bicycle racks.
    Had renewed appreciation for it though when they heard about it doing a lap around the high school gym..inside the gym.. 😁

    Like 2
  4. TimM

    Nice car no reserve!!! Best news all day!!!

    Like 1
    • brakeservo

      Hate to say I’m real cynical of online no-reserve auctions – seems every seller has a friend named Hill. S Hill that is.

  5. Tony Wa Member

    I’ve owned my Bugeye for 45 years, still a hoot.There aren’t many simpler cars to restore than Midgets/Sprites. Parts prices are very, very cheap. Be aware that these little cars are pretty crude (like most cars of that time)…..

    Check out BP Northwest for parts at great prices as well.

    Like 2
    • Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

      Hey Little_cars
      Your avatar looks just like my 1972 MG Midget that I owned in NJ back in 1972.

      Like 1
      • Little_Cars

        Yeah, we’ve written about this before. Remember I even thought mine WAS your old Midget. This 1974 I purchased with low miles from the second owner in Owensboro, KY in 2017. It still has its original cardboard glovebox, tonneau and boot in the trunk, along with a special factory bag for the jack and lugwrench.

        Like 1
  6. Little_Cars

    Robins Egg Blue? Adam, what do the robins lay in your part of the world? Now, if you are saying this Sprite came from the factory in light blue this could be true. But to my eyes this is about as medium electric blue as one can get. Given the issues mentioned, the ask is about all the money. Well bought if it is indeed rust free.

    Like 2
  7. Little_Cars

    Interior of a 63 of a Spridget colleague.

    Like 1
  8. ClassicCarFan

    I had my original Jaeger Speedometer for my Triumph overhauled and recalibrated by the “Speedo Shop” ( no they don’t sell swimwear) in Santee, CA. Not cheap, but they did a good job.

    I know it’s a personal preference thing, but I have always fitted a modern quality stereo unit in my old classic cars. I’m careful never to cut the dash or anything, ensure any modifications are reversible and try and make the fitment as invisible or subtle as possible, but listening to music as I drive is very much part of the fun. I’d always assumed that folks who always frown at fitment of an aftermarket later model stereo don’t actually drive their cars much….it makes sense maybe for a some trailer queen that only gets rolled out and polished up out a couple of time a year for a show.. but if you actually spend much time driving the car, why not enjoy music?

    Like 2
    • Buckwheat

      If you can hear a radio in an old Sprite – YOU AIN’T DRIVIN’ IT RIGHT!!

      Like 2
  9. John

    I love Spridgets. I’ve had four. But this paint does not look like the pale “robins-Egg” blue that came from the factory. I kinda think that somewhere in its history it had a respray. No issue with that as long as the new paint didn’t cover anything ugly (heck, it looks to be a nice car even if there was some ugly stuff. I learned to weld putting a new floor in a 62 edition back about 1971). My 62 didn’t have a top. It had half of a frame for one in its trunk when I got it. I couldn’t afford a replacement. Marion at MG Mitten sold me a tonneau cover. Whoever gets this one will have a ball with it.

    Like 2
    • Bingo

      Marion at MG Mitten? My gosh, you must be as old as I!! You probably also remember Vilem B Haan or the guy on Magnolia in Burbank, sold all sorts of accessories too, what was that name? Drove a Gullwing as an everyday car! Yeah, it was a while ago.

      Like 1
  10. Jeff

    I’m going to look at one of these tomorrow, a 64. Owner claims drivers floor is only rust and says car runs. Anything in particular I should,look for and what are prices for one needed full restoration? What’s a nice finished driver worth?

    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      And here’s an example of a finished ‘69 Midget for sale (I’d upload just the photo and add a caption but I’ve not figured that out yet).
      https://goldcountry.craigslist.org/cto/d/grass-valley-1969-mg-midget-in-amazing/6879339088.html

      • Brakeservo

        I’d hardly call that car “finished.” Illl fitting trunk lid, driver’s side looks wavy, missing grill emblem. Who knows what more terrors he didn’t photograph. And when you’re done, what have you got?? For my 12 grand I can think of better cars, even a pair of Miatas

        Like 1
      • Little_Cars

        $12k California money. This 69 can sit a while longer. Brakeservo is right–The center grill cast piece and badge are super easy to source used on eBay, etc. I have two in a drawer at home. Shame the seller didn’t want to go to the trouble of completing the grille. Also, a 69 Midget should NOT have matte black paint on the curved portion at the bottom of the front fenders. A common mistake by painters not instructed by the owner of the car!

  11. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    Jeff, I’m mostly definitely don’t have the expertise with these that some of the other readers do but here’s my tuppence worth:
    Hagerty quotes $2200 for fair to $18000 for a concours- wow! I’m not sure where you live but I’d think the usual parts to look over carefully would be salt damage as these I don’t think fared well in that regard.
    Collection points for water would be in the rear bottom of the fenders and insd the grill area. Check the trunk lid carefully, they’re fragile and can be torked too far forward so as to snap off (especially on a dark and stormy night as your Changing the tire with the trunk open and a semi truck passes at 70 MPH in the same direction). With regards to the body itself take a good magnet! The windows are mounted in a removable plastic frame with two screws on the door to secure them-they’re usually scratched, broken or missing and used to be very expensive to replace! The engine should be at least at hairy chested 59HP 1098 cc 😜; I think they were still a POSITIVE ground battery system in ‘64 but I’m not sure so check that especially if there’s been any aftermarket radio stuff added.
    Here’s a 1964 AH Sprite in my general area fro sale on Craigslist I’ve seen the past few weeks to give you an idea of what’s out there.. https://goldcountry.craigslist.org/cto/d/altaville-1964-austin-healey-sprite/6889185202.html
    Good luck and if you get it keep us posted on your progress-as you can see these are a very popular little car and a blast to have!

    Like 1
  12. Del

    These are fun to drive but deadly slow and lucky to get one to 65 Mph.

    Not much fun when all that British tech goes south. Always something need to be fixed.

    • Brakeservo

      Which makes the asking price sheer insanity!

  13. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Ended: May 23, 2019 , 10:00PM
    Winning bid:US $5,100.00
    [ 23 bids ]

  14. Brakeservo

    Real bid or shill? We will never know

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