Shriners’ Sports Car: 1960 Austin-Healey Sprite

While the Shriners are most well known for piloting small go-carts at parades and other gatherings, there’s also a fair amount of evidence supporting the belief that they can have fun with full-size cars, too. Take this 1960 Austin-Healey Sprite: it’s a real-deal barn find that formerly belonged to a Shriner group out of Little Rock, Arkansas, and still sports its Shriner-applied paint job. Find it here on eBay with one bid to $3,500 and no reserve.

It’s well documented that the Sprite – or Bugeye – already appears to be smiling just by virtue of its natural appearance. Adding eyebrows and a mustache only enhances the effect, and this chipper Sprite certainly looks the part. Take a longer look, however, and you realize the original artist cleverly drew an actual face with the “eyes” of the Bugeye – well, they’re actually eyes!

The aged license plate provides a clue to the Shriner group that originally conceived this decorative Sprite, and Google tells us they are still a very active chapter. I’m sure after a point it the maintenance of older cars and trucks goes beyond their limited budgets and requires that the vehicles be sold, likely making it a possibility the iconic paint schemes will disappear.

Sadly, the engine in this Shriner car will not turn over. I just experienced this phenomenon with my junkyard Trooper project, but it was fairly painless to source a used engine that will hopefully work well as a replacement. Likewise, this Sprite is not so exotic that parts sourcing is particularly difficult. Whatever you do, keep the paint job in place.

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Comments

  1. bobhess Member

    Shriners aren’t too far off karts with this car. 1,400 pounds, 2 1/4 turns lock to lock steering, 47 roaring horsepower with the stock engine etc., but the Shriners obviously aren’t painters. I’d one color this car in something bright and go make people smile at the grill.

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  2. bobhess Member

    Sorry about the picture. No Edit feature so couldn’t do anything about it.

    1
    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      No problem with the photo bobhess, click on the pic. Cool car also, thanks for posting.

      3
  3. bobhess Member

    Thanks for the click info leiniedude.

    3
  4. Pete

    I was told by a mechanic when I was a teen, in th e 60’s, how to rehab an engine. I have done so 4 times that I can remember. It took at least 6 weeks each time.

    While cleaning other parts, put kerosene in the spark plug holes and poured over the rocker once or twice a week. Put a wrench on the end of the crank and test it weekly for movement, both forward and back. Once its loose
    and will spin with th e starter motor, drain and fill with oil. Run it for short periods several times then change the oil again, including th e filter this time.

    The cars were driven afterward without problems.
    (Your mileage may vary)

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    • Fred W

      Another popular “down the spark plug hole” thing is Marvel Mystery Oil. Patience will often net you a running motor.

      9
  5. TimM

    I mix marvel mystery oil with automatic transmission fluid hook it to a battery acre a couple of days and try to turn it over!! Leave the spark plugs out of course!! It makes a mess so keep the hood closed but there has never been a car I bought with a locked up motor that I haven’t freed up!! I don’t know how many cars I’ve done this to but I own 27 vehicles right now!!!

    3
  6. Ike Onick

    What could I possibly add to this image?

    3
  7. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    Had the MG Midget version of this in high school-small enough to fit thru the doorways into the high school gym…😱
    Later changed the motor from the original 948cc to a newer 1098cc and picked up another TEN horsepower (46 to 56)!!!

    HP+ >Lb = a hoot to drive

    3
    • DavidL

      “… small enough to fit thru the doorways into the high school gym…”
      OK, Nevadahalftrack, what’s the rest of the story? Don’t leave us hanging man. The statute of limitations has to have expired.

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      • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

        LOL, DavidL-WAAAY expired!
        Simple case of “truth or dare” from a stunning redhead I knew from English class.
        I took “Dare” of course and she challenged me to make good on a brag I made to impress her when I said my MG could fit through the door, do a lap of the basketball court, down the hall and out the front doors (which were open as we had no HVAC at the time). This was after school had let out so I was trapped in my own makings.

        I quietly eased up to the outside gym door, coolly looked over at her (while my b_tt seemingly was sucking up the seat cover) and she mouthed “I double-dare you!” which, as everyone knows has its OWN consequences in “Truth or Dare”.. I revved that mighty 948cc original motor and tore😆 into the gym, lapped the cheerleaders practicing on the basketball court, slowed to make the hallway door and..
        shifted into 3td gear, stalling it!!!!
        In a panic I pushed in the clutch pulled the starter button restarted it and got past the office without being seen, out through the front doors onto the street, around the first corner where she was waiting. She jumped in over the top of the door (with a miniskirt no less), and we drove around the neighborhood down to the local A&W drive-in…

        The local PD went by towards the high school,sirens screaming, as we sat there, me trying be Mr. Cool (though I hid my hands on the seat-back as I was shaking like a dog pooping peach-pits). We stayed there for what seemed hours, but in reality only 45 minutes.

        I took her home; at her house I opened the car door for her and as she got out she Gabe me THAT look and said “Ok, your turn. Truth or Dare!” I looked at her with my best Clint Eastwood face and said “Dare”…

        We went out that Saturday night.

        Turns out she’s a bank president now in my home state. Sometimes you just never know what people are really thinking.

        7
  8. Cargirl

    @Ike Onick

    “I don’t know Bob. Hate to admit it but it might be time to sell. Just getting too hard to get in and out of.”

    3
    • Ike Onick

      @Cargirl- Yep! Looks like they went right to the factory and picked them up.

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