Live Auctions

Stylish Pixie: 1967 Austin Healey Sprite

The Austin Healey Sprite was first marketed as the beloved Bugeye in 1958. In 1961, the Sprite body was updated and twinned with the MG Midget to give customers an option under each badge. The Austin Healey version was the “base” model, lacking several bits of chrome trim that graced the Midget. By the time 1967 rolled around, the Sprite’s powerplant was a four-cylinder, 1275 cc engine from Austin Motor Company’s A-Series making about 65 bhp. Two 1 1/4″ SU carburetors and a four-speed transmission moved the little car from 0 to 60 in about 12 seconds. Here on craigslist, is a 1967 Austin Healey Sprite for sale, with an asking price of $15,000. The car is in Reno, Nevada. Thanks to Matt H. for the tip!

This car gives the overall impression of a well-cared-for example. The driver-quality black paint makes for a great contrast with the red interior. In  1967, the top bows and top should be fixed to the car’s body; it appears that the top bows have been removed. (Earlier cars had a completely removable assembly – the top bows actually came apart from their centers, for storage.) These cars are tiny, so if you’re a six-footer or broad in the beam, maybe consider another option! The seller indicates the car runs well and the odometer reads 36,700 miles. He is selling the car on behalf of his father.

The dash and gauges are cosmetically acceptable, though the speedometer appears to be stuck somewhere between ten and twenty mph. The water temp portion of the dual gauge is registering, but the oil pressure is not, so I am assuming the car is turned off here but was driven before its photo shoot – thus the temperature reading. The gear shift cover is painted to match the interior. There’s a bit of wear on the passenger’s side kick panel, but that’s as picky as I can be here.

There is no photo of the engine bay, but we get this photo showing that the lights operate. The car sports two club badges in its grille – likely the sign of an enthusiast. The grille has a few dents – they are made of very thin gauge metal. This car wears steel wheels, though wires were an option. The rear of the car reveals that the paint is not quite as spiffy as it looks from the front. The price seems high for this example, despite its positive attributes, but what do you think?

Comments

  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    The ’67 “Spridgets” were the best of the series. Following models had so much safety and clean air gear on them it overwhelmed the small car’s space for anything else. Nice car here. Parts availability from companies like Moss Motors will keep them on the road for years. Even that slightly damaged grill is available. The 1275 engine has good power for a 1,500 lb car but can be pumped up to whatever level you want with unlimited update equipment available. Good example is our 1275 race engines that are limited in what modifications we can do but are turning out 115 hp. The cars were built for fun and that’s exactly what you get out of them.

    Like 11
  2. Rik

    Plenty of room for a 6 footer in these cars…once you get in the door!

    Like 9
  3. Anthony M.

    While I’m nowhere near an expert, I’m the proud owner of a “1967” MG Midget, and based on a couple of clues, we’ll likely find (much like I did) that this car is the victim of “built in one year, titled in a later year” snags.

    My Midget and, I believe, the above-featured Sprite are 1966 model years sold in 1967 and titled as such.

    The mounting clips on the deck behind the seats are the best clue. True, in 1967 the soft tops were no longer removable, they were attached to the vehicle. 1966 Models still had the two-piece removable cage over which you installed the soft. Same way (sans cage) for the hard tops. The rear bracket is mounted over those two rear clips and then clamped to the windshield with the pair of front clips.

    VERY hard to find an original set of “sticks” for the removable soft top. Took me several years and a moderately long drive and a decent chunk of change.

    IF I’m correct, it likely has the same motor as mine, the 1098cc.

    Like 13
    • bobhess bobhess Member

      Good eye Anthony M. Our ’67 Midget had the non removable top with a visible raised edge around the passenger area and no clips for the top. Note that this car has no raised edge and the clips. BMC was great about using up parts before installing next generation changes so you never know exactly what you’ve got until you research it. The engines were a crap shoot too as the 1098s were installed until they ran out of them.

      Like 6
    • Michelle Rand Staff

      Great comment, thanks so much for posting. Yes, not only did BMC/ British Leyland construct using parts from past models, but they also just used stuff until it ran out.

      Like 2
  4. Pat

    You’re correct. There appears to be a mounting tube for the removable roof frame on the drivers side that is visible in one of the pictures. Just had a flashback of putting the top on in a rainstorm. My girlfriend didn’t understand why I wanted to drive to a nearby gas station that had a canopy. When we got there, already drenched, she understood. It’s not a quick process.

    Like 3
  5. Bamapoppy

    It may need some work but these are enjoyable cars for anyone who enjoys the wind! When I was in high school our first year new graduate English teacher from Vanderbilt had a ‘65 BRG Midget. Since he helped with the track team I got to ride to events with him and loved every second of it!

    Like 1
  6. MattR Member

    This is a flipper. It sold in Reno less than 2 months ago for $5900. That is not a typo. I tried to buy it less than 24 hours after it posted. The seller wrote me back and said somebody came the morning after he posted it and he just wrote me back since I reached out before he pulled the ad. Now this flipper is using the same pictures from the original ad and says he is selling it for his Dad or friend or some nonsense. Buyer beware.

    Like 1
  7. Kevin

    It’s a Mark III car. Padded dash and attached top came with Mark IV. There may have been Mark III 1275s in the end, 1967 or so, but most were 1098s.

  8. Vince O

    Michelle – I am new to the barn finds e mail distribution list. I am VERY interested in learning more about this Austin Healy Sprite and I am not sure what my next steps are to make this happen, I see they are asking 15k, is this an auction ? so many questions, if you are inclined I would love to chat about this ? 281.276.3409 or 281.467.5255
    Vince

  9. Mark Ruggiero Member

    I didn’t think the older cars had external door handles. I’ve owned a couple MK2s and both were side curtain cars that you had to reach inside, if I’m remembering correctly, which is entirely debatable. That said, you don’t have to go very fast in these to feel like you’re flying, they are a ton of fun.

    • bobhess bobhess Member

      The door handles and roll up windows came in the late ’64s along with the 1275 engine. Never had a problem with the side curtains in our ’62 except for an ice storm that froze us out of the car. Kept a hair dryer handy after that.

      Like 1
      • Richard Martin

        You’re right about the roll-up windows and door handles Bob but the 1275 engine didn’t arrive until the Mk4 in 1967. This car is definitely a Mk3. I bought one new in Australia in 1966 and by then, all Sprites here came with wire wheels and a chrome strip on the flanks.

      • Mark Ruggiero Member

        Mine were both 1098s, so Mk2, and I just don’t remember any more for sure about the door handles. Been poking thru old pics in vain. Anyway, someone make a reasonable offer and scarf this little thing up and go have a summer of fun!

  10. matt

    I have a lot of seat time in the 67 Sprite. My longtime friend bought it new and he would drive up from Fort Knox and pick me up at Wright Patterson, and I would drive from then on to Bowling Green State University in Ohio where we would see our girlfriends.
    That car never let us down !
    Always a pleasure to drive, I later bought my MGA because of that seat time.

    Like 1
  11. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    I had a 1972 MG Midget for a short while. Being a Cadillac Diva, this car surely was not for me. I mean, it was fun and sporty, but I’m a luxo barge kinda girl.
    Being 1972, it had outside door handles, roll up windows. Attached convertible top, boot cover and interior cover. Everything was manual, and this girl likes her power options. I also don’t like to shift. Too bad these don’t come in automatic transmission.
    Other than that, they are fun weekend cars. I don’t recommend using them as daily drivers, as I did.

    • Michelle Rand Staff

      Ok I confess, I have a 1968 MG Midget ‘bitsa’ car that I bought from Tom Monaco who at that time was just a couple blocks from my mechanic. The Midget didn’t run or brake so Tom gently pushed it down the street to my mechanic. When it finally started it was a wonder. It was dirty white with the wrong doors, the wrong wing windows, and the wrong windshield. I think maybe the bumpers were wrong too. Anyway, a million years and lots of cosmetics later, it’s still one of my all-time favorites. It has a motor note that rises and falls gently in some kinda harmony that says “all is well all is well”. I would drive it home top down at night in the moonshine past the trees on my road, and it was just divine. It’s still divine. Maybe more divine than ever.

      Like 1
  12. bobhess bobhess Member

    Correct Richard. Shouldn’t type after a long work day.

    Like 1
  13. jw

    So nice to have all the comments about the car as it is, unlike the ding dongs talking about the 914 farther down today.
    I’ll bet this is fun to drive!

    Like 1

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