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Exceptional Sprite

There is nothing new under the sun. For example, "pimping" a car. Immediately after the appearance of the Austin-Healey Sprite in 1958, many tuners saw salvation in the car. Small, agile and light, there had to be a so-called pocket rocket out of it.


The modifications made by John Sprintzel, who 'Sebring"were mentioned. Nowadays a very expensive object, at least if it is a real one with an aluminum body. The replica market is now running at full speed with regard to that model. Optionally available in polyester or aluminum, with or without fast motor, specification, depending on how well filled your bags are. In the late fifties and sixties, even seventies, there were several handy businessmen who were able to beautify the lines of the Austin-Healey Sprite and MG Midget.

That was how it went in those years, first a nice steering wheel, then a meter, another meter, another meter and before you knew it the entire dashboard was full. Was apparently not enough?
That was how it went in those years, first a nice steering wheel, then a meter, another meter, another meter and before you knew it the entire dashboard was full. Was apparently not enough?

The best known is perhaps the Ashley Laminates company. They could supply a tightly lined hood for such a toddler, if desired with an identical ditto hardtop. It suddenly became a completely different car. Dozens of specialists were involved in this, not only in Great Britain, but also in Switzerland, France and the United States. One was the company Peasmarsh Reinforced Plastics Ltd. From the British Peasmarsh near Guildford, you know, in the County of Surrey. South of the British capital. For the Sprite 'Frogeye' they supplied streamlined hoods with built-in headlights. We don't see such hoods that often. The contemporary enthusiast goes for the Ashley or Speedwell model.

The Sprite shown here (from 1962, so one of the very last 'Frogeyes'!)) We saw some time ago in Great Britain. An exceptional car that was completely adapted in its early years. People were already impressed by the tinkering at the time, to such an extent that the now defunct British magazine 'Hot Car' devoted an extensive article to it in 1969. The specification is therefore impressive. The Downton company, also no stranger to the world of BMC tuners at the time, supplied a close ratio gear set, the fully machined 1275 cm3 engine is equipped with, among other things, an aluminum flywheel from yet another famous tuner-from-then Aquaplane.

Interesting and nowadays a very expensive accessory, a Shorrock Supercharger
Interesting and nowadays a very expensive accessory, a Shorrock Supercharger

At that time they were mainly concerned with making Fords faster. As icing on the cake there is also a Shorrock Supercharger mounted. Very special. Looking further, beating and feeling more things stand out. The doors are made of polyester, the wheels are 5,5 inch wide. Dunlop disc brakes are mounted at the front, at the rear - original! - Alfin brake drums. Have you ever seen better fender wideners? A look into the interior makes you shiver as unsuspecting enthusiast. Let's be the only one work of art call it, the result of a crazy hobbyist?

The seats are completely perfect, even the original Les Leston steering wheel can charm, but that dashboard ... Although, between all the meters and buttons is still a very rare meter with which the pressure of the super charger can be read and a meter with which the level in the crankcase can be measured without having to open the bonnet, the dipstick has to be pulled out ... The owner, who recently discovered the cart and managed to purchase it, proudly shows see the purchase note from 1962, a lot of 'paperwork' about the Shorroch Super Charger, even a coupon book with which gas could be purchased in the years of the Suez crisis ... The cart was sprayed 42 years ago and 23 was in a garage box for years. The engine runs, the thing drives and brakes. Everything is said with that. With a bit of goodwill, however, all patina can be preserved and that is also worth something?


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