Classic Car Restoration 
Friday, April 8, 2011, 02:25 PM
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Austin Healy Sprite 
Friday, April 8, 2011, 02:15 PM
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Leaping into production in 1958, the Donald Healey Sprite was a low cost sports car which used existing BMC parts to ensure the overheads of production remained low. The Austin Healey Sprite would prove to be a big success.

The commonly named "Austin Frogeye", the Mark I Sprite, was a massive success in its three years of production, with no other car competing on price or performance. As its widely used nickname suggests, the distinctive look of the Mark I Sprite owed itself to the round headlamps on the bonnet of the car, nicked named "frog-eye" headlamps. Cheap and easy to maintain, the wings and bonnet was a one piece unit which opened up to allow easy and large access to the engine. The Mark I used the 948cc Austin A-Series engine which was tuneable and capable of 43bhp, the A35 gearbox and axles, and the twin SU carburettors. Equipped with leaf spring suspension to the front, and wishbone suspension to the rear, the Mark I got its suspension from earlier models such as the A35 and Morris Minor.

The Mark II saw some cosmetic changes including the famous headlamps being moved onto the wings, a change of rear bumper, and the introduction of front disc brakes. The Mark II was also equipped with a new larger engine from the Morris Minor 1000 and Morris Minor 1100, increasing the engine size to 1098cc.

A less performance-geared Mark III Sprite was more refined with lockable doors, wind up windows and quarter lights. With the rebranding of the Sprite by BMC to the Midget, the Sprite Mark III was also sold as the MG Midget Mark II.

The Mark IV had two main differences: an increased capacity to 1275cc and a convertible roof instead of the removable roofs from the earlier variations.

The production of this classic car ended in 1971. Today many of these classic cars are known as "Spridgets" by the classic car enthusiasts community, due to the Austin Healey Sprite and the MG Midgets sharing the same design and parts. This makes finding parts relatively easy due to the parts being interchangeable.
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