Sold for £13,275
(including buyers premium)
Registration No: 417 XVN
Chassis No: AN5-/38227
Thanks to its prominent, bonnet-mounted headlights, the original Austin-Healey Sprite quickly became known as the `Frogeye'. The little two-seater, designed by the Donald Healey Motor Company and built by BMC at the MG factory in Abingdon, was launched in Monte Carlo immediately prior to the 1958 Monaco Grand Prix. The unique, one-piece bonnet covered a mildly tuned, twin carburettor, 43bhp 948cc version of the BMC `A' series engine already found in the Austin A35 and Morris Minor. The suspension featured coil springs and wishbones up front, quarter elliptic springs to the rear and lever arm dampers all round. Today, the Sprite is legendary as one of the best-handling Sports Cars of its time and regularly lives up to its reputation with many of them still finding use in competition events internationally.
According to a BMC Heritage Certificate that is provided with the car, chassis no. 38277 originally started life as a Left-Hand Drive Specification car, finished in Old English White with a Black interior, in Portland, Oregon where it was kept for most of its life. It is understood that the car was imported to the UK around 2018 by the previous owner who was a gentleman who lived in Norfolk and he proceeded to spend a small fortune on the restoration of the car. In the history folder, there is a mountain of receipts for thousands of pounds covering everything from grinding discs and welding bottles through to a complete Clutch kit, Brake System, Interior parts, new wiring loom and much more. It was at this time that the car was converted to Right Hand Drive and repainted to the Iris Blue colour she is today. The vendor bought the car in 2020 and continued performing small maintenance tasks and never once drove the car in the rain. One morning, he arrived at his garage to find that the car's paint had crazed badly, so at that point he made the decision to take the car for a full bare metal respray at a local, professional paint shop. Since then, the vendor has decided it is time to move the car on to a new home as he is just not using it as much as he had expected to.
On inspection, this little Sprite presented very well for us when the vendor pulled back the cover on his driveway. The Iris Blue paintwork appears very fresh indeed and the sun bounced off it to accentuate the legendary curves of the car. The car fortunately still retains its original metal bonnet which is in as fine condition as the rest of the car, but in the car's past it was chosen to change it to a forward hinge (E-Type Style) opening and there are some non-standard clasps that hold it down. The original bonnet hinges are still however in place so it would be easy enough to put this back to standard if you so wish. The refurbished, blue interior appears to be in fine condition with the vinyl seats and carpets matching up in maturity to the recent receipts for their replacement. The dashboard has been recovered at some point in Blue rexine and both the Speedometer and Tachometer appear to be the original Smiths items, with the odometer displaying 18411 miles at the time of our visit (this cannot be warranted). The car is fitted with a non-standard sports-style steering wheel to aid more spirited driving. On inspection, we also noted a relatively new-looking matching blue hood and tonneau cover for those wetter days and the car will also come with a set of original sidescreens that are in need of some refurbishment that we have not photographed.
At the start of our trip to the photography shoot, the vendor turned the ignition key, to which there was the pleasing click of an SU style fuel pump (not a standard fitment on these cars) then pulled the starter cable and the little 948cc A Series engine burst into life - sounding very sporty through its stainless steel exhaust system - with what appeared to be relative ease, breathing through a pair of SU HS2 1.25 inch carburettors - an upgrade for the MK1 Frogeye to MK2 specification as the original carburettors wear badly and have a leaking fuel habit! The vendor advised that the car drives very nicely, with smooth gear changes and a fine feeling clutch. The electrical system all appears to be fine except a non-working fuel gauge. Overall, the owner of this little Sprite advises the car is in good working order with fabulous looking paintwork and it is ready to be enjoyed for the remainder of summer.
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All successful bids must be paid in full by midday the day after the auction at the latest.
You can collect your new pride and joy from our venue until 1pm the day following the sale or our partners are on hand to help arrange safe transportation:
Auction: Pavilion Gardens | Buxton, Derbyshire, 26th Jul, 2023
An auction of classic, collector and performance motorcars to be held in the beautiful surrounds of the Pavilion Gardens, Buxton, Derbyshire.
Bidding will take place live at the venue, online via our website, by telephone and commission.
Parking at the venue is available and entry into the auction is free for auction attendees with a catalogue, available at the door.
To enquire about entering your classic or performance car into the auction please call our sales office on 01925 210035, email sales@HandH.co.uk or click the Get A Valuation button. All our professional valuations are complimentary and without obligation.
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Tuesday 25th July 2023 from 12pm to 6pm
Wednesday 26th July 2023 from 9am
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