Sold for £10,400
(including buyers premium)
Registration No: UJF 551
Chassis No: AN5 / 5418
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.
An original UK car, 'UJF 551' was first registered in March 1959 in the Leicester area (denoted by the ‘JF’ of the registration number). According to its V5C, the car has had two former keepers since 1959. The Frogeye has an enormous history file which includes an original continuation logbook from the early 1970s, an original workshop manual and parts list. The Austin-Healey was inherited by the vendor in 2017 after a long period of ownership by his father, who sadly passed away some years ago. The vendor’s father purchased the car during the 1990's as a complete wreck and proceeded to spend many long nights welding parts of the car back up and mechanically restoring it and the vendor proudly remembers helping during this process. The vendor has now decided to sell the car as he is not finding the time to use it to the as much as his father did.
On inspection, 'UJF 551' presents remarkably well considering the age of the restoration and we were pleased to see that the car still retains an original steel bonnet. The car was repainted in Embassy Maroon which was done to a high standard at the time, however, unfortunately this has blistered significantly externally on the bodywork and we believe that for perfection the car would have to be repainted - but is perfectly usable as is. The interior appears in fine condition having been subject to fresh carpets and seat covers. The steering wheel is a period leather wrapped Les Leston item that perfectly adds to the charm of this car.
The engine bay visually appears to be in fine fettle and the engine itself ran and drove on the day but we would recommend a recommissioning service due to the recent lack of use. The brakes and suspension appeared to work well with the front brakes having been converted to discs during the restoration.
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All successful bids must be paid in full by midday the day after the auction at the latest.
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Auction: 30th Anniversary Sale at The Imperial War Museum | Duxford, Cambridgeshire, 20th Sep, 2023
Established in 1993, H&H has sold some of the world's most significant motorcars and motorcycles over the past 30 years. Now owned by its employees and trusted by over 75,000 clients worldwide, we are the longest established auction house of our kind in Europe.
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Tuesday 19th September 2023 from 1pm to 8pm
Wednesday 20th September 2023 from 9am
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