✨ “Take it easy driving – the life you save may be mine.”
― James Dean


Friday, 26 July 2013

Austin Healey Sprite

There may have been faster, smaller sports cars than the 1958 Austin Healey Sprite, but few have been more endearing. With its gaping grin and the pop-eyed headlights that gave it its "Frogeye" nickname, this little brother to the big 3000 Healey captured the hearts of enthusiasts the world over.

In fact, the trademark protruding lights were an afterthought when the extra cost ruled out Donald Healey's idea for retracting headlights.

Taking its mechanics from the well-filled BMC parts-bin (mostly Morris Minor and Austin A35), the 11ft 5in (3.5m) Sprite had a chirpy character on the road, too, with a respectable top speed of 84 mph (135kph) and up to 45mpg attainable.

 Its one-piece front-end lifter up to give excellent access to the 948cc A Series engine, which gave all of 43bhp.

Engine : In-line four
Capacity : 948cc
Power : 43bhp
Transmission : 4-speed manual
Top Speed : 84mph (135kph)
No. Built : 38,999

It spawned many variants with increasing levels of ugliness and luxury, though the performance of the last Austin Sprite in the early 70s was way above the original Frogeye. there was a badge-engineered MG variant, too, reviving the old Midget name, that lasted until the late 70s in hideous rubber-bumpered form.

The Frogeye was unmistakable from the rear too, with its tiny lights and minimal bumpers. 

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