1960 Austin-Healey Frogeye SpriteSOLD

1275cc engine & Shorrock s'charger

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Registration No: 650 FTX Engine No: 12CE-DA-H CC: 1275 Colour: Turqoise Trim Colour: Black MOT: None

Reference Number 52380

as of 9/29/2009

Overview
Car 1960 Austin-Healey Frogeye Sprite
VIN AN536888 
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Known History

Introduced in May 1958, the Austin-Healey Sprite was intended as a low-cost but high-fun sportscar. Denied an opening boot lid, its lightweight monocoque bodyshell nevertheless featured independent front suspension, a 'live' leaf-sprung back axle and four-wheel drum brakes. Powered by a 948cc four-cylinder A-series engine allied to four-speed manual transmission, the newcomer was reputedly capable of over 80mph. A hoot to drive, BMC's Competition Department was not alone in spotting its tuning potential. As early as 1959 Shorrock was offering supercharger kits for the model and that same year a blown, streamliner version of the 'Baby Healey' was driven by T.H. Wisdom, Ed Leavens and Gus Ehrman to numerous Class G records at the Bonneville Salt Flats; posting a 145.56mph maximum and averaging 138.75mph during a 12-hour endurance run. Since the 1960s, popular 'Frogeye' upgrades have included the installation of larger A-series engines (1098cc or 1275cc), aftermarket fibreglass panels, front disc brakes and wire wheels, while some enterprising American enthusiasts have even managed to convert their cars to small-block Chevy V8 power!

 

According to the DVLA's online vehicle enquiry service, this particular example was first registered on 22nd April 1960 and last taxed for road use on 31st October 1987. During the intervening twenty-seven years, the 'Baby Healey' underwent extensive modification. Made from fibreglass, its bonnet sports a Shorrock Supercharged badge, NACA-style duct and Perspex headlight covers and when lifted reveals a 1275cc A-series engine, SU carburettor-fed Shorrock supercharger, Mobelec electronic ignition module and dual cooling fans. While the interior plays host to a crowded dashboard (eight gauges plus a clock), wood-rim steering wheel and bucket seats. Laid-up for decades, the vendor informs us that at the very least '650 FTX' requires "some scuttle panel welding, rewiring and the reconnection / overhaul of its radiator, clutch and brakes" (though, doubtless more issues would surface as restoration progressed). The subject of an article in the Austin-Healey Owners Club magazine during 1969, the Sprite is accompanied by "a hood, hood frame and sidescreens" as well as numerous spares: "rear diff, clutch, exhaust, propshaft, luggage grid, steering rack, kingpins, bumperettes, brake shoes etc". Riding on widened steel wheels (hence its rear wheelarch extensions), '650 FTX' has the makings of fascinating and rewarding project.