Sunday, November 23, 2014

15k: Bug Eyed Racer: 1959 Austin-Healey Sprite

Have you ever wanted to attract groups of middle aged British gentlemen like the ghost of Princess Diana giving out perfectly cooked servings of cottage pie?  The easy way (and free from voodoo) is to pick up a racing liveried Austin-Healey Sprite and cruise around your local pub.  Like this 1959 Austin-Healey Sprite here on eBay currently bidding for $15,100 with a few hours to go, located in Hollidaysburg, PA.

Most of the Austin-Healey Sprites you'll find around are the later Spridget variety that were 99% MG Midget, but this is an early version.  They are known as the 'Bugeye' in the US and the "Frogeye' in the UK...we can only assume that Frogs look like Bugs in dreary overcast Britain...

This bugeye is powered by a later 1275 cc engine putting out an undisclosed amount of horsepower and mated to a rebuilt Datsun 5 speed transmission.  The engine and bay looks very clean, but the wire routing is a bit haphazard -- an easy thing to fix if you've got some time and a mild case of OCD.

The inside of this car looks in good shape in the few pictures provided by the seller.  It is very motorsporty, with old school seat belt latches and a fire extinguisher.

See a happier face for sale?


  1. With the low windshield "Bug Eyed" may have a whole different meaning.
    I really like it, it is probably a blast to drive on curvy country roads having the 5 speed transmission.
    I like the low stance and look of the drivers head rest do-dad. (What do you call that?)

    Of course we must comment what we would change... Needs a real roll bar, lose the stickers except maybe Mr Flying Mobil, and bring your imagination of your future engine swap!

  2. To my eyes, this thing is absolutely perfect. I love the fairing behind the driver's head. That side-view shot in the E-Bay ad reminds me of a miniature D-Type Jag. The low windscreen (as the Brits would call it) makes the car look purposeful.

    Excellent mechanical upgrades. The owner even engineered the fairing so it comes off if you need to put up the roof.

    I would not change a thing, except the name on the ownership papers.

    1. Hey, you answered my question!
      Fairing - An auxiliary structure or the external surface of a vehicle, such as an aircraft, that serves to reduce drag.

  3. This is nicely done my brother had a friend with one around 1966 he use to beat it and it looked it seemed to run pretty good they never used the door's they would just jump in it.

  4. What's not to like? We'll find out when it's posted on BAT...

  5. Sold for $16,100. I'd say well bought.

  6. too bad a roll cage sufficient to make that safe to take on a track would be bigger that the rest of the car.

    1. Think many US race classes of that stripe need to have a roll bar tall enough that a line from the bar to the nose of the car clears the driver's helmet, which makes the bars stick up far enough to look ridiculous. I can understand the reason, but it still jus' don' look right.

  7. Beautiful car and if it's really as good as it looks, worth the asking price.

    As for the crowds of British gentlemen, they're probably a bit past middle-aged at this point. Scary to think I'm not too far from that horizon as well.


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