Friday, March 20, 2015

8k: 1 Dollar Per Mile: 1962 Austin Healey Sprite, 7,613 miles

Of all the reasons to not drive a car, none are very convincing. They usually go like this: fear of damaging the car, fear of the car damaging them, sheer forgetfulness, or a plan to hold it for future value. The thought of a greasy Hooters patron with a ponytail and white gloves pushing a British roadster around a humid stage in Arizona gives me the willies, so someone buy this before a collector does. Find this 1962 Austin Healey Sprite with just 7,613 miles for sale in Sacramento, CA for $7,750 via craigslist.

"It was commonly driven as a Sunday cruiser in the last 50 years and has been garage kept," the seller says. Sunday driving over the last 50 years adds up to 2,600 opportunities to drive this car, allowing less than three miles per outing. That's hardly enough time for the little OHV four-cylinder to warm up. Hey you, with the clipboard and speculum - make sure you check for carbon deposits.

In 1962, the old 948cc A-unit was replaced with a 1098cc stroker, a change resulting in a horsepower bump from 46 to 56. It's hard to tell which version is under the orange hood. Tell the auction booklet copy editor to stop the press until we figure this out. Better yet, scrap the whole thing for another Cialis ad.

You owe it to yourself, to this car, and to roadster lovers around the world to rescue this MKII Sprite. An act of such altruism is its own reward; the 1,500-lb curb weight, four-speed manual transmission, and butt-on-the-ground driving experience are merely orange-hued icing on the cake. But please, try to put some more miles under this car's wheels. Speaking of wheels, are those Minilites or Panasports? Are they period correct? Do they have a period-correct patina of Pepsi stains?

See a low-mile damsel in distress? Email us at

PhiLOL actually likes the tuna here, but abhors structural rust. Save the manuals.


  1. It's just adorable.

  2. Only 143 miles a year but owned by the same person for at least 50 years? Sunday drives? 1 mile each way to the DQ on Sundays for 50+ years?

  3. If it really is legit and the original paint, way cool! Looks like some numbskull added a silly boy-racer steering wheel. I'd also want the original steelies.

  4. Or more likely, it's been around the clock once, and that's 107,613 miles. Especially as the seller acquired it from an estate, and admits that he doesn't know much about the car. 107k miles is still really low for a 50 year old car, and still a pretty good deal if it all checks out.

  5. If you only put 143 miles a year on a car why would you even put speakers in it?

  6. I owned a much abused somewhat rusty 1962 in about 1968, it was a sink-hole for ca$h and a truly unlucky vehicle...having said that, it was a hoot to drive, very toss-able in the twisty bits, but do try to avoid the freeways for extended runs with that 1098cc engine...mine was never happy in that mode for an extended period.

    I still like these cars but I've always said if I got another it would have to be at least a 1965 with windup windows and a 1275cc engine, possibly made even better with the 5-speed transmission swap....but this one is very interesting, if only due to it's survivor status.

    Is that even a factory colour from 1962 ? Red, I could understand, but "orange" in 1962 ?

    And what is that finish in the trunk, is that red primer ?

    I too am ambiguous regarding the claimed mileage, a paper trail would do wonders for credibility, as it's my understanding, in the US, if a vehicle is over 20 years old what the odometer shows is what is permissible to advertise as "correct" ,mileage.

    I'm also curious if it comes with a tonneau, the side screens and the frame and top....Oh yeah, are the original wheels available ?


    1. Looks to be a non-factory color according to the paint codes listed on this Sprite Site. No orange listed at all. My guess is that it was originally Highway Yellow. I think I see some yellow places where the orange paint is flaking off in the hood shut aperture on the firewall.

  7. Not buying any of it: low miles or much of anything else. It might be a nice enough car, but the orange alone is enough to make me want to run away. ;)

  8. In the US (in most states that I'm aware of), if the car is 10 years or older there is no needed mileage "mileage exceeds mechanical limits."

  9. With the changes of paint, rims, etc., I also question the mileage. 107K would mean 2K miles a year. Much more believable for a fair weather, weekend car.

  10. The engine is the wrong colour. It would have been green. As others have already said, the paint also is not original. Sorry, but this car has had extensive work, and it is debatable whether the seller knows it or just putting forward a good story.

    Nonetheless, it might still be a decent buy at something near the asking price.


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