1960 AUSTIN HEALEY SPRITE MKI ‘FROG EYE’
If anyone in the British motoring industry had sports car credentials, it was Donald Healey. Driving an Invicta, Healey had won the Monte Carlo Rally outright despite encountering heavy snow.
The man was a top driver, an entrepreneur, a fierce competitor and a terrific driver.
After World War II, he set up his own business in Warwick, England, to manufacture his own line of Healey automobiles. The bodies and chassis were unique and drivelines came from Riley. The cars were well-designed and carefully-built. They were also quite expensive. In 1952 he interested BMC chief Leonard Lord in a new sports car called the Healey Hundred. Renamed the Austin-Healey 100, the car was immediately a resounding success in the market for mid-priced British Sports cars. It was beautiful, had good performance and would top 100 miles per hour-hence the name.
Intended to make sports car motoring more affordable, the Donald Healey-designed Sprite entered production at MG’s Abingdon factory in March 1958. The new car was officially introduced a few months later in Monte Carlo, just prior to the Monte Carlo Rally, underlining this brand new car’s sporting intentions. Its unitary construction body shell featured a distinctive, rearward-hinging, combined bonnet and wings, which was topped by two ‘frog eye’ headlamps, thus ensuring instant recognition and the now familiar nickname.
Powered initially by the Austin A35’s 948cc A-Series engine, the Sprite used independent front suspension and rack-and-pinion steering, ensuring great roadholding. Equipped with twin SU carburetors, the engine produced 43bhp, which was good enough for a top speed of around 86mph. Despite a Spartan equipment level – even the front bumper was listed as an extra! – the ‘Frog Eye’ sold well, which perhaps was unsurprising as there was nothing competing with it either on price or performance.
ABOUT THIS SPECIFIC EXAMPLE
This specific example is absolutely amazing. We never ever saw a car so well restored which had such a (relative low) value. This has costed at least double or maybe triple the value of the car but the result is absolutely amazing.
The car has been restored by a very good friend of us but amongst all a gentlemen who is a superb restorer, a detailer in every aspect and a specialist which is nowadays hard to find. It is a gentlemen who owns one of the most well known Healey restoration companies in the world.
He restored this car for his wife and daughter but both were too small for the car and therefore he offered us to buy this Sprite. It is seriously an honor that he gave us the opportunity as we always loved these cars but we were mostly disappointed by the condition because of the fact that the restoration costs are much higher then the value of the car.
The car is in our opinion most probably the most beautiful restored example in the world. The Austin is to original specification and has all of its fully functioning weather equipment (hood, side screens, full tonneau).
The Frogeye is totally restored with NEW OLD STOCK parts meaning that these parts are not reproduced but original parts which were never used and still in the plastic since new.
Another impressive detail is the fact that the car was in such a good shape when the restoration started that it did not had to be welded. Making the Frogeye most probably the most original and best/most correct Frogeye in the world.
This example was delivered new to the Hambro Trading Inc. at the 26th. of October 1959.
Hambro was the American Importer for MG, Austin and later BMC. Their main office was in New York, but they did have offices in other cities. They were responsible for bringing the cars into the U.S. and clearing them through customs.
They did not do direct sales to retail customers but funneled them through distributors and eventually to local dealers. Here’s some more background: http://www.mg-cars.org.uk/mgtd/mgtd_america.htm#Importers
The Frogeye was newly ordered in Old English White with a black interior and a black softtop and as optionals the car was fitted with a rev counter, a heater and a windscreen washer. All these optionals are still on the car.
A description of the exterior of the car is actually very quickly written as this car is absolutely amazing bodywise but also the separate parts as the surrounding of the windscreen, the grille, the bumpers and even the knobs for the soft top are in an amazing nice / new condition.
The window is brand new without any damages or scratches and even small parts as rubbers under the windscreen are all as new.
Exterior wise this car is unique, with beautiful door linings an amazing straight body and superb quality of paint.
The interior is like the exterior. Completely period correct and in as new condition. The carpet but also the doorcards and the seats are all brand new but exactly as they were original. The correct material, the correct details and all as new.
Absolutely amazing but this car could be used for a brochure how these cars were sold new.
This beautifully presented Sprite offers charming looks, and should be a fun companion on the backroads for a relatively modest investment.
Frogeye Sprites have been the favored entry-level sports car since 1958 and nothing has changed in the intervening 49 years. However, it is particularly rare to find such a sympathetically and super restored Sprite that has never ever seen rust.
The car drives as she looks. Extremely well. Every single part has been completely taken apart and has been restored/rebuilt but again with keeping in mind originality.
The Austin starts immediately is seriously fast and handles wonderful. The car is ready to go for a nice holiday tour.
A selection between the impressive restoration picture
For more information or an appointment, please call Rutger Houtkamp+31625098150 or send an e-mail to Rutger@Houtkamp.nl. Please do not hesitate to contact us by phone during evenings or in the weekend. The Houtkamp Collection is centrally located near Amsterdam and only 10 minutes from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.
The information provided on this website has been compiled by The Houtkamp Collection with the utmost care. The information contained within this advert is provided ‘as-is’, without warranties as to its accuracy whether expressed or implied and is intended for informational purposes only. The Houtkamp Collection is not liable for any errors or mistakes.
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