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MQTA #6 Austin Healey Sprites ?


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#1 arttidesco

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 15:57

Last week I noticed at least three 'genuine' Sprites with some sort of history from the 50's/60's , the oldest of which appears to be 888HPA registered in 1958 in the H&H auction that went for £10,450

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The H&H blurb tells us this car was fitted with a 'Lenham Fastback' body in the early sixties, however from what I have been able to discern there is little difference between the 'Fastback' and 'Lenham GT' are these indeed one and the same body style or have I missed something obvious ?

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Second, I've looked at several Sprite sites including the Williams & Pritchard site, it seems every Sprite has a different bonnet can anyone confirm what sort of bonnet 888HPA is seen with in the photo above ?

Third the H&H page has a B&W pic of 888 HPA with what looks like pop up head lights which I understand were originally envisaged for the Sprite before the Frogeye layout emerged.

However I understand the production was going to have a Porsche 928 type pop up rather than a Lotus Elan type pop up does any one recognise who made the nose for 888HPA in the H&H Black and white photo ?

Finally does any one know who was driving 888 HPA, where and when the H&H B&W photo was taken ?

Thanking you in anticipation of your responses :-)

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#2 David Birchall

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 18:05

I flipped through "Spritely Years" and "Mighty Midgets & Special Sprites" but found no mention of this particular car.
When the "Frog Eye" was introduced people were concerned about the aerodynamic drawbacks of the headlights and some simply removed them completely for racing and filled in the holes-this car had gone half way-possibly to comply with regulations?
The bonnet on the car now appears to be an Ashley. As far as I recall the Lenham GT and fastback were the same thing only writ different.
I thought this was quite a good deal at ten grand and especially good if the new owner can find period racing history.

#3 arttidesco

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 18:21

I flipped through "Spritely Years" and "Mighty Midgets & Special Sprites" but found no mention of this particular car.
When the "Frog Eye" was introduced people were concerned about the aerodynamic drawbacks of the headlights and some simply removed them completely for racing and filled in the holes-this car had gone half way-possibly to comply with regulations?
The bonnet on the car now appears to be an Ashley. As far as I recall the Lenham GT and fastback were the same thing only writ different.
I thought this was quite a good deal at ten grand and especially good if the new owner can find period racing history.


Thanks for your time and trouble David, the black and white pic seems to indicate a history is there to be found :up:

#4 Allan Lupton

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Posted 05 March 2011 - 00:02

Where's garyfrogeye when you need him?
He'll know.

#5 garyfrogeye

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Posted 05 March 2011 - 01:30

Eh-up did someone call?
The rear is a lenham GT which is the same as the Lenham Fastback but slightly different to the Lenham Le Mans fastback (see link to the brochure).
Another car sold a few years ago (via Bonhams) and now resides in the Netherlands (the light blue one in my links).
The front is a Williams & Pritchard type (or possibly a Sebring type one) I think and the later lenhams had a squarer radiator intake.
Apologies as once again I only seem able to post the links rather than the images

http://flic.kr/p/9nPRvB
http://flic.kr/p/9nPQpt
http://flic.kr/p/9nPQp4
http://flic.kr/p/9nSSQ3

As David says, may people simply removed the headlight and filled the hole as the one in the image shows. Some even just took out the light but kept the shroud as an efficient way of forcing extra air into the carbs.
888HPA's chassis number is slightly incorrect as all Mk1 Sprite began with "AN5" not "ANJ" as is stated. The usual mistake is to see AN5 mistakenly writes as an ANS but I realise that we are getting into the realms of real minutiae here.
I will find out who the driver was if I can as H&H quote "'888 HPA', is reported to have been originally converted for racing by the Naylor Brothers." It sounds logical that it might have been one of them.

Edited by garyfrogeye, 05 March 2011 - 09:37.


#6 arttidesco

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 13:16

Thanks for your clarification on the nose Gary.

I notice 888HPA does not have a window behind the the 'B' pillar but does have a vestigial Gurney flap a combination I have yet to see any where else.

MSU819 in your second photo comes close except that it appears to have a flat back panel as opposed to the recessed effect on the back of 888HPA above. Could that be a significant clue as to what type of back 888HPA is now carrying ?

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I wonder how H&H originally described the chassis number in the catalogue ?

Came across 3 Naylors on Racing Sports Cars .com Brian, George and 'N' none of whom are yet listed as Sprite drivers might the driver of 888HPA been one of these or were there others ?

#7 Tim Murray

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 13:49

There could be a possible connection with George Naylor, who married Miss Shilling (of orifice fame). According to this post from RWB, they both raced a Sprite, among other cars.

You may not have recognised her married name. She race as Beatrice Naylor in a modified Lagonda Rapier shared with husband George, later the Elva and Sprite. I knew nothing of the Eagle connection until I saw Matthew Freudenberg's book "Negative Gravity". He has pictures of Gurney and Weslake at RAE Farnborough with the F1 Eagle. They were seeking help from Mrs N and others with cooling problems. She was a real character.



#8 garyfrogeye

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 14:11

I think that 888HPA is carrying a pretty standard early lenham fastback top

They described it incorrectly as "ANJ" which is also how the DVLA and most probably the log book describes it too. However this is incorrect and should be "AN5" irrespective of what DVLA say. The only variation (with one exception) for Mk1 Sprites could be "AN5L" the addition of the L signifies LHD and donotes export models.
The one exception is in the case of exported "knock down kits" (reassebled in an Australian factory) which usually carry the Vin number starting with "YHAN1"

I think that the vestigial (a word I had to look up) Gurney flap possibly varied from owner to owner is that what I'd call a Kam tail?
I've put some additional images here.

https://picasaweb.go...geye/LenhamTNF#

Including an aftermarket pop-up headlight kit which I've never seen in thre flesh. As mentioned the original pop-up headlight system looked much more like the Porsche 928 lights.
You could try contacting John Shep in Australia he has this site
http://www.lenhamspridgetregister.com/

Edited by garyfrogeye, 06 March 2011 - 14:26.


#9 Allan Lupton

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 14:24

I think that the vestigial (a word I had to look up) Gurney flap possibly varied from owner to owner is that what I'd call a Kam tail?

If what he called a "Gurney flap" is the slightly turned-up bit where the fastback meets the cut-off tail that is indeed part of the Kamm tail, as found on lots of cars (including Ferraris), and is based on the 1930s work of Wunibald Kamm. The cut-off bit is the true Kamm tail, but the lip spoiler (which controls the breakaway of the air) came in post-war as on this Ferrari
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AFAIK the Gurney flap is a device on the trailing edge of a wing (car not aeroplane) and was named after Dan Gurney in the 1970s

Edited by Allan Lupton, 06 March 2011 - 14:26.


#10 David Birchall

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 17:33

Nowt to do with Gurney I think!
A friend here in Vancouver bought a Lenham Sprite on ebay a few years ago. It is unusual in that the windshield frame is not a Sprite/Midget item as almost all others are. This car uses a molded in frame and is quite attractive-another has turned up like it in New York. This car intrigues me because of the Lenham body panels and because it was owned by the original owner -in England- for 25 years or so. DVLA, having responded to my telephone request for info by saying "send us a money order for five quid and we will tell you more" then replied "we don't release information to people outside of England" once I did!
The car is pictured on the following page-scroll down, it is 505CYF.
http://www.sebringsp....com/lenham.htm

#11 arttidesco

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 18:17

I'll stand corrected on the 'Kamm tail' :blush:

Thanks for all the additional information :-)