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Austin Healey Sebring Sprite


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#1 MarkWill

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Posted 25 November 2002 - 23:34

Hi,

I was searching the 'net when I came upon an article about the Austin Healey Sebring Sprite Mk11 on the British Classic Sports Cars site. When I searched for more information about this interesting car, I found that the origins and even the quantity of cars produced is a bit fuzzy (was it five, or six which were produced, and how many were raced?). It would appear that the chassis came off the regular production line at Abingdon, but that they were subsequently modified (not too sure for which competition) using alloy body parts, and didn't figure as part of the regular production.

They were pretty cars, but I have no idea what became of them (how successful), or who decided to build them and for what specific purpose (were they Monte Carlo rally cars, or were they aimed at other events as well?). Any info is welcome.

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#2 Vitesse2

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Posted 25 November 2002 - 23:47

The Sebring Sprite was developed by John Sprinzel:

http://www.sebringsp...com/history.htm

#3 MarkWill

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Posted 26 November 2002 - 00:34

Hi Vitesse,

Thanks for the fast reply. Yes, I checked out that site, and although it gives some info, it doesn't fill in the "raison d'etre" of the cars, or what the development goal was (rallying?). Still, it points to six cars being completed (odd - elsewhere I have read of only four being raced, and a fifth used either for practice or development - not too sure which). I thought that even in those days (beginning of the sixties) you had to produce a certain number of vehicles (fifty or more) to be eligible to rally...?

#4 Garagiste

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Posted 26 November 2002 - 13:44

Was there not a very similar (and popular) conversion to the Mk 1 Sprite? I've seen at least two on the road, which I'm fairly certain were not the ones in the article, and I've always thought "Oh look - a Sebring". Now I'm not sure where I "learned" what they were called from. :confused:

#5 Vitesse2

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Posted 26 November 2002 - 14:12

Garagiste: perhaps you're thinking of the Speedwell conversion of the Mk 1 Sprite? That was a John Sprinzel project too, but he left Speedwell after a disagreement. The two coupés look very similar.

#6 Garagiste

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Posted 26 November 2002 - 14:26

That's probably it V2 - had faired in lights, sort of reminiscent of a Marcos?

#7 Vitesse2

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Posted 26 November 2002 - 14:39

Speedwell Sprite:

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#8 Garagiste

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Posted 26 November 2002 - 15:12

After a lengthy search that turned up no decent pictures, it appears I was thinking of the Lenham Le Mans replica. Why I decided to christen these Sebrings, I've no idea.
Thanks anyway, we learn something new...

#9 BRG

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Posted 26 November 2002 - 17:21

Garagiste

Try looking at http://www.fisc-racing.com/ which seems to have some nice piccies of various different Spridget versions.

I was interested in this as I knew the late Tony Straker slightly, through rallying. He ran what I understood was a Sebring Sprite in club-level tarmac rallying for many years. But it is not amongst the 6 cars mentioned in this thread, so maybe it was a replica of some sort.

#10 Garagiste

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Posted 26 November 2002 - 17:27

BRG :up: This is the baby: http://www.fisc-racing.com/index2.html
The No 28 is the view I remember - big smiley face and the covered lights. Nice. :)

#11 Roger Clark

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Posted 26 November 2002 - 19:39

I'm a little confused.

I always thought the Sebring Sprite was named after car Moss drove in the 1960 Sebring 4-hour race. That car bore the registration number PMO200 which was later used by John Sprinzel's rally cars. I'm fairly sure it was a works entry.

The website pointed to by Vitesse says that the Sebring Sprite was introduced by Sprinzel at the 1961 Racing Car show. Yet Autosport's report of the show refers to "the latest version" of the Sebring Sprite. Motoer Racing's report says that this model first appeared in the (1960) RAC Rally.

Lastly, MarkWill's original post on this thread refers to the "Austin Healey Sebring Sprite Mk11". Now the Mark II version of the road going Sprite was introduced later in 1961 but bore no resemblance to the Sebring bodyshell.

I would therefore conclude that the car introduced by Sprinzel was a replica of the works racer. They built at least two; whether these are included in the production figure gven above, I don't know.

#12 MarkWill

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Posted 26 November 2002 - 21:13

Hi Roger,

You are right to be confused. I was referring to the sprite mk 2, which has a different body to the Speedwell Sprite

I hope the British Classic Sports Cars Site, and the author of the Spritely Years Book concerning these cars don't mind me borrowing this reference: -

"The four cars entered by the Donald Healey Motor Company in the 3-hour 1000cc GT race were alloy- panelled Mk11s, hand crafted by the body team at the Cape under Bill Buckingham. The four cars and a fifth spare or practice car, were prepared to a new set of homologation papers, labelled Sprite Sebring Mk11. It should be noted however that even these cars hand-built by the works for competition were still based on cars taken off the production line, with ordinary chassis numbers. The Longbridge production trace is totally blank for these cars, but the MG Production Order ledger, which was on the shop floor at Abingdon, is marked 'Sebring' and there is the added pencil note: Not to be counted in production less than 50'. This would probably mean that they were supplied less engine and gearbox, but fully built up and finished in Iris Blue with (some) blue trim and the blue hoods specified."

Are these the cars referred to by John Sprinzel? I have no dea what 3-hour GT race they were referring to in the quote.

By the way, this thread was originally intended to answer a question - did Austin Healey's ever race against Maserati's?

#13 Roger Clark

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Posted 26 November 2002 - 23:02

The three hour race referred to is probably th 1962 Sebring 3-hours, run the day before the 12-hour race. BMC entered four cars to be driven by Stirling Moss, Innes Ireland, Pedro Rodriguez and somebody called Steve McQueen. Their main opposition was a team of Briggs Cunningham entered Fiat-Abarthe, driven by Bruce McLaren, Walt Hansgen and Roger Penske. The Abarths were considerably faster than the Sprites and McLaren and Hansgen finished first and second. moss was third.

The body shape of the Sprites are indeed what is usually reffered to as the Mark II, being identical to the contemporary MG Midget. THey are not the same, I believe, as the Sprinzel cars.

McQeen raced in the 2 hour race (with John Colgate), so the anser to your last question is yes.

#14 MarkWill

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Posted 02 December 2002 - 15:16

Thanks for the information to date. There seems to be another contradiction, though, as the article I quoted refers to the Donald Healey Motor Company as being the sponsors of the cars. Roger (or anyone) is this the same beast as BMC in your eyes? The Sprinzel car story was interesting - you say it was a copy of an existing car - which one (and, how did he manage to copy it)? Sorry, but I'm still a bit confused.

#15 Bladrian

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Posted 02 December 2002 - 17:31

I used to own a Sprite with a fiberglass Speedwell 'Monza' bonnet. It also had a Conrero-modified Alfa 1300 engine and gearbox. The car was very pretty, but I used to spin that blasted thing regularly ..... take that VERY short wheelbase and the extra power, and it would rotate at the slightest provocation.
It also snapped sideshafts with sickening regularity - the local scrapyards eventually ran out of Morris Minor sideshafts, so I gave the car away for nothing, and bought a Fairlane 500 with the HO V8 motor.

Talk about going from the ridiculous to the sublime ...... :D

#16 Roger Clark

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Posted 20 December 2002 - 23:32

I posted earlier that the Sebring Sprite got its name from the 1960 Sebring 4 hours race. I have just obtained a copy of the excellent "Les Healey dans les Alps" by Herve Chevalier. He describes the Sprites entered in the 1959 and 1960 Alpine Rally as Sebring Sprites. They had the usual bug-eyed bodywork of the Mark 1 car. "Time and Two Seats" refers to Sebring Sprites runing in both 1959 and 1960.

Interestingly, the car Moss drove in the 1960 Sebring 4-hours, and the car Sprinzel droe in the 1960 Alpine Rally had the same registration number (PMO 200) even though Moss (in the earlier event) had modified bodywork.

#17 Milan Fistonic

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Posted 21 December 2002 - 02:53

John Sprinzel mentions PMO 200 in his book Sleepless Knights.

Sprites were by now showing just how good the old A35 engine, suspension and transmission were, and I was lucky enough to get PMO 200 on loan from the works for most of the year, before I finally purchased her for myself. For a cheap sports car, the Sprite has inbuilt roadholding that is hard to beat, which, coupled with its comparatively light weight, gives an exceptional performance. The factory modifications, which were eventually incorporated into the 'Sebring' model, have made this one of Britain's most successful competition cars, with a specification including disc brakes, 11 cwt, close ratio gears, 70 plus b.h.p. and a performance which is well above that expected from a one litre engine. Even drivers of the calibre of Stirling Moss and Bruce McLaren have enjoyed their sorties with Sebring Sprites, so it is natural that my own choice among British cars puts them way out in front.

It s not exactly clear what year he is talking about but there is a photo of PMO 200 in the book which is captioned "The 1958 Alpine Sprite... on top of Mount Ventoux."

#18 Roger Clark

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Posted 21 December 2002 - 07:53

Sprinzel drove PMO200 in the 1958 Alpine Rally. It could be that the picture in Sleepless Knights is from that event. Whether it is the same car as later appeared with Sebring front bodywork I don't know, but changing the front bodywork on those cars would be very easy as Speedwell and others proved.

#19 Ray Bell

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Posted 22 December 2002 - 19:16

Originally posted by Bladrian
I used to own a Sprite .....It also snapped sideshafts with sickening regularity - the local scrapyards eventually ran out of Morris Minor sideshafts.....


No wonder you broke them, they were four or five inches too long! A30 axles would have been a better choice, but they did run out early.



I'm fairly sure that the Sebring Sprites built for the factory racing efforts would have been built at Donald Healey's, as were the Sebring Healeys.

Unlike the Healeys, however, the fact that the rear section was a part of the chassis, they would have had to build new cars when the Mk 2 came out.

The 100/6 models became 3000s when marketing required that to happen...

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#20 Pete Stowe

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Posted 04 January 2003 - 11:51

Geoffrey Healey in "Healey - The Specials" mentions working in fibreglass at the Cape Works and "Four bug-eye Sprites were produced with GRP bodies, from moulds taken off a highly finished production body. The resulting cars were very light and were used at Sebring in 1961" but otherwise doesn’t refer to special Sprites again until the streamlined Sprites that were run at Sebring and Le Mans from 1965 to 1968.

In Feb 1961 John Bolster tested a Sebring Sprite (PMO 200) for Autosport, describing the car as follows:
"As there is a very real demand for a high performance model [of the A-H Sprite], and many enthusiasts are willing to pay extra for such a machine, the manufacturers have taken the wise step of producing their own range of approved speed equipment for. John Sprinzel, Ltd., of Lancaster Mews, W2, are the concessionaires for these kits, and they also prepare the well known homologated competition version, the Sebring Sprite. The Sebring Sprite is not built down to a price like the standard car, and accordingly it has a more elaborate specification. Wire wheels and an anti-roll bar are too costly for the everyday version, but they add distinction and roadworthiness to the more specialised type. Four stages of engine tune, Road, Sports, Competition and Race are available, according to the use to which the owner will put his car. The test machine was only moderately tuned, as it had been prepared for the RAC Rally, but, untouched after that event, it was exercised by Pat Moss at the Boxing Day Brands Hatch before being passed on to Autosport. This car, PMO 200, has a light alloy body and an aerodynamic bonnet, both of which are catalogued extras."
Some of the prices were: Fibreglass bonnet £39, Aluminium body and doors £100, GT aluminium hardtop £100.
Engine tuning - Sebring road, 55 bhp £60; Sebring Competition, 70 bhp, £180, Sebring Race, 75-80 bhp, £240 (Competition and Race are enlarged to 995cc and Race is a full Junior engine with special crankshaft)
Bolster concluded "The name Sebring is apt, for the model has three class wins to its credit at that venue. This year [1961] John Sprinzel has again entered a couple of Sprites in the 4 Hours GT race"

The 1961 Sebring four hours had teams of Sebring Sprites entered by both Donald Healey (drivers including Bruce McLaren, Briggs Cunningham, Walt Hansgen) and John Sprinzel (drivers Pat & Stirling Moss, Paul Hawkins & Sprinzel) I’d agree with Ray that the works racing Sprite’s would have been built by Donald Healey’s. But from the above it would seem that anyone could have their Sprite converted to a Sebring Sprite, by puchasing or having the appropriate bits fitted by Sprinzel. While the above relates to the Mk 1 Sprite, presumably the same or similar bits were later made available for the Mk 2.

But Sprinzel appears to have had some rights to use the name "Sebring Sprite" on his conversions though, either granted by BMC, or maybe it was just an ‘unofficial’ name given when cars first appeared at Sebring, which Sprinzel was quick to take up commercially?

#21 Bladrian

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Posted 04 January 2003 - 11:57

Originally posted by Ray Bell


No wonder you broke them, they were four or five inches too long! A30 axles would have been a better choice, but they did run out early.



The 100/6 models became 3000s when marketing required that to happen...


NOW he tells me ....... :blush: I remember when I was down to my last sideshaft, I welded up the spider gears in the diff to keep the car on the road. The handling got REAL interesting about then.

My first car was a Healy 100-6 ..... that love affair ended far too soon, but I got tired of chucking Bardahl B2 in to try and keep the smoking engine under control. And the wiring ALWAYS had a mind of it's own.

#22 Cirrus

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 18:21

I may be about to become involved in a "Sebring Sprite" related project, and have found little information on the net after a couple of days trawling.

Are there any TNFers out there able to post pictures of the "Sebrings" that raced at Le Mans in the early sixties? The cars I am interested in are as follows....

1960 Car No 46 (maybe just a hot "Frogeye")
1961 Cars No 42 and 46
1963 Car No 42
1964 Car No 53
1965 Cars No 48 and 49
1966 Cars No 48 and 49
1967 Car No 51 (not a "Sebring" at all)

Also, Lenham produced a glassfibre body kit for the Spridget called the "Le Mans Coupe". I can't find any record of a Lenham Sprite racing at Le Mans. Did such a car ever race in any other International Sportscar races in that era?

#23 RTH

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 13:32

The book 'Spritely Years' by John Sprinzel & Tom Coulthard is excellent will tell you all you need to know and more is still available I think, and well worth the 20 notes

ISBN 1 85260 498 0 Patrick Stevens / Haynes Publishing 1st printed 1994

What is the reg. no. of the car you are involved with ?

#24 Graham Gauld

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 13:56

The Sprite raced at Le Mans in 1961and No 46 entered by Ecurie Ecosse was originally raced at Sebring 1961 in the small capacity race and driven by Walt Hansgen.
At Le Mans Ninian Sanderson shared the car with Bill Mackay. Mackay crashed the car at White House and was badly injured. His father, who was a surgeon, flew out to Le Mans to oversee the operation to save Bill's arm - he was not allowed to directly operate on his son, apparently. As a result his arm was saved but Bill did not race again. However, as he was well known on the Clyde as one of the finest yacht skippers to this day he skippers sailing and racing yachts all over the world.
The wreckage of the car was returned to Healeys and it lay in the back yard. However, British hill climb driver Roy Lane worked next door and saw the remains. I am not sure if Roy bought the bits - it is a long time since last I spoke to him about it - but in the 1980's the car, still in bits, turned up in Chicago in the hands of one of our enthusiastic fellows, Ron Scoma. The remains were then bought by arch Ecurie Ecosse fanatic Dick Skipworth and the car has now been totally rebuilt and ran at Johnny Bute's( Johnny Dumfries) historic event on the Island of Bute two years ago.

GG

#25 David Birchall

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 16:07

One of the 1966 (?) cars was in Portland Oregon for a long time owned and raced by Stan Huntley-I haven't talked to Stan in years though. Several years ago one of the guests at our Inn claimed he had a "Sebring" Sprite and he had raced it at Seattle years ago, writing off the original aluminium nose in the process. I questioned him pretty thoroughly on it and concluded he did indeed have one but was unable to determine which. He said he bought it on the understanding it had been a works car at Sebring. I have been unable to contact him again, but he lived in Arizona I think. As regards the MKII Sprite, Donald Healey told me an interesting story when opn one of his visits to n.america in the late seventies: The front and rears of the car were designed by two different people who were not allowed to talk to each other! :rolleyes:
David B

#26 Lotus23

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 23:09

Many years ago, when the earth was still cooling, I made several trips to Lancaster Mews and John Sprinzel's shop. I found the area little changed when I last visited there in Aug 2004, 43 years after my first visit.

Thanks to a link provided in this thread, I was able to find online mention of my Sprite variant, the WSM-GT. My particular car, which I believe was the 6th one built, was fabricated by Douglas Wilson-Spratt and Jim McManus in a small garage in Swiss Cottage, London during the winter of 62/63.

With 998cc, it turned out to be something less than the giant-killer I'd intially imagined, but it was a cute little car and served me well on the street, in autocrossing, and in SCCA CProd and DProd racing for a couple of years. I sold it in 65 to buy the Lotus 23, but that's another story.

#27 martin ingall

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Posted 23 April 2006 - 10:12

I see you posted a query about the history of the Austin Healey Sebring Sprite back in 2001. I have a website dedicated to John Sprinzel's Coupe Sprites which may be of interest: www.sebringsprite.com

Cheers
Martin

#28 GreenMachine

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Posted 23 April 2006 - 11:57

This thread brings back memories ...

I bought my first bug-eye around the mid-late 60s, and had more fun and adventures in it than seems possible now ;) , certainly the joints today are not as flexible that I could indulge again in some of those activities involving the passenger ... but I digress.

One of my ambitions was to equip it with a 'fastback' hardtop, which I haven't found (yet) in these links. Perhaps it was one of those J&S products from Sydney?

Sadly, the bug-eye was not reliable, and when I left Goulburn and went to Uni in Sydney, the bug-eye had to make way for something more practical - certainly more reliable - would you believe a Fiat 500 :eek: :love:

I bought another bug-eye a little while later when I came to Canberra, ran it for a few years, and took it off the road for a resoration. That never happened, so rather than sit on until I kick the bucket, I have just sold it. Sigh. :cry: I console myself with the thought of the fun I had, and hopefully someone else will again :D

#29 275 GTB-4

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Posted 23 April 2006 - 12:05

Hope you have another toy to indulge the urges Greenmachine :D I was once in the left seat of a frog eye/bug eye when a huge car in front decided to come visit....scary stuff.

Recently, I have been getting acqauinted again with hard concrete floors trying to resurrect a neglected Mini.....I'm hoping it will all be worth it when I can tootle around :cool:

#30 MarkWill

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Posted 23 April 2006 - 14:30

Martin,


Your site is excellent, and very enjoyable. Thanks for spending all of the time and effort to produce it and maintain it.

Living in Montreal, we don't get to see any examples (and even mini`s are a rare sight). :| . There used to be a Frogeye Sprite in the garage next to me (with VERY thick green paint) but its disappeared. There`s a TR4 up the road and a Series III E-type, but I'm afraid thats about it for classic british sports cars in my area. Next week I`m off to Miami though, and I`m told that there are a few garages that are worth visiting for their collections of rare cars........

Mark

#31 Cirrus

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Posted 23 April 2006 - 15:43

Lotus23 mentioned his WSM Sprite. They too have an enjoyable website.

http://www.wsmcars.com/

#32 D-Type

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Posted 23 April 2006 - 17:50

Originally posted by GreenMachine
This thread brings back memories ...

I bought my first bug-eye around the mid-late 60s, and had more fun and adventures in it than seems possible now ;) , certainly the joints today are not as flexible that I could indulge again in some of those activities involving the passenger ... but I digress.

One of my ambitions was to equip it with a 'fastback' hardtop, which I haven't found (yet) in these links. Perhaps it was one of those J&S products from Sydney?

Sadly, the bug-eye was not reliable, and when I left Goulburn and went to Uni in Sydney, the bug-eye had to make way for something more practical - certainly more reliable - would you believe a Fiat 500 :eek: :love:

I bought another bug-eye a little while later when I came to Canberra, ran it for a few years, and took it off the road for a resoration. That never happened, so rather than sit on until I kick the bucket, I have just sold it. Sigh. :cry: I console myself with the thought of the fun I had, and hopefully someone else will again :D

Does anybody remember the correspondence in Motor Sport (sometime in the early sixties) about what you could and couldn't do in a Sprite?

#33 David Beard

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Posted 23 April 2006 - 21:01

Originally posted by Lotus23

Thanks to a link provided in this thread, I was able to find online mention of my Sprite variant, the WSM-GT. My particular car, which I believe was the 6th one built, was fabricated by Douglas Wilson-Spratt and Jim McManus in a small garage in Swiss Cottage, London during the winter of 62/63.


I don’t know how I missed this post earlier…

In the mid sixties I kept spotting a strange little red GT car around the Oxfordshire / Buckinghamshire lanes near home. Eventually I found it parked outside the cottage where it lived. It was a one off WSM coupe based on an MG 1100, owned by Mike Lewis, who I believe was Doug Wilson-Spratt’s son in law. He raced a pale blue WSM Sprite, with a red stripe and rather unusual American aluminium (or mag?) alloy wheels. It was towed to meetings behind the WSM 1100, a couple of which I attended with him as a sort of goffer. I lost touch but later followed his progress in the WSM MGB. The latter was at the Goodwood Revival a couple of years ago, its white paintwork having changed to red somewhere over the years.

Mike Lewis traded in sportscars. I later almost bought a Frogeye from him, in exchange for my hotted up Mini. Later I bought a Mk2 Sprite instead, for some reason, which I modified quite a bit but eventually became terminally distracted by the young lady in this photo (which may have to be removed….)


D Type asked...

Does anybody remember the correspondence in Motor Sport (sometime in the early sixties) about what you could and couldn't do in a Sprite?



Dunno how I missed that :confused:

#34 D-Type

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Posted 23 April 2006 - 21:32

David, If the young lady in question is now Mrs B, how can she object?




If she isn't, then Mrs B should appreciate that she won and that "everyone loves a winner".

#35 David Beard

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 17:55

Originally posted by D-Type
David, If the young lady in question is now Mrs B, how can she object?

If she isn't, then Mrs B should appreciate that she won and that "everyone loves a winner".


:lol:

But I don't think I will clarify further...;)

#36 RTH

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 18:14

Now you have really got everyone interested David ! The car is seriously off road !

The Lady in question does not look unlike one of the members of 'Pan's People.

In 1972 I sold a new snowberry white MGB roadster with a classic Bermuda hardtop to another Pan's People dancer Barbara Lord who lived in Hadley Wood at the time, she went on to marry (and still is ) actor Robert Powell.

http://www.panspeopl...uk/picpans1.htm

#37 Ray Bell

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 22:57

One subject that really interests me along these lines is just how BMC, their competitions department and DHMC got the Sprites and Healeys as well sorted as they did...

BMC were legendary, really. Look at what they had to work with in the A-series engine. Long stroke, 3-main bearing crank, small valves, siamesed ports, all the ingredients for a dog of an engine... and then it was weighed down by an abundance of cast iron.

Would anyone like to wade into this side of the topic?

Also, looking at the 1000cc Sprites as raced, these would have been (essentially) the 997 engine as used in the first Coopers, wouldn't they?

#38 RS2000

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 23:08

Internationally, it's really a question of what the homologated opposition was at the time? Abingdon in particular was relatively conservative with regard to engines? The big Healeys were rendered uncompetitive at a stroke when the new Appendix J came in for 1966. When the A series faced the 997 Ford in the back of single seaters (FJ etc?) it didn't show up so well?

#39 275 GTB-4

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Posted 25 April 2006 - 06:35

Originally posted by Ray Bell
One subject that really interests me along these lines is just how BMC, their competitions department and DHMC got the Sprites and Healeys as well sorted as they did...

BMC were legendary, really. Look at what they had to work with in the A-series engine. Long stroke, 3-main bearing crank, small valves, siamesed ports, all the ingredients for a dog of an engine... and then it was weighed down by an abundance of cast iron.

Would anyone like to wade into this side of the topic?

Also, looking at the 1000cc Sprites as raced, these would have been (essentially) the 997 engine as used in the first Coopers, wouldn't they?


I gather (from what I've read) that BMC were relatively successful (on a shoestring budget) because of their professionalism and preparation....one example is the invention of pace notes....they also managed to snare some good drivers (but so did the opposition).

The BMC comps dept just seemed to be slightly ahead of their time and it reaped rewards.

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#40 Sharman

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Posted 25 April 2006 - 08:12

We've already discussed the A type engine, I'm pretty sure that the Cooper 997 came on the scene a little later than the modified 948, the full Junior motor was an entirely different animal and I believe was only initially supplied to Ken Tyrell for the quasi Works cars. I said that in the early days of FJ the Elva's did not have much more than 70 bhp and were down on power compared with the FIAT engined cars.

#41 Ray Bell

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Posted 25 April 2006 - 12:32

No, no, no!

Nothing to do with pace notes, 275... nothing to do with homologation, RS... it's about how they got performance out of bits and pieces that shouldn't have allowed them to do so.

I suspect that the R & D team there was bigger than Mick would believe the budget would allow...

#42 Sharman

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Posted 25 April 2006 - 12:52

Originally posted by Ray Bell
No, no, no!

Nothing to do with pace notes, 275... nothing to do with homologation, RS

... it's about how they got performance out of bits and pieces that shouldn't have allowed them to do so.


I suspect that the R & D team there was bigger than Mick would believe the budget would allow...


BMC as it was by that time had probably the biggest competition dept in the UK (when the UK actually had a Motor Industry) and it was a very customer friendly operation. A lot of the development was carried on by outside agency ( Downton, Speedwell Don Moore Sorinzel etc) and I am sure that the requirements were noted and implemented by the works. For the Aussies, the Hawk worked for Sprinzel in Lancaster Mews which is where I first met him and had the pleasure of introducing him to (whom I did NOT know) Vic Elford at the Racing Car Show in 19 umty tump

#43 RTH

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Posted 25 April 2006 - 13:05

For their time the engines were strong, simple, compact, inexpensive, easy to tune and get big gains ,plentiful well known, lots of information and dealers everywhere. Despite their origins a good starting point.

#44 Ray Bell

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Posted 25 April 2006 - 13:14

But they were also outdated, undersquare and overly heavy... that's my point...

Of course, there are similar comments could be made about the cars, their suspensions and their *ugly* Armstrong dampers. But they were able to make the package very effective.

#45 RS2000

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Posted 25 April 2006 - 13:46

It's fairly well documented now that in its heyday BMC Comps didn't have a budget - it spent what was needed to do the events it selected. The outputs of relatively inexpensive club motorsport A series engines today are way beyond anything the "works" had "in period" and I don't consider that applies to quite the same degree to many other contemporary engines. I agree A series were quicker then than they had any right to be, given the basic design, but I do not consider they were anything special then. I'm convinced A series I threw together in the garden shed with a few Downton bits was closer to the then "state of the art" than I could get with anything else then or now.

#46 Sharman

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Posted 25 April 2006 - 13:50

Ray
We are now moving from the BMC A Type to the specialist engines ie XPS etc used for the "Works" Sprites Juniors etc starting in I guess 1961. They are as different from the A Type as A Titan rocket is from something bought to celebrate Nov 5th

Afterthought. The Junior engines were SUPPOSED to be stock block, scutineering was laxer in those days!!!

#47 275 GTB-4

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 09:51

Originally posted by Ray Bell
No, no, no!

Nothing to do with pace notes, 275... nothing to do with homologation, RS... it's about how they got performance out of bits and pieces that shouldn't have allowed them to do so.

I suspect that the R & D team there was bigger than Mick would believe the budget would allow...


Maybe not Ray....from what I have read a lot of the costs were absorbed but what I was really getting at was that the Comps Dept Managers had to submit programs and budgets well in advance to be approved by a sceptical and miserly (relatively speaking) management.

The Comps Dept of course had full access to production bits etc but what were other mfrs spending at the time???

#48 RS2000

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 15:34

Originally posted by 275 GTB-4


Maybe not Ray....from what I have read a lot of the costs were absorbed but what I was really getting at was that the Comps Dept Managers had to submit programs and budgets well in advance to be approved by a sceptical and miserly (relatively speaking) management.

The Comps Dept of course had full access to production bits etc but what were other mfrs spending at the time???


Stuart Turner, after joining Ford, records being astonished at being introduced to "his accountant" who would control the competition budget. "There'd been nothing like that at BMC".

#49 David Beard

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 21:38

From the 2006 Goodwood Revival: a roof line a little lower than Mr Sprinzel intended...

Posted Image

#50 Barry Boor

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 22:16

I got one of that car, too.

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