California-Rust Free Example
1967 Austin Healey Sprite
Original California, Rust Free Car - 2 Owners in 38 Years!!
HISTORY OF THE AUSTIN HEALEY SPRITE - MK II to MK IV
The year of 1961 brought the introduction of the replacement for the Sprite MK I. The new version car had undergone major changes, with a restyled front end by Healey's at Warwick along more traditional lines. The one-piece front end of the Bugeye was gone, being replaced by a more traditional layout of fixed front fenders and a separate hood. The rear end of the car was re-styled by Syd Enever's team at MG, and closely resembled the embryonic MGB. It is still unclear why BMC asked the two design teams to work on styling different parts of the same vehicle and specifically instructed MG not to talk to Healey's about what they were doing. However, with the two teams based in such close proximity to each other they very soon got together to ensure that the changes being made would agree when brought together on the same vehicle. One can only speculate as to the outcome if these two teams had not colluded on their design work.
Mechanically the mark II sprite was almost identical to the MK I, although the engine was slightly tuned to handle the extra body weight of the new car. One month after the introduction of the Sprite Mk II an MG badged version was released, taking its name from the pre-war small MG's, it was named the Midget.
It wasn't until 1962 that mechanical changes were to follow. Beginning in 1962, the Morris Minor 1098cc engine was fitted along with a stronger gearbox, an electronic tachometer, front disc brakes and a host of other small detail changes. This model known at the time as the Sprite 1100 has come to be known as the MK II ½. The MK III designation was to be saved until 1964.
The Sprite Mk III retained essentially the same styling as the MK II but the engine was carefully scrutinized and modified after the serious crankshaft problems encountered on the MK II. More notably, there was a major change to the rear suspension arrangement. The earlier Sprites used an innovative design with quarter elliptic springs and trailing location arms, while an exiting concept the original arrangement was often accused of being somewhat twitchy when driven hard. The half elliptic arrangement that replaced it gave a smoother ride without any loss of the Sprite's by now legendary road holding power. An innovative piece of design work saw wind up windows shoehorned into the slim-line doors of the mark III replacing the more traditional removable side screens of the earlier models. The cockpit was revamped to bring the styling more up to date and the now familiar black wrinkle finish dash appeared for the first time. An interesting point to note is that this is the only model of Sprite to be fitted with color keyed convertible tops from the factory, so that red cars (for example), had red soft tops.
In October 1966 the Sprite Mk IV was announced, the engine was the newer 1275cc A series unit, providing much more power for a car that was becoming comparatively sluggish. the MG variant (by now at Mark III) had lost it's distinctive chrome strip down the center of the bonnet and the distinction between the two models was becoming noticeable less prevalent. The mark IV also sported an improved folding convertible top to replace the older removable tops on previous models. Within three years, the beginning of the end for the Sprite was in sight, the Austin Healey models were no longer to be exported to the USA, only the MG models were exported taking advantage of the more popular MG name.
Production of the MG Midget continued with a change to the cockpit switches replacing the original toggle switches with those of a rocker type to meet US legislation. The rear wheel arches were changed to a round section instead of the original square Enever design evident from the mark II Sprite onwards.
Major controversial changes due to meet new US legislation were to appear on the MG Midget in October 1974: The ride height was increased, the front and rear ends of the car sprouted heavyweight rubber coated bumpers and perhaps most controversial to the die hard MG purists there was now a Triumph power unit under the hood in the form of the 1500 Spitfire engine. the gearbox was now an all synchromesh unit as used on the Morris Marina. These changes helped to reverse the sales decline of the Midget and sales rose until 1976. Only three years later however Michael Edwards (by now in charge of British Layland), announced that sports car production at Abingdon would cease and the MG factory would close.
The Midget continued until 1979, the last car to roll off the production line at Abingdon was a appropriately colored black and went straight into the BL Heritage collection (now owned by British Motor Heritage). The total number of MG Midgets produced by close of business at Abingdon was 226,526 giving a combined total of 355,888 "Sprites" in all. It is interesting to note that despite the various changes to the Sprite over its 21-year production the basic chassis remained the same, the only modifications were to the rear suspension mountings and the addition of extra strengthening when the rubber bumpers were added.
HISTORY OF THIS PARTICULAR 1967 AUSTIN HEALEY SPRITE
OK, so we admit to having a particular passion for "LBC's" (Little British Cars), with a particular interest and appreciation for the Austin Healey Sprite. We've owned close to a dozen Sprites (and Midgets) ranging from 1958's to 1974's, and everything in between. We continue to seek out excellent examples because we believe that they represent the quintessential inexpensive, small displacement, open sports car of the 1960's. They are fun to drive, easy to maintain, and are still an excellent value in this world of escalating collector car values. It is also our belief that Austin Healey Sprites will continue to increase in both value and popularity.
By the time that this car was produced in 1967, the Sprite was a better overall car and more enjoyable to drive, than previous models. Certainly, the increased engine size allowed for more spirited driving, and the improved gearbox resulted in better shifting and more reliability, compared with earlier cars. In terms of "creature comforts", the roll up windows made a big difference over the bolt in side curtains, that were basically a carry over from the 1950's vintage British cars.
Unfortunately, the Sprite, like so many other inexpensive British cars were lost for a variety of reasons. Certainly, a considerable number of cars were either neglected or simply abused. Other Sprites suffered from "fatal" rust (Midwest/East Coast cars), and still others found there way into various racing venues, and were later damaged, or used as parts cars.
This particular car is a survivor in the most positive sense of the word. The car has had two owners during the past 38 years. Both owners have made every effort to maintain the car in 100% original condition, and the result is a virtually stock example of a 1967 Austin Healey Sprite. The car is as it would have been just a few years after it was produced in the 1960's. The changes/improvements that were made many years ago are "period changes", consistent with those that would have been performed shortly after the cars production. The Sprite does not have any significant modifications, alterations or changes that could not be easily reversed, should the new owner wish to do so.
While we cannot document the exact mileage as result of the age of the Sprite, the information that we have would suggest that the current miles shown on the car (114,891) represents the actual mileage on the Sprite. The cars appearance, and overall condition coupled with the documentation of repairs and history contained in the file support the very low mileage on this 38 year old classic.
The Sprite carries the original black California license plates (front and back) and has been in California for its entire life. The Sprite was delivered new in 1967 to Royal London Motors in San Leandro California (a suberb of San Frqncisco) and has remained in this dry inland area ever since. Frankly, only a California car would have this overall appearance, after all of these years.
Perhaps most significant is the fact that this car has absolutely no signs of body damage, and is totally rust free. It is finished in it's original primrose paint color and has just received an excellent, quality repaint, only as a result of the paint fading over the course of 38 years. Prior to the re-paint, the body was totally straight with NO rust, damage or history of accidents. Frankly, the car has one of the nicest rust free, straight, original bodies of any Sprite that we have seen in the past 20+ years.
The Sprite includes a file of receipts, registration documents, manuals, catalogs and other forms that date back to the 1970's.
When it comes to the exterior appearance of this Austin Healey Sprite, the car is virtually 100% stock with only one significant, positive change, the addition of authentic (hub/spinner mounted) wire wheels (5 including the spare). The interior has also been kept in stock configuration with only a few period upgrades (high quality leather wrapped vintage Mountney steering wheel). Details on the changes along with the specific condition of the car can be found in the vehicle "categories" listed below.
MECHANICAL CONDITION / INFORMATION
This Sprite has received consistent and ongoing maintenance over the years, and has been used regularly, but on a limited basis. The records/history of repairs support regular maintenance and document the mileage progression over the years. The goal was to maintain the car in it derivable condition at all times. That objective was accomplished, resulting in the best driving, most solid Austin Healey MK IV Sprite that we have ever had the pleasure of owning.
The Sprite has a very strong, 1275 cc engine. The larger displacement engine makes the Sprite usable at speeds well in excess of any posted speed limits, and gives it great around town performance. Perhaps, best of all, the engine is mated to an excellent 4 speed transmission that appears to be the original unit. The car has the stock dual SU carburetors, and no apparent modifications to the engine. Receipts in the file document the engine rebuild at 85,160, fewer that 30,000 miles ago. At this time, the documentation reflects a complete engine overhaul, new clutch and other "work as needed" on the engine to ensure that it was properly re-built, since the engine was removed from the car. The work carried a 12-month/12,000 mile warranty. There are no major leaks but the Spite does have the "characteristic" British car "seepage" that is present with virtually all of the older Healey's, MG's, Lotus cars, etc.
The transmission is absolutely wonderful with the characteristic precise, close gear change that makes these cars so much fun to drive. The transmission is very strong and does not exhibit any problems. There is no popping out of gear, excessive noise, or difficulty in engaging the car into any gear, including reverse. The clutch engages smoothly and without chattering or slippage.
The steering is precise and direct and there is no play in the wheel. The brakes are excellent and stop the car straight and well (front discs). The emergency brakes functions properly and holds the car in place.
Driving the car is a pleasure. It runs strong, does not smoke, leak excessive fluids, or exhibit any problems with steering, braking, cooling, or other systems. The car starts immediately when warm or cold, and has a fully functional manual choke. The car has a more free flow exhaust and, as result, it has an absolutely marveluous throaty exhaust note.
The electrical system is 100% functional with working turn signals, lights, gauge/dash lights, brake lights, etc.
The file contains a history of receipts for parts purchased (many of them installed by the owner of the Sprite) including:
* Recent Starter
* New Plug Wires
* Stainless Steel Brake Hoses
* Rear Leaf Spring Bushings
* Rear Springs
* Rear Transmission Seal
* Wishbone Replacements
* New Tie Rod Ends & Front Trunion Spm.
* New Hardware for Front Suspension
* Rebuilt Lower A Arms
* Ignitor Lucas Coil
* AH Floor Mats
* Wire Wheels & Tires
While some of the repairs/upgrades were done some time ago, the car reflects the care that it has received over the years and we are unable to identify any significant/mechanical issues.
BODY / PAINT / TOP / EXTERIOR
As we mentioned, the Sprite has just received a high quality re-paint in its original primrose yellow. The vast majority of the exterior trim was removed (including front & rear bumpers, door handles, trunk handle, rubber trunk/door trim, front and rear lenses & headlights, etc) and the car was professionally and completely prepared for paint. The paint included complete paint of the body, doorjambs, hood (and underside of the hood) and the underside of the trunk. The body was extremely straight before the re-paint and the "after" results are absolutely beautiful. The paint is lovely with no dents, chips, scratches or flaws. It is absolutely lovely. The car is truly a brilliant example and, most important, a California, rust free original.
The exterior (body) of the car is incredibly free from any rust or damage, as the photos suggest. An inspection of the undercarriage provides a good feel for the lack of rust in the floor pans, rocker panels, front valance, etc.
The panel fit on the Sprite is very good. The doors do not sag and close with a solid "thump." The trunk and hood open easily, and do not show any signs of repair or previous damage. The panel gap is good all around and the car does not have dents in either the front hood or rear trunk from "heavy hands" closing the trunk/hood. There is absolutely no indication of any accident damage or panel changes.
The bumpers and chrome trim are in very good original condition with no major dents or damage, and chrome that does not appear to have been re-plated, over the years. The grill and other exterior trim is in above average condition and aremarkably good considering the age and type of vehicle. While there is some "patina" about the car, it does not detract for the appeal of the car and, in fact, adds to its overall appearance.
Several years ago, the first owner of the Sprite completed a conversion to put center hub wire wheels on the Sprite (including a mounted, matching spare). The wheels are not the bolt-on variety, but actual & correct wire wheels that mount with a spinner on the center of the hub. Outside of this change, the exterior is stock and original including the bumpers, grill, door handles, windshield wipers, and other trim.
Often times it is the small details that make the difference in the appearance of a vintage/collector vehicle and separate from a car that has undergone a complete "trailer queen" restoration. This Sprite has the following items that appear to be original to this particular car:
* Factory Original Hardtop
* Original front grill and trim (excellent with no major damage)
* Original Lucas Headlights
* Stainless Windshield Wiper Arms / Blade Holders
* All Original Lenses (no cracks), Headlight Trim, Tail Light Trim, License Plate Lights
* Original Gauges & Panel Switches
* Original Tonneau Cover (excellent through slightly tight due to "shrinkage" over the years
There is a side view mirror mounted on the left side of the car. The front windshield glass and side glass are free from cracks and the side windows operate easily. .
This Austin Healey Sprite has a wonderful appearance of originality, and runs very well as a result of a number of mechanical and other enhancements. This 30-year-old "survivor" is in exceptionally nice, usable condition, and ready to be driven.
The previous owner never used the Sprite on anything but clear, sunny, California days. As a result, the convertible top was removed. However, the convertible top structure is included with the car, as is a brand new (in the box) black convertible top (shown in photos)should the new owner have an interest in using the car with the convertible top in place.
Also included with the Austin Healey, is a hardtop that we believe to be a factory unit. While it is in good structual condition and is complete (including latches in front and rubber trim), it is showing some "crazing" and could use a re-paint. The underside of the top is original with some stains but in good condiiton for the age. The trim on the top is worn, but in place while the rubber on the rear and side windows is good, as is the glass. Overall, a very nice top that could easily be refinished to be as high quality as the car. Perhaps most important, it is complet, functional and could even be attached to the car for transport making the car weather tight.
The interior has very nice black front seats with white piping. The door panels are also done in black with white piping. Both the seats and door panels are in very good condition and do not have any damage, tears, or signs of wear. Their condition would suggest that they have been re-done over the years but they have the appearance of being original to the car.
The interior door trim is excellent, as well. The interior chrome door release latches, "pull" handles and other chrome trim is in excellent condition, complete and free fully operational, including the locking mechanisms.
Currently installed on the drivers side of the car are vintage (period) and rare 2" racing style, quick release lap belts that add a great classic appearance. However, because of their age, we do not recommend that they be used as safety devices. The passenger side has more traditional , but also vintage style) lap belts with the "pull up" release buckle.
The floors are covered with Austin Healey logo rubber mats and some of the interior carpet/panels have been recently replaced. The floors on both sides of the car are free from any signs of rust through or damage and totally solid and clean.
The carpeting on the floors is new. The carpet on the transmission tunnel is in good condition, but shows some minor wear in front of the metal shifter housing. The wear is minor and consists fo some slight unraveling of the piping on the carpeting. A few pieces of capet behind the rear seat (covered by the tonneau cover were never re-done when the carpet was replaced. Theis can not be noticed unless the rear boot/tonneau is removed.
The dash is matching black, original wrinkle finish, and contains the original speedometer, tachometer, water temperature/oil pressure gauge and fuel gauge. The car has excellent oil pressure both when cold and warm. The Sprite fires up immediately and runs very well, and as inidcaated earluiier....we love that exhaust note! The car runs cool under even the warmest driving conditions (we took it for a 100 miles cruise on a 95 degree California day).
Overall, the interior on the Sprite is excellent and 100% complete. The original Sprite emblem is on the dash, the rubber door trim was replace at the time the car was painted, and most ofthe rear area behind the seats was recently re-carpeted and the dash/gauges are very, very nice, indeed.
The Austin Healey Sprite comes with the original spare, jack and lug wrench. The trunk is immaculate and was perfectly dry and rust free when the car was painted. There was no rust, rot or signs of accident damage and we elected to paint the trunk so that it would be have an appearance that is consistent with the rest of the car.
Also included with the Sprite are repair receipts, a workshop manual, information on parts sources and a variety of miscellaneous spare parts. Receipts are extensive and document many of the repairs going back to the early 1980's, close to 25 years ago.
We are very enthusiastic about this Sprite, as you can probably tell from our comments. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss the car with seriously interested buyers and can be reached at 925-846-1451. The car is available for sale prior to the end of the ebay auction as it is listed for sale in other locations.
ABOUT CLASSIC CARS LTD.
Classic Cars Ltd. has been in the same, small, California town for over 10 years. We operate a small, indoor showroom, and specialize in the sale, consignment, and purchase of sports, high performance and specialty vehicles of all types. We have a particular interest in any Sports type and unique cars.
We are true automobile enthusiasts having owned hundreds of sports and collectible vehicles. Over the past 35+ years, we have been active in a wide variety of automobile related activities including vintage racing, rally's, collector car restorations, concourse events and, most importantly, enjoying our own collector, and high performance vehicles.
The majority of our vehicles come from local, private owners and collectors, and many were sold new in California. We appreciate that rust free cars, with excellent documentation and history are especially attractive. As a result, we do not purchase our collectible cars from "distressed" sales, such as wholesale auctions, salvage sales, or lien sales. We do not sell vehicles with salvage titles or those that have a history of significant accident damage or repair.
We are fully insured, bonded, and licensed for collector car sales all over the United States/World.
Classic Cars Ltd. regularly transports vehicles out of state, and are familiar with quality transporters that offer a variety of services (enclosed, open transport, door to door vs. terminal shipping, etc) to our customers. Please call us at 925-846-1451 if we can provide a specific shipping quotation to your location, and discuss the appropriate alternatives for your needs.
We frequently sell vehicles to out of state buyers / out of country buyers, and are proud of our 100% positive eBay feedback ratings on 165 transactions. Please review our eBay feedback (user name is: never22many) for specific comments on our service to our customers.
OUR FEEDBACK / EBAY HISTORY
We enjoy a feedback rating of over 165 with NO negative feedback for any vehicles sold or purchased on EBAY. We are very proud of our feedback and reputation in accurately representing vehicles on behalf of buyers who ask us to act as their "eyes and ears" when buying a car long distance. We welcome the opportunity to discuss the Austin Healey Sprite and answer any specific questions that you may have over the telephone. We can be reached at 925-846-1451 during normal business hours on the West Coast.
Please keep in mind that, unlike private individuals selling vehicles on EBAY, we are fully licensed, insured and bonded to handle collector car sales. We regularly handle large financial transactions and have proven time and time again that we can be trusted to provide accurate and complete vehicle descriptions. We will be glad to provide references of recent, satisfied customers.
Classic Cars Ltd.
|Body Type / Style:||Convertible
|Exterior Color:||Primrose Yellow|
|Interior Color:||Black with White Piping|
|Transmission: ||4 Speed Manual
|"Black Plate" California Car|
Front Disc Brakes
Front Sway Bar
Original 1275 cc Engine
Original Jack & Tools
Original Lucas Headlights
| ||Original Lucas Headlights|
Original Owners Manual
Quick Release 2" Lap Belts
2 Owners-38 Years!
Original Primrose Yellow
California "Black Plate Car"
Full Tonneau Cover
Very Nice Original Chrome
Very Nice Panel Fit
No Body Damage
Original Trim & Lucas Lights!
Front Black plate Too
Excellent Original Grill
Very Nice Trim & Glass
Straight Bumpers-Very Nice
Vintage Racing Belts-Drivers Side
Black Seats/White Piping
Excellent Matching Door Panels
Mountney Steering Whee-Excellent
Very Attractive Interior
Excellent Door Panel
Original Gauges/Mountney Wheel/Working Horn
Matching Wire Wheel
Rear Blac Plate
Left Side Glass-Hardtop
Good Rubber Seals
Underside of Hardtop
NOS in Box Convertible Top
Truly Beautiful Example!
1967 AH Sprite