Designed by Donald Healey to democratize sports car driving, the Sprite went into production at MG’s Abingdon factory in March 1958. It was officially unveiled in Monte Carlo a few months later, just before the Monte Carlo Rally, emphasizing its athletic character. The car’s unitary construction body shell featured a distinctive rearward-hinging bonnet and wings, topped with two ‘bugeye’ headlamps, ensuring instant recognition and earning it the familiar nickname.
Equipped with independent front suspension and rack-and-pinion steering for excellent road holding, the ‘Bugeye’ sold well despite its minimalistic features – even the front bumper was an optional extra. This success wasn’t surprising, considering there was no competition in terms of both price and performance.