1960 Austin-Healey Sprite Mk I

In March 1958, MG’s Abingdon factory began production of the Sprite, a sports car designed by Donald Healey with the aim of democratizing sports car motoring. The Sprite’s unitary construction bodyshell boasted a distinctive rearward-hinging combined bonnet and wings, crowned by two iconic ‘frog eye’ headlamps, instantly earning it a recognizable nickname.

Initially powered by the Austin A35’s 948cc A-Series engine and utilizing the saloon’s gearbox, front suspension, and rear axle, the Sprite underwent enhancements to its running gear. Donald Healey opted for Morris Minor rack-and-pinion steering and an MG master cylinder for hydraulic brakes, augmenting the car’s performance. Equipped with twin SU carburetors, the engine delivered 43bhp, propelling the Sprite to a top speed of approximately 86mph.

Despite its minimalist features, with even the front bumper listed as an optional extra, the ‘Frog Eye’ Sprite enjoyed strong sales. Its combination of affordability and performance set it apart in the market, with no direct competitors matching its price or capabilities.

Photo Source: RM Sotheby’s