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Very Early Production Of Austin-Healey “Frogeye” Sprite At Classic Car Auctions


Mark your calendars because on June 18, Classic Car Auctions Summer Sale which will be held at the Warwickshire Event Center will be offering a wonderful early production Austin-Healey “Frogeye” Sprite.

The Austin Healey Sprite is a car that is simply bursting with character. Its design gave it that cheeky little face, with a seemingly grinning grille and the perched headlamps that gave the car its Frogeye moniker. During the design phase, the headlamps were meant to fold back to create a smooth design, but due to cost restrictions, BMC decided to drop the folding headlamps idea.

Leonard Lord and Donald Healey worked together to create the Austin-Healey Sprite. Based on the Austin parts, Donald Healey created the Healey 100 but it was a bit on the expensive side. At the same time, Leonard Lord was interested in creating a car that he can export to the United States. The two met, and they and they agreed to bring their ideas together. That was when the Austin-Healey 100 was born. They also conceived of a cheaper version which turned out to be the Austin-Healey Sprite.

The example on offer has been in long term ownership, as it has been with the current consigner for the last 17 years. In 2015, the example was given a sympathetic refurbishment which lasted for more than three years, and it concentrated on originality.

On March 31, 1958, production of the Austin-Healey started. The Heritage Certificate shows that the example was produced on April 21 of the same year, and was subsequently delivered to a dealer in Brighton, Dreadnought Garage Ltd., on May 8. This simply means that it is one of the very early units produced, most likely one of the first few hundred that was made.

It is a UK supplied right-hand drive example and it has impressively kept many of its original features like the flat chassis legs, rear chassis gussets, twinseat rails, and unshrouded radiator. It is presented with a Cherry Red finish, which is the same color that was specified when new. Other options that were fitted in the car include an MPH speedometer, toughened screen, heater, rev counter, front bumpers, and windscreen washers.

This Frogeye has also kept its original bodyshell which shows the John Thompson 485 stamping number as well as its BAE numbers which can be seen on the door pillar. The original double seat rails on each side has been kept, as well as the original screen and early bonnet.

The original engine of the example has been rebored and ground and has been given a ribbed case gearbox. The original smooth case of the car will come with the sale.

CCA Sales Manager Gary Dunne shared, “This is a wonderful little car that has had lots of love and attention. The refurbishment has been very well done with the emphasis on keeping its originality which shows when looking over the car.”

“I think you could be hard-pressed to find a better early model than this, making it a great opportunity to get into classic car ownership.”

“These cars have such a character, you can have a lot of fun and what’s more they are one of the cheapest classic cars to run and maintain. Offered at between £20,000 to £25,000 it looks to be great opportunity.”

Those who are interested to consign their vehicles will need to pay the entry fee of £150. Early entries, which are the first fifty cars submitted, will be given a half-price entry fee. Those who wish to procure the services of a professional photographer to be able to further market and promote their car, it will be a £300 which already includes the entry fee.

Closing date of consignment is on May 27.

The Classic Car Auction Summer sale is scheduled on June 18, Saturday. Viewing of the vehicles consigned are on Thursday and Friday. Guests need not worry as there are a lot of parking spaces at the Warwickshire Event Center, and it is also very easily accessible from the M40 and M42.

The premium for buying or selling is at 12.5% and 5% respectively, plus VAT.