Austin-Healey Sprite Mk 1

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Mk I Sprite (owned by Pamela, member of  Austin-Healey Club UK Eastern Centre)

The Austin-Healey Sprite was launched in May 1958 as an affordable and economical sports car, and first went on sale at a price of £669 - slightly less than a Morris Minor deluxe saloon of the same time. The shell was of unitary construction with a one piece rear hinged bonnet assembly. It used mainly Austin A35 running gear but with a tuned version of the A series BMC engine. The steering was by rack and pinion - the same as used on the Morris Minor. The headlamps which were raised, protruding above the low bonnet to comply with lighting regulations gave rise to its nickname of the Frogeye Sprite. It is interesting to note that in the original design specifications it was intended to make the headlamps retractable, but was ruled out on cost grounds. The Sprite had good performance for a car of this engine size and handled well with excellent roadholding. Few changes were made during its production, but included a new windscreen and hood design in 1959. Optional extras included a heater, and a factory hardtop. Production of the Mk I Sprite ended with the introduction of the Mk II in May 1961.


 

Specifications

Model

Austin-Healey Sprite Mk I

Years Produced

1958-1961

Body Type

2 door sports, all steel unitary construction

Length

11ft 5in

Width

4ft 5in

Weight

1382lb

Engine

BMC A series 948cc 4 cylinder inline

Power

43 bhp @ 5000 rpm

Torque

52lb ft @ 3300 rpm

Gearbox

4 speed manual with synchro on 2nd, 3rd and top

Driven Wheels

Rear

Brakes

Drums front & rear

Front Suspension

Independent, Coil spring

Rear Suspension

Leaf Spring, live axle

 

Performance

Model

Austin-Healey Sprite Mk I

Top Speed

83 mph

0-60 mph

20.0 seconds

Fuel Consumption

38 mpg approx

 

Useful Links

Austin-Healey Club USA

Austin-Healey Sprite books at Amazon.co.uk

Midget & Sprite Club

 

Gallery