The endearing "bugeye" look was gone by the time this 1965 Austin-Healey Sprite was built, but it meant that Austin-Healey was back on the road to profitability and the cars were pretty darned good. This 1965 Austin-Healey Sprite roadster offers a great sports car look and delivers on all the fun that its clean 2-seater lines promise.
It's hard to get a sense of how small this car is from photos, but it's pared down to the bare essentials. Fortunately, the essentials look pretty darned good with a low-slung two-seat body plenty of character. The restoration is a few years old and the car has been used enthusiastically, so don't expect perfection here. On the other hand, you can drive it without worries and at this price, worry-free fun is the name of the game. The big clamshell style front end is gone, replaced by a traditional set of fenders and a proper hood, giving good service access and a more mainstream look. There's also a real trunk lid, so the curvaceous rear end looks great and gains practicality (easy to see where the MG guys got their inspiration), and the little British details like chrome bumpers, a luggage rack, and that traditional license plate light all enhance the sports car look. And yes, it's really hard to resist this little car in a head-on view with that bright grille and headlights that seem to be smiling at you.
The British have a fine way of building compact sports cars, and they excel at interiors with no-nonsense personalities that make even diminutive cars like this seem serious. Twin buckets offer fresh seat covers with tidy pleats, and once you're settled (even if you're tall) you'll be surprised how easy it is to get comfortable behind the wheel. And speaking of the wheel, it's a brand new three-spoke piece that looks racy in the minimalist cockpit. Handsome Smiths gauges are the embodiment of the English sports car industry, and simple knobs and toggle switches on the dash are the extent of the controls. No radio, no heater, just enough to deliver a ton of fun on four wheels. It does come with a folding top and proper roll-up windows, so weather protection is above average for the class and the trunk is deep and well-shaped, even with a spare tire inside.
The engine is an over-achieving 1098 cc inline-four that makes a whopping 56 horsepower. But don't write it off, because the whole car weighs a fraction of today's sports cars and there's genuine joy to be found in driving a vintage sports car at speed, and horsepower isn't even in the equation. It's correctly finished with Austin Green paint on the block, twin SU carburetors, and lots of authentic details that are the epitome of British engineering It starts easily with a blat from the single tailpipe (the exhaust system is brand new) and while it won't rev to 8000 RPM, it's a pleasure to row the gears of the 4-speed manual and listen to the engine's song. The suspension and brakes were also serviced, filling out an undercarriage that's in good order and ready for another 50 years of fun. Relatively fat 165R13 radials on the original steel wheels provide surprising agility and a more finished look.
Properly maintained and ready to go, this Sprite is traditional British fun that's enjoyable for reasons beyond its playful good looks. Call today!