Having forged strong links with BMC in the process of developing the successful Austin-Healey 100, Donald Healey turned his attention to designing a smaller version intended to make sports car motoring affordable to a wider sector of the market. Raiding the BMC parts bin for suitable components, Healey used Austin's 948cc A-Series engine; the A30/35's front suspension and rear axle; the Morris Minor's steering rack and an MG twin master cylinder.
Although its power train and running gear were entirely conventional, as well as thoroughly tried and tested, Healey's new baby was notable for its state-of-the-art unitary construction body/chassis. Christened 'Sprite', the new sports car entered production in March 1958 featuring a distinctive forward-hinging bonnet/wings topped by two fixed 'frog eye' headlamps, thus ensuring instant recognition and the now-familiar nickname. Despite a Spartan equipment level - even the front bumper was listed as an extra! - the 'Frog Eye' sold well, which was not really surprising as there was nothing competing with it either on price or performance.
This example had been subject to a ten-year restoration immediately prior to its purchase by the current vendor at Bonhams' Harrogate Sale in November 2008 (Lot 665). Finished in red with matching interior, the latter re-carpeted in 2007, the car comes with invoices exceeding £2,000 in total for work carried out and is offered with Swansea V5C document. We understand that the vehicle was last MoT'd in 2006. Kept in museum storage since acquisition, it will require the customary careful re-commissioning before further use.