"Frog Eyed" Austin Sprite

David Carton

Blackwater, Ireland

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Also known as bug eye or frog eye. Now why do you think they called it that?

The Austin-Healey Sprite is a small open sports car which was announced to the press in Monte Carlo by the British Motor Corporation (BMC) on 20 May 1958, just before that year’s Monaco Grand Prix. It was intended to be a low-cost model that “a chap could keep in his bike shed”, yet be the successor to the sporting versions of the pre-war Austin Seven. The Sprite was designed by the Donald Healey Motor Company, which received a royalty payment from the manufacturers BMC. It first went on sale at a price of £669, using a mildly tuned version of the Austin A-Series engine and as many other components from existing cars as possible to keep costs down.

This is a mark 1 placing it between 1958 & 1961.

The Sprite was made at the MG sports car factory at Abingdon, Berkshire (actually now in Oxfordshire) and it was inevitable that the success of the design would spawn an MG version known as the Midget, reviving a popular pre-war model name. Enthusiasts often now refer to Sprites and MG Midgets collectively as ‘Spridgets’.

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