1958 Austin-Healey Sprite Mk 1 Works Rally

Mike Bouckaert ©2018, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

First registered in November 1958, chassis no. AN57565 was prepared by Donald Healey and his team for the 1959 Monte Carlo, Sestriere and Alpine rallies. It would go on to be the only Works Rally Austin Healey Frogeye Sprite produced. Its early history was detailed in John Sprinzel and Tom Coulthard’s book Spritely Years.

The authors summarized this Sprite’s history: “Cherry red from the production line and painted Colorado Red before the car got to the Works department. Car prepared by the Donald Healey Motor Company at the Cape Works, Warwick, and the BMC competition department by Marcus Chambers (BMC’s team manager) for the 1959 Monte Carlo and Sestriere Rallies (with number plates XOH 277) and Alpine rally, with its original registration XOH 276.

“Equipped with wire wheels for the 1959 Alpine Rally and Girling disc brakes. Later sold to Cecil Winby of BRICO, the British Piston Ring Company, who co-drove a works Healey with Tommy Wisdom in the last ‘true’ Mille Miglia in 1957.”

What this description does not include is the little Sprite’s strong finishing record during these early rallies. In the 1959 Monte Carlo Rally it finished a very respectable 5th in class, driven by Tommy Wisdom and navigated by Douglas Johns. In the Sestriere and Alpine rallies of the same year, AN57565 finished 1st and 2nd in class, respectively, again driven by Tommy Wisdom, with Tony Lucas and Jack Hay as navigators at each event.

Offered now following a thorough restoration, this was completed in January 2018 — almost 59 years to the date of its preparation for the 1959 Monte Carlo Rally.

 

Paul Hardiman

Paul Hardiman - SCM Senior Auction Analyst - %%page%%

Paul is descended from engineers and horse thieves, so he naturally gravitated toward the old-car marketplace and still finds fascination in the simpler things in life: looking for spot-weld dimples under an E-type tail, or counting the head-studs on a supposed Mini-Cooper engine. His motoring heroes are Roger Clark, Burt Levy, Henry Royce and Smokey Yunick — and all he wants for next Christmas is an Alvis Stalwart complete with picnic table in the back and a lake big enough to play in.

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