1960 Austin-Healey Sebring Sprite

The Austin-Healey Sprite series of small-capacity production sports cars with BMC A-Series engines is too familiar to require detailed description here, but this particular car is one of the very select group of “Sebring” Sprites which were highly modif

The Austin-Healey Sprite series of small-capacity production sports cars with BMC A-Series engines is too familiar to require detailed description here, but this particular car is one of the very select group of “Sebring” Sprites which were highly modified for international road-racing competition and driven in their heyday by such great names as Pat Moss (International Rally-winning sister of Stirling Moss) and the late, much-missed Australian international driver Paul Hawkins.

Its first owner was Mr. Cyril Simson, who presented it to the London tuning and race-preparation company run by well-known racing driver John Sprinzel. There it was extensively modified for competition, being fitted with a more aerodynamic, lightweight aluminum coupe body tailor-made by the well-known specialist competition coachbuilding company Williams & Pritchard.

It made its race debut at Goodwood on Easter Monday, 1960, but crashed. However, its mild damage was rapidly repaired, and success followed with Paul Hawkins winning the class in the GT race at the Aintree 200 meeting, then finishing seventh with Ian Walker and helping the Sprinzel Sprite team to win the Team Prize at the demanding Nurburgring 500 Kms race for under 1,000cc Touring and GT cars in Germany.

At the start of the 1961 season, Cyril Simson made his car available to the two-car Castrol-backed “works” team for the Sebring 4-Hours small-capacity GT race driven by Pat Moss/Paul Hawkins in support of Miss Moss’s brother Stirling in John Sprinzel’s own sister car. The car was then serviced and taken over by Cyril Simson/Paul Hawkins for the major Sebring 12-Hours race which followed. Subsequently, Peter Clake drove the car in that year’s Nurburgring l,000 Kms and became its new owner.

In 1964 it is believed to have been raced, wearing the registration 184 FGJ. It competed in Marque sports car events driven by Ed Braine and John Palmer, the latter owning it from 1966 until 1989.

It was acquired from Colin Pearcy, the well-known British competition car collector, in 1994. Pearcy commissioned Pritchard to make a new body to the exact specification of the original. (The previous body, which was not to the original specification, is also available.) The private German owner has had great success with this famous Sebring Sprite in historic competition with class wins at Spa, Nurburgring and Zandvoort.

The car has had a full mechanical restoration and its specification includes 1,000cc engine, close-ratio gearbox, limited-slip differential, adjustable rear shock absorbers, full roll cage, leather race seat and harness.