Saturday, 12 March 2011

Austin Healey Sebring Sprite

The Austin Healey 'Sebring' Sprite name refers to any Austin Healey Sprite with front disc brakes and more recently to any Sprite with Coupé or Fastback bodywork.

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Following a change in the sports car regulations in 1960 which allowed special bodies, rally and racing driver John Sprinzel commissioned Williams & Pritchard to build 6 aluminium bodied Sprites with coupé bodywork between Dec 1960 and May 1961.

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This 1960 vehicle purchased new by Cyril Simson started life as a standard Austin Healey Sprite registered YLN13, Cyril changed the registration to S221 and raced it as part of Team 221 with two other sprites H221 and X221.

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Paul Hawkins drove it to victory at Aintree and S221 was part of the Sprinzel Sprite Team that took team honours at the Nurburgring.

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Originally powered by a 43 hp 948 cc / 57 cui motor this particular unit, prepared by Janspeed, was shown to be delivering over 85 hp at the recent Race Retro exhibition.

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For 1961 the car was prepared by John Sprizel and it was one of the six Sprinzel cars sent to Williams & Pritchard to be fitted with a aluminium coupé body.

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The car was then driven in practice by Stirling Moss for the Sebring 4 hours who promptly stripped the clutch and transferred to another team car after repairs were made Pat Moss & Paul Hawkins drove S221 in the four hour race. S221 was then prepared again overnight for Cyril and Paul Hawkins to drive in the Sebring 12 Hours where they came in 37th.

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In August 1961 S221 was sold to Peter Clark and it was reregistered and rolled at the Karrussel on the Nurburgring. The car was repaired and an extended fast back body was fitted by Peel Coach works.

The longest term owner of this vehicle Colin Pearcy had Len Pritchard make a new alloy rear end and coupé top and most recent owner Chris Clegg reunited the car with its S221 registration and has driven it competitively for several years with Archers Motors taking care of the race preparation.

My thanks to Janspeed who facilitated the photo's of the engine and interior.

Hope you have enjoyed to days Sebring edition of 'Gettin' a lil' psycho on tyres' and that you'll join me again tomorrow. Don't forget to come back now !


  1. Dude, a Sprintzel Sprite is WAY better than ANY Miata!

  2. I think the Lotus Elan was cited as the prototype for the MX 5 JC :-)

    A Sprinzel Sprite has far more history than any Miata :-)

  3. Many years ago I went to look at a Sebring Sprintzel Sprite in Florida. It had a list that was as long as my arm with all the recent work that had just been done. It was in an airplane hanger and it had the fastback coupe body with the Sprinzel nose. My dear wife thought it was cute, but it did not have the frog eye nose and she did not like the aero nose! Oh well another missed opertunity.

  4. I agree the Frogeye nose is very fetching J2A, though allegedly it was a result of a compromise the result of Austin deeming the intended pop up headlights to expensive.