1959 Austin-Healey Sprite Mark I
This beautiful second-year production Sprite Mark I was built December 8-9, 1959, as a left-hand drive North American export model. The car was shipped to the USA dealer on December 22, 1959. The car is coming out of 24-year long-term Danish ownership and has Danish title and papers.
This is a matching numbers car with its original 0.9-liter engine making 43 brake horsepower coupled to its original 4-speed manual gearbox. The car was ordered with the following options from the factory: Heater, Rev. counter, Front bumper, Laminated Windscreen, Windscreen washer, and Sliding side screens. A British Motor Industry Heritage Trust Certificate is included in the sale.
VIN/Chassis Number: AN5-L/29261
Engine Number: 9C-U-H/28229
Body Number: BAE/28960
Engine: 948 cc A-Series I4, 43 hp (32 kW) at 5200 rpm
Gearbox: 4-speed manual, synchromesh on the top three gears
Drive: Rear-wheel drive
History of the 1958-1961 Austin-Healey Sprite:
The Austin-Healey Sprite, introduced for 1959, continued the collaboration between Austin and The Donald Healey Motor Company and took further advantage of the massive British Motor Corporation parts bin. Although it was aimed at the very bottom of the sports car market, the Sprite used a modern unibody and offered precise handling if modest acceleration from its 948cc A-series overhead valve engine and transmission with synchromesh on the top three gears.
To keep costs down, the independent front suspension was joined by a live rear axle with quarter-elliptic springs, braking was by front and rear drums, and the headlamps – originally intended to pop up – were fixed in the up position. Thanks to the grinning grille and those bulging headlamps, the car was dubbed the “Bugeye” Sprite, or “Frogeye” in the U.K. The Sprite quickly gained a following and they could be seen racing for several decades.
Approximately 50,000 Sprites were sold, introducing many to the world of sports cars. Although stock Bugeyes are relatively scarce, many have survived, often with 1275 engines, front disc brakes and other modifications. Although more spartan and slower than later Sprites, Bugeyes are the most collectibles by a considerable margin.