Classic Van Auction Talk

Monday 9 September 2019

1959 Austin-Healey Bonneville Sebring Sprite Historic Rally Car - .BONHAMS AUCTIONS Goodwood Revival Sale Saturday 14th September 2019 Goodwood Circuit, Chichester


Goodwood Revival Sale
Saturday 14th September 2019
Goodwood Circuit, Chichester

1959 Austin-Healey Bonneville Sebring Sprite Historic Rally Car
Registration no. FEY 678
Chassis no. AN526435
*Present ownership for 27 years

*Supercharged 960cc A-Series engine
*Extensively campaigned on historic rallies
*Extensively up-rated
*FIA/MSA homologated


  • Intended to make sports car motoring available to a wider market, the Donald Healey-designed Sprite entered production in March 1958. The car's unitary construction bodyshell featured a distinctive forward-hinging bonnet/wings topped by two 'Frog Eye' headlamps, thus ensuring instant recognition and the now-familiar nickname. Despite a Spartan equipment level - even the front bumper was listed as an extra! - the 'Frog Eye' sold well, which was not really surprising as there was nothing competing with it either on price or performance.

    Light, small and nimble, the Sprite soon found its way into the competition, and the works entry of John Sprinzel immediately took a class win on the 1958 Alpine Rally. Healey and Sprinzel then set about improving the Sprite fitting disc brakes and revised front bodywork to produce the Sebring Sprite. Although never a product of BMC, it is a model recognised in its own right by the FIA. Meanwhile back in Abingdon, the BMC Competitions Department set about developing a supercharged version to capture land speed records at the famous Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. Flushed with success, a supercharger was subsequently offered as a tuning option and hence the supercharged Bonneville was homologated in 1962.

    This charming classic rally car has been loved, developed and campaigned by its current owner for 27 years, amassing an impressive competition record. It has competed in approximately 20 major rallies including the Monte Carlo Historique (twice), Classic Marathon (twice), the Rally of the Tests (twice), and Liège-Rome-Liège, securing various class wins and even a Concours trophy. This working competition car has all the right bits and comes with an extensive history file. Specification highlights include the following:

    948cc A-Series engine bored to 960cc
    Big-valve cylinder head
    Lightened flywheel
    Shorrock C75 supercharger
    Triple-row radiator
    Correct smooth-case gearbox with needle roller bearings
    Straight-cut close-ratio gear cluster
    4.5:1 differential
    Up-rated half-shafts and bearings
    Up-rated suspension
    Lockheed front discs brakes and up-rated rear drums
    Works type 9-gallon fuel tank with guard
    Period Sebring seats
    Works-type glassfibre hardtop
    Williams & Pritchard Sebring front end

    Available only because owner is a little less 'spritely' than he was, the car comes with an owner's handbook, BMIHT Certificate, FIA/MSA Historic Vehicle Identity Form, MSA Historic Technical Passport, FIA/MSA Historic Regularity Rally Car Pass, RAC/MSA homologation papers, Shorrock supercharger fitting instructions, and an engine build sheet.

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