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Dedicated to the memory of the late Brian Archer who fulfilled his dream to re-create John Sprinzel's Sebring Sprite Coupé

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Speedwell GT ~ 5755 MM

 

Speedwell
At Silverstone around 1989/90.
Speedwell GT
.. when owned and raced..
Speedwell GT
..by the late Peter Preston.
Gaydon-21
At Gaydon in 2008..
Gaydon-22
...just after restoration.
Goodwood 2010 - 27
At Goodwood in 2010 ...
RonEdwards26for the Fordwater Trophy driven by Neil Hardy.

Originally painted white, this example was offered for sale, as an ex-demonstrator, in the summer of 1961 and was purchased by a Trevor Smith. It had an external access through its aluminium tail, to reach the spare wheel, and was fitted with a pair of Amal carburettors which were constantly needing re-tuning so that Trevor changed them for a 45 Weber. He used the car as his everyday driver applying red stripes to the bonnet and fitting chrome wire wheels. Now capable of achieving 100 mph the drum brakes were proving inadequate. The Perspex windscreen made night-driving difficult, as other Speedwell owners were to find (before Triplex laminated ones became available. Martin Emmott owned and raced the car from 1965 to '68 after which it moved on again. There is a gap in its history until it was rescued in a poor condition by Len Davis in 1974. By then it had a fibreglass Frogeye bonnet so Len ordered a new Speedwell Monza bonnet from Fibresports who had a mould at the time. The car was back running again by 1983 when it was sold to Jim Lowry and it passed on again a couple of years later, to Peter Preston who regularly raced Jaguars. It must have been around 1989/90 when I spotted the car in the Silverstone paddock and took the three upper photos, right. By then it was running on twin 1½" SUs. Unfortunately Peter shunted the car, backwards into a bank, at Donington Park, putting himself in hospital. The car ended up in Birmingham with Brian Archer who, for reasons of economy, fitted steel rear panels in place of the crumpled alloy ones. In 1994 the car was sold through the Austin-Healey Club's magazine 'Rev Counter' to Bill McDonnough of Hardy Engineering. He and his friend Dave Grove then rebuilt the car including fitting new alloy rear bodywork and blending/bonding in the Speedwell hardtop. By this time the engine had been replaced with one of 1380cc and it now bears a black stripe and black painted wire wheels. Neil Hardy raced the car in the Fordwater Trophy at the Goodwood Revival in 2010, coming in 14th. After a period of joint ownership the car is now with Dave Grove (2020).

{My thanks to John Baggott for much of the content above, taken from his book "Frogeye Sprite The Complete Story"]

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