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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

 

Bonnets

A great variety of different on-piece bonnets have been created over the years initially as replacements for the heavy and cumbersome steel front of the Austin-Healey Sprite Mark 1 - most of them in fibreglass, and just a few in aluminium. Later they became a common fitment on all the various models of Sprite and Midget. Let's start with the:

Williams & Pritchard Sebring Mark 1bonnet
I was unclear as to who designed and first marketed the Sebring bonnet we all know and love, so asked John Sprinzel for some guidance. I had suggested that Costin was involved in its design and that Williams & Pritchard made it while Speedwell marketed it. This is John's detailed and informative reply:

"Martin. No sir, neither Speedwell nor Costin nor Healeys had anything to do with the Sebring Bonnet which I designed after Donald showed me the photo of the Mark Two Sprite prototype. In particular I wanted to keep the grille which we had not done on the Speedwell front. I took the drawings to W & P with whom I had worked on the Speedwell GT which was Frank Costin's design. They obviously changed it a bit to suit their production methods The alloy prototype was introduced while I was working at Healeys, on the November 1960 RAC Rally. The actual production versions and the full Sebring bodywork were produced after I bought the Speed Equipment division and moved to Lancaster Mews. I think Cyril Simson's S221 was the first and was raced at Sebring in 1961. Because the Speedwell didn't have much room for the right hand during quick correction movements, I got W & P to make the screen part a bit wider. We made the outline with me sitting in the car while they bent rods around me for the final shape, and we resisted the "fast-back" trend as Frank had always felt the cut back top was smoother and quicker.  W & P didn't start to sell their own version of the Sebring fronts until we liquidated the first company and were reborn as JS Racing Ltd. I still shudder at the thought that we had nowhere to store the replaced metal bonnets, and had to pay our dustmen a fiver each to take them away!"


Ashley
Ashley

Ashley Laminates produced high quality fibreglass bonnets in two styles. Thefirst was specifically for the Sprite Mk 1 and enabled the user to re-fit the standard radiator grille. On the right here is their early version intended for the Frogeye from which the original grille could be fitted.

Later came the Mark 2 with a wider grille opening and a raised centre bonnet bulge, as seen here on Shaun Rainford's replica of the John Britten Lenham Midget. [Not to be confused with the W & P Sebring GT bonnet.]

See also the Ashley page.


Monza for class "PhotoColumn" Goes Here

Speedwell Performance Conversions Ltd, of Finchley, marketed the Monza bonnet (right), sometimes with a single central air duct but also offered with a 3 grille openings option. I presume it was made by WilliamsPrototype Monza & Pritchard for whom Speedwell also sold their Sebring bonnets.

The prototype Monza bonnet (one of about 6 made in aluminium) was used by John Sprinzel and Stuart Turner in PMO 200 on the 1959 Liege Rally.

 



Pictured top right is a rare one believed to be by J. Gedden of Manhattan Beach, California made back in the '60s, these photos sent in by Michael Satterfield (Dec 2014).

 

Speedwell Performance Conversions Ltd, of MonzaFinchley, produced the Monza front, sometimes with a single central air duct but also with a 3 grille openings option.

Speedwell also marketed Williams & Pritchard's Sebring Type 1 bonnet.

Others to follow.

 


 

M Satterfield
The Gedden bonnet
M Satterfield

KvB
The early Ashley bonnet
Photo: Kees van Beijmerwerdt

Ashley Type 2
HJS 1
Speedwell Monza
photo: Juergen Schaefer
Scothern GTO-18
(?)A. J. Thorpe
(from Lenham GTO gallery)
Scothern GTO-22

McIlroy Bonnet
Trevor McIlroy's similar one.

Kellison bonnet
A Kellison bonnet
Denner bonnet
A bonnet sold on ebay in 2011
Dema Bonnet
Perhaps the same bonnet as that shownabove, made in the USA by Dama Plastics.Inc
650 FTX
Pema bonnet
Angelo Lenham
Lenham bonnet
RJohnson Bonnet
Unidentified (imported by R.Johnson)