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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At Meadowdale Raceway

The Jerry Ellick Sebring ~ AN5 41824

In the late 1990's David Brown purchased this car which had been extensively raced in the mid-west of the USA.  He knows much of the car's history from about 1962 onwards but has never been able to get to its origins.  The reason the car is of interest is that it still has the Dunlop four wheel disc brake setup, H-type 1 1/2" carbs on the proper Q series manifold and in virtually every way possible has all the original components of a factory racer.  He has now sold the car to a close friend after rebuilding everything but the body shell.  Jonathan Whitehouse-Bird has been trying to assist him in identifying the car.

The photos shown are of the various restored assemblies from the car as DBrown-2well as a photo on the left of it racing at Meadowdale Raceway (now defunct) in the mid-sixties.  The car was purchased directly from Inskip - the east coast importer - by Jerry Ellick, in the early sixties.  It has virtually all of the rarest bits ever offered.  However, it matches none of the identified cars (with possibly one exception) in Tom Coulthard's book "Spritely Years".  It was Old English White and appears to have originally been right-hand drive (none of the right-hand drive equipment mounting holes are plugged - this unusual in that there is no reason for anyone to remove the Phillips head screws used to plug them). David Brown has since sold the car to Dave Giorgi, owner of The Winners Circle, a competition parts supplier for Spridgets in the U.S., but he would still like to determine the origin of this unique car for him.

The detailed specification of the car is as follows:

The car was originally acquired directly from INSKIP in 1962 or 63 by Gerald Ellick or Tom Peacock of Carerra Motors, Forest Park, Illinois, US., and was raced in the Chicago area in SCCA club racing for 5 to 8 years by Mr. Ellick (now deceased).

The body pressing number (located on top of right side footwell, under the wiring loom) is 33631, (so quite a late shell for a Frogeye).  The right side door pillar tag is BAE 41314.  The only registration number he has is what appears on the title, without the AN5 prefix, and is simply 41824.  The car is LHD and was originally finished in Old English White with an all steel body, bonnet and doors.

Unique features include:

4 wheel Dunlop disc brakes with 60 spoke wire wheels, complete with emergency brake pads. Front caliper bore is 1⅝" and the rear is 1¼". The rear hub to spline adapters seat to the hub with tapered nuts and have a welded flange which encases the axle flange outer diameter.  The hub is a non-standard piece with extra material on the back-side to bolt the disc rotor to.  The calipers mount to an adapter which appears to be machined from plate and appears case-hardened.

The front hubs are one-piece with the wire wheel spline drive and are numbered Q2398 or Q2396. The front caliper adapters also appear machined from plate. The front and rear disc rotors differ in offset.
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The rear leaf springs and the front coils are competition parts.  The front spring pans have an additional, adjustable, bump stop which bolts through the top of the pan.

The car is fitted with an anti-roll bar which is not like the later factory units.  The bar ends in eyelets which are parallel with the ground and connect to the A-frames with a straight link with buffers at top and bottom of the sway bar eyelets and the A-frame bracket eyelet.

An oil cooler of an early design is fitted, with a Morris Radiator Works label and rounded ends, this suspended between the front frame rails and fastened to a welded angle bracket on top of each rail.

The engine has 1½" H-type SU carbs which have been bell-mouthed from the jet area forward and the pistons are tapered on their leading edge.  The needles used are No.232 and the carbs mount on a Q2344 numbered manifold.  The engines displacement is 995cc and still has an original "red" crank.

Overall, the car is very solid with little or no rust.  David (Brown) has speculated that the car might be a rally car built for Pat Moss which was one of three Old English White cars built by Healey.  However our Sebring sprite registrar, Jonathan Whitehouse-Bird thinks this unlikely. David is now going to follow Jonathan's recommendation and contact British Motor Heritage to, hopefully, obtain a certificate for the car.

Before he sold the car to Dave Giorgi,  David rebuilt and restored everything except the body.  He says: "the engine is a little jewel of time travel performance tuning.  The head is perhaps the most beautifully ported one I've ever seen, and I've seen many from most all of the best known tuners.  It had domed chambers and the valve sizes were exactly as described in the specs for the Sebring modified 995s.  I had new ones made, but saved one of each of the originals.  The camshaft is profiled out to match the contemporary Racer Brown cam, and the flywheel was lightened well beyond anything I've seen done to an original steel flywheel.  I built the engine to period spec including retaining the tin front pulley and felt front seal which were on the car when I acquired it.  The close ratio smooth case gearbox is rebuilt entirely from NOS parts. The front brake rotors were worn beyond use, so I had new ones made to spec, but saved the originals for their part number identity.  The rear rotors are still usable so they remain fitted.  Perhaps the strangest pieces to me, were the front spindles.  They are primarily drum brake spindles but with a part number found nowhere in any of the books I have.  They were cracked so I had new stubs welded into them (this is a common performance upgrade in the States and I'm sure in the UK as well) but was careful to preserve the original look and part number".

Apparently the body tub is entirely rust free, but a very aggressive mechanic decided that cutting out the entire transmission tunnel and most of the footwell would make replacing the frequently failing transmissions easier.   Amazingly, after all these years, the door fit is still very good, so it would seem the tub hasn't really sagged without the strengthening of the transmission tunnel.

Can anyone throw any lot on this car's origins? If you can - please contact me on Feedback

"Just a note to let you know that I've contacted the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust and have initiated a search based on the BAE number.  I'll let you know what they discover as soon as I find out. It seems pretty clear now that the car has no important racing history other than the club racing that I'm aware of, but the originality and unique nature of the special tuning pieces found on it make it a desirable car to own and finish restoring. All but the body shell has all ready been restored. "

David Brown

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