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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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Sebring Sprite Latest News

News ~ January 2023

SEBRING SPRITE PARTS FOR SALE

“Andrew Burroughs is disposing of a number of items which include a Warwick Mk2 hardtop, Riley 1.5 rear brake assemblies, 1/4 elliptic wire wheel axle plus another steel wheel, OE 1/4 elliptic rear springs, 3.7 and 3.9 diffs, gearboxes, 1275 blocks cranks, rods and other 1275 engine parts, instruments, plus more.
To enquire please ring him on 07957 245056.”

 

Greetings and wishing you all a Happy New Year. I am hoping that by the time you read this I may have sorted the Feedback system so I can hear from you once again. In the meantime I have added some 'new' stuff which dates back to October/November last. Happy Spriting when the sun comes out.

 

"The Sebring Sprite Memorial Cup" or "Brian Archer Trophy"

For 2022 the trophy has been awarded to Rod Graham who now owns the ex-Ian Ashfield Sebring Fastback 5116 HN

Rod told me "I am very proud of the car which not only “goes” but looks beautiful. I am attaching a copy of the article (left) I wrote about 5116HN, for “Headlines from Healey” magazine that it appeared in. [Rod is going to collect the trophy from last year's winners OUMF] By complete coincidence I, along with two other Witney friends, met with Ding and six of his Oxford University Motorsports Foundation (OUMF) students yesterday. We have donated some Sprite parts, including an engine of mine (for rebuild) and a gearbox - which I was given by Lyn Garton (Mike Garton’s widow). A friend and I had helped her to get started on sorting Mike’s garage after he died and she wanted us to have some of the parts – either for us to use or for us to make sure were used by someone else – so we were able to complete the circle - and OUMF have a current project in need of both of these. Attached is a photograph, which I took yesterday Rod Grahamof Ding (left) with his students and my friend David (middle), in the garage, after loading up the OUMF van. We are going to go over to the OUMF premises, in our classics, at some stage, to compare. I’d love to get a pic of his and mine next to each other, with the Trophy".

 
776 KNX

You may like to view this
Video of 776 KNX out on test

Thanks to Dave Matthews for the link.

 

Thacker & Co

Peter Richings retires from racing after 51 continuous years

James Thacker reports: "Pete's wife Joy took this photo and called it 'TheThree Wise Men' - Robert Nettleton, James Thacker and Andrew Bailey, who managed to make it to Donington Park on 29th October for Pete's final race. An alternative title might be 'Last of the Summer wine'. All were originally drivers of Mk 1 Sprites, by coincidence." 

Peter Richings had, in 1971,  just left Loughborough University where he studied engineering and he started racing an ex- Peter Felix green Midget with his Dad helping him in the early days. He raced this for about four years on his own and then shared it with Mike Donovan for three years. Peter somehow managed to be a race reporter for Autosport as well as taking part in the meetings he was writing about. They changed the car into the white Heatherbourne Midget  [named after their  sponsors, a plastics company]  which in its  day was a state of the Pete Richingsart racing Midget with its rear radiator and 1500 style Midget front made of fibreglass and 1460cc long stroke engine. and coil sprung back end etc. See photo in John Baggot's book Mighty Midgets and Special Sprites, page 139. They won a lot in Modsports in the quite new up to 1500cc class with some close races with friendly rival, Keith Ashby,  in his more conventional but well developed car. Peter and Mike then sold the car to Andrew Shilstone and eventually it was owned by Gill Duffy for a short while when I think his brother drove it a little and from memory it was red. Peter and Mike Donovan, both ex-Austin Longbridge and  Rover Solihull, shared a Mallock clubmans car in 1979 then had one each until then sharing a Class B F3 Ralt for a couple of years. Donovan retired for some while from racing now working in the USA  for Marconi and Peter went back to the Clubmans formula and being pretty successful too. He engineered the change from the Kent engine to the Rover 16 valve twin cam K series engine. Peter moved to JLR and was a Chassis Director amongst other later roles including being in charge of track testing facilities worldwide including the Nordschleife. Peter had his last circult race at Donington on 29th October afer 51 continuous years. He will compete in the standard class in his Yaris GR car [250bhp four wheel drive] and also do track days and instruct for JLR on their off road experience courses at Solihull and Eastnor Castle etc and to track days with his wife in the Yaris and her MG ZR.

By coincidence if you turn over a page (in John Baggott's book) on p 141 is a photo of Andrew Bailey in his Mk 1 Sprite 1897 VX.  Andrew is one of the three in the photo. His car was completely engineered by him [he was a refrigeration engineer]   including the engine/head and in line 1071 short stroke engine. Andrew raced for a relatively short period from 1972 to 1978 but was arguably the quickest of the up to 1150 cc Sprite drivers and most others too. For example , he beat Malcolm Beer and Ted Reeve a number of times  in their 1275cc well prepared cars especially at Brands Hatch. Andrew was rather quicker than a Mr Palmer in his Mk 1 Sprite in 1975/6 and from then their two careers took different courses. Andrew stopped racing soon after he married. Jonathon  Palmer went on to F1 and then owning a number of circuits in the UK under the name of his very successful company MSVR . For those who can remember the old club circuit at Silverstone, Andrew did a time in the 1 min 6 second bracket. Andrew's Mk 1 was sold and  raced by Richard Borthwick and then sold to a couple who shared it for hillclimbing, David Jeromes and David Edwards. One of them  hit a tree hard at Wiscombe in the early 1990's; and the shell was bought by Robert Netleton who, with his cousin, David Holmes, repaired it and got it as far as being a rolling shell for A/HCC  series racing but work stopped in about 1995.

Robert Nettlton needs no introduction having initially raced a Mk 1 Sprite in Modsports from the late 60's to 1975 and after a break of four years, then drove his well known multi -coloured Midgets and Sprites  in Class C from 1979 and later Class B of the Midget championship winning both and also in the Donington GT and a Prodsports championship and also in the A/H circuit series before it merged with the MGCC series.

Peter Felix also won a Class C championship  in a Nettleton multi-coloured car. All Robert's cars were 100% self prepared and he was a legal officer by trade and not an engineer.

Martin, I hope this is of some interest even it it is nothing to do with Sebring Sprites but it may be of interest to you and or John Baggott".

 
MAuthers


FROM MIKE AUTHERS:
" I saw the final result of the auction for this unusual steel bonnet (see screenshot on left)
£2200 wasn’t too expensive although it was in Denmark so the shipping may have been a lot to the U.K..   it’s not far off mine on the Sebring-braked Sprite I have.   Mine was on the MASC stand this weekend at the NEC (right).  Did you get down to the show?" [Unfortunately not!]


812 UYS

Mike's car on display

 

 

News ~ December 2022

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Unfortunately at the present time I am unable to receive incoming messages through the feedback page due to the firm who relay the messages to me via email having a major outage which occurred on 2nd December and still remains unresolved. You can contact me through my private email if you have it or can post a message on the Sebring Sprite group page in Facebook which I will pick up. My apologies for the inconvenience.

Martin

 

News ~ November 2022

The late JOHN BILTON

JAMES THACKER writes: "I noticed an  obituary in the Daily Telegraph last  Saturday 29th October for John Bilton. I apologise for repeating this to those of you who already  know about John's sad passing but I anticipate a few may not be aware of this.. John Bilton was the navigator for Alec  Poole in his  Mk 1 Sprite TZA 238 for about three years on club rallies, Motoring News championship  events and two International rallies, the Circuit of Ireland and the International Welsh Rally in 1964. I sadly never met John but spoke to him on the phone many times and corresponded by email. over a period of  about 20 to 25 years. John's sheer enthusiasm for TZA 238  and its part in motorsport, together with fascinating   anecdotes , was one of the timely catalysts to my deciding to make a start rebuilding TZA with Kim Johnson in 2012.. John had an amazing power of recalling all the details of TZA 238 both in rally and race specification  [engines, bodywork, front ends, wheels  etc] as if  it was just yesterday. Alec of course  moved on to compete successfully  in many other cars in his professional career and naturally only remembered things from a broader perspective. One very much senses  that this era in John's  life was clearly very enjoyable and truly memorable for him . In the December 2016 Sebring Sprite latest news website there is a copy of part of an email sent to me from John Bilton with, among other things, an anecdote saying how Tom Walkinshaw became interested in starting his racing career in a Sprite having seen TZA 238  being driven  by Alec Poole  at Ingliston in 1965 or 1966.  I wrote to John's daughters, Kirsty and Hannah, and they were very pleased to hear from me and volunteered that there were photos of TZA  around the  house. I think John was particularly proud of their 9th overall place on the Welsh Rally as it was very rare for a Sprite to do that well against Mini Cooper S's and Cortina's etc in that era.  He sent me a copy of the official  results sheet and this is shown on the TZA 238  Sebring Sprite website He pointed out  that Autosport somehow got the result wrong in their publications, demoting Alec and him several places ! A lovely man who enjoyed his  motorsport; my sympathies are very much with his family and close friends. James"

 
G Heacock


GREG HEACOCK says " I wanted to let you know that we have a group of Sprite racers on the west cost of the USA forming a starting grid under the very helpful guidance of Stephen Newby. At our last meeting we had our own start with 12 cars.  Fabolous racing. I’ll keep you posted as our group progresses.   Kind regards".


G Heacock
 
7627 YG

Andrew Quine

has joined the Sebring Sprite Family. He is the proud owner of Archers Coupe Replica No.74 formerly owned by Barry McCann. The car is now fitted with a 1330 engine built by Gordon Elwell, and has recently been inspected and MOT’d by Halls Garage Bourne.

 

 

News ~ October 2022

317AOV
317AOV

Trevor McIlroy gets 2nd in Class at 50th anniversary Knockalla Hillclimb County Donegal

317AOV
photo: D.Harrigan

Out of four sprints & two hill climbs since July, Trevor has been on the podium at every event.   

photo: Leslie McMullan

 

 

 

News ~ September 2022

Marchal

A GOOD PAIR OF MARCHAL SPOTLAMPS FOR SALE

See [FOR SALE] page.

 

MORE ON THAT LENHAM (see below)

Dave Matthews was the first to respond with a photo of Garry Wilson driving his Lenham' as depicted on his Worldwide Austin-Healeys calendar of 1981. Close examination of the photo reveals that that car had been extended forwards by abour 6 inches to accommodate a more aerodynamic perspex windscreen and Garry WilsonLotus Elan front suspension. Coincidentally the car bears the same No.56 as John Tandy's photo which I am told was taken at Lodge Corner at Oulton Park probably in the 70's. Next came a message from Will Corry telling me that the Tandy car was owned by Trevor McCullough in Ireland back in 1989 and was then sold on to John Galloway who campaigned it at just about every hill-climb and sprint on the Emerald Isle over many years. He had a minor mishap with it at Craigantlet, around 2008, at a "Very difficult corner that has taken many big names in the sport over the years. A gentle accident all the same. He lost heart at that time due to age. A corner he had driven J Tandyhundred of times before but that was the end of his run in the Lenham". John died in 2019 and the car lay uncared-for in his garden for a lengthy period. But is this the same car which Garry Wilson extended ? If so it was clearly brought back to 'standard' Spridget by the time John Galloway owned it. Dave Matthews has managed to contact Garry Wilson who has promised to come through to me with his recollections and history of his car. More anon. [Pictured left: John Galloway with his car at a hill-climb]

12 October 2022: I have now spoken to Garry Wilson on the phone and learned that he was supplied with standard Lenham Le Mans panels by the Lenham Motor Co who were going to sponsor his racing. He redesigned both the rear end and the bonnet to look more like a Porsche 956 and made the necessary moulds. He produced and sold a number of kits of these parts one of which went to Trevor McCullough in Ireland (probably around 1961) so it is now clear his and Trevor's were 2 different cars. In fact Garry's car still exists, owned by a guy called Martin, but has been converted back to Midget styling. The body moulds were subsequently sold to Dominic Moody of Midland Classic Restorations. Dominic also now owns the ex-John Helm car with the same style bodywork.

Very many thanks to Dave Matthews, Will Corry and John Baggott for their valuable input.

 

A New Book entitled "Austin-Healey Sprite" by Malcolm Thorne is published by Crowood Press:

"With over 250 photographs, this book includes the genesis of the Sprite, from the Austin Seven and pre-war MG Midget, via Donald Healey's Riley- and Nash-engined models, to the Austin A30, A90 Atlantic and Healey Hundred".

Take a look at it here but I suggest you buy it through bookshop.org where it is priced at £23.75 instead of £30.

 
DAC
DAC
DAC
DAC
DAC
BRUNO VERSTRAETE: "Please find attached some pictures of my Sebring Sprite DAC952C at the Motorsport Rendezvous in Sankt Moritz. The car was standing next to some other exotic material from all different eras. It is remarkable how few car people know the background and story of the cars. Looking at which cars were beaten by this little gem, it surely deserves more… only by bringing it out it can be done. Unfortunately work didn’t allow me to drive the car through the mountains and on the hill climb. Will be something for another day".
 
3758UE

3758 UE

I see from the auction results that the original Ashley Sprite sold for £15,000
including commission. The purchaser was none other than Sven Eckhardt.

 

Paul Hawkins
see: PRIMOTIPO (courtesy of Joe Armour)

 
YFY

ROB CLUBBE REPORTS:
" Will has started the final push to get YFY 467 build complete! Deep dish Minilites now fitted.

YFY
YFY
 

CAN ANYONE HELP IDENTIFY JOHN TANDY'S LENHAM & TELL US ITS HISTORY?

J Tandy
J Tandy
J Tandy
J Tandy

JOHN TANDY wrote: "I recently bought this Lenham Le Mans modsports car for restoration and was wondering if you could shed any light on the car . I have no history for it and am trying to find out anything I can , the only thing I know is that at some point in its life it ended up in Ireland as a Hillclimber , where it was crashed and then left to deteriorate outside. I enclose some pictures of the car including what I believe is a picture of it on track from years ago".

Any information please via Feedback

 

2 FILM CLIPS FROM DAVID WYLIE, OWNER OF SPEEDWELL GT, 505 BZ:

"I’ve been pretty inactive in the Speedwell of late, but might drag it out of the garage for a small charity event at the end of the month (August).  Maybe I’m still smarting from having to pull out of the Members’ Meeting?!

Anyhow, perhaps of interest… quite a long film of the 1962 Circuit of Ireland featuring 505 BZ masquerading as a Sebring for homologation purposes (around 25m and 40m).  Having won in 1960 in an ordinary Sprite, Adrian was leading overall with 505 BZ until a secret time check demoted them and ultimately, he finished second in class to Peter Johnston who was driving the ex-Chris Williams Sebring (52 LPH – now Ronnie White’s car) which can be seen briefly too.

Also, Paddy Hopkirk demonstrating 2222 AZ, which surely would have been running Girling discs?  A friend in Belfast is currently restoring the car.  Interestingly (although perhaps that’s subjective), 505 BZ currently has the same gear knob which presumably was a ‘tuning’ part available from Paddy Hopkirk’s shop in Belfast".

MANY THANKS DAVID.

Simon Brien

Alloy doors
FOR SALE

(click above to go to 'For Sale' page)

9957RE

SEBRING REPLICA
FOR SALE
£17,000
(see For Sale Page)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earlier items can be found at News 2022, News 2021, News 2020, News 2019, News 2018, News 2017, News 2016, News 2015, News 2014, News 2013, News 2012, News 2011 or News 2010

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