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


Sebring Sprite Latest News

News ~ October 2017

I have just heard this morning of the tragic loss of Tony Bennetto who ran the Bugeye Barn in Queensland, Australia. Apparently he and his family were snorkelling on Heron Island when they got into difficulties. Tony's wife Kerry was rescued but sadly Tony drowned. We send our sincere condolences to Kerry and the family. A very sad loss of one of the Sprite world's great characters. Many in the UK will have met Tony and Kerry when they shipped their Sprites over here for the Sprite 50 celebrations back in 2008.
The 4444 DA web page has now been up-dated.

"Just a few notes from my recent escapades, my orange (OK, vermillion) Frog has completed half of the Equipe GTS 3 Hrs along with Jamie Mason in his natty little Turner (Ford sadly). On youtube, watch me going backwards mostly as the next slowest car had at least 50 horses on me.  Next outing was at the Autumn Classic in Fiscar, got to drive in the rain for the first time and actually completed 6 laps in the race before calamity.  Was having a great time at the back of the field dicing with a Kieft sports race with a 1100 climax and a Lancia see the moment again on youtube New bonnet on order!I Have to say that the little Frogeye motor isn't afraid of revs - look at the tacho to see it pulling 7000 in top! A winter rebuild and a  mnew motor is in store.  I was going to Sebring it but the body is so original it would be a crime!"



"Hi Martin, See attached two pictures of my Sprite with the just delivered replica Healey hardtop. Fantastic job doen by Sven Eckhart, all bits and pieces (rubbers, clips, rear perspex window and fixtures) were included in this special eKeesarlymorning delivery. Quality is fantastic so I really have to speed up to get everything going (my Ashley Sprite is also making good progress). 3rd Picture is of Sven towing his Special Sprite home with one roofless! He has 10 hours to go!"

I spotted a photo of a Speedwell GT on Facebook so copied it to Speedwell guru Alistair Ross. He replied:

AA8155"I do have it as it was sent by the chap in Sweden, Mr Jonas Lindquist who had spent some time trying to trace the car. This car(?) was take by Lutz Arnstien and wife to Sweden as a promotion for Speedwells and was sold there. There are several pictures of it racing in the snow and also a YouTube clip of it. Somewhere I do have a Swedish Motoring feature (in Swedish) mentioning Speedwells attempt to sell cars there. Attached is I think is the same car or maybe another in Sweden. I'm sure that Jonas could fill in some of the gaps?"
And sure enough he has:
" Hi Alistair and Martin, Nice to hear from you again! I talked to one of the owners of this car several years ago, Mr. Carrhage, and he told me that after the heavy crash during ice racing in 1963, the car was taken to a workshop in the Stockholm area but later destroyed in a fire in the workshop in the mid 60´s, and the remains of the car were buried in the ground somewhere (!?) Unfortunately he is no longer alive and it’s very difficult to have this information confirmed. I have tried to find out which colour the car had since the black and white photos available doesn’t give a clue, but it might have been light blue (?). An interesting thing is that I once owned an aluminium Speedwell Monza front end which had some serious damage to the forward RH side and it once had a light blue paint, the aluminium front ends are AA8155pretty rare and this just might have been from the crashed car... During the few years this car were “alive” in Sweden it must have had a rough life, photos show different paint jobs but no colour photos have been found yet, unfortunately. This made me wonder if there might have been more than one Speedwell GT in Sweden but everyone I talked to confirm there’s only been one, and it is 728H/AA8155. What I found out so far is the car had three different owners during the short period in Sweden : P-I Brandström, Jan-Eric “Nenne” Andreasson and Sven Carrhage.  P-I Brandström had a company selling tuning parts called “Motor Speed AB”, Speedwell parts were one of the brands they had on their shelves. Jan-Eric “Nenne” Andreasson also had a company selling car parts called “BABEA”. Another interesting thing is that the registration number “728H” this Speedwell car had when it appearead on motor shows in Sweden was later used on a Lotus Eleven owned by 728H“Nenne”, see attached photo (728H_skrpnk.jpg). The only Swedish registration number used on the Speedwell car was “AA8155” and it was registered for the first time in Sweden 21 may 1962 and last record found is from an insurance company in 1966, I have a copy of the registration documents showing the chassi number, but I believe there’s no archive or information left from the time when the Speedwell GT’s were made? Hope this little bit of information is useful. Best Regards Jonas Lindquist, Sigtuna, Sweden".

k grasing
KEN GRASING flew in from Oklahoma City over the weekend to inspect his new Sebring in the making. Here he admires Darren Welch of Creative Classics' amazing bodywork - the car now at CCK Historic to be put on its wheels. He is talking with John Baggott while Daniel Lackey makes notes. In one day Ken was also able to see JJO, WJB 707 and the Lumbertubs and his own new car so went off to his hotel quite intoxicated with Sebrings.

k grasing
Very good condition, 1275cc engine, refurbished gearbox ( Ribcase) New front disc brakes, new rear dampers, new dynamo, new master cylinder and much more. Very good and solid body, Royal blue with red interior in also good condition.
Original and rare steering wheel, steel bonnet in mint condition, This Healey sprite is one of the best sprite avaliable for the price. Comes with new hood, Tonneau cover and Sidescreens. Original gearbox and wheels comes with the car aswell.
Danish V5 and Heritage certificate. Worldwide delivery possible. £18.000
Contact Nikolaj Mortensen via email if interested
STEVE NASH took these lovely shots of his re-born 'Kermit' in the sunset with his mobile phone. Great to see another completed Sebring project on the road.


"As someone who has yet to tax their sebring replica, it having been SORN for best part of 10 yrs, this is causing me a great deal of concern!
Reading the rules it seems to me that, if challenged, I would struggle to retain my original registration. My donor is a 1962 mk II sprite, 948 smooth case gearbox etc as per original spec, all proven with Heritage Certificate. I have fully rebuilt the shell, but essentially chopping of the rear end off to replicate a frogeye shroud (which is further cut back internally as with many coupe conversions) seems to me to give one great difficulty in saying in all honesty that it’s original. It may come down to a question of engineering i.e. whether a mkII’s rear end ‘skin’ is structural – I think there an arguments to say possibly ‘no’ to this, since the ¼ elliptic suspension does not rely at all on the boot floor / rear panel / wings / boot lid to carry an suspension loads. However, if this is accepted then later semi elliptic sprung cars may struggle. That said I fear the DVLA will take a more simplistic view…i.e. it does not look like the original, in which case you lose 5 points immediately and do not qualify…game over! Beyond that I doubt that the vast majority of replicas have either original engines or gearboxes or even original their types (conversions are widespread), as most of us want a bit more performance these days. For my car the suspension, steering etc are all ok, but again how far does the interpretation go? In any case I have already failed on the shell / monocoque points tally. I could go on, but basically it all seems a complete minefield and one where I expect some of us will fall ‘victim’ to an inflexible approach. Others will avoid interrogation by pure luck. I really can’t see how it will be possible to produce evidence to the levels they are suggesting. I am very cynical about the DVLA’s motives here. I think they are trying to bring back a large percentage of our vehicles into a non-historic tax category, for reasons of revenue. Also, no someone will be researching all manner of one make /specialist classic websites (including your own) to see what we are all saying on the subject. More worryingly perhaps is that they may collect registration data to match that against an individual cars’ case for retention of its’ registration. If anyone looks at my entry on the website I think it would be pretty clear as to the extent of modification from the cars original specification, which concerns me greatly… the two attached pictures say it all!M Curtis
Hopefully this email will be of interest  - I fear you may be receiving a few more! I can only hope for the moment that I manage stay below the DVLA radar. Otherwise I may end up with a kit car registration, which I feel is totally unjustified. Moreover my registration is reasonably valuable given the format (4 numbers and two letters after). If I lose that I lose the value too.
M CurtisI think that anyone now contemplating an unfinished / future conversion to full sebring spec will be well advised to rebuild an original frogeye (expensive donors!) and simply add a coupe top – only in that way do I think you can answer the bodyshell question properly and that means an all steel car, barring the coupe top which you argue is a permanent hardtop! It also occurs to me that the likes of CCK historic , Halls garage and many more will have to address this issue, or at the very least bring it to their customers’ attention if building to order as they could get themselves into some difficulty…assuming of course the cars are intended for road use. That said, isn’t there some eligibility requirement under Appendix K etc vv registration for the likes of Goodwood which might also be ‘caught’. Me thinks that for road legal /competition cars some assistance may come from the MSA i.e. where the original racing prototypes are being reproduced as faithful interpretations / replicas. Maybe we could look to the MSA logbook system for assistance, they have great deal of influence, potentially – only of use to those of us hoping to compete in track /sprint / hillclimb.
One more thought….how will Jaguar get on with their ‘new for old’ builds from unused factory serial numbers…can they really call those cars original to the extent they deserve an age related plate – not a single item on those cars will be original!?
Reproduce some of this if you wish but please don’t attribute it to me, I wish to remain ANONYMOUS!"

M Heath
M Heath
M Heath
M Heath

"As hardtops seem to be the flavour of the month I thought I'd seek the assistance of you and your "family" to try and  help resolve the Serial Number riddle on my hardtop. It sits atop my Ashley Mk 1  bonneted Sprite and landed along with the bonnet at some point in the early sixties. The serial number is affected by corrosion, particularly the first digit, which could be an S, 8, 5 or more unlikely 3. I'd always assumed it to be a BMC item but now am beginning to have my doubts as I can't imagine that they produced 5 let alone 8 thousand. Also on the subject of identification, has anyone ever seen what looks like some form of build documentation attached to the transmission tunnel?"

Lawrence Slater of Midget & Sprite Club draws attention to:
“With many classic car owners receiving correspondence from the DVLA targeting their vehicle by demanding evidence of its history to substantiate its classification".

Are any of you aware of this?
Please read this and let me have your thoughts and observations so we are all best prepared.

"I was delighted to read David Pratley’s article about his racing Sprites in the 1960’s and particularly his account of owning and racing UMW685. I have referred back to my piece of 18th March 2015 in your “comments” section about seeing the car at Silverstone on 3rd August 1963. On that occasion it was driven by Mr. P.R.G. Cole, so in answer to David’s query it was raced by Mr. Cole during 1963 and 1964. We always used to go to the NSCC meetings at Silverstone so I probably saw David racing the car but didn’t recognise it in the new colour scheme. It is very interesting to find out so much more about that exciting little Sprite that so fired my imagination on that wet Saturday at Silverstone so many years ago. Thank you David Pratley and let’s hope that one day we find out more about Mr. P.R.G. Cole and the ultimate fate of UMW685".

XSC 500 - Standard-bodied Sebring Sprite
After Ben Tyer sold on his ebay project 458 STJ, he bought this lovely SBSS. Sadly "in 2007 due to wear and tear the owner changed the original engine and some of the front brake parts including the Girling calipers. The 'Sebring' parts (brakes and pedal box) were painted red. I have been in touch with him but none of the original parts were kept".  Never mind - a lovely example. Perhaps a candidate for one of Sven's new hardtops?


Fitted with my old bonnet

New DHMC rep hardtop

Battered rear end will need some panel beating before the car is painted
4444 DA
Sven dropped by yesterday with DA on the trailer. A bit battered around the rear end - genuine rally damage I gather - the interior now resprayed in Cherry Red (Stan Annis left those parts in original colour when he repainted the exterior and Sven wants to keep it authentic)
Paddy Greenwood has sent me these photos of Sven Eckhardt's replica DHMC hardtop and says:

"For the benefit of anyone considering buying one of these, the quality is quite simply superb- far better than the original. Typical German quality!"

DHMC reptop




From Carol Spragg - Historic Motor Racing News:
OK, here is the next existential threat to motorsport and to the world as we know it. How it has escaped our attention here until now, I don't know, but we need everyone who would like motorsport to continue to exist to respond to a proposed EU Directive that would mean all motor sport activities would have to be insured between the parties. Please go to the Motorsport Industry Association web site and respond to the consultation according to their guidelines.

Below is an open letter from their CEO addressed to all of us:

Dear Motorsport friend and colleague,
I do not apologise for the dramatic title to this message as our industry and sport face a serious, immediate problem which you can help resolve.
We have until October 20th to respond to this important EC consultation, details of which are attached - if we fail to secure the amendment we seek then the likely outcome is that all motorsport activity, in every EU Member State, will cease.
All involved in the business and organisation of European motorsport need to act NOW to overcome this genuine threat to our own future and that of our employees and sport, from the unintended consequences of action taken by the European Commission (EC).
The Motorsport Industry Association (MIA), along with others including the UK Department for Transport, has been fighting to resolve this issue for more than two years, on behalf of our members and the wider EU motorsport community. Now, with your personal leadership and action, it is possible for us to resolve this.
In simple terms, the EC plans to issue a new Motor Insurance Directive, as a result of which all EU Member States must put into their National Law compulsory and unlimited third-party liability insurance to cover personal injury between motorsport competitors and car-to-car damage during any competition – from Formula One, Moto GP, World Rally to karting, historic and grass roots, whether regulated by the FIA or FIM or not.
However such widespread unlimited new insurance is not currently and, we understand, will not in the future be available - so motorsport will be unable to continue anywhere in the EU.

Please respond BY OCTOBER 20th to the EC Review Consultation -…/cons…/finance-2017-motor-insurance_en by using the simple ‘MIA Response Guidelines’ which can be downloaded here. This will take LESS THAN TEN MINUTES – a short time commitment to keep motorsport alive, and the jobs it supports, in place.

It is most important that you estimate, if motorsport were to cease, how many jobs will be lost directly from your organisation and indirectly by your suppliers or the sport, as this significant economic impact will influence the European Commission.
We really must work together to make the European Commission fully aware of the economic importance of motorsport and the employment which our sport and industry provides across the European Union. Please forward this email to fellow drivers, friends, car preparers and other motorsport contacts.
If you have any questions or comments then please email me and I will respond immediately as we must meet the deadline of October 20th.
Thank you most sincerely – your immediate help is invaluable and much appreciated.
Best regards Chris

Click the link below to read all about this matter:

Public Consultation on REFIT review of Directive 2009/103/EC on motor insurance



The postman brought me a wonderful surprise yesterday. Alistair Ross, who heads the Department of Engineering's main workshops at Cambridge University, has been trying out their water jet cutting machine and made me a beautiful Sebring weather vane which will look really great above my new garage in Teesdale. If anyone wants the CAD file to use with a laser or water jet machine email Alistair and he will be happy to supply you with a copy.
Thanks a million Alistair.

Stop Classic modified vehicles losing their original registration number

"I have been a classic car enthusiast for a long time and have built, maintained and modified cars to a very high standard. I think to lose the vehicle's original registration would be a shame . But I agree that the build quality needs to be kept a check on" .

Sign this petition 4,632 signatures [Created by Steve Grannon - deadline 4 April 2018]

"The engine is installed and at long last the car is back on its wheels with the bonnet fitted!  The engine is running with good oil pressure and thankfully an operating clutch  - just the minor problem of getting the Webers to run more smoothly!" What a splendid job he's made of it - it looks fantastic. I expect it drives well too.

"Some Memories of 1960's Sprite racing" by David Pratley
I spotted David Pratley's name on a letter he wrote to Classic & Sportscar magazine recently and managed to track him down. As a result he was able to fill me in on a lot of the history of UMV 685, and as I now have 4 bpictures of that car I have prepared a new web page in its honour. I wonder what became of it. [Photo courtesy of Ted Walker, Ferret Reprographics]


JOHN BAGGOTT has kindly supplied me with a couple of photos from the FIRLE HILL REVIVAL 2017, depicting Pierre Lequeux in 2080 PO and his daughter Camilla's Frogeye in the paddock.
58 FAC
58 FAC
58 FAC
58 FAC

GRAHAM BISH: "Have you seen the following films of the 1963 Le mans on the British Pathe site?
They are really interesting and you will see 58FAC in action at the event. I have quickly looked though and unfortunately could not see the crash. A few screen snips are attached (above)".

Bob Blayden on the "Bay to Birdwood Rally" in Adelaide, South Australia which had 1600 cars. Appropriately Bob ran as No.1275.
AN ATMOSPHERIC SHOT from Woolmer Classic Engineering shows the Robson and Corry Sebrings waiting to go on track
JOCHEN SCHMIDT, from Aumuehle, near Hamburg, Germany bought his Frogeye 182 DAL in 1982 in Doncaster and used it as his daily driver (in summer) until the early 90s including several local races and numerous runs on the 'Eifel Classic' on the Nordschleife. In late 90s corrosion forced a storage period. 4 years ago it was restored and back on the road and widely enjoyed by my son. In the early 90s Jochen used to co-drive in historic races at the Nurburgring with his friend Martin Burhenne, several of them in S221 during Martin's ownership.
During these times he was lucky to buy a DHMC hardtop locally, whichhe has now fully restored.
STEVE NASH tells me his Spridget now rebuilt as a Sebring Coupe: "Kermit had his first MOT for 27 years on Saturday. After a two and a half year build, immediately went to the MGCC race meet at Snetterton".
Lenham GT has now progressed to the painting stage:

Rob Clubbe

4 Hour relay

"The 'Supersprites' team made their annual appearance last Sunday. The team consisted of Simon Page (Sprinzel Sebring replica), John Hopwood (Sebring Frogeye), Charles Marriott (Turner Mk2 - a Sprite in drag) and Ian Hulett (W&P Sebring Sprite), ably controlled by Team Manager: Richard Angood. Whilst it was wet for practice, the rain stopped at lunch time and the track dried out during the afternoon. The team finished 9th overall, 14 laps behind the winning Morgan Mustangs and 9th on handicap as well, gaining a class win. For the first time in memory no significant mechanical issues were experienced, each car completing two 30 minute runs as planned". IAN HULETT

" Best way is to laminate with polyester resin and fibreglass. Then metal cannot get loose anymore and can stand bumping and torsion. I should not recommend only bonding. (Built a MINI Marcos and had to laminate a lot of metal strips and stands onto existing polyester parts)"

Paul Slangen; Ian Hulett; Jochen Schmidt; Steve Nash; Rob Clubbe; Bob Blayden; Woolmer Classic Eng; Graham Bish; John Baggott; David Pratley; Derek Stewart; Roger Friend; Steve Nash; Mike heath; Lawrence Slater; Bob Hinchliffe; Ben Tyer; Paddy Greenwood; Alistair Ross; Nikolaj Mortensen


Earlier items at News 2017, News 2016, News 2015, News 2014, News 2013, News 2012, News 2011 or News 2010

Return to top