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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

 

"The Sprite Room"

created by Ray English in Australia and now transferred (Dec 2019) to the Healey Museum in the Netherlands

If you have lived in Australia and you are a Sprite fan (why else would you be reading this?) you will almost certainly know of "The Sprite Room" and may well have visited it at some time. Created by Ray English over a great many years the entire archive of memorabilia, articles, photographs, badges and anything even remotely connected to Sprites, has now been relocated to Hans van de Kerkhof's Healey Museum in the Netherlands.

The following is an extract from an article written some years ago by the late Tony Bennetto for Ray's (now-terminated) quarterly magazine "Marque One":

"Then on to the Sprite Room, which takes up the entire end of the house. Upon entering we greet a permanent resident standing alongside the door - a shop mannequin clad in an original pair of John Sprinzel workshop overalls which Ray acquired from a Tasmanian employee of John Sprinzel Ltd in London. In front of us is a full size glass cabinet with scores of various model Sprites crowding its shelves. Behind it are more cabinets and bookshelves crammed with sales brochures and other ephemera. The walls are filled with photos and posters, together with rally plates. Even the vaulted ceiling is starting to be used for display.

Everything in the room is related to Sprites, much of it rare or obscure and is testimony to Ray's ongoing search for anything to do with Sprites. There are children's books, postage stamps, even chocolate Sprites, Donald Healey Motor Company promotional drink coasters and car club badges from around the world. Among the gems of this collection are some really special stuff - John Sprinzel's rally suitcase, now battered, but sporting miniature rally badges all over its flanks, a rare 16mm film of the Grand Prix driver Roy Salvadori and BBC commentator John Bolster at Sebring in 1961, factory blueprints detailing panel gaps and assembly of the Sprite, dealer posters advertising the Austin-Healey Sprite, even a silver engraved cigarette case given to John Sprinzel by BMC chief Leonard Lord marking the Sprite's first international success on the 1958 Alpine Rally. Ray's archive files fill several bookcases and cover almost anything to do with Bugeye Sprites. If you want to know about a range of hardtops offered, or how to install a Shorrock Supercharger or who drove what car on the 1960 Liege-Rome-Liege rally (he might even be able to tell you what sandwiches they ate) - it is bound to be catalogued in his files - (he can certainly tell you what luggage John Sprinzel took!).

There is always something new and interesting on display. On this occasion I was surprised to discover a pair of Ashley GT Badges, and then Ray and I spent some time pouring over a photo of Sprites in production uncertain of where the photo was taken before deciding that it was probably Pressed Steel in Swindon as it shows unpainted bonnets being fitted up.

Ray also maintains a comprehensive register of Bugeye Sprites (using car/chassis numbers for identification) as well as editing and printing his 'Marque One' newsletter from a corner of the Sprite Room. He answers queries that come in every day from around the world".

To read Tony's complete article go to "The Sprite Room.pdf" and:

Since the above was written Ray has passed his entire collection over to the Healey Museum in the Netherlands, which can be found at:
Bergseweg 28q
3633AK Vreeland
Nederland
Mobile +31 (0)681733208
click here for: email
www.HealeyMuseum.nl

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Sprite Room

Sprite Room

Sprite Room

Sprite Room

Sprite Room

Sprite Room

Sprite Room

Sprite Room