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


Your Comments

Below are some of the reactions, comments and queries received via the Feedback Form. I should be very pleased to receive your own comments, queries and any information and photos you can provide relating to Sebring and other Sprites. Just go to Feedback and send your message.
Thank you.




Mike Lempert
17 Dec 2015

Falcon Steering Wheel (Mike makes beautiful replicas of this steering wheel - see Parts Suppliers)

"Here’s some information you might find interesting...   Back when I first endeavored to make the replica of the Falcon Sprite wheel, I tried to track down an original to obtain measurements. I contacted a fellow I knew in New Jersey who had indicated he owned one.  When I contacted him, he said he sold it several years prior, so that would have been 15-20 years ago. He told me he sold it to a gent in Japan. I thought I would just look for another example and found that the original Sebring wheel was 15.5”, so that was what I decided to make. At that time I didn’t know that the original Falcon wheel was bigger.  Then a friend of mine in Japan told me of an original wheel there that he could measure for me. That one turned out to be the larger size, but I was still happy to have the spoke measurements. After some thinking and putting two and two together, I realized that the wheel in Japan was the same as the one sold by my friend in N.J.  Some few years back, the owner of the Falcon contacted me and I learned that the car didn’t have the original wheel anymore.   After some more thought and remembering back to my discussion with that fellow in N.J,  I realized that the wheel was more than likely the very same wheel that was on the Falcon Sprite. It had been removed and sold. The wood had been lost along the way, or removed from the wheel due to bad condition, and replaced with another, yet poorly and inaccurately done. It remains in that condition today.

As a side note, I believe the wheel on the Falcon was a one off of sorts. The wheel was made by Bluemel’s and at that time the very same wheel was being made for Morgan. In fact, the 1962 Plus 4, TOK 258 was fitted with that wheel. Morgan sold the wheel as an option to Plus 4 customers. The Morgan versions are very sought after by Morgan enthusiasts. The centers were different, so not interchangeable with Sprite. I happen to have one of the Morgan wheels here now for restoration and I also make replicas of it. Since Bluemel’s was already making that wheel for Morgan, it was an easy modification to adapt one to the Sprite boss, but they kept the larger diameter.  When Healey decided to fit the design to the Sebring cars, and also offer it in the Sprite Tuning catalog, the size was reduced to 15.5” and Bluemel’s made then in numbers unknown.

Regards, Mike Lempert

James Thacker
6 Dec 2015

XSP engines
The spreadsheet you attached (from Rob Maxstone-Graham) is very comprehensive; I see the name M.J. Hawley against a 1963 FJ engine.  There is a quite well-to-do  farmer in  an adjacent village of that name who I know vaguely and he has been racing for decades [now hillclimbs only] and it could just be him.  When I was there with the Sprite I saw Mike Hawley driving an historic car in the Chateau Impney event last July and had a brief chat with him; he drove a car there in the 1960’s.
Regards, James.

James Thacker
5 Dec 2015

XSP engines
What I should have added in my last message is that the XSP engines were clearly  built for the FJ  and later F3 cars [maybe F2 as well ?] and the early ones were 995cc for two years 1960 and 61, then 1100cc in 1962 and 1963 and the last one on my list is 999cc in 1964. All  clearly to suit the various single seater formulae at the time.

By coincidence I  have [in my TZA file] a copy of a John Bolster technical article in Autosport dated  January 17th 1964 with details [including brilliant  Theo Page drawing] of the  unveiling of  the then  new Cooper Type  72 BMC F3 car. The  price was  £1740 complete with 1100cc BMC  engine or £1325 less engine and gearbox. The engine with 12.5 to 1 C/R was quoted as producing  88bhp at 7,750 rpm with a single Type HS6 SU carb with mandatory 3mm aluminium  restrictor plate with 36mm aperture. This last 1964 engine had  71.63mm [ standard 1275 dia plus 40 thou ]  bores and only a very short  61.91mm stroke giving  a capacity of 999cc.

If you do not have access to the XSP  records [1960 to 64 ] and you would be interested to see them; I could  copy down the information I have of  reference  various numbers/bore/stroke and capacities.
Kind regards, James.

James Thacker
4 Dec 2015

Hi Martin,
I do not know that much about XSP’s apart from the fact that Edward and I have owned one since 1970 and I have a photo copy of the  22 page list of service parts for the range of five  different XSP engines from 1960 to 1964 with different strokes from 2.4375” to 3.0”.   The engine  we have is  quoted in the data  of having a  2.82” bore and 2.6875” stroke ; 1100cc.

When we had the engine it had done little work only raced for about a year by Arnie Poole and Rob Cochrane and had a standard 2.780” bore giving 1071cc.  Unfortunately the carb which came with  the car was jetted incorrectly and it overheated through being too lean at a test  at Silverstone in Sept 1970 and we had to have it bored out to plus 20thou which is 1086cc.

Later after a few years racing,  we had it bored again this time to plus 40 thou, i.e 1100cc.

Although the max capacity on our   XSP list is 1100cc  I wonder if if there was an XSP inline 1275cc engine in late 1964 early 1965 .  Roger Enever’s car,  138  DMO was the first Midget to have a 1275 and TZA  238 the first Sprite a little while later in early 1965. I believe they were both works engines from Abingdon  before the 1275cc came out in road Spridgets in 1966 and maybe they were XSP’s too ?

Edward is due to come and  stay here in a few days’ time so I will ask him if he knows any more about the history of these engines.  During a phone call to him recently I was talking about the engine  [which is at his house dismantled] and he knew the engine number in his head [XSP/2068-5]  without having to look it up.  He  clearly has very fond and clear memories of this remarkable little engine which we used to good effect for so many meetings between us for six years. Edward used to love stripping and rebuilding it twice a year [ I don’t think it was that necessary but he just enjoyed working on it] but it did have a C/R of 13.5 to ! and we replaced the cast pistons quite regularly as a matter of course.
Kind regards, James.

Phil Gardner
3 Dec 2015

Hi Juergan, Some feedback from the questions you raise about my Fastback.
The car is painted in Smoke Grey, a colour that was found on Morris Minors in the 50's and 60's. It has quite a bit of grey in it and is therefore not as bright as Speedwell Blue.
My Sebring is based on a 1959 Frogeye Sprite and has quarter elliptical springs. The round wheel arched Frogeye Sprites were never fitted with wire wheels as standard, wire wheels being introduced with the 1098cc Mk2 Sprites. Wire wheel axle casings were always 1" narrrower than steel wheel axles, so when wanting to fit wire wheel half-shafts to Frogeye casings each half shaft will need to be 1/2" longer. I chose to buy longer half-shafts from Peter May engineering, made from harder steel, albeit at a price. I believe that with a competition car this is essential. What I have witnessed on a number of Frogeyes fitted with wire wheels, are standard shorter half-shafts made to fit the wider axle casting by packing the splined hub with a 1/2" packing piece, which means that not all the splined end is properly located in the hub. The bolt on splined hub (bolted onto the drum) was an option, but not one for competition cars.
Interestingly, I have also seen the bolt-on splined hubs fitted to steel wheel axles on square arched Sprites, but with the consequence that the wheel arch rubs against the tyre!
I purchased the 3" in-line blower from Merlin Motorsport. I fitted it more for cooling purposes and is an inexpensive option. Have a look at My car is negative earth.
Hope this all makes sense and helps in some way. Regards, Phil Gardner.

John Poulter
2 Dec 2015

re: Tony Giordano's 948 crankshaft. [See News 2015, November]
Recently on ebay there has been an advert for an American prepared F/J948 Crank engine - the crankshaft showed 2a829 which obviously wasn't the recognised red or FJ crank one would expect. If you Google 2A829 it comes up as a normal 948 crank. I believe I can see on one of the photos "829" in the web forging so I would speculate that it's a heavily modified standard crank. I believe you could use a new 948 crank for just a few races back in the 60's and then throw it away before it broke. Just a thought. Regards John.

Juergen Schaefer
27 Nov 2015

I have had "lots of time for studying your website, including the feedback, which I feel very important and enlightening. It helps avoiding at least some of the faults, which are so regularly holding up my work. In particular, the recent chat between Neil Blaney and Phil Gardner and their photos were interesting to me, but also sometimes a bit confusing.
In his "Full Spec" Phil described the colour of his car as "dove grey", the photos to me seem to show very much the same Speedwell Blue as I use and find best.
Their main point was the touching of the SU's on the bonnet, a phenomenon which definitely has not occurred on my car, not unexpected, as I had been questioned by the Maniflow guys  and they therefore explicitly made the steel manifold not a "Mini" but a "Spridget" one.  There is no interference with my Monza bonnet from Archers,  1 1/2" SUs and Challenge exhaust manifold.
Phil is mentioning "specially hardened halfshafts, one inch longer" and I'm alarmed, due to very bad experience on my wife's  Morris Minor. I had bought this car from Charles Ware and due to 1300cc engine with further upgrades expected, I was recommended to buy their "special toughened halfshafts", which I did unfortunately and they sheared off their splines last year.  My own investigations then revealed, their toughening process is "tuftriding", which is useless in this case, it gives a harder surface for about a depth of 120 mikrons, leaving the load bearing base material unaffected and this breaks off the base of the spline. Peter May's competition halfshafts are pretty expensive, but have a different much stronger steel and they hold in my cars.
The other point that confuses me is, where does Phil put the extra 1" length he mentioned within the axle? Does he use the wider Morris axle and if so, how does it fit with the springs ? I have no wires, - is there such a difference on the wheel side ?
One of the many points I liked on Phil's car is is exchange of the historically correct and reliable , but bulky ventilation blower by a more elegant and efficient axial type, which I believe is offered by Demon Tweaks. Does he have longer term experience and is willing to reveal the exact type ?
Regards, Juergen".

Phil Zamlynski
24 Nov 2015

Dear Martin, I do hope you and yours are in good spirits and had a thrilling race season or just tooling around in your Sprite.
We here in theUS are preparing to celebrate Thanks Giving; roasted turkey with walnut raisin bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, … and cranberries. Oh there will be some homemade bread rolls made with the grandchildren helping out. We’ll have some homemade wine too, cherry, apple, pear or grape, have not decided what to serve yet.
About the racing season, I attended the Road America vintage races in September; it’s a 4 mile plus track. There were about 35 to 40 Sprites and MG Midgets. Some 948cc and 1275cc engines. Worked with Dave Brown in the pits; Dave has some pics on your web site. Dave’s square body is very fast with a 130 hp plus engine.Also in attendance were 35 Formula Vees. The mark for the week was Allard; some 20 plus Allards showed up mostly completed drivable cars several in progress.
Met an English man there helping out with the Formula Vee guys. He said that from his viewpoint, speed week in England is the best fun. If you have time please let me know how I can look this up/send a link.Zamlynski
For loads of rZamlynskieasons, some valid and other just unhappy stuff, the Sebring has not been worked on as planned. The only major item completed besides the door windows are the aluminum seats with new mounts, padding and burgundy colored upholstered covers. Oh, the seat belts are in too. I do have a new painter lined up but he has been swamped by over promising other customers. So I may just complete the remaining painting myself?
Wishing you the best of Holidays, Phil Z.

Gordon Higgs
24 Nov 2015

Hi Neil
Interested to see you are having problems with bonnet clearance on your 1 1/2 H4s I've had exactly the same problem. It started me reading The Spritely Years and looking very closely at the photos of the carbs. I've come to the conclusion that the photo on page 149 showing the 1959 Healey team cars are not 1 1/2 H4s as stated! but 1 1/4 H2s on a standard bored out manifold. This is what I based my Sebring on but my LCB has bends that stand away from the head so I had to mess about with thick spacers and longer studs. Tight on the bonnet but clears I now have a set of period correct H4s that I have been overhauling and preparing to fit. See the photo on page158 (WER354 )clearly showing H4 1 1/2s but I fitted them on my standard bored out manifold and they foul the bonnet!!! I believe ( but I'm not sure) John Sprinzel made cast aluminium manifolds! So I set about making copies? All I I have to do now is buy a new manifolw exhaust manifold with shallower bends! I gained a slight increase in bonnet height by fitting the bonnet with poly bush anti roll-bar rubbers.( every little helps) Of course the photos I have mentioned are all Frogs. All good fun, though good luck. Regards, Gordon Higgs.

Phil Gardner
23 Nov 2015

Hi Neil, Martin has passed your mail message onto me. I understand that you are having problems with the front carb touching the underside of the bonnet with 1-1/2” SU’s fitted to your car.
I had options to fit either H4’s or HS4’s, but went with the latter even though Phil Gardnerthe H4’s would have been more in period and because they are a bit less prone to leaking. I also had decided to fit an ‘off the shelf’ Maniflow performance inlet manifold made specifically for HS4’s fitted to a 12G940 Head.
However, when this manifold was fitted the front carb just fouled the bonnet. I worked out that if I could find around 10mm then the problem would be solved.  This manifold has a gentle upward curve to create an excellent flow, but without upsetting the flow too much, Maniflow were able to bend up a pipe with a slight downward curve at the head then an upturn to provide the correct 20deg angle at the carb flange, creating a shallow Phil Gardnerswan neck manifold. This dropped the carbs by 12mm creating enough space. In addition, I sliced a 30mm thick Phenolic Insulating Gasket down the middle and machine the faces flat. This pulled the carbs in by 12mm towards the head.
Unfortunately, these modifications created another problem. The rear carb float chamber now just fouled the top of the footwell bulkhead. As a result I then had to modify the top of the footwell. Problem solved. I will take some photo’s tomorrow and forward them to you. Are you familiar with Maniflow Ltd and their products? What inlet manifold have you fitted? Hope this helps.
Regards, Phil.

Neil Blaney
23 Nov 2015

I’m enquiring about Phil Gardners Sebring, particularly about the Swan Neck inlet Manifold Maniflow made for him.I’m still having the same problem of the front 1-1/2” SU occasionally hitting the bonnet. If you can put me onto him or find out info off him about the manifold would be great. Cheers, Neil.

Bryn Rossiter
28/30 Oct 2015

Re: 5435 WD
I briefly owned (this car) during the mid 1970s. Bought via Motoring News ad and sold the same way. Very youthful at the time and did not realise the significance of what I had! Still driving frogeyes, today, though...
The car was as shown in the video. It was a tomato red* at that time. There were pictures of it autocrossing in Motoring News, and the advert. The autocrosser delivered it to my front lawn (!) at Windsor and - apart from a hair-raising and illegal test drive after he left - I did nothing with it before advertising it, myself. A couple of chaps from the Midlands came to see it. They were very excited, clearly having a better idea of its value than I. This would have been circa 1975, I guess.  The car went like a rocket. There was much aluminium employed, including the inner wings. It had large SU's, maybe 1 3/4". The cam was either a 649 or Formula Junior as it had an on-off power band starting at about 6,000 rpm, from memory.  I have told you most of this before but the sight of the car on your page and in the video brings back the memory somewhat more clearly.
Having read the latest piece on 5435WD, particularly the references to Farnborough and Bagshot, I have no doubt that I was the (unregistered) owner of the car in 1975 or 1976 and it was sold to a couple of enthusiasts from the Midlands via a Motoring News ad. During my brief ownership, the car was not used nor altered in any way from its autocrossing guise, as received. I am only sorry that I don't recall the name of the vendor though it was definitely an autocrosser from Hampshire. So that ties in. Hope this fills a little gap. Bryn
PS My current re-engined Frog is now on the road. Did 200 miles from Wilts to Lincs the other day and, thanks to Peter May, it handled the job quickly and efficiently, More news to follow, if you want.
[* Bryn subsequently thinks maybe the car was more of a yellow colour]

Mark Straker
21 Oct 2015

Re: 5435 WD
Hello Martin, It has been a while, so I hope you are ok. I have some interesting news. Firstly, attached are a couple of photos of 5435WD, following what David Thomson's mechanic has cal5435WDled a "preservation service", to bring the car back into a running condition. I am delighted with the job they have done to leave the car's history in place and not restore it. The second photo is very interesting, as it shows some residual yellow paint around the passenger side rear window aperture. 5435WDThis must be the final piece of the jigsaw in confirming that this was indeed my Dad's car! Also, they have spotted some blue paint under other chips - Mum recalls that the car was blue when they bought it off Nick Ramus. It is such a shame that the car is all the way over in Canada, as I would love to see it first hand. Maybe a trip across the water is required at some point...
Secondly, have you watched the Autocross video which you recently posted on your website? I can only think that you haven't, as I had several "knock my socks off moments" when watching it. Basically, there is extensive footage of my Dad with the car, trailering it to the venue, at scrutineering, competing in it, and then the highlight, an interview with him!!!!!!!! The key points to watch from this perspective are between 2 min 35 secs and 4 min 45 secs, and between 16 min 45 secs and 18 min. I just cannot believe it, as we don't have any video footage of my Dad, and always wished we had. I have also never seen any footage of my Dad as a younger man (he must be 30 in these clips), so to now have this footage, which we plan to download from YouTube, means so much to the whole family. Do not be misled by the number plate in the film. As you can see when he reverses it of the trailer, it is the Lotus Cortina tow car's registration. To avoid the need for a trailer board he has just stuck the Cortina's registration on the Sprite.
Anyway, I thought you would appreciate the update! Cheers, Mark.

Bob Hinchliffe
19 Oct 2015

David Scothorn's question about the old tower on Woodcote Corner at Silverstone brought back memories of that seemingly lethal construction. It was on the outside of the track just past the apex of the "old" Woodcote and was built out of scaffolding poles and corrugated iron. To climb from floor to floor you had to use almost vertical ladders.It had a "BRDC" badge on the front and was used by members for viewing but also by the timekeepers and the scoreboard control. The main scoreboard was in the paddock with outlying boards at all major corners. The comms system was based on WW2 field radios with ancient rubber headsets which had seen service in WW2. You can see in the photos that the grandstands were also built out of scaffolding poles,planks and corrugated iron as were the outlying scoreboards. The scoreboards were run by the Bentley Drivers Club from the 1st British GP in 1948 until the early 1990's when they were "replaced" by electronic boards. I had the pleas
ure of working on them from 1970 until 1990 for all major races at the circuit.

Rick Dupuy
12 Oct 2015

Hi Martin, In response to your request for information regarding "All Sebring Rep Owners" in Septembers news items, let me introduce myself, I am the owner of Sebring no. 102 Reg No. AHP 205A,  listed on your website as 'Graeme Maggs' fastback Replica based on a 63 Sprite now owned by someone in West Sussex.
I have owned this car since March of this year, bought from Adrian Wilson at ADW Automotive; he was about to change it over to left hand drive to sell abroad, when I went to view the car. At this stage it was without front suspension steering rack, front brakes, and the dash board was out with the instruments in boxes awaiting fitment to a new Left hand panel.
I asked if he could return it to right hand drive and put it back together enough so I could road test it, and subject to a satisfactory test I would buy it. This he did although he had to fit a new steering rack as the original was found to be worn out, he also had  problems with the front brakes resorting to new discs and wheel bearings to sort the problems out. After a short test drive I bought the car, and it was delivered to my house, a week later.
After going over the car and finding lots of other things to re-do eg. re doing the wiring (bits of mains cable for the front and rear lights), filling the gearbox with oil (!!), rebuilding the diff, rebuilding the rear brakes (wrong slave and master cylinders, brakes were holding on), re-making the interior trim panels, fitting new headlights with side lights ( yes the old ones didn't have side lights, only a red wire waving in the breeze) even the headlight bowls weren't fitted correctly. The lights were screwed through the fiberglass into the bowls on the inside of the bonnet, with no adjustment for the beam alignment, and the rims were superglued onto the rubber gasket (!!!) I think someone rushed to finnish the car and sell it. the good thing about the car is the body work and the paint finish.
I knew when I bought it I would have to tidy the car up  and finish it to get it through the MOT,  I think when Adrian Wilson started to work on the car he found some of the problems and did a lot by replacing the stearing rack and then replaced the front suspension with new springs, bushes, king pins, bearings etc.. so I don't hold it against Adrian because he inherited all the problems with the car; he obviously didn't know about all the other problems, I only blame myself for not examining it thoroughly enough. 
So you can see the fun I/we (my long suffering wife) have had, but anyway I don't mind, as I have got a lovely car now, which I intend to sprint and hill climb over the next few years, and to develop the car as I go along. My background as an engineer and now semi-retired will help in that direction. I used to sprint and hill climb a 1300 Triumph Spitfire in the early 1980, which fell by the wayside due to girls, marriage and children, and now with the onset of "old age crises" now tempts me back to the track, I've also got a 1931 Wolseley Hornet Special which I have just finished a three year rebuild, as well as being the membership secretary to the Wolseley Hornet Special Club with my wife Theresa.
May I congratulate you on your Sebring Sprite web site, its fantastic with lots of interesting material, its the main reason I looked out for a Sebring Sprite for myself, perhaps I can get some pictures together and make a page for AHP 205A. Best regards. Rick Dupuy, Shoreham by Sea, West Sussex.

Stephen Bowen
14 Sept 2015

Hallo Sven
I can never really follow all the problems with oil leaks. Firstly, with the oil pump cover if necessary you can take it out and refit it but I have never bothered as it is fitted with gasket and sealed. I use Hylomar for this as it was good enough for Rolls Royce so it should be OK for me. The main point with this against modern material is that it stays soft and does not damage the engine if it gets into the oil pump etc. Re: the rear oil seal conversion the one from Moss is OK the main problem is that the engine is built and very dry and clean and if lucky a tiny bit of oil on the rear seal and then for a long time the engine is still and in the meantime no oil about. The engine is started and with in the meantime a dry seal the sharp lip is immediately damaged and it does not work very well anymore. So if you use a seal make certain there is enough oil about or use something like Kent cam-lube.
Re: the scroll, most times the top cover fitted with 3 screws to the block is not lined up with the cap. The screw holes are bigger than the screws so that you can get this in line with the cap which you must do before fitting the crank. 
The front cover/timing chain cover is also usually not fitted correctly. This should be attached loose and then the crank pulley fitted with a lot of oil on the lip and then a few screws tightened and then you can remove the pulley and tighten the rest and the cover is in the correct position. Again I use Hylomar as this stays soft all the time you are adjusting the position of the cover.
Finally it is quite important to let the engine breathe on the 1275 - make sure the breather pipe on the front cover is clear and fit a breather on the rocker cover if needed and finally if you have a block with fuel pump hole fit a pipe in this spot.
Anyway good luck. Regards Steve. 

Juergen Scharfer
5 Sept 2015

Hello Martin, Ssorry for long pause in communication, but I did not want to confuse the world more with my little problem without new facts. But now we have some, the mystery of the missing castor seems to have found a solution and the castor seems to be innocent. Due to problems with  TUEV/MoT about too many mods, I have to take out the very powerful Peter May engine and fit an 1100 cc smallbore as originally documented with 55 hp in the car. In preparation of this action I obviously had to get a lot of peripheral equipment out of the way, which gave me a much clearer picture of the suspension and steering. The little app. 5mm thick spacer behind one of the brackets holding the steering rack was fitted to the wrong side due to a misinterpretation of the drawing in the manual by myself, now I can turn the wheel with my little finger easily and once the various stiffnesses in the suspension are also cured - the stuff was lying in my garage since mid 2011 -, I'm convinced all will be fine. I only wonder how accurate and useful the scientific laser aided castor measurement is.
Thank you and the forum for all the good advice and good will. Regards, Juergen.

Albert Voogd
6 Aug 2015

Re: Healey Archives.
Hello Martin,

On behalf of the Healey Museum, I like to comment on your news item about the Healey archive that has been offered to the Warwick County Records Office by the Healey family. 
Although a lot of  material has been lost in the course of time, thanks to Geoffrey Healey a great deal of the Healey factory archive has survived. This archive however has disintegrated into many parts. In his contacts all over the world, Geoffrey Healey has sold or given away single items or parts of this archive to different Healey collectors/authorities.  Around 1980 an important part was sold by Geoffrey to US collector Bill Wood. In May 2012 this part was acquired by the initiator of the Healey Museum Hans van de Kerkhof and this is now at the Healey Museum in the Netherlands. The museum archive contains many original correspondence, photos, drawings, reports and various items about (amongst others) the development of the Healey 100 and Sprite, record attempts and the race program. The museum is very fortunate to have this part of the archive, that is generally considered to be of very high interest to Healey enthusiasts.  For visitors of the museum this archive can be viewed without costs. 
We like to point out that the part of the archive that is now at the museum has never  been part of the remaining archive that stayed in the hands of Healey family, after Geoffrey Healey’s death in 1994. Of the archive that remained in the family, a very substantial part was sold by the Healey family to the initiators of the Healey Museum in the US, around 2011. According to our information, the remaining part of the family archive was also intended to be sold to the US museum, in two batches, but this part of the deal never took place. After the failure of the museum initiative in the US, the part of the archive that was already sold and shipped was resold and is now in private hands. This part is not at the Museum in the Netherlands.
The Healey Museum has been in contact with the Healey family about a possible purchase of the remaining archive that has now been offered to the Warwick County Records Office, but unfortunately without result. 
Please feel free to add this comment to your excellent website. Many thanks for your efforts!
Best regards, Albert Voogd, Archivist Healey Museum, THE NETHERLANDS.

Mark Wilson
3 Aug 2015

I can understand the problem the DVLA have.
I've seen a fair few 1500 Midgets on ebay with IDs from tax free earlier cars with the usual description of a restored car with upgrade to a 1500 engine (with the chassis rail giveaway in the engine bay) - Here's a typical example with tell tale late rocker switch dashboard!!
These cars are the ones that cause grief for genuine classic car enthusiasts and restorers and should certainly be referred to the DVLA!!!!

Rob Eyre, Warwick County Records Office
30 July 2015

Re: The (remaining) Healey Archives.
Dear Martin, Thank you for your interest in the efforts of the Warwickshire County Record Office to secure the remaining parts of the Healey archive. Further to your previous emails to Sam I know that she is intending to discuss the matter further with the Dutch museum upon return from her holiday. I respond to you now in order to hopefully clarify a little further the content of what is on offer. The archive material is stored on temporary deposit in a dozen of the self assembly style banker's boxes. At some stage this material has been reboxed from a larger series of 22 boxes, which explains the odd numbering.
The breakdown of the boxes is as follows:
BOX 1: Contains various interesting or unusual items taken from other parts of the collection to highlight its worth. includes letter from Stirling Moss, an original Jon cartoon from the Daily Mail, various cards and telegrams to and from DMH, notes on windmills from DMH, design of original winged badge, notes from DMH to GCH re: new Healey for US market, telegrams from Raymond Baxter and others, printed material from DMH days as international trial driver for Triumph, telegrams re: Healey at the 1957 Sebring endurance Grand Prix, publicity for Healey Ski Master etc .  
BOX 2:  Correspondence and photos re: wind generation project.
BOXES 3,& 4: Multiple files 70s to 90s , Jensen, transparency protectors, Jensen Healey, JH Autocar test brochures, plans, " Vauxhall Project", plans for Thermodynamic Systems Inc., "Canadian Project 1978", various US correspondence.
BOXES 5,7,8: Development files - Ford, box file of correspondence and reports - mainly US late 70s, file re: specific vehicle research, file of body parts for Austin Healey 100 and plans of Birmabright Dinghy, BOXES 10,11,13,14:  Files re: various motor sport events  ie Le Mans, Sebring, forms of recognition, equipment lists, race results etc.
BOX 12 (x3): Publications 1920s to 1980s, newspapers cuttings.
BOX 20: Annual accounts and minutes re: holding company Perranzabulue. 
BOX 21: Files re: spurious cars, use of name, trade mark agreements, Frogeye and other legal material. BOX 22: Multiple files, mostly legal material and publishing.
Unnumbered box of photos: labelled 800+ but many duplicates. Photos of multiple sports car events, races, a few celebrities and of the works in the Cape. 
There are also about 15 rolls of plans of various dates, many are of the Jensen model as you have suggested but not all; some are possibly Sprite or 100s and there is a 1948 plan of a Silverstone[?].  There are also many plans relating to the windmill project.
I think that you may have communicated with David Scothorn since I met him on Tuesday. I was encouraged by his response to the portion of the collection that I showed him. I would be interested in your reaction to the above description.
I think that the message that we would like to get out to people is that once the material is purchased by us its future will be secure and that subject to any data sensitivity around living individuals will be freely available to view at the record office. We hope that once we have secured the collection that it will prove to be an encouragement to others with Healey archive material to make donations in the future.  
Regards, Robert Eyre, Senior Archivist, Warwickshire County Record Office, Heritage & Culture, Warwickshire, UK.

David Scothorn
28 July 2015

Re: The (remaining) Healey Archives.
Hi Martin, By a stroke of luck I bumped into Rob Eyre, who must be Sam Collonette's Deputy.
It seems to me that they need a bit of help, but recognise the difficulty of getting support until they give out more info about the extent of the collection and the financing and this needs sorting out quickly. I pointed out that there could be a large amount of untapped interest, possibly donations and assistance to be unlocked. Rob confirmed they have enquiries from a number of individuals (?ex employees and Club members) who also wanted to donate material to a locally held collection.
They will have a presence at Retro Warwick, sharing a presence and borrowing a car from Gaydon.
The material is on site at Warwick. There does not appear to be a vast quantity. I have been shown two A3  storage boxes and a number of rolled plans/drawings. One box contains reports, correspondence, etc and looks to have interesting anecdotal info. The other is full of B&W photos, especially the Streamliners in build and racing. The plans include technical drawings of a number of development projects, including the Jensen, Frogeye, etc.
At £120k the project will buy the collection (amount confidential) and catalogue and conserve the contents. If a lower amount is reached the collection will be bought and stored until further funds can be found. The Arts Council, Preservation of Industrial and Scientific Material (PRISM) Fund and National Lottery are being approached. They are also seeking donations from individuals, Corporate and hopefully a yet to be found wealthy 'benefactor'. I understand the contents have been valued by ''Quaritch Ltd'' ( who value Estate Papers etc. He will be replying to you later this week, describing the extent of the material, more detail, etc. I have suggested that possibly you, Tom and Clive might be interested to be invited to view the material and discuss the way ahead. I have told him that I will be happy to volunteer a bit of time. Please let me know how things develop. Regards David.

Steve Nash
26 July 2015

Re: DVLA, etc.
Hi again, Just re-reading other peoples comments and in response to David Morys, the number of classic or historic vehicles in the UK is estimated at around half a million, although I have previously seen estimates rather lower at 1/4 million. I guess it all depends on how you define the cars. But in either case, there is a significant number. Rgds Steve.

Juergan Schaefer
26 July 2015

Re: Non self-centering steering
Hi Martin and friends,
Thanks for your various tips and comments; however having taken apart most of the front suspension, the status is still unsatisfactory:
- top trunnion washers are there (Colin's comment), the kingpin turns easily
- bolts to fit damper body show no room to move in any direction, tenths of mm max.
- washers around the top trunnion fulcrum pin gave me max. half to one millimeter to move forward.
-  the dampers let the top link move as requested, it is hard work but damping should be.
- the only completely wrong thing found is movement of the lower wishbone, which must be forced and even the springs don't achieve this without some help.
- Peter May advises, not to play around with shortening or lengthening the additional top link in this context, this will only contort the set of links and pins, but not achieve a useful forward motion of the top of the king pin to improve castor.
So my next step will be to take out the poly bushes in the lower wishbone, lubricate them and pre-stress them less, so they will not hinder movement in the suspension.  Peter doubts whether this will solve the problem, but agrees, it is necessary anyway. I'll  keep reporting. Regards, Juergen

24 July 2015

To answer David's point first: I think the DVLA are merely checking on a car's authenticity (as a 'Historic Vehicle' when there is a change of ownership, although John Baggott's car was inspected when he was rebuilding it after 30 years off the road - perhaps he had been in touch with them over some point.
Martyn has perhaps not realised that this debate began when the DVLA asked for a lot of information on an MGB GT which was entirely unmodified - I don't think anyone is suggesting one invites an inspection by the DVLA merely that vehicles which are extensively modified could have some difficulty at a future date.

Martyn Wilks
23 July 2015

Regarding the DVLA and IVA could I ask why you would want to (or need to) involve the DVLA in inspecting the car in the first place?
I have built kit cars in the past and the requirement is obvious but if you are converting a Midget to a Sebring Replica then why go through all the hassle that could and probably will happen as well as the cost involved.
Just asking as it is a route I may be going down in the future.

David Morys
23 July 2015

Hi Martin, It occurred to me whilst reading the two recent e-mails regarding engine swaps that though these would have been done in period even engines from other manufacturers being inserted as a historic vehicle the installation of a K Series might prove problematical. As a member of the MG Car Club it would be interesting to see what problems if any those in the K Series Midget Register section of the club have experienced. The change has to be declared for insurance purposes of course as even a humble 1.4 can push out nearly double the BHP of the A Series. Oh, one final point why bother with changing the character of the car - go out and buy one of the excellent new MX5's if you want new car performance and handling. One more thing just how many historic vehicles are there in the UK? It must run into the tens of thousands, are the DVLA going to follow up every one?

Steve Nash
23 July 2015

DVLA Rules
Hi Martin ..... need a hotline!! I think you have hit the nail on the head with the comment about the rear bodywork. Those with a steel Frogeye and the addition of a GRP roof and bonnet have no concerns. Those that replace the steel rear bodywork with a different material are the ones that might run into problems, me included. The problem is purely down to what DVLA/VOSA consider part of the 'frame'. My argument is that the rear skin panels of all Spridgets are not structurally stressed. This precludes them from the remit of the points system. But, as was pointed out quite rightly, this will depend on who you get inspecting the car!
Replacing an engine with another make won't be a problem as long as no structural changes have been made to the 'frame' to install it. But, in real life, it is likely that more than just an engine will have been changed. Transmission, axle, suspension, etc. tend to be changed too. In this case, too few points will be left in the DVLA system and the car would loose it's identity. Rgds Steve.

MEI 23 July 2015

DVLA Rules
"Certainly, every car will be different. Should one be faced with having to complete a detailed questionnaire followed by an inspection of the vehicle you would need to study carefully the DVLA notes on "Radically Altered Vehicles" to see if yours will fall into that category. If it does then tot up the points which apply to your car i.e for chassis, engine, gearbox, etc. A car built up with its original chassis or a new replacement and fitted with a Sebring bonnet and hardtop would not, in my opinion be a radically altered vehicle, while a Sebring Fastback might well be. (This is my personal opinion which remains untested at this point)."

Alan Anstead
22 July 2015

DVLA Rules
" Interesting about DVLA. Surely each vehicle will have to be assessed seperately as Sebring reps come in various forms. Can a historic vehicle be fitted with a K series or zetec but where is the line to be drawn. I consider my car to be a Sprite with a replacement bonnet and hardtop". [See my reply above]

Juergen Schaefer
20 July 2015

Hi Martin, according to my info Peter's new top trunnion provides for brass bushes with a small negative camber adjustment - confirmed by the measurements - and the other bushings are all new poly, no rubber. The possible adjustment in Peters additional top-link will provide more of a contortion of the whole setup instead of a straight longitudinal movement of the top as required for castor. However your hint about room in placement of the damper body gives me hope. I was expecting not much tolerance there in view of the importance of the location for the whole suspension. Anyway, this loosening of the suspension step by step and watching what is happing, that is exactly our intention. Regards, Juergen. (This in reply to my comment below)
[If you slacken off the 3 bolts holding down the shock absorbers to the chassis I wonder if they can be slightly repositioned to give a greater caster angle before tighten them down again. I know the holes in the shock absorbers are quite a bit bigger than the bolt diameter. I wonder if the additional links you have fitted have some effect on the self-centering of the steering? Knowing how 'fluid' the top of the kingpin area is - are you using solid bushes or the original rubber ones because that can make a difference. I presume there is adjustment in the length of the parallel arm from Peter May, so is that pulling the top of the kingpin forward and so reducing the camber angle. Have you tried removing the spring and slowly jacking the wishbone upwards to see what is happening to the caster angle as it goes up and down? MEI]

Juergen Schaefer
14 July 2015

Re: Self-centering steering problem
Hi Martin, thanks for your and Colin Barnetts efforts to help. Having had my chassis remade by Brian Wheeler, I had quite some confidence, that he did a proper job. Likewise, having had the complete front suspension kit refurbished and upgraded by Peter May and fitted to the chassis by Dominic Mooney, I am expecting that's done properly.... Nevertheless, I have an appointment with a workshop with modern gear to measure camber, castor, toe in etc., etc., and subsequently will dismantle the whole suspension step by step to find any further signals. One other indication of something not in order is, if my friend and mechanic Torsten Walsdorff, who is quite a bit heavier than me, pulls down the whole front into the springs, it stays down and must be either pushed back up or driven some way to return to normal level. We had assumed and Peter May supported this, the lever dampers might be a bit stiff, may be the oil having gone into a resinous state as the parts had been assembled quite some time ago... Whilst driving the car, I did not feel  a lack of springing or excessive damping on the front, but we will see and I'll inform you accordingly. Regards, Juergen.

Colin Barnett
14 July 2015

Re: Self-centering Steering problem.
With Juergen's self centring problem, I would double check a couple of simple things before checking/adjusting chassis alignment. Raise the car and disconnect the track rod ends and see that both king pin assemblies turn lock to lock easily. If one or both are stiff then check the top trunnion thrust washers are in place and in good condition and also check the king pins are not a too tight fit in the bushes. I am sure this has already been checked, but just in case.

Steve Nash
8 July 2015

DVLA 'and radically altered cars
Hi Martin, I think David has slightly misunderstood my comments. My reference to the 'debating' relates to replacement bodyshells. This is, without question, well defined in the government web site link I sent you. The grey area is when part of a body is replaced when it isn't part of the stressed structure. So, the ambiguity will always occur in some over engineered older vehicles like the Spridget. David is so right when he says it will be down to luck of the draw in who carries out the test. I can well imagine they will often take the simple approach of not letting any shell modifications through. It removes any need for the tester to have any specific knowledge of the vehicle in question. Sad, but I suspect he may well be quite right about this. As I said, a Sebring conversion 'shouldn't' need a test, but with the lack of professional testers, it is likely to vary from test to test! As an aside, at what point does a section of the car become non original? Like most older vehicles, most major component's have been replaced on mine over the years. If VOSA take the over-simplified approach of just looking at component serial numbers, you could find your car losing it's identity! Regards Steve.

David Morys
7 July 2015

DVLA 'and radically altered cars
Dear Martin, My, my the responses were quick in coming. However I think Steve's remark sums up the system or nonsense quite well. "Therefore, adding Sebring or similar bodywork does't (or shouldn't) require an IVA test". Well, I spoke to somebody yesterday and the person who inspected their newly imported Austin 7 had obviously been subcontracted in and new zilch about cars and was due to inspect horse passports (or whatever they are called) the following day! It was the same with our building regs the guy was subcontracted in for the day. Inconsistencies are bound to occur and this is shameful. I don't think everybody will be so lucky as our Austin 7 owner and we must not be misguided enough to think that DVLA inspectors are all the same. Some will undoubtedly know their business well and will most assuredly know that no Sprites/Midgets were built with the whole of the front and rear end missing and regardless of whether panels are welded or bolted to the tub. As such I think the mere fact the Sprite/Midget has unitary construction will have no bearing whatsoever on what DVLA decide and will to a large degree hinge on who you have on the day. My whole point here is that unlike re-shells of like for like the Sebring, WSM or Lenham for that matter, no longer resemble a Sprite or Midget even to the uninitiated eye. In fact were the original Sprinzel Sprites ever registered as such in period. They were certainly never supplied without the aforementioned panels that the works Healey Sprites were. Anyway I will have to disagree with Steve in that I think healthy debate is good for the soul and we are not discussing the minutiae of what type of stitching was used on a seat squab or some other trivia. KInd regards David.

David Honness to Reid Trummel
22 April 2015
Reid, I enjoy reading the Healey Marque Magazine every month cover to back. I wanted to comment on Martin Ingall's "A Bit of Detective Work".
In the article he mentioned Fred Royston's BMC distributorship was located in Florida. Royston Distributors was located at 16th and Vine Streets in Philadelphia Pa. I worked at Keenan Motors, from 1964 to 1970, a BMC, Jaguar, Mercedes, Rolls Royce, Aston Martin dealership, in Philadelphia. I not only sold cars but handled an Accessory Counter in the showroom but maintained the BMC inventory. I would order cars from Toby Royston (Fred's wife). Toby knew my involvement with local racing and she told me next time I was at their office to come see her. She took me to the 2nd floor, where they kept their special cars and showed me the green Sebring Sprite that she had. From that time on I always wanted one but never did get one.
Toby and Fred were real characters and very nice to me. I had a good relationship with them for over 6 years while at the dealership. I have a friend here in Roanoke Va., Byron Webb. Byron, 86 years of age, has had his dealership, Webb Motors, since the 40's (his dad owned it then) and still sells used British cars and repairs British cars. Byron got his new cars from Royston in Philadelphia. Many times we sit and talk about Fred and his wife Toby. Cheers,   David..
Mike Wylie
10 May 2015

Hi Martin,
I trust you enjoyed your break up North.CamCam
Jonathan's photograph of the extra drive gear on his XSP engine prompted me to search out the camshaft that came with my XSP engine. Currently in England with David, so I am not in a position to quote the engine number, this was the engine I fitted to 505.BZ for my three big Continental rallies (two Pirelli Marathons and the Corse Retro 40) during the 1990s.   In these events I was obliged to run 1000 cc, although it now seems this was not the case with most of my adversaries!    Knowing that we would need torque to cope with two occupants, their luggage and spares in these events, I fitted a standard Morris Ital camshaft, which although just a guess, proved to be an ideal choice.  It also enabled me to win the sports car class in the Circuit of Ireland Retrospective Rally on several occasions, as Midgets, Sprites and Minis with more than 1000cc or using a LSD were excluded to their own specialist class.
In the absence of any other similar engine to compare, and as my one came without dry sump equipment, I have never been sure whether the second gear on the camshaft was to drive an oil pump or a rev-counter, although probably the former.   I have not previously made an effort to find this out, but, as Jonathan has introduced the topic, the attached photographs may be of general interest. Perhaps Jonathan, or someone else, will know the significance of the numbers stamped on the camshaft and guide me further on this, although I have always assumed that it came from a Formula Junior racing car and not a Works Sprite or Midget.  I assume the letters 'FORM' confirm this.    I am amazed that this camshaft remains so shining bright after a quarter of a century sitting unprotected on a shelf in my garage, indicating the quality of material used was of considerably higher specification than normal camshafts.
Cheers for now, Michael.

Jonathan Whitehouse-Bird
4 May 2015

Hi Martin, All four 'works' Mk II's were homologated - separate papers were drawn up for them - in addition to the earlier Mk.I papers. The Mk.II Sprite papers (of which I have a copy) also include the option for the 1098 c.c. engine - which had already been fitted to 1141 WD in 1962 for the 12 Hour race when it was driven by McQueen and Colgate. Not sure how tight the reg's were at Sebring anyhow!  Don't think it was an F.I.A. event?  Cars certainly didn't run as prototypes!  Healeys probably ran 1098 c.c. in '62 (even though claiming 995 c.c.); they certainly didn't declare that they were using 4-port exhaust cylinder heads (and they certainly weren't homologated)! Don't forget that the SCCA later banned 9251 WD (which was sold to BMC California) from entering production car races, as they knew it to be "a wolf in sheep's clothing" to quote 'Sports Car Graphic' magazine. All this information is in 'Spritely Years' - see pages 223 and 224. Cheers, J W-B

Colin Barnett
4 May 2015

Hi Martin, Thanks for your quick reply to my questions. Perhaps the car was fitted with a dry sump engine for Sebring in 63 as homologation would not of been needed as the car was only used as a practice or static display vehicle and did not qualify or enter in the race. The dry sump system would of been allowed in the many restricted events that it could of done with the next owner without any of the homologation requirements. The SOS program was very good, but a little bit misleading. The Sprite is an evolution of it's 1962 Sebring spec, but a great car and one I would gladly like to own.Glad you enjoyed the Goodwood members meeting, some good racing and great cars present. Regards Colin.

Jonathan Whitehouse-Bird
3 May 2015

Hi Martin, Thanks for forwarding the email from Colin Barnett regarding his observations concerning the 1098 c.c. XSP engine fitted to 9253 WD which was rebuilt as part of the recent Car SOS show. In response, I would simply like to reiterate my comments that were published in the 'Your Comments' section of your website on the 15th April 2015. In addition, Colin is correct in his statement that the engine is a dry sump unit - even though this wasn't mentioned during the programme - but he is wrong to suggest that the engine wasn't used in this form at Sebring in 1963. 9253 WD survived untouched from its 1963 Sebring appearance until it was sold by Healeys to John Harris in December 1963. The original buff coloured logbook, which still accompanies the car, clearly indicates that a change of engine from XSP 1862-1 (the 1962 "995 c.c." unit) to 1973-6 (the 1963 1098 c.c. dry sump unit) was made on 15th March 1963; this is backed up with an official "Warwick C.C." Rubber stamp next to the engine details. John Harris, who purchased the car from Healeys in late '63, [sadly] tried to make the car more user friendly (as he employed it as his everyday transport) by adding a few black (rather than blue) trim panels to the front footwells, and one or two pieces of HAN7 Sprite carpet on the transmission tunnel and rear shelf behind the seats. He also blanked off the spare wheel well with a flat sheet of alloy, and cut a hole in both the alloy dash and alloy divider panel between the cockpit and boot area, for a radio and speaker respectively.  He also brush painted some areas of the cockpit area in matt black paint.When 9253 WD was sold to John Willetts in 1965, a few more additional changes were made. The original (and rare) laminated windscreen glass was replaced with perspex - to save weight - and the long-range 15 gallon fuel tank was removed and replaced with a standard Sprite tank - John cutting a circular hole in the rear valance at the same time to fit a standard Sprite filler neck. John Willetts also fabricated a pair of single sheet perspex sidescreens; a pair of wedges were fitted underneath the front shock's to produce negative camber; a set of BMC ST 5" wire wheels were also added.  Any other original parts that John removed were carefully stored and kept safe. When I collected the car from John in April 2012, the original 4" wire wheels still had a virtually unused set of 1960s Dunlop SP tyres fitted from John Harris' time with the car! Aside from the few changes made between 1964 and 1968, 9253 WD remained very much unspoilt and unmodified with its 1963 'works' fitted dry sump 1098 c.c. engine still very much in place!  In fact, one of the main reasons for laying up the car in 1968 was John Willett's reluctance to modify the Sprite further in order to compete in the emerging 'modsports' race series.  Thankfully, this wise decision most likely saved the car from a horrendous fate!45 years subsequent storage in a dry environment, along with the careful preservation of any removed original parts (and their subsequent refitting as part of the car's restoration), has resulted in 9253 WD being one of most original and unmolested 'works' Sprites still in existence! I've attached a few photographs of the dry sump set up on 9253 WD. These were taken during the car's recent sympathetic restoration.


Kind regards, Jonathan.

Colin Barnett
1 May 2015

Hi Martin, I have noticed that on the Car S.O.S Sebring Sprite production the engine fitted in the car and then re-built by them seemed to be a dry sumped unit which would not of been fitted in either the 62/63 Sebring events. It must of been fitted after the 63 event for the clubman events it entered before being sold in 1968. What do you think? Regards Colin.

John Sprinzel & Damian Jones (H&H)
April 2015

JS to H & H
How great to see another of the original Sebring Sprites on the block. This  one was certainly the fastest of them on the track, and Rob Walker's did a great job of rebuilding it after the level crossing keeper wrote it off* at Paddock!  Aloha John Sprinzel.

[*As you will see below, I think "badly damaged it" would perhaps be more what John means here. MEI]

Dear Mr Sprinzel
Thank you for your email. Do you have any more details about the accident at Paddock. Do you have a date for the accident? What was the extent of the damage suffered by 'WJB 707'? Was it damaged at the front, rear, side or roof etc. Were you there to witness the accident at first hand and did you personally inspect the car afterwards? Did you see the car at Rob Walker's and did they tell you the extent of the repairs? Do you know the level crossing keeper's name or how long he owned the car?
Any further information you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Kind regards,
Damian Jones, H&H

Hi Damian,
I wish I could answer your list of questions, but this was all so long ago and I didn't keep that sort of record. The Crossing Keeper's wife actually bought the car as a gift for her husband.  Funny little and rather scruffy, blond lady with a baby in her arms. Arrived in a taxi, didn't even want to inspect the car, which was in the showroom in Lancaster Mews, and which was to be a surpise  present for her husband. I was VERY suspicious of taking a cheque, but a 'phone call to her bank manager assured me that ample funds were available. Anyway, there was time to clear it before delivery.
With such a close circle of folks interested in Sebrings at the time, word got to me very soon that the car was crashed on the first lap of a test day at Brands, and also that he had employed the Walker garage to look after the car, as they were close to 'his' crossing/home.
And No, I had no personal view of the car after it left the Mews.
Perhaps you will be kind enough to let me know what it sells for, I know another went for eighty thousand pounds. Really great for my ego that almost all the Sebrings we built are restored and competing over half a century later, as are the Speedwell GT's from my previous company.
Aloha. John.

Dear John,
Thank you for your email and the extra information.
The level crossing keeper has always been something of a mystery figure.
Stephen Bowen says that 'WJB 707' had a somewhat flexible chassis due to its lightweight construction and was very responsive/nervous to drive so I can quite imagine it catching out a novice at Brands Hatch.
Similarly, I doubt it would have been financially viable to repair 'WJB 707' in period had its Brands Hatch crash damage been too severe.
The small amount of aluminium that Stephen Bowen could not use during the restoration accompanies the car and certainly has some age to it.
Thanks once again for your help.
Kind regards, Damian.

JS to Damian Jones
If my 84 year old memory still works, Ian and I delivered the car on a trailer to the cottage at the level crossing, so I have no doubt that this bit of the story is true....I probably have the Autosport ad for Ian's car somewhere as well. Sold some pretty interesting cars in the day - Pat's Healey is around the million mark these days.....Aloha John.

Stephen Bowen & John Sprinzel
12/13 Apr 2015

John Sprinzel,
Please let me introduce myself. I am the owner of WJB707 for 49 years now. At the time I bought the car I was working for Nerus Engineering a small tuning firm in Rye and Nick Ramus found and bought the car for me in Portsmouth. I have recently met the previous owner Alastair McHardy who raced it at the last meeting (held) at Goodwood. We were (a) Special Tuning Dealer so when I bought the car I went to Abingdon with it and they confirmed that it was based on the Pat Moss Rally Car and their basic comment was that it would make a good donor car as there was some nice bits on it. I also visited Ian Walker with his tuning company in London, and later at his gasket company in Bucks, who at the time was very helpful. I also had contact again with Ian a few years ago and was going to visit him with the car but unfortunately he died befor it was finished. Your company Speedwell, I thought at the time in Amersham, I knew as my father had his Frogeye fully prepared by yourselves and later his 1071 Cooper S.
At first I used the Sebring as a road car but quickly started using it for Sprints Hillclimbs Autocross including the Players No6 Championship and occasional Rallycrosses. I then started working at Weslake Engineering also in Rye but went in 1969 to Cologne to work with Ford Motorsport. At this time with the Capris I sat next to drivers like Gerry Birrel, Chris Craft and Jochen Maas, etc and really decided that I was wasting my time so never used the car again. I built a replica in 1995 and used this for Classic Rallies.
I did meet you but would not expect you to remember as it was at the start of the London to Sydney at Crystal Palace and it was a mad house. I was in the Sebring which did not like all the traffic and the clutch started slipping and you advised me to shake a bottle of coke and spray via the hole in the bellhousing onto the clutch. Your comment being "it makes a terrible mess but it will get you home" which it did.
I would just like to thank you for making such a pretty car which over the years gave me a lot of pleasure and due to the replicas a lot of other people as well.
Kind regards, Stephen Bowen.

Hi Stephen - Good to hear from you and the car's continuing history. Ian had been a close friend for many years, and we had met at the Northern Heights car club while rallying in the mid fifties. After I left Speedwell in 1960, I worked for Donald for a year and then bought his Speed Equipment Division, which I had managed and moved to Lancaster Mews. We had quite a bit to do with WJB, and had prepared it for Pat Moss on the Corsican rally, where I went as the only "support team". Ian and David Seigle Morris bought Pat's two stock-bodied Sebring Sprites from John Thornley, with the understanding that they would be built into alloy bodied coupes. While Ian arranged a lot of the work himself, Paul Hawkins, who was my workshop foreman, did most of the physical work on the car. Weslake did our cylinder heads, W & P did the bodywork, but only Ian and I had alloy bonnets. It was usual for Don Moore to assemble our engines, as he had  done for Abingdon. Camshafts were originally Dave Jones versions at Speedwell, as we were only allowed, by the FIA regs. to reshape stock parts. After Geoff Healey and I homologated the Sebring in the summer of 1960, we had listed several cams. from Eddie Mayer's Longbridge department.
It will be interesting to see what the car fetches at auction.
aloha. John.

Jonathan Whitehouse-Bird
15 April 2015

9253 WD Sebring Sprite Mark 2
[Following the showing of "Stirling Moss Sprite Special" on CAR S.O.S. I asked Jonathan why the car would have been fitted with U.S. spec rear lights, and Leigh Grove in Australia suggested "In the Healey book wasn't that the Sprite that was converted to an MG Midget to run the following year - maybe that is why it had a 1100 cc engine" - Jonathan's reply is below:]
" Hello Martin, So glad to hear that you enjoyed the "Stirling Moss Sprite Special" episode of 'Car SOS'.  Tim and Fuzz make a good comedy double-act!
In answer to your question: "Why did the car have US spec' lights?"  Well, it's how all four cars left Abingdon...  None of them were counted in production as they were "less than 50% built - minus engine and gearbox, but with some blue trim, blue hoods, bumpers [and US spec' lighting]." 
I'm assuming Healeys either wanted the cars to appear as if they were export models (possibly for tax reasons?) or that they had plans to sell the cars in the 'States following the race - which of course they did with the McQueen Sprite 9251 WD.
Great to see that so many people have already watched the show on You Tube.  The programme also hit the number one spot on the National Geographic Channel, for the top five most watched factual programmes, the week it was aired.
In response to Leigh Grove's question (from Australia), regarding the 1098 c.c. XSP engine currently in 9253 WD; then yes, it is the original unit from the 1963 Sebring event.  The ribbed-case, straight-cut, gearbox was also fitted at the same time, along with the single Weber carburettor.  Previously, for the '62 event 995 c.c. XSP units were claimed to have been used (with smooth-case gearbox and twin H4 SU carb's), but I've a sneaky suspicion that Healeys were using 1098 c.c. engines in 1962 - along with the specially designed four-port exhaust cylinder heads, mentioned in the track test of 9251 WD in 'Sports Car Graphic' magazine in mid' '62.  This is pretty much confirmed by the letter accompanying Ron's XSP engine shown in the Car SOS episode.
The XSP number attached to the '63 engine now sitting in 9253 WD, is stamped on both the Healey chassis plate (which was obviously renewed for the '63 season, replacing the '62 chassis plate), and also the central top rib of the gearbox. Gearbox Rib This is also confirmed by the original Healey factory records for all the cars that Healeys took to Sebring in 1963 (see photos). I've also included a few images of the original Borg & Beck clutch set up fitted at 'The Cape' in preparation for Sebring in '63.  This was discovered during the engine rebuild, and was thankfully still in excellent condition, so kept in place and reused when everything was reassembled.  Personally, I'd never seen anything like it on a Sprite before.  Heaven knows where you'd find a replacement!
I've also included a few images of the original Borg & Beck clutch set up fitted at 'The Cape' in preparation for Sebring in '63.  This was discovered during the engine rebuild, and was thankfully still

Clutch 2
Clutch 3
Clutch 4
Clutch 5
Clutch 6

in excellent condition, so kept in place and reused when everything was reassembled.  Personally, I'd never seen anything like it on a Sprite before.  Heaven knows where you'd find a replacement!
Take care for now. Regards, Jonathan".
[I recall we had a very similar (AP Racing) clutch fitted to our 1098cc XSP engine in our Cooper T65 Formula Junior car - MEI].

Sven Eckhardt
12 April 2015

Hi Martin, Greetings from Krautland. There is some news from down here. The Sebring is back on the road. I got the TUV (MOT) on Friday. All very exiting stuff. As you might recall I had prepared another engine for it while I was waiting. It is a bored 1098 (+100 Russel Engineering Pistons) which brings the capacity to just under 1200cc. Modified 12G295 casting head with Cooper S size valves. Vizard VP8C cam. At present I am using a pair of H4´s and a Cooper S distributor. I am to convert to an Ametyst and a Weber 45 though. Still the same straight cut 4 speed box. At the moment a 3.9 diff. It is a bit difficult to get going with the long first gear so I might try out a 4.2. Frontline telescopic conversion upfront. A40 stubaxles with the kit I got from Paul Webb converting to Spitfire discs and ATE calipers. 8 inch drums at the rear using GT6 backplates. Adjustable rear shock absorbers. 4 inch wire wheels with 145 13 Michelins. I gave my heart a push and ordered a set of 5 inch competition wire wheels (MWS part number XW5785) which I have fitted  with 165/70 13 tyres expecting a straightforward bolt on. Unfortunately they have got 100mm back spacing to the 81mm of the 4 inch wheel. Good to fit them to the rear in a square wheel arch Midget however they are fouling the chassis leg and the shock absorber at full lock upfront. Ithink they might work with the Girling wire wheel hub as this one is increasing the front tracking a bit but I need to take a very close look before ordering a pair of those. I can´t see them work on the later type Spridget front setup either but I don´t know for sure. The tracking might be a bit wider with the later type Spridget stubaxle I shall probably experiment since I have that setup on the green Frogeye in hibernation.
The blue LHD Frogeye is nearing completion. Pikkies enclosed. Sincerely, Sven.

Jonathan White-house Bird
3 April 2015

9253 WD
Hello Martin,
Thanks for putting a piece about the forthcoming Car SOS episode, featuring 9253 WD, on your webpage.
As you're aware the show airs for the first time on 9th April 2015 at 8pm - I have already seen the episode in its entirety, during the recent Press Launch at the London Transport Museum, Covent Garden, and I was delighted with it!  The production company, Renegade Pictures, have done a fabulous job of the final edit, although trying to cram every last detail into 60 minutes was an impossible task; inevitably a sizeable proportion of the material filmed during the Sprites restoration was left out.  However, I'm hoping everyone who does get the opportunity to see the show will be equally delighted and entertained by it.
Westgate Classics (the Car SOS workshop), pulled out all the stops to achieve what has turned out to be a truly outstanding, yet sympathetic, restoration.  I was asked to 'project manage' the work, and ultimately ended up spending almost every day and weekend at the workshop over the three month period it took to complete the task.  Of course, the work was made easier by the fact that the car had been stored for 45 years in a dry environment; so in essence we were dealing with a car that had seen only 5 years limited use!
Sadly, in spite of a real desire (by the team and myself) to resurrect the original metallic Healey Ice Blue paint, beneath the mid' 'sixties dark blue, the decision was eventually made to completely restore areas of the car's paintwork, where necessary, both inside and out, as the original Ice Blue was beyond saving in some places.  The final result is a superb 'blend' of new and old, and the car still retains a wonderful level of patina. 
No welding repairs were needed to any of the steel panels, and the only repairs that were required to be carried out on the original alloy body panels, were those which involved filling two holes that had been cut into the rear valance (for a fuel filler), and an earlier hole cut into the boot lid by the Healeys - again for a fuel filler - which had been hastily repaired!  Small imperfections (dings and dents) that had been acquired over the five years during which the car raced, were purposely left intact, and the final paint finish received a matting agent in the lacquer coat to achieve a more accurate 'period' feel.
I guess my main reason for writing (and feel free to publish this) is to reassure anyone who may be a little cynical about the quality of 'TV' restorations that, in the case of 9253 WD, I couldn't have wished, or hoped, for a nicer and more talented bunch of guys to have worked on the car, or to have ended up with a finer result than that which has been achieved.  The finished car is a testament to Westgate's skill and dedication (9253 WD appears to have just simply survived the past 52 years 'untouched'), and also a fitting tribute to the Healey marque and to one of the most authentic surviving 'works' racing Sprites in existence.
Kindest regards, Jonathan.

Stan to Sven
8 April 2015

Hi Sven, Yes Triumph Powder Blue. I can’t remember which Maroon. I cut the rear bulkhead behind the driver's seat to the curvature of the seat only enough to give me an extra inch or so. The standard  inlet valves  were 1¼” I had 1½”inlets - the exhaust were standard all with stronger springs. There were 3 cams Standard, Sport & high lift Racing I had the Sport. The pics are great I hope to see 4444DA when she is finished. Where do you live? I had a garage just outside Wolverhampton at Oaken - it is still there but seems to be only Car Sales. We had everything body shop, repairs, car sales, Speed Shop, Driving School, & car Hire. I left in 1969 & came to Australia. You are sure testing my memory. Regards, Stan.

Sven to Stan
6 April 2015

Hi Stan again, Happy Easter for starters. Did you use the original Triumph Powder Blue? There seem to be a shipload off maroons too. I don´t quite understand how you would have cut out the body to move the seat further back. The limiting factor here would be the spring hanger box and reinforcement of the rear bulkhead so I can´t see you move that. Maybe you could elaborate on that point. The skid bit I understand. Could you provide me with a drawing of the angle iron sections for the front chassis legs? Do you remember what size valves you were using? Do you remember the specs of the cam? I enclose photographs of my current projects nearing completion. Sven

Stan to Sven
27 March 2015

Hi Sven, There seem to be a lot of alterations to the car from when I had it - my car was pretty standard. I had a Triumph TR3A  before the Sprite which was Triumph  Powder Blue with a Maroon Hardtop so that is the color Scheme of the Sprite (look on the web under Sebring Sprite & you will see the 3 changes to the body, 1 when I bought the car, 2 with a Sebring fibreglass bonnet, and 3 in my color scheme. I had a 11gal petrol tank made, the body was cut out  so I could have more leg room to get the seat further back. The exhaust pipe was behind the passenger side front wheel all the electric wires  & petrol pipes on board, a skid plate was fitted to protect the sump & I welded 2 angle iron sections to the front of the chassis to act like a toboggan on rough roads. I had 3 Diffs 3.9  4.5 and I think 4.9 & depending on the rally I had a top speed in high ratio of 125mph, in low ratio 80mph, but with a lot more low down torque. The engine was a standard block bored out to make the car 997cc, head shaved 100 thousand, A40 flat top pistons giving 9.7 compression ratio, 2 1½” SU carbs with G7 needles I think. Head was polished, inlets opened up. Flywheel lightened, 125 ton Crankshaft ( I used to break  cranks at the back web). I modified the gearbox, fitted solid steel bushes instead of the needles (with the higher revs & torque the  gearbox  casing used to distort stripping the gears). I fitted the front discs (rear brake drums standard) it made the steering very direct . I will give it some more thought as you progress. Regards, Stan

Sven to Stan
27 March 2015

Hi Stan, The project has´nt even started yet. I think the thing to do at the moment really is to take stock on what we have got and  of course of the information available. At present I have the information on  the website as well as what's been said in 'Spritely Years'. There are some newspaper clippings and other bits and pieces with Paul, plus my impressions and photographs


which I took last June. Maybe we should get the ball rolling with the photographs (I hope to get copies of these shortly MEI) which I enclose with this mail. Unfortunately my camera ran out of steam the day I spent with Paul so there are only 8 photographs. Obviously the dashboard is modified - looks like it might have come out of a Mk II with the padding. Obviously a different speedo lots of switches lighting etc I guess. An aperture for a minor gauge right in the middle inbetween speedo and tacho oil pressure? The Lockheed 'thin disc' setup is documented in Spritely years. Paul has refurbished calipers and made up new backplates I have sourced another set of pads elsewhere. Did you use the original Lockheed dual master cylinder? 7/8 or 3/4 diametre? With the extended reservoir as per MGA? I don´t have photographs of the back axle but I have been told 8 inch drums at the rear. Lockheed as in Wolsely 1500 or Girling as in Riley 1.5 slave cylinders? Standard steel wheels I presume. Which ratio diff? There is an engine that comes with the car - one detail shot of the rocker cover - it does not look like its been run. Oviously I´d split it and give it a quick onceover. It would be interesting to know what setup you where running when you had it. Same applies for gearbox. I suppose adjustable shocks at the rear  uprated at the front. Paul (and me) have taken a note of the fact there is an aperture cut in the bootfloor above the back axle we presume this was for easy access to the diff. Straps for holding a bigger (inboard) fuel tank. Healey 100? Electrical fuel pumps at the rear? Aluminium inner mudguards up front. I have read in one of the clippings the car had a light blue and purple color scheme. Was the body Speedwell Blue and the hardtop Cerise? There is an original tall sidescreen DHMC hardtop with sidescreens with the car. The original Sebring front perished when Brian (Archer) and Andrew had a mould taken off it but there is a (probably) original replacement coming with the car. Thats all I can think of at the moment. Good show of the socceroos last night against those Krauts.  I lived in the West Midlands for 6 years after I qualified. I believe you were based in Walsall so I suppose we were metachronos neighbours. So long and good to hear from you. Sven

Stan Annis to Sven Eckhardt
26 March 2015

Hi Sven, Sorry for the delay but I have been away at a wedding of a friend in Queensland & have only just returned to Sydney & read my emails. I am pleased to know that the car is being restored & I will help in any way I can, so let me know how I can help. I believe the car was in an accident after I parted with it & I do not know to what extent it was changed but I will tell you what I did to it when I had it. I suppose we should break it down to the various mods on the parts you are restoring ie:-  Engine, suspension, body, gearbox etc so let me know which info you need. Regards, Stan

Sven Eckhardt to Stan Annis in Australia
20 March 2015

re: 4444 DA
Hi Stan, My name is Sven Eckhardt and I am a Sprite enthusiast. I got my first Sprite in 1984 when I was a medical student in Ireland. I have built and rebuilt an Archer´s replica after a crash. I have bought the remains of 4444DA off Paul Webb. I had a look at the car last year in June and gave him a deposit later in the year. I am due to collect the car towards the end of the year. I would like to restore the car as close as possible to your original specs and would be interested in gleaning as much information as possible from the man that rallied the car in its day. Sincerely, Sven.

Bob Hinchliffe
19 Mar 2015

Peter Cole again.
Thanks. Mr Cole was quite a pro as he wore racing overalls and a "modern" crash helmet a bit like the helmets that contemporary Formula One drivers like Jim Clark wore. Most of the others wore casual clothes and pudding basin helmets! I found a reference to Mr Cole in a timesheet/programme for the Tregwainton Speed Hill climb near Penzance on 7th August 1961 where he drove a 948cc Sprite. He was second fastest in his class to a Lotus/BMC of the same capacity. I had never heard of this venue until I started to search for Peter Cole. He was based in Middlsex and his car was described in the programme as "FIA/61/4754 AH 948cc!. Let's hope somebody remembers him and his great little Sprite. Bob.

Bob Hinchliffe
18 March 2015

Peter Cole & his FJ engined Sprite (also see item above)
3rd August 1963 was a big day, the Beatles performed for the last time at the Cavern Club, Stephen Ward died 3 days after overdosing during the Profumo Affair and I went to Silverstone with my Mum!
It was a terrible day and because of my Dad's absence on a business trip we got a lift in the back of our friend's open 4½ litre Bentley. We were soaked, and sheltered in the pits all day. We shared a pit with Mr.P.R.G (Peter) Cole who drove the fastest Austin Healey Sprite that I had ever seen. It was Old English White with wire wheels and a Formula Junior engine. The side screens were attached by a hinge at the top to the hardtop, I've never seen that since. Mr Cole had a near miss in one race when an MG Midget spun into the pit wall and then drove out in front of the Sprite as he exited Woodcote on "full chat". Two Sebring Sprites were entered that day: Howard Steel's 2214 UE and Graham Capel's car which is now S221. Believe it or not Mr Cole's Sprite lapped 14 secs faster than the fastest Sebring, but this may have been due to the terrible weather conditions which almost caused the meeting to be cancelled and delayed things by an hour and a half. I was 14 years old when I saw this and the speed of Mr.Cole's Sprite is still fresh, - does anybody know anything about him and his rapid car, it would be nice to know after 52 years! I am indebted to the Bentley Drivers Club for allowing me to look at their race programmes and results for their annual race meeting. I am the happy owner of an Ashley Midget which I bought last year through this website,great fun! Bob.

Mark Holland
7 Jan 2015

As a Lenham conversion owner, I do not really have a dog in the Speedwell/Sprinzel nomenclature fight.  I appreciate that this site is extremely specific about the cars, the features, and the histories. I would keep the discipline within this website, to memorialize the cars in an accurate and methodical fashion.  Outside of this site, people will call the cars what they will in any case.  Keep in mind that few people who do not delve deeply into this site have any understanding of the names or the histories of the cars, and will tend to just refer to them as some sort of "special" Sprites.
The lesson of the Shelby SAAC club may be instructive here.  They are extremely disciplined and rigid about identifying and describing the cars of the marque, and, as such, they have added significant understanding and clarity to the history and documentation of the Shelby marque.  I would encourage you to exercise a similar discipline within this site, even as we all perhaps treat the names a bit more liberally in informal public discussions and functions.  The discipline is important in proper record keeping, but can be a killjoy in informal social situations.

[This in response to my comment in "Latest News": SHOULD WE BE MORE RELAXED ABOUT DEFINITIONS? Sven Eckhardt tells me that he is acquiring the ex-Stan Annis car 4444 DA from Paul Webb which I would call a "standard-bodied Sebring Sprite". Sven queries this because the car has the Lockheed 'Thin Disc' brake set-up rather than the Girling one and steel wheels rather than wires. Jonathan Whitehouse-Bird stated that 142 FBH with its Thin Disc brakes does not fall into the "Sebring Category" while Tom Coulthard's definition of a Sebring Sprite suggests otherwise as merely a "Frogeye with discs" in Spritely Years. I wonder whether we really need to be this precise. 'In period', cars were often described as "Sprinzel Sprites", or "Speedwell Sprites" or "Alexander Sprites", etc while sometimes only have one or two non-standard tuning parts supplied by those firms. In the USA Terry Cowan has two cars 96 RPE and UUV 398, both Peel-bodied Sebrings in my book, but these were always known over there as a Sprinzel and a Speedwell respectively so why shouldn't he refer to them by those names? Jack Wheeler has asked me why we call all these cars Sebring Sprites when they were never given that name in his racing days of the 60's. So what do you think? Should we be a bit more easy in how we name the cars - they are all "Special Sprites" after all !? ]

Alan Anstead
7 Jan 2013

577 DNX
At Zandvoort Peter Healey informed me that my Archers-bodied Sebring rep has a Warwick number and may have been sold through DHMC. Warwickshire Records confirm. So my car is now now to be referred to as a DHMC 'works' Sebring Sprite. Does anyone have an 'as driven by' that I can have?

David Dickinson
6 Jan 2015

Although I have sold  my lovely 523CLF I am still an avid follower of the site. Keep up the good work and Best Wishes to you and all Sprite drivers for 2015.

Trevor McIlroy

XXC 818
Martin, I was just looking through the XXC818 replica page & noticed it was 2012 when I last updated you on the little car. Time passes quickly. The car didn't get all the up-grades mentioned in that blog. It did get the adjustable front shock absorbers, 9"discs with MGB brake calipers (not alloy four pots) - its still waiting for the S/C gearbox that's been sitting in the garage for two years along with the panhard rod, alloy backing plate & oil cooler. I have promised XXC 818 I will fit these parts over the winter. The MGB brakes are great, just need to change the master cylinder to get better pedal feel, other than that we are happy with the set up. The little car did well this year, we came third in Historic Class 16 in the ANICC (Association of N.I Car Club's) championship. May I wish you & all the Sebring family all over the world a Merry Christmas a happy & healthy new-year.
Regards, Trevor McIIroy, Belfast.

Roger Friend
5 Dec 2014

Hi Martin, My father made the very first batch for Speedwell and they where certainly cast brass, as I can remember as a young lad helping do the rough fettling before my father finished them off ready for  chrome plating. regards Roger.

Mike Wylie
4 Dec 2014

Hi Martin, Interestingly, the main body of the handles on 505 BZ are fashioned from solid brass, perhaps an indication of the cars 'prototype' status. I do remember how many of my Sprite owning friends couldn't live without buying the handle packages from Paddy Hopkirk's accessories shop, but would not have queried what they were made from? Mike.

Ian Turner
1 Dec 2014

Martin, I hope you are well. I have spent this afternoon catching up on my Sprite notes.
Mike Wylie's comments about 505 BZ & explanation of N. Ireland registrations was very helpful. Sprites at this time were hanging around a long time . My Frogeye was built in August 1960 but not reg until Feb 1961.
Michael Duffey`s comments about 96 RPE brought back memories of a Sprite  I went to look at in early 1968. It was advertised in the Birmingham Mail as a Sebring Sprite for I think about £350! I only had about £200. It was at a used car dealer in Acocks Green, Birmingham. It was painted pink, had a Sebring front and wire wheels. From your website 96 RPE was sold to Michael Forbes in Aug 1968.  He lived in Sheldon which is only a couple of miles away. It could have been the same car.
The reference  to a car racing in the 1960`s with a Mk 2 Sebring front. I think  Gabriel Konig`s Sebring E 700 which she rolled had one. Photo on Karsten's archive photos shows it.
The photos from the Stanford University Library are very helpful. I have been able to find details of some early cars racing at Goodwood, and the photo of the Ecurie Ecosse Sprite Reg 8427 UE is interesting. Regards, Ian Turner. P.S.
I am wrong about Gabriel Konig`s Sebring it was a modified one. Sorry.

John Egan
1 Dec 2014

Hi Martin, Hope you are well. Whilst I was helping out at the MASC stand at the NEC show, a man from the Turner club came over and asked about where he could get front brake pads for Girling brakes. Stephen Bowen was able to pass on a contact in Belgium (I think) anyway this made me realise I didn't know much about these brakes so I did some research (as well as reading your info) and came up with this website. I thought in case you don't know about it there may be some interest for you: Regards John.

Michael Duffey
28 Nov 2014

96 RPE
Hi Martin, Jim Proffit told me about your site. I've known Jim since the 1970's and he was helpful when I was restoring my coupe. Anyway, I found the car in Los Angeles in 1978. The owner then was Herman Llano who purchased the car from Sprinzel through Morris Stapleton Motors maybe six months prior. It was black at that time and had a fiberglass front and was fitted with snow tread, rally tires. I tried to buy the car from Herman but he had a prior arrangement with a man named Brandon Burke, Burke didn't keep the car long and sold it to Roland Rodwell who attempted to drive it from California to his home on the East Coast. I knew Brandon and contacted Rodwell who had started a 'restoration' but agreed to sell it to me. All of this was in 1978. The car had Girling front discs and big drums in the rear with Konis on the rear, long distance alloy fuel tank, a mild 1275cc A Series, standard gearbox and overall, was in good condition for what it was. I had the log book showing the car as PMO200 but would later learn that John used that number on several cars. Chassis number is AN5-39664. Stripping the car, I found many colors though the first was Colorado Beige. I acquired and installed an XSP Formula Junior engine, (one of the 3" stroke 1100cc units with dry sump), and a straight-cut gearbox. The BMC stores in California had a set of brand new 5" wire wheels unsold since the 1960's so I bought those too. I also converted the rear hubs to double bearings supplied by Joe Huffaker. The photo of the car in the red/orange paintwork is just after restoration. I raced the car several times in Northern California and through Jim Proffit, I sold it to Joel Nave who then owned Jim's yellow coupe. Joel sold both cars to George Simmons who passed them on to Terry Cowan where they still reside. I am looking for more photos, but these are the first ones that I could find but will send more as they appear.
Regards, Michael Duffey.
96 RPE 96 RPE 96 RPE 96RPE

Neil Anderson
28 Nov 2014

Hi Martin,
Is this what you are looking for?  I can try to make some drawings if you wish: [This a copy of Neil's earlier message dated 21 May 2013 after it had been suggested there was an extra one inch gap between two holes in the pedal] :
"I got my pedal box set up from Archers a few years ago and it is now apart to powder coat all the bits, so it was easy to check out the measurements and differences between the two pedals. I found that the Sebring pedal is 2 inches (51mm) between the center of the pedal pivot point bushing hole and the center of the actuating rod/clevis attachment hole.  The Bugeye/Frogeye pedal is 1-5/8 inches (41.5mm) measuring the same holes, for a difference of only 3/8 inch (about 9.5mm).  This is quite different than the 1 inch difference stated in the "news" section. I then did a test with my two pedals (Sebring and Bugeye), setting up a pivot point and then, a set distance of pedal travel at the pedal pad end.  With 3 inches of pedal travel for each pedal, the Sebring actuating rod hole moved 11/16 inch (16.5mm).  Using the same pivot point, the Bugeye actuating rod hole moved 9/16 inch (14mm). The result is that the Sebring pedals will move the master cylinder accuating rods farther with the same pedal travel, OR with the same actuating rod travel with the two pedals, the Sebring pedal requires less foot-pedal travel than the standard Frogeye pedal. I think that to have a 1 inch difference between the two holes in the two different pedals would make the top end of the pedal stick out of the top of the box too far, thus pushing the clevis and actuating rod at an angle into the master cylinder, instead of pushing it straight in, which may not matter in the working of the master cylinder.  That would mean less foot-pedal travel to accuate the master cylinder". Cheers Neil

Nigel Cluley
27 Nov 2014

I read that one of your members is looking for acrylic headlamp covers. I have produced these in the past for Turners and screens for single seater's etc. If he's interested then please pass on my details as I would be willing to look at re-manufacturing these. Regards Nigel Cluley. [You can email him.]

Joe Armour
22 Nov 2014

HEALEY  magnesium 'works' wheels.  Ian Polley who was the previous owner of HAN-R-237 advised me that he had communicated with TECH - DEL  who were the the original manufacturer of Minilite wheels as they had also cast the Healey wheels. Joe.

Lew McAllan
20 Nov 2014

Hi Kees, The panels you indicated may be different, but they actually are lower than the problem panel, which is # 46 in the diagram, AHA7241 and AHA7240.  I now have clearance here, having cut down this panel by the 1/2" or so, I can see the gap, get a finger in there and it no longer touches the fastback. From the look of pictures on AH Spares, the panels now look very similar to Bugeye panels
I have a bugeye replacement floor panel so I will check the shape of it against the Mk4 floor. You may be right about the shape, but that is now the only point of contact that is preventing the fastback from lifting at the back to lie flat at the B pillar and sill panel. An interesting problem, but very frustrating. I am tempted to get that Mk2 body from Kansas and start with something closer to a "Bugeye" floorpan and B pillars! On the Ashley top, I was able to confirm via Darryl Davis at Ashley GT (he was very helpful) that the rubbers and aluminium trim pieces from the later model Ashley fastback are the same as those on the Ashley Mk1 hartop, at least the sleeker 2nd version top. So I now have all new fittings for the top, just need to get it here ! Not sure about your top as it is a different shape and different rear window as well. Best Regards Lew.

Kees van Beijmerwerdt
20 Nov 2014

Hi Lew,
In my opinion the shape of the floor is the same for all models, except that tank studs and spare wheel attachments differ. The problem might be the height of the reinforcement indicated on the page of Moss Europe catalogue called rear inner body panels and indicated as AHA 8035 and 8036 (which are for the MK1). If you look at the illustrations you see that the complete back for an MK2 onward (AHA8013) has a integrated reinforcement which is sticking up from the boot support. Might that cause your problem? Any details you want to know about the MK! Ashley let me know, I have some hours spent on figure that out!Good luck with ploughing snow, make sure what you need before you buy! Regards/Hartelijke groet, Kees van Beijmerwerdt.

Nicolas Callewaert
20 Nov 2014

Hi Martin, Very nice car. [I sent him a photo of JJO]. Mine (pictures attached below) is basic specs bought to make a link between my previous Marcos GT unfortunatly sold a year ago and my just started Lotus serie 2 project. I'm afraid I will not be able to sell Midget after Lotus rebuild as it is really good fun! I think Motobuild still produce everything but just sold his last right headlamp cover and is not able to produce them at the moment :-(( Best regards, Nicolas.
Spridget Marcos Nic

Mark Holland
20 Nov 2014

Per the Perspex headlight covers from Moto-Build, my experience finding similar covers from CCK for my Lenham was similar. CCK did not have them in stock for a while, until they did. My impression is that these things are made up in batches, and some sort of measure of demand is made over time (perhaps it is "who" tries to order a set?).  Eventually a batch is produced, and you are then able to actually order a set.  At least, that was my experience at CCK.  Until such time as they are in stock, the response is essentially "we are out of stock for now", without elaboration, at least that was my experience.  From the vendor's perspective, it is hard to make a commitment for future delivery, if they are not sure themselves about the timetable.  This would especially be true if they are contracting out for the production themselves, which I suspect the vendors are doing.  Which would also mean that they may need a minimum order size or substantial job set up cost per batch with the outside contractor.  I would not have been easily able to duplicate the product, once I saw the finished work for my own car.  My best recommendation is to keep trying to place an order every few weeks or so, so that the vendor knows that there is continuing interest in your purchasing a set.  Good luck!

Edward Valpey
20 Nov 2014

In an effort to find appropriate wheels for a circa 1960 sports racer, I purchased a set of BMCD Junior wheels, which were used on the Huffaker Formula Junior cars produced at roughly the same time.  It turns our these appear to be exact copies of the "works" Healey wheels shown in the picture submitted by Joe Armour on 4 Feb 2014. 
Thanks for sending a copy of the catalogue… I’d never seen that before.  BMC wheelAttached is a of photo of a BMCD wheel and a photo of the car I bought them for, a Ferret built by Chrysler engineer Peter Dawson.  The original wheels, which were one-off cast magnesFerretium with integral bearing races, had the centers cut out to be left on the car as hubs for wider wheels. 

Some interesting photos of the 1965 Sebring Sprites, showing the wheels in question, can be found in the Revs Library at Stanford.Some interesting photos of the 1965 Sebring Sprites, showing the wheels, are in the Revs Library at Stanford. Here's the link:  
Good luck getting copies, though.  I’ve contacted them several times about pictures of another car and never got a response. Ed.
[For interest, here is a message from Simon Bilbie (son of Barry) dated 16 Feb 2014: "Re: the discussions on works wheels I remember my father seeing GCH's book which states the streamliner wheels were based on the BMCD design and being quite perplexed to say the least. My father stated that he designed the wheel whilst in the drawing office at the cinema and so believed that the BMCD rim was a copy of his design.  I imagine that the Warwick wheels would have been cast at a company called Aluminium Services in Warwick as they did all of Healey's one-off and prototype castings in the sixties.  Hope this clears things a little. Kind regards, Simon".]

Lew McAllan
20 Nov 2014

Kees, thanks for the feedback. I was interested in the fit of the early Ashley hardtop as I have one of the sleeker 2nd versions in storage with a mate in Sheffield that I will soon ship to the US for my Bugeye project. However, for the Sebring project, the Mk4 donor is totally devoid of rear panels which have all been stripped away. The issue is the height of the internal frame of the B pillar panel. I trimmed approx 1/2 an inch off the B pillar and cockpit trim rail across the top and it now clears 100% ...I can see the gap, BUT there is still a gap where the B panel of the fastback meets the sill or rocker panel. So now I suspect that the shape of the rear floor across the back of the car is down turned a bit on later models, preventing the fastback rear from lifting to the "bugeye" height. Only talking maybe 1/2 inch lift. That one will be difficult to fix. Such a pain, should have started with a Bugeye. There is a MK2 shell in Kansas that is on ebay at the moment, maybe the Mk2 is more Bugeye like at the rear and in the B pillar area. Problem is Kansas is 8 hours from here an we are now in the grip of an early Polar Vortex, plenty of snow and ice, not great for a trailer trip !  Cheers Lew.

Kees van Beijmerwerdt
15 Nov 2014

Problem is the contour (shape) of the MK 2 onwards boot. I attach a picture Keesof an Ashley hardtop designed for the MK 1 to illustrate the problem. You'll see the big difference all over the contact line. So if you want to use a MK 2 onwards to make a Sebring fastback better forget the original boot top and make sure that the inside boot top supports are low enough to enable the fastback to pass. From my experience building the fastback neatly to the contour of the MK1 is already a serious challenge since the contactline is so long. You always tend to start cutting, better sit down on a chair before you do for some nights with a beer starting thinking how to tackle. Have yourself assisted by a good friend and a board marker to get your head around it! Cheers, Kees.

David Rawsthorn
17 Nov 2014

Response to Mike Wylie's note below:
"Mike Wylie in his comments states 'Self Interest of course but perhaps of interest to others?' From my point of view any scrap of information that can be found, verified and disseminated is of interest. After all the beauty of any tapestry is woven from many thousands of threads". David Rawsthorn.

Mike Wylie
13 Nov 2014

Hi Martin,
Just in case you thought I had lost interest, I found this photographamongst my ‘things’.  It shows two slightly older school friends of mine, both dedicated members of the Queens University Motor Club, having their photograph taken for posterity after a successful winter series of club rallying.  They are Patrick Hamilton and Colin McMeekin who navigated, and I am pleased to say I still see both of them occasionally.  Colin competed in some European Classic Rallies in recent times in both a Mk.VII Jaguar, and latterly in a Triumph TR3.  The Belfast registration 9898 AZ suggests that the Sprite was bought new for Patrick in good time for Easter 1961 when, in those days the Circuit of Ireland International Rally took place, and when the centre of Belfast looked and sounded as if the entire population was ‘doing the Circuit’, whether as genuine participants, officials, or mobile spectators.  It was probably a completely standard car, but the picture surely illustrates the great boon the ‘low-cost’ Sprite was to young enthusiasts who came from reasonably well-to-do families.  I do remember clearly when a front stub-axle broke on their way home to Belfast after one all-night rally, a common Frogeye fault. 

For the record the suffix AZ applied to busy Belfast, lasting from April 1960 to March 1961, when it was superseded by CZ.   The suffix BZ had been allotted to Co. Down, where it was current from May 1961 until November 1963 in a rural area where car sales were much slower.   After spending nine months in England, the Speedwell that became mine was re-registered 505 BZ in Newry, Co. Down on 20th June 1961 having been dispatched from the factory on 12th September 1960.   Can anyone argue that it took all that time to turn it into a Speedwell and sell it, or explain why it had the ‘upturned’ rear springs which suggest to me it had some competition history well before gaining fame in the hands of Adrian Boyd?   David Scothorn is trying to find out what the English registration may have been. 

Self interest, of course, but perhaps of interest to others? Cheers, Michael.

Kees van Beijmerwerdt
23 October 2014

Battery Location.
Good evening Martin! I visited Steve Bowen today and of course he showed me the battery position in the back of the Sprite. I took all the pictures I need, and got a note with the essential dimensions. He also supplied me with several parts for my Ashley project including a refurbished kmh speedometer (dated april 2003 with 6 months guarantee!) On top of that we had a cup of tea accompanied with a number of interesting stories. So thank you for hinting me on this source! Besides that I want to make you a compliment on your website: it is the most used source of information by me. I picked up so much details on all the cars, I love the stories around all the discoveries people make and I like your style of cool and objective descriptions. Just carry on, your latest news page is visited at least 2 times a week by me. I appreciate all the hours you must put in very, very much! Kind regards/Hartelijke groet, Kees van Beijmerwerdt.

Jim Proffitt
10 July 2014

UUV 398
Hi, The car originally had yellow paint under the remains of a number circle on the door.. There were a bunch of numbers that we stuck inside the roof. The doors had aluminum skins ands the driver's door had a slot cut in it with a bolt sticking out to act as a handle when the side curtains were in place. Please remember the car was my first race car from my new company. I came from SCCA National Racing and winning races was very important to me. I'd always had old race cars around. My degree is in Art History. Style and line are important to my restorations as well as period correct. But safety and speed are always important too. If you look closely at the (chassis) frame front you'll see it lacks the stiffening gussets the factory put in later Bugeyes. The chassis tag on the frame had been re-stamped underneath and reattached bottom up with a different number.  I'm sure I'll remember more details as time goes on.. I built the engine from an NOS factory Mini racing one with the thick pan rail and boss next to the dip stick hole. This took a lot of effort. Also found an NOS EN40B crank shaft. Carved the "Speedwell'' S into the intake manifold. Doug Peterson (now Comptech), Jim Balrey (now retired head of Brumos Racing restoration shop), John Morton (the John Morton) and Tolie Artunoff all drove the car for me. I was proud of how the car turned out from a $500 wreck. The company grew and I went on to restore many many racing cars. Thank you for waking my memories. Jim.

Kees van Beijmewerdt
4 July 2014

I am looking at the message of Greg Heacock where he announces to ask a heritage certificate based on the body number. Realise that there might be up to several hundreds difference in body and chassis numbers (because of the way work was organized). So at least you need a VIN (easiest) or a tagplate with chassis number (rare) or you have to figure out working backward from the number plate (for a UK car). The body number alone will certaily lead to a wrong (false) heritage certificate. On both my Sprites I managed to trace back the origanal chassis number, but it took quit some time and correspondence (but makes it really fun when you get there). Regards, Kees.

Ray English
4 July 2014

Hi Martin, I have just taken a look at your website ---- The number you have shown re AN5/44941 is NOT the BAE (body number). The number shown is the "Thompson"s Number which was stamped to the underframe prior to it leaving for Pressed Steel to receive its outer panels.The BODY NUMBER tag is positioned on the RHS "A" pillar between the door hinges, if it is missing you can see the 2 small holes that held it in place. There is another similar tag on the LHS, this number, like the Thompsons one means nothing at all regarding a Heritage Certificate. Regards, Ray. 

Richard Melville
20 Jun 2014

re: Speedwell GT - 37 CLX
Message addressed to Peter Jackson:
" The "Archer" and Jamaica Racing is correct. I don’t remember the licence plate or the racing numbers. If you remember it was crashed in practice so it never raced, although the picture could have been taken during practice.  And I don’t remember opening up the air intake, although it used to overheat and should have been, so it might have been done. On the other hand the picture could have been taken in practice, the numbers could be correct and we could have opened up the air intake. And the final one was how many white Speedwell Sprites were at the Nurburgring at that time and the answer is only one. So if the timing is right it probably is it. But in practice."

Peter Jackson
17 June 2014

Hi Martin, Sorry for delay in replying to your e-mails, but have been away in Portugal for the last two weeks. As far as the 500ks is concerned I ended up driving BXN with Richard Melville to finish 3rd overall. Originally Richard was to drive his Speedwell car solo as far as I know. I certainly have no record of “Archer”. Richard had a big shunt in practise when the front suspension broke. I was due to co-drive with Peter Clarke in the Sebring ex-S221 which he had just bought from Cyril Simson and re-numbered JT51.  However he had a large accident in practise, so we put the engine and gearbox from Richard’s car in to BXN which I had driven over on the road and used for unofficial practise until the gearbox broke. I then drove it home after the race!! Richard drove his car at Sebring with Graham Hill as co-driver, and entered by me. However Graham did the first stint in the 3 hour race and it retired after about an hour with excessive oil temperature and Richard never got to drive it. It was then shipped back to England. I am not sure what events Richard did with it before the 500 ks. He might well have run it at the Ring in that earlier meeting. I believe that he sold the remains after the 500 ks to some German, but I will forward your e-mails to him as we are frequently in touch,and he may be able to shed more light on the pictures etc. In 1962 he bought the ex UDT Lotus Elite which they had prepared for Le Mans and then changed their plans. He had a big shunt at Goodwood the day that Moss had his big accident. It was repaired in time for the 1000ks at the Ring. I co-drove it with him and did the first stint and it was a super little car - we were quicker in the wet than Mike Parkes had been in the dry with an Elite the year before !! In fact after 10 laps we  had lapped the Team Elite car. Richard went out and after 1 lap the crank broke which was sad, Richard was not best pleased and retired to bed with his lady friend!! Those were the days!!! Cheers P.J.
[This confirms the Sebring car registered 728 H was the same car which ran at the Nurburgring as 37 CLX]

Tony Pay
10 May 2014

347 RAL - Lenham GT
I’ve just come across an article in which you described my old Lenham Sprite, 347 RAL. This is the brief tale. We – Scilla and I – bought 347 before we were married, and indeed honeymooned in Ireland in the old wagon. It was a 1958 Sprite, but not one of the first series with, from memory, a fairly dodgy rear suspension. It was in the attractive early colour of Connaught Green, much nicer in my opinion than the later light, leafy green. When we had our first child – Sarah, who now lives about 100 yards from us, and who, with her husband now runs Milford Restorations up here in Scotland - I cut back into the rear bodywork to fit her carry-cot onto the shelf behind the seats. As she grew, more space was needed. At the time, I was soliciting in T.Wells and Crowborough, and met Julian Booty at an AHC affair.  I acted for him, and his then  partner, David Miall-Smith, so a Lenham conversion was arranged. The car, as you’ll see in the attached photo, had a Spitfire windscreen,347 RAL with the door glasses raked backwards to continue the line of the door into the roof. It also had three louvres, copied from the Ferrari, let into the side of the rear bodywork. At the front, the rear, lower parts of the bonnet were fixed into the main body, so the join line was sloped down from the scuttle to the mudguard like the main bodywork. Two NACA ducts were cut into the bonnet, one giving air to the carbs, the other giving air to the heater. Two further holes were cut into the lower front of the bonnet, to hold spot lights behind small Perspex covers – I think they were cribbed from the contemporary Aston. Eventually, the family outgrew the wagon, and a Hillman Hunter was acquired. 347 was put out to grass, in Sussex, and left there when we ourselves moved to Scotland.In the meantime, after I’d written in one of the comics about John Britten’s yellow peril, (Lenham rear, Ashley front), the Modsports rules were changed. John acquired, I think from Lenham, a facsimile Midget body in fibreglass, and I stuck his original body onto another of my wagons. When we moved to Scotland, towards the end of the last century, both cars were left quietly mouldering away somewhere in Sussex. I heard about the Monte Carlo Challenge and used my present Sprite, 242 CKT on that first event. I’ve still got 242, in my garage, and we’re working on the old beast as I write. I’ve got an Ashley bonnet and hardtop as well as a Frogeye bonnet and hardtop. Again, the bonnet is cut into three, and the boot cut back behind the seats, though not drastically. The rear body is also in fibreglass, and much of the running gear is Mk 3. The old girl is shortly to receive a Sierra gearbox, but is otherwise pretty docile. Finally, if you’d like a copy of ‘Monte Nights’ do let me know and I’ll send it. Kind regards Tony Pay.

Roger Friend
9 May 2014

Does your Sprite gear change dog to the left when you change from 1st to 2nd? If so the problem could be you have the wrong gearlever, the length between the two end balls (large and small) are different from the smooth case gear box to the ribbed case box. The smooth case has a slightly shorter (by abt ¼") than the ribbed case, and this dramatically affects the gear change. If buying another gear lever buy from 64 onwards to be on the safe side, and if it’s a very late 1275 type ribbed box make sure you get both of the fixing plates that hold the gear lever in place. Roger.

David Morys
5 May 2014

Carroll Shelby School of High Performance Driving.
By the way I think John Olson may have been the mechanic we mentioned - unfortunately my Cobra books only show drivers and people higher up the pecking order. Unfortunately the 'brush cut' seems to have been a hair style favoured by many yanks at the time so it is difficult to identify who the people are!
Shelby FrogThis Sprite photo (looks quite purposeful with the substantial single hoop Cobra roll over bar) is from Glenn Hertzler, who says this is a car that was one of four trainers in use at the Shelby School. The others were an early works Sebring Cobra, a Huffaker BMC Formula Junior, and a second Sprite. Instructors at the school were Shelby, Pete Brock, and John Timanus. Carroll and Pete have no recollection of where the school's records went, and John is no longer with us. The Sprite was sold to a succession of four Philadelphia men, and it's only the first that Glenn has not been able to identify. Glenn bought the car in August of 1992, and restoration was completed in May of 1998. He'd like to find more of its history."

John Sprinzel
4 May 2014

977 ARX
Don't think I needed a memory jog - the steering column became disconnected at the top of the climb out of Entrevaux at the beginning of the Quatre Chemin stage - the last stage of the rally in fact, when we were lying second behind the winning Alfa. We had driven the whole rally with the cotter pin ABOVE the rack peg, instead of the groove, and it could have come apart at any time on an Alpine Rally that went over dozens and dozens of mountains, mostly unfenced. You don't forget stuff like that in a hurry. Can you copy Gordon?  cheers. John

Gordon Higgs
3 May 2014

Hi again By way of a PS. The guy with the Mini had loads of photos of John driving the car and Yes it was white. In the last photo it was on its side on a narrow road! That might jog John's memory? Gordon.

John Sprinzel
28 Apr 2014

977 ARX
Was white in my day, and Willy has navigated for the owner for some years - they even won an Alpine in it...The owner writes for the Mini magazine - nice guy. cheers. J

Gordon Higgs
27 Apr 2014

Hi Martin. Came across an old friend of John's at the weekend.977ARX. regards Gordon977 ARX

Rick Neville

Hi Martin,
Bill always said the car was used as the "backup" car at Sebring and was never actually raced.  Bill had purchased all the records of the Donald Healey Motor Company from Geoffrey but I don't recall him ever mentioning him finding any records of his car in the records.  However, by saying "records" they were more or less a collection of papers that were tossed into tea crates and shipped to the US and were in no way organized.  Bill spent a number of hours trying to organize them and I believe they may now be in the hands of the Healey Museum in the Netherlands.  I picked up the tea boxes, along with the shipping crate that held the Bonneville Healey streamliner plexiglas canopy from the customs broker at the airport and took a peek inside the tea chests.  Despite the jumbled nature of the contents I saw, as Harold Carter said to Lord Carnarvon. "wonderful things"  including original colored renderings of various Healeys.
Having gone to college in Philadelphia, Bill was very familiar with Royston Rickj Neville SpriteMotors and described them converting the car for road use for Mrs. Royston.  As I said, it would have made a marvelous road car and was quite tractable, not like a high strung racer at all.
When Bill decided to sell the car, he offered it to me at what then was a substantial price, but now would seem a pittance.  I gladly would have paid his ask, but with tuition bills for my sons, it just wasn't in the cards.  I don't know if you've seen the car, but it certainly doesn't look like it had a lot of racing miles on it, even considering the fact that it was reconditioned by Royston's mechanics.  When I drove it, it looked like a car that had come pretty fresh out of a race shop.
Best regards, Rick Neville. [Rick's Bugeye, right]

Pete Taylor
22 Apr 2014

Toyota T50 Gearbox Conversion
Hello Martin, I was interested that you are fitting a Toyota Gearbox to JJO.
I fitted that same conversion to my Frogeye some years ago and it has been successful. I did find that the Engine had to be tilted over slightly and a steady bar fitted to ensure that touching and vibration was not an issue. Apparently there are some different versions of the gearbox and the one I have did not entail altering the gearstick opening at all with the gearstick in the original position.
Regards, Pete.

Alan Anstead
22 Apr 2014

5-Speed Gearbox Conversions
Hi, I saw the comments on 5 speed conversions.
Datsun 5 spd from Rivergate
. I have done three conversions using the Rivergate Kit. One car had a 120BHP engine which the gearbox seemed to handle however the car was sold on and having not heard of ot for a while have no information on longevity. My late friend's John Larringtons car had an Osselli engine rated in high 70's re BHP and although sold on when John died I am aware that the new owner was having problems I believe with a failing 5th gear. The third car I have no current info on. When fitting all three kits, purchased at one time and imported together to keep duties etc low, and then fitted one after the other I did some cutting. Others have got the gearbox in without resorting to surgery but I found it ' easier' to cut a bit from the heater trunking under the heater tray and fabricate and redesign a fillet.
Ford Type 9s

So far I have converted 948's, 1098, 1275 Spridgets, & a 1500 Spitfire. There are variations to each conversion as not 'one size fits all'.
I have written several articles on the conversions for the Midget & Sprite Club Magazine - Mascot.
Why people refer to it as the Frontline kit I dont really know as, to the best of my knowledge, it was developed initially by Morris Minor Centre (Birmingham) Ltd, now part of the David Manners Group from whom I get my parts. I have used their chassis kit but as you are aware now make my own from a thicker gauge steel with added re-inforcement.
These gearboxes can still be obtained quite cheaply although prices are rising. 2nd hand units have proven reliable without rebuilding. The chassis does have to be cut and none of the cars I have modified, or been advising on, have been involved in shunts so I cannot really comment on structural integrity in a crash situation. If anyone is contemplating a T9 conversion, or encountering problems, I am always happy to talk and can be contacted via if they want my 'five penneth' on the subject.
Isle of Wight Frogeye
Structural integrity was uppermost in my thoughts when asked to convert a spaceframe Isle of Wight (continuation) Frogeye built on that Isle by Keith Brading with the approval of Geoff Healey. I spoke with Keith and looked at other conversions, some professionally done, before embarking on the conversion. I believe that my conversion is safe and strong and maintains the structiural integrity.

Rick Neville
21 Apr 2014

Hi Martin,
I saw the mention of HAN8-R-202  the "Display Car" in the March news and thought you might like some more information.  The car was featured in the January, 1991 issue of "Chatter", the newsletter of the Austin Healey Club of America.  A link to the cover is here: [See also the full article (MEI) ]. The photo was taken on Bill Wood's lawn and also shows Bill's Austin-Healey 100S #AHS 3504, that was first owned and raced by actor Jackie Cooper.  Having known Bill for a number of years, I had the good fortune to drive both these cars on the back roads to the Lime Rock racing circuit in Connecticut.  Driving each were highlights of my 47 years with Healeys.  The Sprite was just a wonderful car.  Light, nimble and extremely responsive.  Acceleration was excellent.  I've owned my present Frogeye for 37 years and it has almost all the modifications of the 1959 Sebring team cars. Bill's car made mine feel like a lorry.  I really think a production version of the LeMans/Sebring Sprite would have been very popular. Happy Healeying, Rick Neville.

Sven Eckhardt
21 Apr 2014

5-Speed Gearbox Options
I have read with interest on you embarking on a 5 speed conversion. It is interesting that I feel the same reluctance as you about chopping out the centre of the cross member when doing the conversion. I always wonder what would have happened to my car (and me) had I had the same shunt with a conversion installed.
I have been thinking of doing a conversion for ages though and have done a wee bit of research.
If you are interested in my views carry on reading.
(1) Frontline conversion utilizing the Ford T9 box. What I have come up with are these:
PRO: easy available supply of Gearboxes since utilized in a lot of Kitcars, I still have one from my Caterham, at a price even a 6 speed box is available from Caterham, strong gearbox which was designed for a very powerful engine.
CON: the centre section  of the cross member needs to be sacrificed.
(2)Toyota T 50    I have nothing to add to what you have said on your web page. 
CON: the centre section of the cross member needs to be sacrificed, - gearboxes are getting scarce.
(3)Rivergate conversion  Datsun Sunny 1979-1982 (210)
PRO: No cutting of the body is necessary, Well designed kit available on:
CON: even though the donor cars where as common as muck in their day supply of second hand gearboxes is becoming scarce. I sense even spare part availability like gears and syncromesh to be somewhat dodgy. 
How would a tired gearbox (cope) having done a lot of miles fare if married to a heavily modified engine with an output of a 100+ BHP, considering it was designed to do duty in an 1172cc engined underpowered wagon.
On balance I think the Frontline conversion is probably the one to go for, even though I feel attracted by the fact that no body chopping is necessary for the Rivergate conversion.
cheerio, Sven.

Joe Armour
28 Mar 2014

Ex-Works Sprites
Martin, I have got to thank you as your site and endeavours have flushed out more facts and records than any of the individual owners could have alone.  Before you started to cover them on  I felt I was the only one with a serious interests and a reasonable collection of articles and names of past and present owners, even if it is very disorganised.
My interest was always in the efforts of the Donald Healey Motor Company and the close circle around it. It is on record that Healeys gave a widespread support to privateers racing and rallying Sprites.  BMC / MG Comps Dept managed and publicised big Healey rally cars and their records have provided the basis on most books. Healeys did speed record cars and circuit racers.
I think we now have a very accurate record of the Streamliners and it is all well laid out and readily accessible to all interested parties.
So little was covered on the actual cars at the time and Geoff Healey's books often used the wrong image with the story of the event. B&W pics did not help.  It is amazing the small identifying marks that you only learn after finding another image to compare to.
Did you know there was a genuine lightweight MK.4/Midget style factory chassis that was completed in UK for an Australian dentist living in UK?  He raced it with a works type motor in the u/1000 cc class. When he returned to Australia his mates convinced him to remove the race motor with all the good bits and they built him a 1275 cc engine to suit Australian u/1300 cc [Yes, that's Jeffrey Hinde - see ]
Thanks, Joe.

Tom Coulthard
19 Mar 2014

200 PMO!
Martin, The car became 248 DXN in 1962 (if I recall correctly it’s on the continuation green Log Book Paul (Woolmer) has) – and this bodywork is much later: Ted Walker would know exactly when, but I would be surprised if it was before 1967-68. It’s nice to see that pic with the spoiler and I agree the holes are still there in the shot that’s in "Lucky John". However, I guess the intention was to have the ‘PMO 200’ number on it for display purposes (particularly if it actually did race in that form – intimidating the opposition!), and that someone just got a bit mixed up. I think probably most Sprites did have reversed numbers – the big metropolitan areas had used up their allocations – and people could be quite vague about registrations ... even ‘famous’ ones. Tom

Juergen Schaeffer
2 Mar 2014

SEBRING TAILGATES! (part of message)
"The "perspex-only" rear hatch was fitted and looks great and very practical. Dominic will have to rent a baby and dog, put them in the open rear facing backwards, take a photo and advertise the Spridget as the worlds smallest full family sports car! As expected, the 8mm acrylic stuff is stiff enough to hold itself without frame. However producing that screen seems a bit difficult, the cutting to fit it into the - by itself uneven - aperture in the glass fibre body, is a cumbersome job. I believe it would be helpful to have a stiff steel frame in Andrews mould, to ensure a better body and also to use this same frame as the template for the screen. For me, this is too late, but I understand Andrew has another customer, who tries the same and more might be interested, as said, it looks most elegant and is very practical.  We use chromed Mini boot hinges on top , which spread the loads and do not look ugly. The locking mechanism is a bit more complicated, as I believe the load spreading at the bottom also needs two clamp down points, so two door locks wire-operated from one central T-handle in a common structure bonded to the body must do the job. A stiffener bonded into the body above and below seems necessary.

Joe Armour
1 March 2014

LE MANS 1968
This is from the Jan. 2014 issue of the UK  MOTORSPORT mag. and an interview with Alec Poole. It is interesting the the addition of the rear spoiler was instigated not by Geoff H. from previous experience or testing but rather the 1968 drivers. I had read this somewhere previously but had no record of where. This probably explains why it was added to only one car as requested by Alec  and Roger.
Geoff's attitude towards tyres seems a little outdated!  I think Roger Menadue was always looking for an advantage and as he was the hands on mechanic I guess he supported the drivers. Besides at that time many characteristics of race car design were being questioned and updated, e.g. tyre widths  and aerodynamics.
It is pleasing to see the 'old' BMC/Healey personalities getting coverage as so many of them went on to other successes in motor racing and life.  I did not realise he had co-driven with Paddy Hopkirk and Tony Nash in the original London to Sydney rally. This was the same event John Sprinzel entered in a Midget and got as far as Broken Hill.
Several of my mates took a 'sickie' that day to see the cars pass up the coast to Sydney.  The leading Citroen was involved in a head-on accident with a spectator and Lucien Bianchi was killed.  I was too responsible and stayed on the job.

Roger Sieling
21 Feb 2014

Martin, Attached are 2 other photos you do not show on either the Falcon Sprite page or the Moss 4hr #2 car. I bought these and the other pair of the Falcon Sprite in the Sebring pits off ebay a little Moss 60over a year ago. I can recognize Stirling and Roger Menadue, but who are the others? Who is the tall fellow in the white brimmed hat or the bearded fellow to Roger's left. Notice the stickers inside the screen of Moss' car. The round one is probably Falconthe tax disc. I wonder how Geof managed the tax discs when multiple cars used the same reg #. Is John Hill in this photo? One thing I noticed on the Falcon Sprite pics is that the plastic, wedge shaped mirror bracket has survived all these years. Although the mirror was changed from the rectangular one to a Raydyot, the wedge bracket can be seen in the photos you have of the car in my old back garden. Roger.

Roger Sieling
20 Feb 2014

Martin/ Jerry/ Rob/ Tom,
I just found the comments section of this site. What a great discussion re: Moss 4hr car. This is all so of interest to me since Tom Brattan also owned my Falcon bodied Sprite. When I found Tom Brattan's son about 3 years ago, he told me a number of interesting facts about his father, who died about 1990. One thing was that Tom was involved in a bad racing accident that probably caused his retirement from racing. I had assumed this had been in my Falcon Sprite, but it could have been in the Moss car. Since the son was not even born yet, I'm sure he didn't know.
The son told me he'd talk with his mother to get some answers for me, but he's never called back and he's never responded to my further calls. I've tried to locate his mother, Tom's widow, but no luck yet. The son told me he thinks the Falcon Sprite was sold to pay for his mother's wedding ring and he thought that it was sold after Tom and his fiance moved back to Ohio. He speculated that the purchaser was a fellow employee of GM in Dayton and that we think is how the car came to be abandoned on an Ohio farm field. I'd still like to know when all this happened. So far, I've not found any Ohio race history. Mid-Ohio's initial season was 1963, the same year that the last Put-in-Bay race was run. Good records exist for all the 50's PIB races, but only a few photos of the '63 race. More later.
Roger Sieling

Daniel Paul
19 Feb 2014

The left hand hardtop for sale (see Feb newsletter) is the same as the one I was searching for information on several years ago and currently finishing restoring. The right appears very similar (window is the same) but is the first time Ive seen one with an 'inverse' Dan dare markings in the top. That makes 3 tops:
1) the dan dare - known Pride and Clark (around 10 examples seen)
2) The plain, same window as above, unknown origins (?10 examples seen)
3) the inverse dan dare, same window as above two - unknown origins... (1 example seen)
Very strange. The profile of the rear windows, J bolt fixing system, mouldings within the top for a hoop to maintain the J bolt, and rain gutters are identical across all three and remarkably different to anything BMC ever produced as far as I can tell...

Thomas Willig
18 Feb 2014

Please note that the Wolseley  8” rear brakes, currently being offered at ebay are different from the Riley units. The offered brake setup uses the standard Frogeye rear cylinders with the micram adjusters. For this setup 5/8” wheel cylinders are not available! In other words, you have to use a proportioning valve to make this setup working on a Sprite. It works, but not so neat as the Riley 1,5 (Girling) setup.  Ask me how I know? I just learned it the hard way, because I bought a set off UK ebay in December.  I even contacted  Tom Rollason at Coastings Ltd, who  could not help, even after extensive search in all his catalogues.

Tom Coulthard
18 Fen 2014

4444 DA and E 700
Martin – I’m glad you’ve successfully untangled the crossed-wires: WLY 154/E 700/4444 DA is Paul Webb’s standard-bodied Sebring. Eric Davis’s alloy coupe E 700 (destroyed at Quarry by the late Gabriel Konig) was a different car of unknown parentage. Although John (Sprinzel) has now decided he borrowed this car for the Cat’s Eyes, at the time of Spritely-Years he was equally certain the Cat’s Eyes car was Jack Clarfelt’s Sprite that was undergoing transformation at the Mews at the time (Sp-Yrs p. 210). These two Sprites could conceivably have been one and the same, though the red coupe subsequently being offered in one of John’s display ads in Autosport (issue 9 Mar 62) is described as being the Clarfelt car.
The high-sidescreen hardtop I have came from Peter Seamen without the rear stanchions and therefore has no number. The fact that these brackets are interchangeable with those for the production BMC hardtop – coupled with the somewhat cavalier approach to numbering sometimes seen in period – must make the drawing of any conclusions of questionable value. Though I agree entirely with you that assessing the number of (and ID numbers on the) surviving high-sidescreen hardtops that we know about is of genuine interest. However, estimating how many were produced – even plucking a figure out of the air as someone does on your comments page – seems to me utterly pointless: we simply do not know.
Robert Visser’s photo of XOH 276’s hardtop that you ran in the January newsletter is fascinating. The delicate reveal on the drip-rail clearly shows a different moulding from the other high-sidescreen hardtops I have seen, where the drip rail is ‘filled in’ – presumably to aid release from the mould. This seems to confirm my theory there were two distinct stages of high-sidescreen hardtop production – the initial ‘BMC prototype’ phase and the later DHMoCo phase (mooted in Spritely Years pp. 148 and 181).
Best regards, Tom.

Simon Bilbie
16 Feb 2014

Hi Martin, Re: the discussions on works wheels I remember my father (Barry) seeing GCH's book which states the streamliner wheels were based on the BMCD design and being quite perplexed to say the least. My father stated that he designed the wheel whilst in the drawing office at the cinema and so believed that the BMCD rim was a copy of his design.  I imagine that the Warwick wheels would have been cast at a company called Aluminium Services in Warwick as they did all of Healey's one-off and prototype castings in the sixties.  Hope this clears things a little, Kind regards Simon.

Stephen Bowen
7 Feb 2014

Hello Martin, Just a bit of background information. At the time of the photo of WJB707 I was certainly not intending to sell the car. There were two numbers on the door for Roger Bird and myself who were sharing the car and also it was my only form of transport to get to work etc. At the time I coverred approx 60.000 miWJB For Saleles a year in the car and did Rallycross. Autocross Sprints and Hillclimbs etc so no reason I would want to sell it. The for sale sign was done by friends while we were in the pub after an Autocross and I new nothing about it. No, the only time that I considered selling the car is since it has been completed and I am still not sure how.
Cheers, Steve

Joe Armour
4 Feb 2014

Martin, Spare wheel installed in the car with the standard Healey hold-down. Same design was used on the 100.S cars.  It was the same with the engine hood clips, hand-made from small steel bar, a spring, a washer and retaining pin. Another Geoff Healey trick with the wheels was that there were two positions to clamp the spare down: the legal FIA one, and then after scrutineering the wheel was moved forward to help weight and Centre of Gravity. Both captive nuts for the anchors were covered by the wheel and tyre when either position was in use. Joe.

Joe Armour
4 Feb 2014

Martin, The BMCD California catalogue submitted by Karsten Stelk is most interesting and I also have a copy purchased from a vendor at the HSRCA historic race event here in Sydney.
Interestingly the magnesium wheel shown on page 5 appears to have been made from a modified pattern of that used by the Healey Company for the Streamliners. I will send a photo seperate to this mail. The Sprite wheels were produced by the company manufacturing the well known 'Minilite' wheels. Ian Polley had communications in his files with the company.
You will note that the BMCD wheels have two small holes diagonally opposite each side of the rim around the PCD.  and letters BMCD cast into the wheel. Streamliners have the words 'HEALEY' in two places  opposite each other.

Stephen Bowen
4 Feb 2014

Hallo Martin.
I was amused,  looking  at all the comments re: originality, chassis numbers, body numbers and registration numbers and which body to use for  a replica etc. My W & P Sebring is the only one which had the same reg number WJB 707 all its life and the original aluminium body with repairs to under part of the rear wings where a small part was replaced but where I still have the original bits and a roof unit completely original. My roof shape was used to build two new tops and make one complete, also for the Archer replica one of which I used to own. I sometimes think that if I had not let my car be copied then it would have been the only original one left and maybe worth more.
But when I look at all the cars that are now driving and giving pleasure to people I think that this is more important and with two of the original cars being used by their owners and driven by people like Sir Stirling Moss etc this is really what they were made for at the time.
I think it is a pity my car sits in a garage and is not seen or used very much and this is the reason I will probably sell it this year. But I have just ordered a new coupe to build with my son. This will only look like my old car as it will be based on a 1973 round wheel arched LHD Midget.
When we restored my car we painted it completely in one colour and tidied up the instruments etc. It had never looked this tidy. The inside of the original steel body was still white or matt black. The outside was sprayed and most of the aluminium panels were unpainted.
I hope that everyone continues enjoying their Sebrings.
Kind regards, Stephen Bowen.    

John Sprinzel
2 Feb 2014

I’m pretty sure the Sebring pictured on the Cat’s Eye’s rally, was actually  my storekeeper Eric Davis’s car, which he kindly loaned to me to do the rally while the ‘real’ PMO was being repaired after the crank broke at the Gaswork’s Hairpin on the Monte Carlo Rally. The registration number wasn’t 5WW. Eric had E700 and he sold the car to Stan Annis who used the 4444 DA registration. Co-incidentally, you show this car on the London rally in the current issue of your excellent newsletter.
The clue was the yellow and black strip doors, as Eric’s car was in the process of being “Sebringed” and hadn’t yet been sprayed. It only carried the PMO plate for that one event. JS

Sven Eckhardt
30 Jan 2014

re: HIS SEBRING REP and 4646 UE

Hi again, I have come to realize that I am getting my car ready for FIA homologation. I couldn´t help but looking at somebody elses progress in the matter so I have kept an eye on the proceedings of 4646 UE especially since I had contacted Craig Chapman about the shell that is being used. I don´t know how other people feel about it so I would like to make a comment. When I converted my car, which started life as a standard Frogeye it took a certain amount of overcoming of misgivings of chopping an original Frogeye up and to use it as a donor car for a Replica. I did hold on to its original engine and steel front which I still have. I always maintain I could convert it back. To convert a 1500 shell I have no problem. To me personally the Midget 1500 and the S4 Seven are abominations of the early 70`s I would not miss one of them. To come back to 4646 UE: This is an original standard bodied Sebring Sprite. I really feel it should stay just that. To convert it to a WP Coupe utilizing a 1500 shell to me leaves a sour taste. There is no reason whatsoever not to achieve FIA homologation for the shell Paul has without sacrificing an original Sebring Sprite whatever condition it may be in. I hope I have not offended anybody. Sven

Pat Slade
17 Jan 2014
Dear Martin, Book arrived safely today. Very many thanks for organising this for me. I was at the Ace Cafe meeting, but as I am sure you are aware, things did not appear to be adequately organised! By way of background to my interest,  John and I went to the same Grammar School. He had left before I started. My first memory of him was when I used to hang around Speedwell, in Golders Green, as a cycling schoolboy. Cars were in my blood and the infection came from my father! Later, as a driver (mostly Minis), I joined Harrow Car Club in the very early '60s, and John was a member there. By this time he had left Speedwell, but I used to hang out and 'work' there when they moved to Cornwall Garage in Finchley. Tim Coroy was a sort of mentor there and used to protect me from the frightening prospect of G. Hill Esq. in a bad mood! Just around the corner, Ian Walker opened up a garage, and I used to visit there as another rallying HCC member, Brian Culcheth, worked there. I well remember being there when Lotus delivered the works rally Elan and Brian and I had a laugh about the obvious lack of rally preparation knowledge at the factory. The diff. protection/skid plate had to be seen to be believed! Anyway enough of my ramblings. Thanks again for organising the book. Although I have never owned a Spridget I have always felt the Sebring was the most attractive iteration. Best regards, Pat Slade.
Alan Anstead
13 Jan 2014

Hi, My Frogeye was fitted with a Shorrocks Supercharger when I bought it in 1969. I think the car probably towed something as although the tow bar was missing the electrical connection was still on the car. Probably why a previous owner had fitted larger A40 Farina drums which I still have on the front. I used to run an RF needle in the carburettor. Unfortunately the Shorrock packed up necessitating a replacement at £25 from Allards of Putney. Kind 1st wife brought it home on the train in a shopping bag. During the winter months when the car stood out on the street I used to have to lag the long inlet from Carb to Blower with asbestos rope due to icing. Many a night I would have to pour a saucepan of boiling water over the SU where it had frozen in low temperatures. For touring I used the smaller oil control pin. After a long run having stopped two ladies were unfortunate in standing behind the car when I again started it. They disappeared in the fog of oil smoke blown out of the exhaust. The oil had collected in the lowest part of the blower and on starting had been projected onto the plugs. The exhaust was made for me by Jeff Howe who used to have a place near Brands Hatch. Alan
[Thanks Alan, I remember Jeff Howe very well - made many exhausts for me in his back yard - MEI ]


Name/Date Subject/Comment
Tony Giordano
20 Dec 2013

On switching numbers and plates?
"Well, it was a common occurence and Peter Browning admitted it finally in an article a few years ago.... the factory all of which were trying to sell cars and win races and had no thought of future value and provenance as they were all living in the day.
I was the discoverer/owner of such a car which was a  1967/8  RED MGB BGT chassis number GHD 3 114190 with the Reg Mark LBL591E which raced at Sebring in 1967, dropped on the return Docks in Liverpool and re-shelled  and numbers transferred to go on racing in green colors in the 1968 Targa and Sebring in 1969...I discovered the green one in Pennsylvania. However the red one, before my  discovery was found, was rebuilt in 1991 and the numbers recovered in the UK... so now there are two...Don Hayter confirmed the other one and mine including all comps managers in the day. Today we have a red one in UK and a green one in USA/Canada. I will send you the article and while this number swapping is frustrating it was a practice that existed but fortunately verified in the past 6 years..."

John Sprinzel
17 Dec 2013

Very interesting comments on the provenance of old Sprite race and rally cars. I have said it many times, at talks and in print, in the Fifties and Sixties purchase tax on new cars was very high indeed up to 66.6% at one stage, and virtually all the works teams swapped chassis, engine and registration numbers around in order to save paying this out of their very limited budgets. If a car was crashed, a new body appeared and immediately inherited the old numbers. If a race and a rally were a bit too close in the calendar, especially with the added time it took to ship to Sebring or Sicily,  two cars, bearing the same numbers, were often prepared to slow down the rush in getting one car ready for both events.

In 1962 a policeman friend of mine, seeing two cars with PMO200 parked outside the Race Car show, commented that with another PMO on the stand inside, we now had a trio of identical Sebring Sprites at the same place. One was my ‘real’ one outside, one was the ex John Patten car, borrowed from the Octagon Stable and with PMO as a temporary number on the stand, and the third was being prepared for a rally and had been driven over from the Mews to carry bits to the show . Oops – as they say.

How anyone can really know which Healey is which, would be hard to say. I know Pat Moss’s Liege car was real, as the factory gave it to her for that terrific win, and I sold it shortly afterwards. So many others though, were rolled and re-bodied, but essentially the spirit of the original car would always be with it even if a lot of the bits were not so genuine.

Nick Skipworth
8 Dec 2013

Hi Martin, It was quite a surprise for me to come home with the Ecosse sprite. I had intended to bid on a later lot ( The De Tomaso Coupe) but after viewing the car at Bonhams on Saturday I was unsure where and for what I would use such a car. The conversation turned to the Sprite in the hotel bar on the Saturday evening. My twin brother Steve had raced the Sprite at the Goodwood revival and enjoyed every minute of the experience. His lap times had been 1 second a lap faster in the Sprite than the C type. We did point out to him that he never had been much good in that C-type! Myself and my son Robert had displayed the car two years previously in the pouring rain at Kop Hill. We had a really fun day with the Sprite and enjoyed the fact that its lid had kept us dry. As we finished our third beer we all agreed that whoever bought the Sprite on the Sunday would be getting a car that would be quite competitive on the race circuit, could get you an invite to some interesting events and wouldn't cost the earth to keep. The sale room was packed on the Sunday but I guess most people were there for the TS3 transporter and the Jaguars. The Sprite was the first of the Ecosse cars to be offered by Robert Brooks and I was surprised at how slow the bidding was for the little car. Two flicks of my bidding paddle and the Ecurie Ecosse Sebring Sprite got to come home with me and is now sat next to my Healey 3000. Now the dust has settled I very pleased I managed to acquire the Sprite. It is a fabulous little car that my father spent many happy hours putting back together and it will serve as a family tribute to his collection. I hope to have the car out and about this season doing some track days and hill climbs so keep a look out for her, kind regards, Nick. 

Webmaster to Ron Gordon
5 Dec 2013

Hi Ron, I'm not sure I would now call it a re-creation and I think Jerry's response shows he has revised his thinking a little. While I don't feel I could call it the Moss car it certainly seems very likely to be the re-shelled Moss car. I think your proposal is excellent - but one small improvement could be made: as Tom Coulthard pointed out to me on the phone recently no cars came out of DHMC without a Fablon stick-on number plate. You can remake these with matt Fablon and by cutting out the correct size figures with scissors - looks so much more like the real thing. Good luck with the rebuild. Can't wait to see the photos. Regards, Martin

Ron Gordon
4 Dec 2013

I apologize for the delay in responding but the Thanksgiving holiday weekend is quite hectic with gatherings of family and friends.
Allow me to digress…From an automotive perspective my roots are with TR’s and Porsches.  I grew up in Cumberland, Maryland which hosted a prominent SCCA National race from the ‘50’s until 1971.   I have kept my eye out for a production based car that had competed at Cumberland.  Tim Fritz and his father competed at Cumberland with the Sprite as well as at Marlboro which is the other significant road racing venue in Maryland.  This history coupled with fact that the car had not been modified since competing in the ‘60’s caught my attention.
My original intent was to sympathetically bring the car back to the Miller/Fritz SCCA HP configuration.  Owning an unrestored (Amelia Island award winning) 1971 TR6 since new and an unrestored 1972 911 I appreciate the patina of an unrestored car.  Unfortunately the Sprite bodywork is well past preserving patina.  Having been stored in shed for 30+ years prior to my ownership the paint is cracked and literally falling off…along with the Bondo.  Body work and a repaint is required.  The question is to what configuration?
Having the benefit of conversations with Jerry Miller and Tim Fritz there is no doubt in my mind that the shell and DHMC components on the car today were as delivered from T. A. Brattan to Jerry Miller.   I also don’t think that anyone would have been interested in preserving the history of a Sprite race car in the early ‘60’s unless there was some perceived importance.  Hence the “crudely prepared dash plaque” which indicates that someone wanted it’s history noted.  Are the DHMC components from the Moss car?  What other Sebring Sprite would have yielded these parts or were they all ordered by Brattan from Healey?  Why was it retained as right hand drive and the time taken to cut out for the tank?  I'll let you guys debate that.
Therefore I am having the body straightened and painted in the Miller/Fritz blue and silver.  I will use the components without replating or repainting when possible.  The fiberglass shell seats will require to be reupholstered save the driver’s seat cushion which is good.
You and Jerry seem clear that the shell constitutes a re-creation vs an original Sebring Sprite.  I think that the original shell with nothing else from the original car does not make it original.  However doing the car the way I am will remove me from that debate.  What I will have without question is a vintage SCCA Sprite with all the DHMC components that make up a Sebring Sprite.   I am sure that Tim Fritz will consider it special that the car will be back to the way he and his father raced it.   That will be rewarding for me as well and yes the dash plaque is going back on as will 7080 AC !!
Regards, Ron.

Webmaster to Ron Gordon
29 Nov 2013

Hi Ron, I think you should have the final word on this lengthy correspondence. Jerry and I have probably said more than enough. Cheers Martin.

Tom Coulthard
1 Dec 2013

I don’t think the ‘ST’ designation can be taken to mean that a car necessarily went to Sebring – does the ‘S’ even refer to Sebring in this instance? There are quite a few references in Geoff’s books to “Special Test cars”. And which anyway were the “LM Le Mans series” Sprites? I haven’t come across one with ‘LM’ in its chassis number – though I suppose 1411 WD and 1413 WD could have been given Healey plates with those letters. (I think we would have seen a photo if the Falcon-Sprite had a surviving Healey plate, and Geoff records that this car was given the chassis number AN5 401 specifically to look like a series production number.)
Just to muddy the waters a little further, in “Healey – The Specials” Geoff lists:
Build or Registration No.    Chassis No.      Engine No.
ST400/7080 AC             AN5 14849     9CUH 14381       TFR1   1st Targa Florio Sprite
Cars could have more than one designation – the prototypes Q1 and Q2 were also given the experimental numbers X220 and X221. (At least the above entry gives you an engine number for the original 7080 AC – a well-documented though long-expired machine.)
I don’t know when 7080 AC would have had time to go to Sebring – and anyway it didn’t have disc brakes, only A40 drums. (Colour plate opposite p. 64 in More Healeys – first edition only.) The car was around at the Cape some time in July or August 1959 for Mike Twite to borrow while Motor Sport’s longterm road test Sprite was being worked upon – see his report attached which was published in the September issue of the mag. Mike Twite is probably a reliable witness – he was later Car magazine’s F1 correspondent.
I had heard a rumour that 7080 AC had been written off by another motoring journalist (not MLT) shortly after. So when Geoff kindly agreed to see me at his home in Barford, Warks on the 12th July 1991, I asked asked him about it. He gave me his log of the works cars – a school exercise book – to look at while we continued talking.
Unfortunately he got sidetracked into talking about 401 COA – another entry for Tommy Wisdom by the Austin Publicity Dept, though for the 1961 Monte Carlo Rally. This car was borrowed by Dunlop’s Oliver Speight (a name rendered in one Sprite book as “Olive Spate”) for the journey back home but crashed by him not far out of Nice. Geoff’s log records the car was “Received from Austin’s in damaged condition”.
When I managed to steer the conversation back onto 7080 AC, Geoff volunteered the information that the 1960 Moss Sebring car was not the original 7080 AC, though it was said to be so at the time for publicity purposes, to imply that Sprites were sturdy enough to compete in World Sports Car Championship endurance events more than once.
The new 7080 AC was an exported Sprite taken from stock by the Canadian distributors and prepared using parts flown out from the Cape. The ‘Canadian distributors’ were Hambro Automotive, who were the actually the distributors for all of North America, official entrants for the BMC cars at Sebring and responsible for funding the operation to a significant degree.
Why Geoff did not take the opportunity to correct the historical record in More Healeys  I cannot imagine. However, I’m sure that if his log of the works cars is ever seen again by enthusiasts, it will confirm what Geoff told me in this interview.
To what extent the Moss 1960 Sebring car gained the identity of TFR 1 seems open to question. One might expect – since the car already had its own identity – that it would have been a ‘number plate job’ only. Evidently the use of the 14849 chassis number can only be shown from 1965 – and in the meantime rather a lot happened to the car or cars concerned. On the other hand, that number must have come from somewhere, so perhaps it was sent over by the Healeys to the Hambro Corp. I note that there seems to be little or no physical evidence to link the Moss car with Tom Bratten’s Sprite. Did Ed Bussey confirm the account of the sale? He was still around relatively recently and surely would have remembered even a Sprite with such exotic connections.
With regard to the third 7080 AC, I don’t personally find it difficult to believe that it gained its ID simply for promo reasons. This was the competition ‘launch’ of the supercharged Sprite using the Shorrock blower, for which the Healeys had negotiated an exclusive deal (for BMC cars). The Alpine was a very high-profile event and they would clearly have had an eye on the publicity angle.
I was slightly alarmed that you quoted me apparently flatly contradicting Jack Wheeler’s suspicion that his car had been reshelled by the Healeys after the event, because there was no visible damage to the underside. Jack is of course a distinguished engineer of vast experience and I would never treat his opinion lightly – it just seems an awful lot of bother for the Healeys to have gone to for relatively little return. [Sorry, Tom - and Jack!]
Could the car have ‘gone over the edge’ on the Vivione without sustaining damage to the underside? After reading co-driver Jack Hay’s account of the incident filed to his paper the Birmingham Post, it does seem unlikely. (Also attached.) If the car was reshelled, it would certainly account for the fact that if it was Healey Ice Blue metallic on the Alpine (and it is very difficult to tell from the few photos I have seen), the Sprite had reverted to being Iris Blue when Jack had it – a very unusual switch for the time. So, four different 7080 ACs – and sadly it seems that none of them survive.

Jerry Etzel
30 Nov 2013

7080 AC
Martin, You have written an excellent summation to Mr. Coulthard.
As a member of the jury, I came into this believing that without a proper period number on the body shell there is no way to claim Ron Gordon's car to be anything but an assemblage of parts. After careful reading of the information you have presented, my position has somewhat softened. Especially when I consider the origin of the VIN on the 1965 Florida title. No one would have had any reason to have falsified that number. Today maybe, 1965, not likely. I think it may be possible that the parts on the Gordon car came from the Moss driven car. But as said previously, parts alone do not make the car.
It is still great story! Jerry Etzel

Webmaster to Tom Coulthard
30 Nov 2013

Re: 7080 AC
Dear Tom, Having woken rather early this morning, and following lengthy emails to-and-fro during recent days between myself,  Ron Gordon, Jerry Etzel and others, I began going over the whole story again. I would therefore like to run my thoughts by you:

According to Jack Wheeler’s log book, the date of first registration was 11th May, 1959, (just in time for the Targa on 24th May), the chassis number was AN5 14849 and the registration number, 7080 AC. When Jack purchased his car from Louis Cassoni of Healey Car Sales Ltd in London on 4th Oct, 1960 it was painted blue, though as he discovered later the log book showed the colour as red. Jack later obtained a BHIMT Certificate for the car which gives its Body No. As BAE 14534.

The original car was, as we know, prepared for Tommy Wisdom and Bernard Cahier to drive in the 1959 Targa Florio in Sicily and it was given the title: TFR 1.

In “More Healeys” Geoff (Healey) writes: “The TFR Targa Florio series, the LM Le Mans series, and the ST Sebring race cars are described in the competition chapters”. In his chapter on Sebring he refers to the 1959 Sebring cars: “I had charge of the preparation of the cars down at Warwick and drew up a specification, number ST200”. I mention this because Jack’s car was fitted with a plate marked ST400, suggesting a Sebring connection.

In “Spritely Years” you say that the car used in 1960 at Sebring was actually a new car modified by the Canadian distributors from parts sent out from Warwick. This contradicts what Geoff says in “More Healeys”  - “For 1960, the organisers of Sebring introduced a 4 hour race for the smaller cars. This was one we could win. As the race was for GT cars, we could make only minimal alterations, using homologated equipment. We decided to enter TFR 1, our first Targa Florio Sprite. The engine was sent to Harry Weslake at Rye for him to try to get a little more power, which of course he did,” and so on. Whilst during my research into the 10 streamlined cars built by Healeys over the 1965 to 9 period I have become very sceptical about many of Geoff’s statements I now think this one must be correct. Firstly, if it was not the red TFR1 car that went to Sebring, what became of that? And, why would you send out parts to build another car in the States, paint it red, equip it with the 7080AC identity when you have the original car sitting in your workshop? What would be the point in giving it this identity? Now, Jack’s car is marked with ST400 suggesting a Sebring car. Geoff  had already habitually sold cars in the States after the races there, bringing the identity back to the UK to adorn a new car. Hence the ST400 is fitted to another new Sprite painted blue and is given the chassis number/log book and 7080AC. The original TRF1/ST400/7080AC had clearly been sold off in the States and was raced the following year again at Sebring in the hands of Tom Bratten.

A whole new story then begins in the UK with the now blue car entered in the Alpine Rally in June (1960) for Tommy Wisdom and Jack Hay. In his book Geoff does imply that he is talking of the same car as that driven by Stirling at Sebring which clearly cannot be true. Four months later this car is sold to Jack who embarks on numerous international events including Nurburgring races and the Targa Florio.

At some point the Moss/Bratten car was damaged, I am told in a later Sebring race, and I now suspect that is then that it received a new bodyshell with Thompson No. 49270 which seems to have come off the line much later in 1960, or possibly in ’61.
Coincidentally that car was then repainted in blue. Jack’s Thompson number was lost when he replaced the bulkhead panel in aluminium around 1964. Neither car bears the usual chassis plate in the standard position, or has a BAE No. in the door shut.

In 1965 the Ron Gordon car was registered in Florida with the chassis no. AN5-14849 so the owner of the car must have had some record, or obtained the number from somewhere, to enable him to make this registration, and the car seems to have run 7080AC plates fairly continuously over the years. The rear number plate itself is not the same one fitted to the 1961 Bratten Sebring entry but that could easily have been replaced. A crudely prepared dash plaque states: “WORKS TEAM CAR/1960 Sebring races/ Second over all/Driver Sterling Moss”. Whilst I initially dismissed this as someone’s attempt to falsify the car’s identity it is equally possible that an owner wanted the world to know of the car’s importance despite its changing appearance.

It is of course a matter of opinion whether you regard Ron Gordon’s car as the Moss car. I now feel that it does have the provenance having a pretty complete, if sketchy, history back to the Sebring 1960 race. I believe in legal terms, if the car was offered for sale, a car with a replacement body-shell would still be regarded as the original. Personally I (and Jerry seems to be of the same opinion) tend to feel that a car with a replacement shell is not the original car. Hence my contention that the current EAO is not the one that Andrew Hedges drove in period. 

So, we are left with the anomaly that both the Stateside car and Jack’s car have the same chassis number but Geoff was always up to tricks with chassis and registration plates so all is normal in the DHMC camp.

Your recollections as to why you came to the conclusion that local dealers assembled the car for Sebring would be greatly appreciated.

Best wishes, Martin (Copies sent to Ron Gordon, Jerry Etzel and Jack Wheeler)

Wbmstr to Tony
29 Nov 2013

Hi Tony, The Thompson number is the one stamped on the panel you refer to, near the RH master cylinder aperture and wiring tag. They usually differ by 200 to 300 from the BAE number screwed inside the door shut. My car's differs by more than 5000 indicating perhaps that the shell has been changed. Ron Gordon's Thompson number falls some 90 behind mine and as my car was built in July/August 1960 it seems probable his body-shell is a later one and could not have been around early in the year as it would have to be to race at Sebring in March. His car has no BAE or Chassis plate. If based on the Moss car the shell must have been changed. Hope that explains it. Best regards, Martin

Tony Giordano
29 Nov 2013

By the Thompsons body number, do you refer to the tag in the door jam or the stamped Body number on the RH firewall/bulkhead near the wire harness hold down flap? I believe that the bodyshells were stamped during construction on the firewall at at one location and tagged differently when moved to the final assembly area...or am I not understanding this phenomenom? Wwhat number should be considered the correct one if there are two numbers? and would this make adifference in this case for the Gordon car? Just a thought. Kind regards Tony.

Jerry Etzel
28 Nov 2013

Martin, WOW, your (recent) dilemma would have have tested my skills as well. I do believe "reconstruction" is a proper description. I have owned and worked on several cars that would fit perfectly into this discussion. In the end, I believe we must honestly represent where we start and what we have done. Paper trail and oral history must be maintained and shared. As long as a future buyer can examine the evidence, it is ultimately their responsibility to do the required due diligence and make their own choices. A race car is not a static thing. Racing is about the pursuit of the better lap time. That means change and modification. The only unmodified Sprite race car is the one that only raced one time. So what do we do with a 'significant' car? Restore to the first day it was raced? Restore to the last time it raced? Restore to configuration in a significant race? I have come to be a preservationist. My quest is for original, unrestored cars. Significant race history would be nice, but original cars in as raced condition, appeal more to me. It is why I like Ron's car. It is a lonely quest. And cars are seldom found. But the journey is the fun. My standards may be shared by few, but I would never consider a vehicle with a replacement chassis to be the original car unless I possessed the original chassis. Using a few body panels and replacing most of a tub and virtually all components with NOS parts is an amazing accomplishment, but the result is not the original car. I think Ron Gordon should not claim his car to be connected to the Moss car without documentation to connect the DMHC parts he has with the car he claims they came from. And even if he can connect the parts to the Moss car, it does not become the Moss car. The race history he can document makes his car special in my eyes. I agree with your comment, restore the body to the color and configuration it was in where the paper and photographic evidence begins. Lightly restore the interior, underside and under bonnet portions of the car. Reuse all of the DHMC parts. It will be an extraordinary example of a privateer's racer. The mystery of the DMHC parts makes the story all the more intriguing. A cool car, a great story, and the truth will remain unknown. Again, I have enjoy this give and take. I am not a car snob. My quest is for the truth. Jerry Etzel.

Webmaster to Ron Gordon
28 Nov 2013
Hi Ron, I have just received a data sheet from Bob Kemp (AHC Sprite Registrar) which shows a lot of body numbers and suggests to me that not only was your car a re-shell but so was mine! You mentioned in your notes which I wrote up on my web page, that the car was damaged in a later Sebring accident, was repaired and repainted blue. Could it be that this was when it was re-built on a new shell? Then we ask ourselves whether you can describe your car today as the one Moss drove at Sebring in 1960. Debatable. Anyway for me , and this is just my personal view, I would want to preserve your car’s patina by re-painting the exterior in the blue it has had for most of its life, trying not to over-restore the interior or the engine compartment so that it still looks like an old race car. If you re-build it as an immaculate red Sprite with a white hardtop it will not be any different to Jerry’s replica while as an old blue racing Sprite it has real character and you can still claim its history leads one to believe it is descended from the Moss car. But please chuck that dashboard plaque! best regards, Martin
Webmaster to Jerry Etzel
28 Nov 2013

Hi Jerry, I had a similar problem recently when I inadvertently described (a car) as a “re-creation” which I actually believe is a fair description. After its (long re-build and subsequent) sale, it is immaculate but is not, in my book, the car that (a celebrity) drove in the early 60’s. However (the new owner) saw it differently:
“Your methods of categorisations are your own opinions and are likely to differ from my own, however I consider your calling my car a “recreation” is simply not acceptable. A car with a continual and documented history remains that same car, even if the lion’s share of parts have been replaced to restore or “recreate” the original condition of that car. May I refer you to: 1/  FIA Appendix K Regulations, AppVIII; “Any part damaged through wear or accident may only be replaced by a part which is identical in specification to (exactly the same as) the one for which it is substituted”.  In no place does it state an identical part must be new or otherwise. My own opinion which is shared by many, is that it is more authentic to repair with original factory parts if at all possible, even if these parts have been previously used on other cars and this would include chassis sections and other major body parts. Again in my opinion, when restoring cars with reproduction or replica parts, this usually results in something far less authentic and less than ideal. If new original factory parts are no longer available, either previously used or copy parts must be used.  Neither option would result in a car being more or less of a genuine article.2/ May I also refer you to a previous court ruling relating to the Edward Hubbard v Middlebridge Scimitar Limited case regarding the Bentley Number 1, the result of which also appears to share my own same opinion.To save further complication, may I request that you remove the word “recreation” from your website and suggest might replace with the word “restoration” which I think is more appropriate”.
As the car was re-built using another bodyshell and only the (rear bodywork) came from the original I felt unhappy with his argument and in the end, to keep the peace, called it a ‘reconstruction’. You can, of course argue that cars heavily damaged in period would have been re-assembled using a replacement bodyshell. I have just received a data sheet of body numbers from Bob Kemp (AHC registrar) which makes me think my car also had a new shell in its early life. I think you and I agree that one cannot call Ron’s car “the 1960 Moss Sebring car” though it could be one built up using parts from it. On my web page I say (from Ron’s notes): “It is believed the car was damaged during another race at Sebring, after which it was repaired and repainted in metallic blue” so should this perhaps read “is thought to have been re-shelled after an accident at Sebring at a later date”? though we cannot be sure. I can forward the body numbers data sheet if you are interested. Meanwhile enjoy fettling your Morgan – sounds like fun. But don’t forget that Sebring Rep! Cheers M

Jerry Etzel
27 Nov 2013

Martin, In a word: "provenance". We may thank the Antiques Road Show for making the general public aware of the term, but collectors understood the concept long ago. Whether Lincoln's Axe, or a Moss driven Sprite, we place great value on having a continuous and documented history of "stuff". Ron's car is a very interesting case? Not a fake or forgery. Clearly a documented race car. Possibly with parts that may have been removed from the Moss car. Maybe from another of the several other DMHC cars that ran at Sebring before Ron's paper trail begins. But in the same way that a Healey 100-4 with all the Factory 'M' parts installed is not a 'factory built' car, Ron's Sprite is not the DMHC Sprite driven at Sebring. Does any of this matter? To me, yes. History is so easily blurred over time. Not always intentionally, but the result is the same. Stories are passed from generation to generation and become facts that are often difficult to prove or disprove. Still a great car with great history. I would be proud, as I am sure Ron is, to have it. Now , I must get back to work restoring my 1927 Morgan Three Wheeler. (My Lincoln's Axe may have more original parts). Jerry.

Webmaster to Jerry Etzel encl Ron's letter.
Hi Jerry, We move on to a rather different debate: M
Ron Gordon
27 Nov 2013

Martin, As you can probably tell I have no intent to represent this car for something that it wasn't. I am very familiar with what is represented today as a historic race car. In some cases with nothing more than a VIN plate you can build a historic race car.  The begging question is at what point does missing components invalidate a car?  What you are implying is that my car did not run at Sebring because the body shell didn't.  I won't discount that the shell may have been damaged and replaced. When/if that occurred it was before Jerry Miller's ownership.   Either Brattan did the swap or what shell did Brattan buy from Healey?  Were there replacement DHMC shells?  To my point in an earlier email the shell was completely stripped when painted.  I feel that there is a high probability that the components are from the Moss car.  Therefore what I may have is the suspension, interior, top, trim, brakes, wheels, doors, bonnet from the Moss car.  (How many race cars know what the original engine was?)  Does the body shell override these parts? Does Butch Gilbert's, Jack Wheeler's car or any of the "surviving" cars have as many original components as mine ?  So my decision is to what configuration do I restore the car.  The Miller/Fritz HP racer with a lot of very rare DHMC race parts? Ron.

Webmaster to Ron Gordon
26 Nov 2013

Hi Ron, Many thanks for sending the photo which shows your car’s body number as 49270. Whilst I am very sorry to disappoint you I have to conclude from this further information that the car cannot logically have been built before March 1960 to enable it to race at Sebring that year. I am attaching a table which I have started to put together showing some body numbers and have this morning received more from Ray English which I have not yet added. As you will see your (Thompson) number falls some way behind my own car built in the summer of 1960, suggesting yours came along well into the second half of that year. One can only suppose that at some point the car Moss drove at Sebring must have been damaged beyond repair and that its identity and probably some parts were transferred to another. As I, and Jerry, have said before, your car clearly has a racing history and was probably a DHMC built car but we feel we must conclude it is not the one entered for Sebring in March 1960. Would love to prove otherwise. Best regards Martin.

Jerry Etzel
25 Nov 2013

Martin, We now have clear evidence that Ron Gordon's car can not be the Moss car. Two of my cars have: stamped body no.35201, with no. on right door plate 35658, build date 28-29 March 1960. and the otrher: stamped body no.23696, with no. on right door plate 23866, build date 25-29 September 1959. The above numbers are on cars I own and for which I also have Heritage certificates. I have other cars and certificates but think this gives you a range that allows us to deduce Ron's car could not have been produced until long after the 1960 Sebring race. Jerry.

Webmaster to Ron Gordon
25 Nov 2013

Hi Ron, Thank you for the body number which is most interesting. My Frogeye was (according to its Heritage Certificate) built between 20th July to 10th August, 1960 and has body number 49179 which would seem to suggest your car with 49270 would have had a build date of perhaps August/September 1960. I will look up the number built and try to get that a bit more accurate. Unfortunately the BAE numbers and actual body marked numbers don’t correspond – can’t quite think why that would be unless it’s because some bodies were used for replacing those on damaged cars rather than being included in the assembly numbers. Jack’s BAE number is 14534 which would suggest it is a much earlier car than yours but I don’t yet have his actual body marked number. Best regards, Martin.

Terry Cowan
25 Nov 2013

Hi Martin, I did see a photo of the 96 RPE car prior to our having the car and before Mike Duffy owned it was painted Black, it was wearing snow tires on wire wheels but It had no color stripes in that picture and it appeared to be being driven for road use.
I also have the UUV 398 car, both of thesecars have been in our possesion since late 1982 or early 1983....I am trying to collect all the info I have and give you all the races and photos I have for both cars but since we started in 1983 these things take time. Cheers, Terry.

Ron Gordon
25 Nov 2013

Moss Sebring Car, 1960.Ron Gordon Body Number
Attached is a photo of the body number.  To your earlier question there is no ID plate above the wiper motor or on the left door strike panel...either on front or back. Regards, Ron.
[Number reads: 49270]

Jerry Etzel
23 Nov 2013
re: Moss Sebring Sprite & FROGEYE BODY NUMBERS

Martin, Four of my Frogeyes are a statistically insignificant sample, but as I have said previously, in more than 40 years as an owner and enthusiast, I have never seen a MKI Sprite without a body number. John Thompson Motor Pressings stamped and welded the chassis in Woverhampton. The chassis was then shipped to Pressed Steel Company in Swindon where they stamped and welded-on the outer body panels. From there, the body was shipped to the Morris paint shop in Cowley, before they were shipped to Abingdon. The body number was added during this process before painting. Certainly most cars destined for DHMC would have been culled at a later stage of assembly. So body numbers would already have been stamped. I suspect that cars receiving special body panels (the alloy and GRP specials come to mind) may not have gone thru the entire assembly process and may not have been stamped above the right side footwell aperture. I do not know if the Healey Blue color was done at Cowley like the production Sprites, but I would suspect so. Anyway, a body number would tell us if Ron Gordon's car was produced in the proper time period. Likely a late 1959 production number. Jerry

Glenn Lord
22 Nov 2013
Hello Martin, I wonder if you can help? I’m the editor of a small motorsport magazine “Inside Stock Car World”. My father raced the ovals on and off in the sixties and seventies and has recently passed away. However, in between times he occasionally raced sprint and hill climb cars and once owned a Sebring Sprite.. I’m trying to collect information on this car as I’m writing a book.
First off, we saved nothing from those days, not even the registration number. I’m looking for pictures in the attic but as yet nothing. However the reason I’m emailing you is to ask if we could have owned something special because of a few things that I remember. First off it must have been in the very early 70’s when I went along with dad to collect the car from Manchester. It was painted black with two speed stripes one white and one yellowy/orange they went from front to back and were off set. It only had the one race seat for the driver and the passenger seat was full of bits and bobs, fire extinguisher and the like.It came with its own tool kit and Fuel Can in the same colours. The body was a hard top that sloped right down to the back of the car, the front similar with plastic light covers and it was shod in Dunlop cr. 65 race tyres on wire wheels. It had a 1000cc “A” series engine that went like hell. The ride height I remember was very low and bottomed out over bumps when he took me for a very uncomfortable ride in it. But, the main thing was that the car had been sign written with all its successes. I remember a list on the back quarter panel with Graham Hill's name amongst others as a class winner at Sebring. I’m afraid dad painted it bright red raced it a few times then sold it to ... “God Who Knows”. There were other race circuits and names written all over the car but I can’t remember them. I don't think the car was registered when dad bought it but dad did have it on the road as we drove it to sprint meetings so at some time it did have a registration plate. Very sketchy I know, could it have been driven by Hill .....?  I came across your site and wondered if you might have any info that might help me. Regards Glenn Lord Ed. 
Jerry Etzel
21 Nov 2013

You would make a great diplomat if you ever get tired of being the Sebring Sprite guru. Though I never planned on seeing my comments in the public domain, I am glad that you published my responses. Ron's answer to your query are frank and honest. I have never doubted his veracity, only the evidence.
Two points: (i) Florida title was issued several years after the 1960 sale date. Florida DMV my not be the best evidence to present. I have personal experience with a Florida title being issued for an XK120 Jag that never left the junk yard in Georgia where it resided. Papers were used to title a paperless car in Florida. Chassis plate is all of the original car that was used and the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles never saw either car to issue title. (ii) Ron has still not provided the body number. I have never seen a Sprite without one. Ron needs to have Heritage do a record search of the chassis number he claims and another search of the body number he has. Publish those results and let us examine the evidence.
I still hope Ron's evidence supports the story. As previously said, I still have some doubt, but I do want to believe. Jerry

Webmaster to Ron Gordon (copy to Jerry Etzel)
21 Nov 2013

Hi Ron,
You are absolutely right about the “axe and its handle”. I recently had a lengthy debate with the owner of a “historic” Sprite which was built up on a replacement body-shell and only had a few original components and the licence plate. In my book a “re-creation” and not the original car. However in this case we are clearly looking at an original DHMC-built Sebring Sprite. It’s more a question of whether it is actually the one which Moss drove at Sebring.
Thank you for the copy of the Florida title which brings me to another point. I spoke today with Jack Wheeler who purchased, on 4th October, 1960 just 6 months after Moss’s race at Sebring, a blue Sprite registered 7080 AC with the chassis No. AN5 14849. He paid £695 and acquired it from Louis Cassoni of Healey Car Sales Ltd in Kensington, London. It bears a plate numbered ST400 as well the same AN5 number. This is fixed above the windscreen wiper motor on the left side of the car. There is no body number plate which would normally be fixed inside the left-hand door shut. Jack has obtained a British Motor Industry Heritage Trust Certificate for the car which, in addition to the chassis number gives the Body No. as BAE 14534. He was told this car took part in the Alpine Rally earlier in that year, although he believes it was re-shelled before being sold to him as it was damaged on the underside during the rally – though Tom Coulthard doesn’t think the damage was that serious. So we have a red car labelled TFR 1 taking part in the Targa Florio, 2nd we have the Moss car at Sebring, then 3rd we have the Alpine Rally car and maybe 4th the Jack Wheeler car which went on to race in a number of major European events. Geoff Healey is now notorious for having swapped numbers from one car to another, and unfortunately there are many discrepancies in his books as well, making life very difficult to us as researchers.
I’m afraid I don’t feel the dash plaque has a lot of value as evidence in that whoever made it spells Stirling incorrectly! Jerry asks if there is a crayoned number behind the dash?
You mention the forward-hinging bonnet and I see that the Bratten car at Sebring in 1961 had such a bonnet – see the photo of No.9 on my website on page:  This doesn’t tie up with Auto-Technia having converted the bonnet rather later, and adds credence to the suggestion it might have been the Stiles car.
I somehow doubt we are going to find evidence to prove whether your car is the ex-Moss car, or another, as you say and Jerry confirms that it is clearly a significant ex-works Sprite of the period.
I wonder if the car entered in the 1960 Sebring race by Phil Stiles (#3) might have been one of the 1959 works cars, especially as he drove one of them.
I will ask Tom Coulthard how he arrived at the conclusion the #2 car was built in the U.S. by local dealers.
Till the next time, best wishes, Martin

Ron Gordon
20 Nov 2013

Good to hear from you.  All is well with me, thanks for asking !!   I must confess to meager progress on the Sprite.  I was able to convince the gentleman who did the body work on my TR3 to do the metal work without replacing any panels.  He is finishing a big Healey so he may pick up the shell before the Holiday's.  Artisan's and good metal workers have their own schedules !!!
I heard a good quote about the originality of an ax..."you can replace the handle two times and the blade once but you still have the same ax" !!    This can certainly apply to old race cars.   I have shared emails and phone conversations with Jerry Etzel and he was kind enough to send me a DVD copy of the Sebring movie.   I don't think there is any doubt that the #2 car was red with a white top.  The origin of the car seems to be in conflict between Geoff's statement that it was the Targa Floria car and John's statement that it was assembled in Canada.   I have the orginial Florida Title for the car from the Fritz's, attached is a scan.   You had indicated in an earlier e-mail that Ron Gordon Titlethis was the VIN from the Targa car?
What I was able to determine after the sale from the factory to T.A. Brattan in the spring of 1960.   He campaigned the car in Florida regional SCCA races.  In the span of 18 months he collected (1) 1st Overall, (7) 1st in Class, (3) 2nd in Class, (1) 4th in Class, (1) 5th in Class and (5) DNF's in addition to entering the car again at Sebring in 1961 (for which we have the photo of the car painted white?).   In July of 1961 Brattan had an accident with the car at Sebring.   The car was repaired by Auto-Technia during which time the roll hoop was moved from inside the cockpit to through the deck giving more room to the driver.  The hood was modified to hinge from the front and a slit was cut in the floor for cooling (see lower picture in Jerry's message of 12 Nov below).  Jerry Miller purchased the car and said it was painted blue.  From the availalble photographs it is safe to say that the(re were) no significant modifications and the shell was not replaced through the Miller and Fritz ownership.   Tim Fritz said there were minor racing incidents that were repaired with bondo and resprays but always with the same greenish blue paint  (GM color). I agree that the car as ran in the '60 4hr did not have a rollbar.  Brattan added a hoop behind the seat as pictured at Sebring in 1961.  Brattan had a roll hoop installed through the deck before Miller's ownership.   I have that hoop which is a commercial unit that bolts to the floor.  The third generation roll bar was a full width bar plus bracing going through the deck attaching to the rear wheel arches.  This was done by the Fritz's to conform to SCCA safety specs.  The bar was welded to the floor and bolted to the rear wheel arches..all of which I removed.
I don't know where the assumption came from that the car fell off a trailer.  Neither Jerry Miller or Tim Fritz said this happened during their ownership.
The shell and paint.....I see no evidence of red paint on the shell.  Whoever painted the car green/blue with silver inside did a very thorough job and completely dismantled the car.   There is no evidence/overspray of this paint on any component.  Neither Jerry Miller or the Fritz's said they dismantled the Ron Gordon platecar.  There is an old plastic tag affixed to the dash noting that this car was a '60 Works car (pic attached).   Both Miller and Fritz said this tag was on the car when they acquired it.  Who knows who made the tag but the point being that at some time prior to Jerry Miller's ownership somebody recognized this car and that it retained it's original components (gas tank, seats etc) speaks to that point.  Race cars in this era were just tools and therefore, VIN, commission, registration plates were interchanged/duplicated with no thought to preserving history or provenance as you indicated and to my 'ax' quote above.  For me there are certain unknowns 1) was the shell painted red inside and out.  Completely removing exterior paint is not that difficult.  Somebody spent a lot of energy to dismantle and reassemble retaining original parts   2) what car (VIN number) was actually sold by the factory to Brattan.  No mention was made regarding the Stiles car before.  The single roll hoop was not a factory part and therefore I don't think it to be the Stiles car based on the roll hoop.  3) what car was used to create the # 2 Sebring car?
The one irrefutable fact is that my car has original parts (gas tank, seats, steering wheel, intake manifold and carbs, brakes, wheels, oil cooler, front anti-roll bar and hard top). I welcome more dialog. Regards, Ron.

Jerry Etzel
19 Nov 2013

Martin, Movie footage has no roll bar in the Moss car. Yes , I believe that the Moss car may have been destroyed and parts moved to Ron's car. But we may never know. Jerry

Jerry Etzel
19 Nov 2013

Martin, There are three different roll bars represented in Ron's pictures.The bar in the white car as well as 2 different bars in the later pictures. One full width, the other is mounted through holes cut in the rear deck. I still think the blue interior and under bonnet paint is the most difficult item to reconcile with the oral history. Not just unlikely, but almost impossible to make a red car blue and leave no trace of red. There is no logical answer other than the car was originally blue. I also would like to know the body number. It may prove nothing, but if it can help verify Ron's story, he should be willing to share what he knows. Also would like to know if the back of the dash has a number in yellow crayon. Yes the 10 gallon fuel tank is a DMHC item as is the brake/clutch pedal box oil cooler and steering wheel. But none of this proves a Moss connection. I have a 1959 RHD car with more DHMC features than Ron's car. I have the Heritage papers that prove it was prepared by DHMC. It was raced here in the States in 60's and 70's, but I can not prove by whom. So, I have a cool car, but can claim nothing. As I said previously, I am an enthusiast that would love to believe Ron's story.  At the moment, I have yet to be convinced. Jerry.

Webmaster to Jerry Etzel
18 Nov 2013

Hi again Jerry, I have today sent an email to Ron Gordon and now await his reply. Going over the story and studying the photos: the car bearing #9 at Sebring in 1961 and driven by Tom Bratten is presumably the Moss car repainted but still with the licence plate 7080 AC. It also has a roll-over hoop within the hardtop. However it is clearly a different shape to the roll hoop which appears later on “the car” as raced at Marlboro and Virginia Raceway. Did the car have any roll-hoop in your film of the 1960 race? Do you think that when the car supposedly “fell off its trailer and was destroyed”, the identity might somehow have then found its way on to the ex-Phil Stiles car? The Gordon car has a double fuel tank fitted through an aperture in the floor in the same way as adopted by DHMC. Cheers Martin

Webmaster to Ron Gordon
18 Nov 2013

Dear Ron, I hope this finds you well, and that I have the right email address. I had a new computer back in the summer and couldn’t find your address until I went back to 2009. How is the restoration going?
Anyway, my reason for writing today is that I’m in a bit of a dilemma. I recently received from my pal, Neil Anderson, a copy of an article which was in Chatter magazine back in the 90’s relating to the replica of the Moss Sprite which Jerry Etzel created. After reading the article I dropped Jerry a note to say that you had what we believe to be the original car ~ I know Jerry because he also has an Archers replica kit which he is copying in aluminium. I imagine you two have corresponded in the past, and you will therefore be aware that Jerry has been “looking for the Moss car for over 30 years”. While acknowledging that you have a genuine and significant ex-works Sprite he thinks it is more likely that it is the #3 Phil Stiles car rather than the #2 car which Moss drove. He tells me that he has a 16mm colour movie taken by a friend who was at the Sebring race, and it he gives the body colour and roll-bar design as evidence. He goes on to say that while he has not seen your car in the flesh there does not appear to have been any sign of any red paint on the car in the photos you sent. I also wonder whether perhaps at times you have had some doubts yourself in that I recall you were trying to show, at one stage, that there was a little red point on the underside of one of the seats. Jerry goes on “The interior of the tub is original and untouched, and is exactly as one would expect to see an old race car.  Exteriors get repainted all the time, while interiors are left alone. The existing interior color suggests Healey Blue over the factory original black primer, and the Stiles #3 car was Blue. The roll bar in the oldest period pics Ron has, show a single hoop behind the driver. There was no such bar in the Moss #2 car, but an identical bar can be seen in the Stiles car in the video I have”.
Looking at the various photos we have the car with the stripe on its bodywork which raced at Sebring in 1961 – it has a small roll hoop and bears the 7080 AC registration. The Jerry Miller pictures seem to show a slightly wider roll hoop, and the car in 2008 has a full-width roll-over bar. I wonder whether it is possible that the Moss car was wrecked when it fell off the trailer and that somehow the identity was transferred to the Stiles car. Looking at the long history it is hard to know from my position at what point one car might have been substituted for the other. Is there any evidence on the body-shell to show where an original roll bar might have been mounted – though I don’t know whether the Moss car had any hoop?
As you know I currently have a web page about the Moss car which combines with the restoration of your car. I am thinking maybe I should have a separate page for the Moss car – then with a link to your page saying there is a possibility that yours is the Moss car though it could be the one driven by Stiles. Clearly from the design of the fuel tank, yours is very probably a DHMC race car.
I’m sure you would like to believe you have the Moss car and Jerry would also like to think that but feels that rather more evidence is needed. I would be interested to see the Florida registration certificate which I believe shows the chassis number. The licence plates are, of course, easily transferred or copied ~ something Geoff Healey seems to have done quite often.
I am sorry to be questioning the identity of your prize possession but clearly we need to be pretty certain of the facts if they are to be shown to the world on the internet. I hope you will understand and feel willing to help me to corroborate which car you have. With best regards Martin.

Jerry Etzel
13 Nov 2013

Martin, The number plate is the weakest part of the evidence. In fact I studied the font and spacing a little closer and am not positive that early pics match the current plate. Back to the roll bar. The rear view of car painted white (see web page 4th one down) shows a narrow single hoop with forward brace to the driver's left. That bar is not in any of the other pics. The single hoop bar is wider and the forward brace absent in older pics.
Roll bars changed over time, but evidence of a mount for the forward brace bar should be present on the floor pan. If the mount holes are there, I don't see them in the photos. If they are there then my suspicion that this is the Stiles car is further supported. The Stiles car was blue, and had a single roll hoop. The Gordon's car interior is blue and untouched. The metallic blue color was never a factory color. I still see no convincing evidence of RED paint. Back to chassis number or body number. Has Ron provided any verification of numbers - a body number might support his claim? The weld in the cylinder head is also unconvincing. What is the head casting number? No serious racer would use that head then or now, and better heads were never hard to come by. Good luck. Jerry.

Webmaster to Jerry Etzel
13 Nov 2013

Hi Jerry, Do you think the registration plate 7080 AC is just a made-up one to give the car some authenticity as the Moss car way back? I must confess I felt that plate gave the car some credence as Moss’s, but maybe I am too gullible. Talk soon. Best wishes Martin.

Gerald Etzel
12 Nov 2013

Martin, I am willing to make comments about the Gordon car, but want to say again that I have no doubt that he has a significant DHMC prepared car. Attached are a couple of photos Ron sent me several years ago when he first received the car. Contrary to what Rob Gordon 26he has said about traces of red paint, there is no evidence in the pictures he sent me. It would have been very unusual for some one in 1960 to have completely stripped the red paint to respray the car. The Moss car was not damaged in the Sebring race. Why change color? The video I have clearly shows Red on the front inner wings when the bonnet is up. No evidence in Ron's pics. The interior or the tub is original and untouched. It is exactly as one would expect to see an old race car.  Exterior repaint happens all the time, interiors are left alone. Existing interior color suggests Healey Blue over the factory original black primer. The Stiles #3 car was Blue. Roll bar in the oldest period pics Ron has, show a single hoop behind the driver. There was no such bar in the Moss #2 car, but an identiRob Gordon 27cal bar can be seen in the Stiles car in the video I have. Also must question the chassis number Ron claims. Having an old Florida title with a number is not much evidence. He never responded to my question about the body number, or any Heritage research information. I would love Ron to have more proof that this is the Moss car. I searched for it for the last 30 years and would enjoy knowing that it has been found. Jerry.

Webmaster to Etzel, 12 Nov 13

Hi Jerry, Many thanks for your message. I would be very interested to hear the arguments for and against the Gordon car being the Moss original, when you have the time. Many thanks. Regards Martin

Gerald Etzel,
11 Nov 2013

Martin, Good to hear from you.......As to the Gordon car, I am certain that it is not the Moss driven car. I have not actually seen the car, but Ron sent me many photos for my review. I  have a 16mm color movie taken by a friend that was at the 1960 Sebring race. From that film it would seem more likely that the Gordon car is actually the #3 Sprite, driven by Stiles. Evidence is color and roll bar design. Ron and I probably disagree with my conclusion, but he has a great DHMC car no matter who drove it. Jerry Etzel, Georgia, USA

Webmaster's message to Jerry Etzel,
11 Nov 2013
Hi Jerry, My friend in Chicago, Neil Anderson, recently sent me a copy of the article published in Chatter magazine about your replica of the Sebring Sprite Moss drove at Sebring in 1960. I had known there was such a car as someone sent me a photo a while back. I was initially a bit concerned there might be a second contender for the actual car which is believed to be the one which Ron and Rob Gordon are restoring on the East Coast. I plan to put the article about your car on my website in the next day or so. I trust you have no objection. Hoping all is well with you. best regards Martin.
David Morys
4 Nov 2013
I have just read the bit on Jack Wheeler's return to the Targa Florio, brilliant stuff!
Tony Giordano
4 Nov 2013
I read with great surprise and affection on your writing of this reuniion in Sicily, my intention was to  make that type of trip, given  my discovery of The  Green 1968 Targa Florio MGB GT in 2005 in Pennsylvania to which you refer. I am absolutely thrilled that the current owner,racer and restorer has sent off a few parts of it for the will make my visit all the more memorable and meaningful when I finally am able to visit. Truly the car is in rightful hands. Kind Regards, Tony Giordano, Long Island USA
Ian Hulett
17 Oct 2013

Hi Martin, Just by chance looked at the comments section of your web site and noted a post by Lew McAllen. To update him on that yellow Sprite he refers to, I bought the car on Ebay in 2010 and collected it from a farm in Somerset. It seems the car had a competition history back in the very early 70s and was fitted with banded steel wheels and racing tyres. It was indeed in very poor condition and I had to scrap the shell. Some of the parts found their way onto my WSM including a set of Armstrong adjustable lever arm shock absorbers. I also used the low diff from that car at Angouleme last month. I would have been happy to pass on the Peasmarsh front to Lew but put it back on Ebay and sold it on to someone in Germany about a year later. Regards Ian Hulett.

Gordon Higgs
16 Oct 2013

Hi Martin. I have Yokohama A drive 165/70r13 on 5" alloys. They work well in wet and dry for road use. Be carefully with competition tyres for road use as it is now an mot fail if the tyre has not for road use on the sidewall. Regards Gordon.

Dan Paul
16 Oct 2013

Fraid not...I'll grab some information and snaps in November when I go back to fix my Sebring!! (Must update my blog!!)

Lew McAllan
16 Oct 2013

Hi Martin ,I saw your news item on Dan Paul's find on the family farm and was intrigued by the comment "though there is a yellow Sprite in a very sorry condition on the farm." I came across the attached "farm" photo of a very sorry yellow Sprite on the Healey Forum: , a posting from August 2010 ! Could they be the same farm ? A very long shot I know. I would like to find and purchase what I believe is a Peasmarsh front from that car (or another) for my keeper Bugeye project, to follow the Sebring build. I am looking for something a little different for that car. Can you ask Dan Paul if the picture below is indeed from his farm and if so, does he still have the car and would he be interested in selling the bonnet ? My Sebring project has not advanced much as I purchased a Peasmarsh bonnet75% restored Bugeye to finish and then sold it, followed by another Bugeye shell which is receiving refreshed donor running gear and electrics from a Mk2 rust bucket that I had acquired. Once that one is done, it will be back to the Sebring project over winter. I did spend a day with Neil Anderson about a month ago as he was sandblasting 6 wire wheels and 5 Bugeye rims for me. He did a great job under hot Illinois summer conditions ! Best Regards, Lew.

Bob Blayden
15 Oct 2013

Hi Martin, At present I am currently running 155/70 R13 GT RADIAL CHAMPIRO Tyres on standard 13x4 inch standard MG midget rims as the car is just a road car to date but I hope to do some track work sometime next year with some 4 & half inch rims undecided on what tyres at present hope this helps Graham in some small way. Cheers Bob.

Mike Curtis
15 Oct 2013

Martin, Not directly related as I will be fitting Minator 13x 5” (std Moss type for midget) bolt-on alloys on my set up. Donor was 1963 donor mk II sprite with period sprite pressed wheels (accepting chrome hubcaps). I am not sure which tyres will fit the ¼ elliptic set up, owing to top link chassis bracket and the clearance between that and the inner face of the tyre – it looks like it could very tight! I’d like to opt for 165/70/13, but I’d be interested if anyone has any experience of fitting this/other sizes to a ¼ elliptic car without the need for spacers or a different wheel offset. If you feel like circulating to ask for people’s experience or have a view yourself I’d be delighted to hear. Many thanks, Mike.

Mark Turner
15 Oct 2013

Hi Graham, Martin,
1) Road going, It depends a little on your driving style, do you want to slide the car around or just want something to trundle on.  It also depends on how many miles you will do?  But for a 4 X 13" wheel there is not much option and you are limited to a 155 (maybe 166) section and that means pretty mundane tyres.  Just get tyres from a good brand is all I can say.  I used to run Yokohama A 539 tyres on the road but they were a 175 and on 5 1/2"  alloys so no good for your wires.  I now have Yokohama 155 13 A760s on my 4" wires, but I doubt they are any better than any other good mainstream roadgoing tyre!!
2) Competion tyres, well it depends what competion you are going to do!!  You need to get along to whatever competion you want to do and see what the consensus is, and dont forget class rules will dictate your choice.  You may also decide that you want to run your competion tyres on the road because you wont do many miles a year, but do make sure that you can use them OK in the wet, ACB10 avons are road legal but are horrible on the road as they are a cross-ply and tramline like mad and they are terrible in the wet!!! Hope this helps Mark.

Ian Watts
15 Oct 2013

TYRES: "I use 155-13s on 4.5-13 steel wheels although these can get a little close to the bottom of the rear wheel arch [same on my frogeye ]. Only used on the road".

Jonathan Whitehouse-Bird 15 Oct '13

PMO 200
Re. Your comments about the bodywork on PMO 200.  What a load of rubbish!! The Kamm tail bodywork was alloy and definitely not fitted over the "original steel rear end".  Sprinzel continues to maintain that PMO 200 retained steel rear panels, even when it was fitted with coupe bodywork, but contemporary, detail photos showing the rear of the car in both 1960 and 1961 clearly reveal a lack of rear wing beading and panels subtly different in shape to those produced by BMC. The Kamm tail bodywork, when fitted (exact date uncertain), was grafted onto the remaining front half of the original 1961 W&P coupe top; as to who produced the Kamm tail bodywork remains a mystery - as far as I'm aware.  (Paul may know otherwise.)  Certainly, it was already in this guise by the time Ted Walker took ownership. When Tony Elshoff purchased PMO 200 in the 1980s, someone had, by this time, removed the Kamm tail rear section of the bodywork, refitted steel wings and rear centre panel - probably cut in one-piece, complete, from a scrap Frogeye - and then unsuccessfully attempted to create an 'invisible join' between the steel panels and the remains of the alloy top by cutting away a substantial part of the rear deck and rear wing tops.  The result was a complete abomination and looked awful!
Regards, Jonathan W-B

Graham Robson:
14 Oct 2013

" Can I pick your brain on road tyres for Sebring Sprites, I was planning to to put 13 x 5" wires and Avon ZZ's on my Sebring but after talking to Steve Casson on Tuesday (at Ace Cafe) I'm not sure what do now as (he has 5 1/2" on Kumho's) I'm not sure what to do! To sit on the fence before deciding on competition wheel/tyres, I have a set of standard 4" x 13 wires which I will use as a 'road set' and later after some deliberation get a set of competition wheels & tyres. From your experience and great knowledge what tyres would you recommend for road use brand/size etc."

Sven Eckhardt
14 Oct 2013

PMO 200:
"I had a look at your website again, saw the news of the event at Ace Cafe and looked at PMO once more.There is one thing that has been bugging me for a while. The picture showing the flattened car. There is a steel back on it and the aluminium roof looks like a flattened fastback certainly not like a Kamm tail. I wonder if there is an explanation for that." I have replied: "I forwarded your message to Paul Woolmer and will let you know if he replies. I think the Kamm tail may have been in fibreglass, fitted over the original steel bodywork, so in the picture you are seeing the original steel rear end and the crushed aluminium top. I imagine the Kamm tail bodywork had been stripped off by Tony Elshof at an earlier date." [Sorry, this is all wrong - see Jonathan's letter 15 Oct above. MEI]

Webmaster to Steve Coleman
19 Sept 2013

Hi Steve, I have added our debate about 238 to the “Your Comments” page. I accept that the little piece of wood on Joe’s car cannot really be taken as proof – that was really just to make a headline.  I have been giving some thought as to whether your car might have been the one which raced at Le Mans in 67 and perhaps in the earlier events. It seems rather unlikely to me for a number of reasons though it is of course virtually impossible to know after 45 years: the front wing triangular vents on your car are much larger, (though obviously these could have been enlarged) and I believe there is no sign it had a rear roof vent. As 238 had the later fuel-injected engine, modified bonnet, etc this would suggest the Healeys prepared 2 cars for Le Mans in 1968 to similar spec but only raced one, which I suppose is possible though not previously documented. Then there is the matter of the HNX 456D licence plate which seems to have always been linked with 237 though, as we know, a lot of plate-swapping went on. Again I have no proof either way but I feel this possibility seems a little less likely than my earlier, admittedly unproven, theory. Best regards, Martin.


Steve Coleman
16 Sept 2013

The 67/68 LE MANS CARS
The 67 LM car was the one with the damage and had no spoiler, so I'm not surprised there are no spoiler rivets. [ My reply: True. I had never considered the possibility that 238 was the 67 car and 237 the 68! - Martin] to which Steve replied: Exactly !

Steve Coleman
15 Sept 2013

The 67/68 LE MANS CARS
Martin…… After seeing your new update…I went out to my shop and took these pictures of the OLD back end of 238 before it was totally rebuilt.    It shows a very poor attempt at a repair on the driver’s side rear….EXACTLY where the 67 Le Mans Damage would have been.     Sorry to muddy the waters….but I’m still not convinced that Joe’s car ran all those races.  To me, a wood block in the chassis at that location could mean a lot of things, including just poor fit when built. Cheers…Steve.

238 rear
238 rear
238 rear

My reply: "Hi Steve, Yes, well clearly there has been damage to the rear corner of your car as well. I don’t see any sign of a spoiler having been riveted to the rear bodywork to indicate it was the 68 LM car though. I agree it seems unlikely that the one car would have spanned 3 seasons and 5 major events and I myself was sceptical about it for some time. I accept that the little piece of wood is no real proof, just a bit more to add to the information we have. Of course 144 could be rolled out of a barn next week and then I will look quite foolish. Thanks for your input. Regards Martin"

Andy Actman
6 Aug 2013
Could be you were low on water and while stuck the level was below the temp sender so it was not showing the real situation. When you got going the pump was working properly and then the sender picked up the overheating. Just a thought.  Was it short of water? Andrew
Mark Petersen
6 Aug 2013
Thanks for that Martin, I hold you responsible for my driving from now on... The reason I replied to all, is to ask for input on a cooling query (if thats okay?) On the way back from the Goodwood Breakfast, when stuck in traffic the water temp remained static and didn't increase. However, when 'pushing on' the water temp increased to the point where I needed to pull over and pop the bonnet. Any input on what might be causing this? Many Thanks Mark.

Bob Blayden (Aus) 6 Aug '13 CHARLIE CLEGG ON YOUTUBE
Martin. That's great footage those bl..dy old German cars are just road blocks. I have watched the film clip several times & loved it. What a great little car, it just sounds so strong & sweet. I have forwarded the clip to a few of my motoring mates so if you speak to Charlie tell him the clip is a big hit to a fellow Sebring owner in Australia. I bet that Porsche driver is having nightmares of Sebring Sprites in his rear vision mirror.
Cheers Bob
Trevor McIlroy 6 Aug 2013 CHARLIE CLEGG ON YOUTUBE
Martin, just watched the youtube of FGJ at Silverstone. I would have needed a full harness on my office chair, I was doing so much leaning it into the corners, changing gears & pushing the little Porsche. Great in-car. Great driving Charlie. Trevor McI. Belfast.
Joe Armour (Australia)
5 June 2013

Martin. As usual I always learn something from your site and get pleasure from it.  Re: the news and 5435 WD and the picture with Clive Baker's MK1 it was interesting to see that the "Ice blue with dark blue stripe" is an exact match with the ex-works Healey 3000 from Sebring 12 Hour in 1965 that Clive purchased from Healeys.  I purchased this car thro' an advert in 'MotorSport' in 1976 and it is still painted the same colour and style. Fot the race the 3000 was Healey Blue body and a white hardtop. I also have a listing membership book from UK that lists Clive's first motor race as Longford, Tasmania, Australia in a Sebring Sprite. Until now I had never seen a picture of the car and certainly did not expect to see it match the 3000 when owned by Clive. Fortunately when the 3000 was handed over to me it came with the UK Tax Book and the list of owners, Clive being the first from the Healeys. 1965 Sebring 12 Hours - Clive was the driver of the first of the Streamliners, DAC952C. My 3000 is DAC953C and the engine numbers ( 1275 & 3000 ) are sequencial. Regards Joe.

Alan Anstead
3 June 2013

Read of Steve's problems with making his own pedal box. Both John Clark & I have made pedal boxes that work with standard pedals. We only use stock master cylinders - Wilwood and Girling, but when I made two I paid particular attention to the extent of travel. John made his independently of mine. Alan

Steve Casson
31 May 2013

As the instigator of the inquest over the difference on pedal on a Sebring, I can now provide some feedback.  Originally I fabricated my own Sebring style pedal box using standard Frogeye pedal.  Result, very long pedal travel almost to the floor.  On Martin suggestion after alerting me to the difference in pedal, I first called Andrew at Archers who confirmed the difference, but suggested I speak to Brain Wheeler who actually fabricates them for Archers.  After a long discussion with Brian, a set of Sebring pedal was dispatched and I have now fitted them.  What a difference, almost no pedal movement and brakes that work!  Having read Neil comments, who would have thought it would make such an enormous difference to the pedal travel! Thanks to Martin, Andrew and Brian for their help.

Neil Anderson
22 May 2013

Hello Martin,
Instead of making money in the shop or doing more productive work yesterday, I decided to check out the differences in my Sebring pedal box pedals compared to the standard Frogeye pedals.  I got my pedal box set up from Archers a few years ago and it is now apart to powder coat all the bits, so it was easy to check out the measurements and differences between the two pedals.
I found that the Sebring pedal is 2 inches (51mm) between the center of the pedal pivot point bushing hole and the center of the accuating rod/clevis attachment hole.  The Bugeye/Frogeye pedal is 1-5/8 inches (41.5mm) measuring the same holes, for a difference of only 3/8 inch (about 9.5mm).  This is quite different than the 1 inch difference stated in the "news" section.
I then did a test with my two pedals (Sebring and Bugeye), setting up a pivot point and then, a set distance of pedal travel at the pedal pad end.  With 3 inches of pedal travel for each pedal, the Sebring accuating rod hole moved 11/16 inch (16.5mm).  Using the same pivot point, the Bugeye accuating rod hole moved 9/16 inch (14mm).
The result is that the Sebring pedals will move the master cylinder accuating rods farther with the same pedal travel, OR with the same accuating rod travel with the two pedals, the Sebring pedal requires less foot-pedal travel than the standard Frogeye pedal.
I think that to have a 1 inch difference between the two holes in the two different pedals would make the top end of the pedal stick out of the top of the box too far, thus pushing the clevis and accuating rod at an angle into the master cylinder, instead of pushing it straight in, which may not matter in the working of the master cylinder.  That would mean less foot-pedal travel to accuate the master cylinder.
Anyway, that is what I found and thought I would share it with you. Cheers, Neil (Malta, Illinois, USA)

Mike Wylie
21 May 2013


Hi Martin, Congratulations on sourcing all those wonderful pictures from Karsten Stelk. It was such a long time ago, but I am almost sure that John Anstice-Brown's Sprite was the first one I ever saw when he appeared at the Kirkistown meeting held one week after his victory in the Leinster Trophy.   The Leinster Trophy was held at Dunboyne south of Dublin.   You will note that it raced with the headlamp housings removed, and I think I remember that one headlamp had Anstice-Brownbeen refitted by the time he got to Kirkistown.   It sat all day, in its glory, on a slight grassy hump beside the paddock area and I can't be sure whether he found it was too late to enter, or thought he had pushed the car enough.   I was only fourteen, and my memory suggests that it was a mid-green colour, not the darker colour as in Karsten's photograph, which could have been from a year or so later, and with the replacement bonnet. As you will know, this was the first ever victory for a Sprite.   The Leinster Trophy was a handicap race and his winning speed was 64.83 mph, whereas in the 1959 event Paddy Hopkirk finished third at an average of 71.19 mph (in 2222 AZ, the car later sold to Ian Woodside).  This is as much a testament to the speed of development that went into Sprites for competition, as to Paddy's acknowledged abilities.  It was the darker looking colour of the Sprite in Karsten's picture that made me go searching for the attached, cropped from a Des Bradley photograph from Eddie Fitzgerald's excellent 2008 photographic book about the Leinster Trophy.   John Anstice-Brown, formerly a journalist with 'The Motor' magazine, wrote the foreword and the internet tells me there is someone of this name living in Hitchin in Hertfordshire, if anyone wants to research further.
Cheers, Michael.

Mike Wylie
21 Mar 2013



Hi Martin, I have attached two obituaries from the April issue of CARSPORT, a quality Irish motorsport magazine. Having been at school when the Sprite came into being, and become involved with motorsport through my father, who was the senior RAC Scrutineer in Northern Ireland at the time, all the faces on these two pages show nothing but old friends (including my brother-in-law) with whom I have shared so much motoring pleasure.   Being a few years younger than most of them, but having known them through motorsport, they have been life-long friends with whom I enjoyed that later second opportunity of competing in Classic Rallying. 

Gabriel Konig was a most glamorous lady.   In curious Irish fashion, the 1972 Leinster Trophy races were held, due to closure of the usual venue further south, at Bishopscourt Airfield in Co. Down, when I was the Chief Scrutineer, and first met Gabriel Konig who was racing her remarkable Camaro. Our acquaintance was renewed years later in classic rallying, and, as I was rallying my Speedwell, she once told me of totalling a Speedwell Sprite.    In such instances one can never be 100% sure if that was Speedwell or Sebring as the distinction was less important then as now.   I have seen eight millimetre film, transferred to VHS showing, what I imagine was the accident she referred to, this having been commercially available at a time.   Her achievements in John Britten’s Midget are referred to in the obituary. 

Circuit of Ireland winner Ian Woodside was still competing in local hill-climbs with a Vauxhall-engine Midget until only a few years ago   Until relatively recently the white and green Woodside Haulage trucks were commonplace on the M6/M5 and beyond in England, a tribute to  the hard work of Ian, and his more out-going brother Robert.   Mentioned, but still alive and kicking, the brothers, Esler and Beattie Crawford were an exceptional adjunct to northern Irish motorsport all through our idyllic motorsport years, not only as navigators but for their exceptional photography as shown in these obituaries pages. I had not remembered that Ian Woodside had owned the ex-Paddy Hopkirk Frogeye, 2222 AZ, in which he is shown racing at Kirkistown, and from which I was fortunate eventually to acquire the Girling disc brakes. 

Regards, Michael.

[N.B. I am awaiting permission to publish these two obituaries. MEI.]

Frank (Victoria, Australia)
24 Jan 2013

Hi Martin, Thanks for the reply . I live in South Gippsland, Victoria. It's mainly dairy country but we do have some of the very best drives thru' rolling hills etc'. Perfect for early morning runs in the crisp morning air and the exhaust note sounds great. We are currently in our mid-summer and expect some days shortly up around the mid-thirties, all good stuff for cursing (I think he means 'cruising'). I have a very interesting hard top on my Sprite which you may be interested in as I believe it has a very interesting history. I'll get more info' and send you a photo by email. In the meantime take care and give my regards to all your mates from this little Aussie.   Regards Frank.

Mark Prangnell
17 Jan 2013

Sebring Sprite 500 URX has been sold and is off to a new home in the Philippines. Bought by Mark Prangnell, son of Sebring owner Mike Prangnell. Don't worry she'll be well looked after.

Klaus Tweddell
17 Jan 2013

Hello, I came across your pages, and I found the interesting story about Jack Wheeler's car . Now, I saw this car in period, racing at several times, Nurburgring 1000 km, 500km and even Mugello. Ieven collected a part of his front bonnet, when the car was raced in Nurburgring 1000km in 1967, where the bonnet was damaged (perhaps the reason for uprating the car to low-nose bonnet) it was the little air-outlet in the centre of the bonnet, as a 15 year old teen it was a trophy from this race...... Ii have lots of pictures, I took in those days, the Sprite from Jack  as coupe and later open racer, Nurburgring and Mugello, and I am sure Jack would like to see them , even a super 8 movie I took at the ring , showing his car stopping outside banking of  Caroussell-bend Nurburgring,  Jack fixing or inspecting something in the engine-bay....? Please would you give me a contact address of Jack, as I also have pictures from his later Jerboa-BMC. and Ii have question to this car, which can only be answered by himself (the Jerboa was a Ginetta G12 conversion). I would enclose pictures here, perhaps you would like to show on your page. My best regards, Klaus Tweddell.

David Scothorn 11 Sept 2012

Hi Martin, I have just read Steve's interesting letter. This is early days, but I will be happy to help in any way. The Silverstone Classic would, of course, be a good venue, as a highlight event. I am sure Clive (Baker) could pull a few strings. Which makes me wonder if we could hunt down these two 'lost' alloy Midgets for this event, or at least know their fate. Best Regards David

Stephen Bowen
12 Sept 2012

Hello Steve. Interested to read your info about the streamliners and your idea of a get together for the cars plus you say maybe the Sprinzel Sebrings. I would love to bring my car if you keep me informed of the date and place. Mine is the Ian Walker car WJB707. regards  Stephen Bowen

Bruno Verstraete
5 Sept 2012

Dear Steve (Coleman), we applaud the idea of a gathering in the UK with as many Sprites as possible. We would be bringing the 1965 Sebring Streamlined Sprite along, which was raced by Clive Baker and Rauno Altonen and came in 15th and first in class. Keep us posted! Kindest regards, Bruno Verstraete, Zurich, Switzerland.

Steve Coleman
1 Sept 2012

Hello Martin, Yes…I’ve changed email addresses.  I recently retired.  Hooray! 
I’ve been spending time on your website lately, reading all the things you have added on the works sprites, and also reading everyone’s comments.  I’ve also been exchanging emails with Joe Armour.    
It is all a very interesting journey/study.   I think what you have done to sort all this out is getting everyone closer to the correct historical trail of these cars.  Great Job!  And Thank you.   
SR37In my conversations with Joe A, I am also “almost” convinced that my Coupe, -238 is the unfinished car in the background of the picture with the Climax SR car from the  ’68 Le Mans.  HOWEVER, I’m trying to get some additional information from a fellow here in the States that has a box of old paperwork from Baker Motors.   He evidently worked for them when they were closing up shop and retiring, and saved a bunch a paperwork about cars that Baker owned because he knew it was too important to throw out.   He recently emailed me a photocopy of the shipping tag Shipping Tagfor – 238 (attached to this email).  He also sent me other items, including a letter detailing  prices for both my cars from the Healey’s that I have attached to this email.   The tag uses the word “new”, while the letter quotes a price for the “ex-Le Mans” coupe (along with the open top 69 targa car) and refers to the coupe as the Le Mans car.  So it is still Shipping Tag 2a bit confusing…yet.   I’m hopeful there will be other items in this box of paperwork that will clarify.  I’m trying to go see him soon.   I am in Texas, and he is somewhere in North Carolina, so it is a bit of a travel.  I will keep you posted on how that goes. 
On another note, can you help put me in touch with Jeff Brenner who owns - 202 here in the states?  Please share my email address and phone number  with him (or maybe ask permission to give me his contact information?)
I would very much like to discuss the possibility of getting our cars together at an event in the coming year.   I think that would be a real treat for the US Healey community.  I will also be talking to Baird Foster about this.  I’m wanting to get Janet Guthrie together with -238.  She is interested, we just have to sort it all out. 
I’m going to spend some more time going thru all my notes and information on these cars, and try to offer my thoughts to what you have posted on you site.  I think you have done a great job and everyone’s comments are also helping sort it out, so I’m not sure how much I can add, but I will give it a go. 
Finally, one of my retirement goals is to bring my cars back to the UK for race/show.  I’m trying to plan for 2014 and am looking for the right venue.   I would like to create an opportunity to have a reunion of as many of these cars as possible.  I’m sure we can get the car (TFR-5)  from Japan as well as Jim Prentice’s car as I am in contact with them and they would definitely be up for it.  I’m also quite sure we can get Clive Baker to attend (he has suggested Silverstone, as he has good contacts and friends there).   I’m also confident we can get David and Sam Healey to attend for the right opportunity.   We could also maybe get as many of the John Sprinzel Sprites to attend?    I would suggest that  maybe you and I have some dialogue about this as I need all the help I can get to pull this off.    Please let me know any thoughts you might have on this idea / goal of mine.
Steve Coleman

John Sprinzel
19 August 2012

By the way, as I am always the first to try and correct what I believe to be historical errorSprinzels, I feel I should be at least as critical of my own mistakes. I have always claimed that the screen on Healey's Falcon Sprite which I drove with John Lumsden in the 1960 12 hour race was not actually fitted on race day, but Tom Coulthard and I have been viewing lots of photographs as we finish "Lucky John" for publication, and the enclosed pic. does show the outline of a screen. Mind you the perspex had no side supports, and was not very high, so the strong airflow during the long race obviously convinced me that we had taken it off.
In the larger scheme of things, this isn't exactly earth shattering, but "Mea culpa", and my apologies to those with whom I argued about the use of the screen.
It was great to see that the 'Lympics were such a terrific success in the organization, the ceremonies and the British results. Marcus Chambers' son Hugh was Financial director of the team and Seb Coe did
quite a bit of classic rallying so obviously motor sport experience helped with this fine achievement. Good to see the Healeys in the closing ceremony. 
Aloha. John

John Sprinzel
19 August 2012
Interesting to hear from Roger Friend, nephew of 'Bernie the Pipe' who did all the great manifolds for me at Speedwell and in the Mews. A great character with true cockney speech and attitude. Back in those days, science didn't play as much part in the development of cars for motor sport as it does today, and guys like Bernie just seemed to know which shapes gave the most power. I guess we were all believers in the saying that if it looked right, it probably was.
Mike Wylie
14 August 2012

Hi Martin, I'm sorry I can't help with any thoughts as to the origins of the Speedwell in the London film.   The stills I've seen on your site do at least prove that the extra rear quarter-lights (and roof ventilators etc.) were fitted in England.   Not, as I had prejudicially assumed, by someone in the United
States as I have seen pictures of a similar, if not the same car, apparently resident in USA and in recent times.
However, while searching around I came upon the attached newsprint cutting (see News Aug 2012). Unfortunately I did not note the source or date at the time, but I think it came from Motoring News (Motor Sport News), so may be a LAT Photo.   Well before 'Classic Racing' came about, it shows (I think) an Elite in front, followed by a Tornado Talisman, and Paddy Gaston in what I have always believed to have been a Speedwell - although others maintain it was not. From this view it is, to my allegedly trained eye, identical to 505 BZ.
With regard to 505, you may know by now, that after Crystal Palace, and having gone through the process of removing the engine and gearbox to get the latter rebuilt in time, David's gearbox problems re-emerged on his first run at Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, and, partly as a result, he had a brief argument with a straw bale.   After going through another 'engine-out', he is now hoping to be ready for Shelsley Walsh hill climb this weekend, with Toby Moody sharing, and then a new hill climb event at
Pentillie Castle near Plymouth on 26th August, when the entire family hope to be present in an optimistic effort of reminding ourselves what the sun looks like (fingers crossed).
Cheers for now, Michael.

Roger Friend
16 July 2012

"Hi Martin, As a very young man one of my first jobs was working at the Chequered Flag Garage, Edgware, the Official Lotus dealers for North London, and my boss was the late Alan Foster. I was employed as a car cleaner/apprentice mechanic. Alan Foster was one of the nicest men I have ever met and a really great boss, I worked on and off with him for nearly 12 years. On another note my family where quite involved with Speedwell; my father used to make those sexy door handles for the outside of the Speedwell Sprites and also the Amal Float Bowl extension for Timmy Conroy who was the chief mechanic and Amal specialist. My Uncle Bernie made all the exhaust manifolds for Speedwell in what only could be described as a stable behind Speedwell's showroom at Childs Hill. I once visited him there and found the Speedwell record breaking Sprite dumped in a corner looking very abandoned and unloved. The last time I saw the car was about 30 years ago languishing in a front garden at Little Gadestone nr Tring in Hertfordshire. I do hope this is of some help to you. Kind regards, Roger".

Stephen Bowen
4 June 2012

Hello Martin,
Interesting seeing the Nick Ramus car. This was in the tent at 50 years Sprite at Goodwood. From what I remember the hardtop was lowered as the front screen was raked further back by approx 10 to 20 degrees. It was difficult to get into especially as Nick was a tall man. The car was prepared by Nerus Engineering in Rye also Nick's home town. I was working at the time at Nerus having just left college and before I moved to Weslake also in Rye.
Nick found and bought my Sebring for me and helped me competing in it. At 22 I thought I knew everything but he helped improve my driving style and many times I could follow him and see how he did things as we competed in many of the same meetings.
We did the Players No 6 Rallycross, various Autocrosses in the south along with Bodiam Hillclimb and sprints and funnily enough he always beat me. But I learned a lot from him and he was always very patient and helpful.
Photos of our cars were on the front page of the Hastings Car Club Magazine and I might be able to find some photos. Will bring any photos and the magazine when I see you next.
Kind regards, Steve     

Alan Anstead
21 Apr, 2012

Hi, My Frogeye was supercharged when I bought it. The item for sale on e/bay is missing some parts. The inlet looks too short for a Sprite and it would need a 1.5 H4 SU as well as an inlet manifold. The support bracket is missing as is the two v pulley wheel. Mine had an RF needle in the carb. Each winter the carb and inlet would ice up. I wrapped the inlet in asbestos rope. On many a cold evening whilst leaving the girlfriends house I had to pour boiling water over the carb to induce it to work. When the supercharger fell apart i got a recon from Adlards (of Putney) for £25. My girlfriend,by then my 1st wife, brought the unit home in her shopping bag. How times change! Alan.

Tony Wilson-Spratt,
13 Apr 2012

Morning Martin, Mike Youles is certainly a busy bee - I couldn't catch up with him at Castle Combe for a natter - and interesting to see him emulating Dad with a bootlid conversion. Email from Joe Armour yesterday - I understand you got together again in Oz - and it prompted me to read about 456D again too ! Cheers Tony

Neil Anderson, Michigan USA
2 Apr 2012

776 KNX & 770 KNX
Good morning Martin,
On the day I received my April issue of “Healey Marque”, with Baird Foster’s 776 KNX article published inside, I sent the link to the article from your website to the worldwide “Healey” and “Spridget” emails lists.  I did not want to send this info out to members of the AHCA prior to the magazine coming out in case it spoiled their surprise of seeing the interesting article in the club magazine.
As a result of the article being published and the link sent out about 776 KNX to the Spridget list, I received two emails from a guy in Pennsylvania.   The gentleman wrote, “Those of us who attended AHSTC's Encounter in 2010 had the fortunate experience of seeing this car (776 KNX) in person.  We have another of the Sebring Sprites close by here in PA also.”
The second sentence piqued my interest, to say the least.  I wrote him back and said that I was not aware of another Sebring Sprite in Pennsylvania and asked him if he could provide the name of the owner and more information about the car.  I told him that you would be interested to receive this info also, especially if you had limited knowledge about the Sprite.
He wrote back and told me the owner is Jeff Brenner and provided his email address.  Jeff is mentioned as a previous owner of the Briggs Cunningham standard bodied Sebring in the article about that car on your website.
I wrote Jeff this afternoon, see my note below, and  above that is Jeff’s reply this evening, very fascinating.  It appears he still owns the car and spares, but he has not yet provided the race details of when it actually raced.  Before I received Jeff’s reply, I thought this car may have been the Sebring/LeMans car HNX 455D sold to Jim Prentice in 2010.  It does not appear to be so.  See the attached photo above.
I looked on this website
and here
for entries for the 1966 and ‘67 Sebring races and found the entry listing (for ’67) and photos of the Sprites that ran those years.
On the first link, it shows the photos for the Sebring Sprite entries for 1966 are #66 (HNX 456D) and #67 (HNX 455D) with the drivers listed there and verified in Geoff Healey’s book, “More Healeys”, page 138.
In the second link for 1967, it shows photos of entry #58, a standard bodied Sprite, and # 59, a closed coupe’ similar to the ’66 cars, but you cannot see a registration number in the photo. The driver listings again match Geoff Healey’s account in his book.
In the article for Joe Armour’s Works Sprite, it states that HNX 456D ran at Sebring in 1967, but says nothing about it previously running there in 1966.  Unfortunately, there is no race entry list available for the ’66 race as there is for the ’67 race on that page.  The race entries and car numbers in the photos for both years seem to match, but maybe there is some kind of error.
All this leads to the question of what car is Jeff’s Brenner’s Works Sprite (HAN9 R 202) and when and where did it race?  Maybe you already have this information and I just spent a few hours beating my head against a wall.  Or, maybe I should have waited to send this after I received more information from Jeff.  At any rate, it has been fun trying to dig into this question.
We assume we will certainly be following up on this issue.  I am not sure if I opened up something interesting or a can of worms.
Oh, by the way, I found a two page article in my archive from the July 1965  issue of “Road and Track” about DAC 952C that I will get scanned and send to you.
It is late.  I am off to bed.  All the recent updates have been great.  Thanks very much.  
Cheers, Neil

From: Jeff Brenner Sunday, April 01, 2012 to Neil Anderson.
My car is HAN9 R 202. It was sold to the East Coast importer Royston after the race. He kept it until they closed in the early 80s. It then went to Florida and then to New England where I bought it. Along with it I got the spare injected Le Mans motor and the 5 speed transmission. Both of these are new and have never been in a car. My car has approx. 1100 miles on the odometer. Royston made it streetable (almost) for his wife. When I was going over the car a few years ago, I found the dayglow orange paint on a lot of the suspension pieces. Royston painted it green for his wife. I rebuilt the motor a couple of years ago, ~ not that there was anything wrong with it but it had not been run much. Everything was good but some very interesting internals were found. I took about 50 pictures of it before reassembly. The car is pictured in Bill Emerson's book. Besides the Cunningham car I also owned the Dan Marguiles Speedwell coupe. If you can think of any specific info you would want, get back to me. Jeff.Hello Jeff,

From: Neil Anderson, Sunday, April 01, 2012, to Jeff Brenner.
I was given your name and email address from Charlie Baldwin after I posted a link to an article on the forgotten history of a works Sprite that ran at Sebring in 1964.  The article was written for the Austin-Healey Club of America magazine "Healey Marque".  Article link:
Charlie and I exchanged a few emails regarding Sebring/Works Sprites.  He said you own the Works Sprite in the photo that he sent me. He had seen it at Encounter 3 or 4 years ago.  Do you still have it? And if so, would you be willing to tell me more about the car and its history?  I am fairly good friends with Martin Ingall who is the webmaster for the Sebring Sprite website and I am sure he would be interested in any information or stories about the car that you would be willing to share. Charlie also said you also owned for a time, a standard bodied Works Sprite that you have since sold.  I saw a reference to you on the website in the Briggs Cunningham Sebring Sprite article. I would enjoy hearing from you if you have the time.  I am working on a Sprinzel Sebring replica.  Not like the real historic Works cars, but it is about as close as I will get.
Kind regards, Neil Anderson


Ron Corry
26 Feb 2012
Hi, Martin, Thank you for a wonderful site. At Sprite 50, I took nine of photos of Alex Postan\'s Sprite FEY 678. I hope they are of interest. For me, Gaydon was absolutely one of the most memorable days of my life, and Alex's Sprite, exuding beauty and purposeful intent, was my car of the show. Unfortunately, the photo of the roof signatures does not show them too clearly. (Maybe you can 'improve' the pic?) They certainly made the Sprite really special, and, for me, up there with the late Frank Clarici's signed Sprite. Kind regards, and thanks again. Ron, Co Wicklow, Ireland.
Simon Hutchinson
16 Feb 2012

MG Midget BJG 840B
Hi, firstly a great site. I bought my above MG Midget a few years ago. She has an interesting competition history at the hands of her lady driver, Patricia Green (was Uren). She initially sported a supercharged 1100cc with std white bodywork and wire wheels. Then same engine but now all black with a Lenham front and what looks like an Ashley hard top. Then Pat had a prang and wrote the front end off.  The car then was the 1st to have a 1600 Ford X Flow and gearbox fitted and the front steel panels re-fitted. Entered as a Fraud Midget for a couple of years then re-shelled in 72 witha brand new one from University Motors with Williams and Pritchard front wings and bonnet. Now had a Lotus Twink under the hood and 8" wide Revolutions, big brakes and numerous other tweaks. Pat retired from racing/sprinting in 74 and that's what I've got in the garage. Not with the Lotus engine and box though as that was sold to an Historic Anglia racer. After some deliberation I changed my mind about fitting one. Regards Simon.

Mike Gaston
1 Feb 2012

Re: Paddy Gaston & RAM 35
Dear Martin, I was put in touch with this excellent site by Mike Wylie. I have 2 connections with Sebrings. I'm Paddy Gaston's son and was around at the time of the famous RAM 35, which was developed by serendipity. He'd taken his racing Austin A35, RER 36 to a club meeting, where it blew the engine in practice. He asked the organisers if he could use his road car, an unmodified Austin Healey Sprite with the log book registration RAM 35. The car went so well in standard form that the A35s became the toys of the past and the Sprite the development of the future. My second connection is that I owned the ex-Adrian Boyd 505 BZ  in the early 70s. Delighted to have found this site. I suspect I will continue to explore and enjoy it over the years. All the best. Mike Gaston

Joe Armour
11 Dec 2011

Re: 770 KNX Sprite & Steve Coleman's cars. 
I think this is one of the most stylish of the earlier Healey prepared cars. I know almost nothing of its post Healey ownership.  Have you ever spoken to David Matthews in UK. He was preparing a book on Healeys and has a lot of original pics. and info. He once showed me a pic. of my 3000 in the Healey workshop fitted with trade plates.  It still has the same paint pattern on the firewall and the weld burn marks where the body support was modified to fit the Webers. In the background was I believe 770KNX.  My 3000 was 1965 and so KNX was 'last' years car, 1964.  The Sebring 3000 for 1964 was 767 KNX owned for some time by Ted Worswick and used at the Targa Florio in 1966 and 67?  It is now in USA.
My Sprite: I will prepare some info and will need to be specific as there is a guy in Texas who has the 1969 Daytona and Sebring coupe along with the only roadster which was raced by US entrants at Sebring in 1970.  Neither of these two cars were entered or raced by Healeys, but were sold off to the USA distributor when the BMC contract was terminated.  The owner, Steve Coleman, has had the car for a few years but cannot find a history for the coupe and therefore as it is fuel injected he assumes it is the 1968 LeMans car.  In fact it was a 'new' chassis intended to be part of a two car entry for 1968, but I guess finances and the BMC contract meant it was not completed for Le Mans. There are pictures of it as a bare body/chassis in the background of several pics of the SR.37 car being built. The Coleman coupe has several body features that differ from the 1968 LeMans pics and my car.  I have a copy of the Le Mans entry form with my eng. no.   I have a copy of the R.A.C. check sheet that verifies the bore and stroke to my eng. no.  and I have two of the signs that were on display with the car at the London Earls Court Motor Show.  Plus Roger Menadue spoke to Ian Polley and I on two seperate occasions, once when inspecting the car.     I am convinced, ~ I just have to put together the above info and describe the body differences to Steve Coleman.

John Sprinzel
27 Nov 2011

Re: Homologation
I see the 'certificate' on H221 states that " front disks not Girling" That is actually not true, at least in original form. All three cars had Girling disks with Dunlop wire wheels, as this was the conversion sold by us at Grosvenor Street, and obviously we would not have used anything other than Healey Speed Equipment on our team cars. Earlier DH Sprite racers had the four-wheel Dunlop disk brakes, but these gave a different width, which was actually the track measured by Warwick for the Form of Recognition. They measured the Sebring/Le Mans Falcon car, which had the Dunlops. This caused some scrutineering dramas in later historic events, which had folks who actually measured the track. Later production Spridgets of course, used the Lockheeds, which may have been on the car when 'certified'. In my day, they did take off the cylinder head to check capacity but I cannot ever recall anyone measuring the track. Using the Falcon for the weight figures though was great, as I don't think anyone managed to get down to that very light bodywork - Jack Wheeler's later Sprite maybe, but that was so un-Spritely that it certainly never qualified under FIA GT regs. except as a Group Four car. Oddly enough, the group three regs were very, very strict on modifications, and were based on what you could do under the Production Saloon Group 2 mods, which was why Geoff and I had to homologate the Sebring (or rather the 'Special Sprite' as only my own cars were ever called Sebrings,  no British manufacturer could use the name of a race or rally on their production cars according to the rules of the Motor Manufacturers Association, unlike the Yanks, who use model names like Monte Carlo, Sebring, Daytona and such with impunity) so that we could do stuff to the cars. Anything beyond that put you in with the Group Four Sports car category, where any sort of Sprite was hard put to be competitive.
cheers J

Jerry Etzel,
27 Nov 2011

re: DHMC hardtops
Martin, Regarding DHMC hardtop source: A friend of mine has a fiberglass business in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Several years ago I asked him to look at my DHMC top to see what it would cost to reproduce. In the end, the project was cancelled. Cost to construct a mold was $1500 USD. (If I recall correctly there are 7 pieces  to mold) Each top would be $500 USD. The price was for the shell only. Front clips, rear mounting brackets, rear screen and weather stripping still had to be sourced. The three people that asked me to produce a top were not willing to invest the required dollars to make this work. I fear that there are not enough potential customers to make this a viable commercial venture. On top of all the fabrication costs, freight cost of transporting such a large item would make international shipping impractical.
Sincerely, Jerry Etzel

John Sprinzel,
26 Nov 2011

re: H221
Doing really well thank you, and it is always great to hear from you, and this time to be reminded of the origins of the Sebrings with our three team 221 cars. They were prepared by Paul Hawkins, Reg Venner and myself at the Healey Speed Equipment Division, which I was lucky enough to run in Mayfair, to a specification which Geoff Healey and I dreamed up at Warwick prior to getting it Homologated by the FIA in time to run at the 1960 RAC, where it was rewarded with second overall. The Liege success in September with John Patten's car, was to that spec. and was run as a Sebring although that event did not require homologation and - as you know later became a full coupe under Mike Reid's ownership. We also prepared the work's Sebring Sprites for Pat Moss to use on the RAC and the Corsica rallies, and these two cars were later purchased by Ian Walker and David Seigle-Morris to be built into two of the full GT bodied versions. (if you are publishing this, there are two good pix on p67 and68 in Spritely Years of the Grosvenor workshops). My car, Cyril's, Andrew Hedges', Ian's and David's were built at W & P.  Chris Williams, Doug Wilson Spratt, Mike Reid and Jack Wheeler had their cars built at Peels. Of course, lots of other Sprites were built to Sebring Specifications but without the alloy GT tops. My PMO200 (the second permanent Sprite to use this number, after the first became the prototype Speedwell GT) ran as X221 in the races that year, though this was actually the of our black Lambretta scooter which was the paddock 'run around' and was also used for parts collection at Healey's in Grosvenor Street, to get through the London traffic with a little speed. Incidentally, Stirling also used a scooter in London, as he lived behind the Hilton off Park Lane, on the other side of the park, and used it to come to the Mews for his Sebring seat fitting. Cyril and David had actually raced Borgward saloons the previous year - I think also with Tommy Bridger - and these became their tow cars for the race Sprites. Cyril was sales manager at Metcalf and Mundy, the Borgward importers and was a really great friend of mine from the early Speedwell days. Take care, and have a great holiday season. Aloha, John.
PS. By the way I have just heard the sad news that Dick Bensted Smith died earlier this year. Dick was very much involved in the Sebring Sprite history as my co-driver on the '58 Liege-Rome-Liege and on the 1960 RAC Rally. He was Deputy Editor at the Motor and in 1951 he published my first ever writings about a trip to Europe in my home built Triumph Super Seven 'sports car" in 1951, long before rallying became my sport. His stories in the Motor on those two rallies and his trip with me on the Greek Acropolis Rally in an MG twin-cam were all quite hilarious. He later became Motor's editor and then founded and ran the Newspress business in the industry for many years. He had also been chairman of the Guild of Motoring Writers. (Google has more stuff, but fails to mention he was first married to English cricketer Sir Percy Fender's daughter - Autocar editor Peter Garner and I were guests at that wedding)

Stephen Bowen 18 Nov 2011

Re: 410 EAO and WJB 707 (see Jim Lowry's message 10th Oct, below)
Morning Martin
It was interesting reading Jim Lowry’s letter. I have a similar problem with WJB707. When I first owned it in the sixties it was not worth anything. BMC Competitions said it was a good donor auto with a few good bits on it. I had to use it daily as it was my only car. I put a thin aluminium firewall behind the seat as the rear was completely open to the tank. At the time I could not fit a roll cage as this was strengthening to the chassis and was not allowed. I shared the car with a friend for Autocross and sprints and used it for hillclimbs and rallycross  myself as well as driving 70.000 miles a year in it.
With the restoration it was difficult to decide what to do as it was the only car with the original alloy body so we only replaced the inner front wings and lower corner of the rear wings and I still have the original bits. We decided to paint it inside and out one colour to look better. The original car was white where the original steel panels were used, plain unpainted alloy floors and inner wings, etc and the rest matt or gloss black. The outside was painted gunmetal grey. The instruments and switches were all over the place mainly fixed with separate brackets and we now have a central console and small dash panel with the gauges all fitted neatly and a new cotton-covered wiring loom fitted.
The engine is always a big question mark as at the time there was a high chance that they were not legal. But it is always easy to replace engine and gearbox without having to alter the car. At the time I used it my 998cc was actually 1148cc and I know that in 1964 it had a 1230 engine in it.   Cheers, Stephen.

John Bowman,
7 Nov 2011

Re: New Sebring
Martin, My club mate Emrys Jones and  I have started working on a new Sebring shell for him. The kit was ordered about ten weeks ago and we visited Andrew at Archers last week. As soon as it becomes interesting I will send more information and pictures. On another subject I came across the Rev Counter with the report and pictures of our French trip with David (Matthews)’s Lenham GTO in 1989. Do you still have this and do you think anyone would be interested in it? Regards John [See also Latest News, Nov, 2011]

More from Martin Ingall
7 Nov 2011

Re: 2824 MV Speedwell GT
Hi once again Anthony, Spoke to John Baggott this evening and he reports as follows: Margulies competed with the car in the 1960 Liege Rome Liege Rally, with Stuart Turner, and in the Alpine Rally with Campbell-Jones. Then you say the car went to Tom Jones, before you owned it during '63 and '64. Then there is a gap in its history until Dean Donnelly took it to the States in 1980. It then had a Sebring bonnet and he raced it before selling it on to Bud Nixon. Bud had some work done on it including commissioning a new Speedwell Monza bonnet like the original. He had the car till 1999 when it passed to Brenner, and later to Dan Leonard, of Tarkton, Maryland. See photo on Latest News kindly supplied by GaryLazarus.

Reply from Martin Ingall
7 Nov 2011

Re: 2824 MV
Hi Anthony, I have just been looking through Spritely Years and found an entry for 2824 MV: "DAN MARGULIES: a Speedwell GT, not a Sebring, but using a Sebring bonnet for the 1961 Tour de Corsica and subsequently. This was the bonnet from Peter Jackson's Sebring Sprite 46 BXN. Dan Margulies was then (as now [1994] ) a purveyor of high-class vintage and racing machinery, for whom Peter Jackson was working in 1961". Will see what more I can discover as I am in touch with Peter Jackson, and occasionally Tom Coulthard. Cheers Martin

Anthony Moody
7 Nov 2011

Re: 138 ANY and 2824 MV
138 ANY
: Had a standard body other than having an air vent for the carburettors crafted into the original bonnet. It also had a very nice hardtop which instead of finishing immediately to the rear of the cockpit went a further fifteen inches or so over the rear. The hardtop was very well made, was the only one I ever saw, and was tastefully covered in black everflex/vinyl. I have a photograph that I will have scanned and send to you.

2824 MV: The bonnet was a Sebring, and the fastback roof and rear started at the base of the windscreen with its own roof pillars, ie, the original windscreen was removed, unlike some fastbacks (eg. Lenham) which left it in place and joined the roof with the top of the windscreen. However, when the roof sloped to the rear instead of being merged into the bodywork it had the full shape of  fastback but sat on top of the original body. In summary, the work obviously started with an original car, removed the bonnet and the windscreen, then worked on the bonnet and roof. The other part of the mechanical specification I recall is that it had a high ratio rear axle of 4.5. and a friend who was working as trainee engineer in the Austin plant at Longbridge  produced an 'after hours' crown wheel and pinion for me of 3.9

Martin Ingal
l7 Nov 2011

Re:138 ANY and 2824 MV
[Initially I was unable to place either of these cars and asked Anthony for more information (see above).]

Anthony Moody
5 Nov 2011

Re:138 ANY and 2824 MV
Dear Sir, For several years I have been trying to locate two cars owned in the past and wonder whether you know anything about them. The first was a 1958 Speedwell Sprite, registration '138 ANY', with discs brakes, wire wheels, Speedwell engine running on Amals, and had been raced under the banner 'Ecurie Chianti'. I purchased it in 1961 and sold it to the Healey Motor Co in 1962. In 1963 I purchased '2824 MV', a Sebring Sprite with fastback, Speedwell Formula Junior engine, wire wheels and disc brakes, which I sold to the Gold Seal Car Co in London in 1964. Do either of these cars feature in your records? With thanks and regards, Anthony Moody

Jim Dougherty
27 Oct 2011

Re: DMC "works" hardtops
Martin, Many thanks for sending this interesting and informative reply. I have attached a photo taken in the past few days of my first trial fitting of my DMH Motor Co. top. [See Latest News] I have spent weeks stripping layers of paint off the top by hand and am nearly ready to prime and paint it.
Best regards, Jim

Ian Grainger
27 Oct 2011

Re: DHMC "Works" hardtops
Dear All, Thanks Jonathan, my mistake, I was thinking of black fabric as per the BMC sidescreens!! My Sebring Sprite, 2341 UE had light coloured fabric-covered high sidescreens when new with the black Healey hardtop. Regards Ian

Jonathan Whitehouse-Bird
26 Oct 2011

Re: DHMC "Works" hardtops
Hi Martin,
I read with interest Ian Grainger's remarks in 'Your Comments', made on 6th October 2011, that the Healey high-sidescreen hardtop didn't use fabric covered sidescreens, and that it was only the early standard production MkI Sprite sidescreens that ever had such a fabric covering. I'm afraid I have to disagree. 
On the contrary, virtually all Healey high-sidescreen hardtops were fitted with white fabric covered sidescreens and it was only towards the end of what was a very short production run, that aluminium framed, high-sidesceens were developed by the Healey Motor Co. for use with their hardtop. 
It must also be remembered that the high-sidescreen hardtop was an extremely rare item at the time of its production.  Generally, it was not available as a separate item (whereas the later BMC production hardtop was) and used only in conjunction with a works modified car - namely a Sebring Sprite.
See:   (and subsequent pages for photographic evidence) or:  Page 48 in Terry Horler's excellent book - 'Original Sprite and Midget'. Hope this helps?

Dove Orrell
23 Oct 2011

Re: Dovid Scothorn's Lenham GTO
I know this car very well. It was built in 1971/72 by my close friend Stan Havard (sorry to disappoint). We took it to Le Mans in 1972. I think it is a 1968 car. It started life as a Frogeye, and was fitted with a Stage 1 head from a tuning firm called Taurus Eng. It later gained a Sebring bonnet from Williams & Pritchard and a set of wire wheels. A repaint in metallic blue came next, and she looked a picture. After another W&P bonnet(accident damage). Stan took her to the South of France where he managed to write her off. She was brought back to Wigan by the RAC, Stan having joined at Dover on the way. He then purchased a used Mk 2 shell via a friend of ours from Donald Healey Motor Co which was white (could have been a Mk3, wind up windows). She was rebuilt on the later shell and run for a few years as a 1098 with 2 inch mains. Now we come to the big conversion. A Lenham GTO rear with opening boot lid went on, and I think another W&P bonnet (he was getting trade discount by then).Then came the "B" series engine, mated to an MG Magnette box, ~ something to do with the clutch actuator arm side or top exit? This was, I think the reason for the complete refabrication of the tunnel, and strengthening of the floor, (seen in the pic )I don't remember much about the handling or braking, but I don't recall any particular snags. However the box was a slow change, and she did eat front shocks. (The LeMans trip saw off one set). She went well, nice and torquey. The Frogeye was a different car with one of the old four number/two letter reg's .The '68 shell came with a logbook I think.efore the engine swap Stan took his wife and small son to Dubrovnik in her, does'nt bear thinking about. Eventually she was p/xed for a Scimitar GTE for obvious reasons. The conversion would be better and much easier now, but was quite daring then and done on a strict budget. Sadly Stan left us in 1990, but with a host of wonderful memories. If ithink of anything else I will get back to you. Dave.

Stephen Bowen 17 Oct 2011

Re: Ian Walker Manifolds & WJB 707
In addition to having his own tuning company Ian walker was an MG and Lotus dealer. He ran Formula Junior, Formula 3 and Lotus Elites as well as owning and racing the Sebring Sprite (WJB 707) for just one season. He always had good contact with the BMC Competitions Dept which is why he was offered the ex-Pat Moss rally car on which to base his Sebring. Naturally, it was important to him that his car was quicker than all the rest and as a result he held class lap records at every circuit where he raced. At the Silverstone Club circuit for the 6 hour Relay race he achieved a fastest lap of 1m 14secs ~ a whole second quicker than that of the Healey 3000 driven by John Gott! I enclose a report about Ian Walker and his letter about WJB, which he only raced in National and International events.
Regarding his manifolds, I was working for a tuning company at the time, before going to Weslakes, but there were many firms at the time producing manifolds for twin 1¼" SUs ~ usually for Minis rather than the Sprite. The Ian Walker inlet manifold (see News for Aug 2011) for a single SU was probably designed for a Mini, 1100, Morris Minor or A35 as pretty well any garage could set them up correctly.

Butch Gilbert
17 Sep 2011

Re: Hugh Sutherland
Really interesting since the 53 car was the one with the broken transmission ! This is why learning the true history this many years later is a real challenge !! Thanks for sharing. Butch Gilbert

Graeme Henderson
13 Oct 2011

Re: Camcoat
Martin, I have just had both Inlet and exhaust manifolds ceramic coated (see pic) by Camcoat in Warrington. I dropped them off on my way to the Goodwood Revival and they were ready for me before I got home a week later. As you can see they are already on the car and the semi matt finish of their 1000 deg C high performance racing spec finish looks good and matches the rest of the ancillaries on the engine. The exhaust manifold is coated outside and inside to get maximum effect of heat transmission away from the engine bay which eliminates the need for heat shields or wraps. I have attached a link to their web site for reference to the coatings available. All the best. 
Graeme Henderson

Ian Hulett
12 Oct 2011

Re: Ecurie Ecosse
I was interested to see your information on the Ecurie Ecosse Sprite. Way back in 1972 I bought a racing Sprite rolling shell from someone in Tunbridge Wells. I was an apprentice at the time so money was short. As I already had some wheels and an engine I did a deal to purchase the car less these bits. It had a full fibreglass body (Mk2 shape), painted maroon with a white hard top (not a works style one), a flimsy roll hoop, a 4.9 LSD and came with a weber 45 on a manifold. The vendor delivered it to my parents house in North London and told me it was the Ecurie Ecosse Sprite. At the time I didnt even know that there was an Ecurie Ecosse Sprite so this meant little to me. I built it up as a road / sprint car with a 1144cc engine and cloned it with the registration from my Frogeye.  The chassis showed evidence of some serious damage, had received a new H frame at some time and always handled badly. After a Silverstone sprint the same year the engine swallowed a self tapping screw damaging a piston and the headThere were some unique features on this shell which I would be interested in discussing with anyone who may have modified it earlier in its life. Regards Ian Hulett

Jim Lowry
10 Oct 2011

Hi Martin, Thanks for the contact.  I know your excellent website very well and I often pop by for a browse. I have been using EAO for the occasional test drive but I am yet undecided quite what to do with the car. Jonathan as you know has made a really superb job of the restoration and the car is now very much as it was in 1961, except undoubtedly better. In some ways I am reluctant to mess around with it, and as you suggested it will need a certain amount of modern safety equipment fitting before I could arrive at any scrutineering bay.  The twin fuel pumps mounted virtually next to the driver seat may also cause concern (and amusement among my fellow scrutineers). EAO was built as a race car, so I suppose such things will need to be attended to and indeed I think most will agree the car should be used as originally intended. Maybe the biggest dilemma is that of the engine.  EAO currently has an engine very much as it would have had in period, ~ question is: Do I fit a modified 1275 engine with a Weber, etc? I have other projects on the go at this time and will consider these things before I start drilling holes. Please keep in touch, cheers Jim.

Paul Knightley
6 Oct 2011

Re:Shock Absorbers
Hi, I have been reading all the histories of various Sebrings and other Sprites because I have a unusual Sprite that was built in the 1980's from a 1960 Frogeye base. It seems to have different features taken from various cars and when I read the Lumbertubs Sprite had Spax rear conversion I wondered if it came from that. The shocks are mounted vertically to turrets in the boot, and very nicely made brackets on the axlel casing. The front and rear wings are abt 4ins wider than a standard car because its fitted with 205/60 X 13 tyres that dont come outside the body with no added flared arches. The front susension is standard with Peter May up-rated levers. I'm trying to find out who built it and any history, as going through the bills there might have been some tie up with Lenham. regards  Peter Knightley.

Ian Grainger
6 Oct 2011

Re: Works hardtops
Hi Jim, Martin Ingall passed on your email to me about the DMH Motor Co. hardtops to me. Firstly, I assume you are referring to the 'high' sidescreen version and not the BMC version with standard sidescreens which fitted the standard hood. I mention this because you refer to the fabric covered sidescreen frames. These were only produced to the standard sidescreen dimensions and replaced by the aluminium framed sidescreen during 1960. Returning to the 'high' sidescreen hardtop which were produced by Jensen, it appears that the first appeared during 1959 and there is a photograph of one on page 153 in 'Spritely Years' on one of the first Sebring Sprites. It has aluminium sidescreens. These hardtops did not appear in adverts until 1960 as part of the 'Healey Speed Equipment' package. The only identification was the metal tag with number. I recently sourced a hardtop with the number 128 and the hardtop on my own Sebring Sprite is numbered 99. A number of the hardtops, including 128 had a perspex window, although the majority like mine had a glass window. I don't believe that this number were produced because of there rarity. I think the number of hardtops that were produced was nearer 50. Incidentally, the BMC hardtop also carried a metal tag with number. I hope the above is of interest. Regards Ian

Sven Eckhardt
4 Oct 2011

Re: Brian Archer
Dear Martin, I found out a few days ago, Googling the Sebring Sprite, about Brian's death. I am very sad. I had talked to Brian in 2008 about the 50 year anniversary meeting in Goodwood and he had sounded so unchanged and spritely that I can´t believe he passed away the same year. I have talked to Andrew Forster who I know from my Birmingham days in the late 80´s and early 90´s so I know the grizzly details. I have owned a Mark I Sprite since 1984 which I ran until 1991 which I have taken back to Germany in 1994 as well as a nearly finished Sebring Replica of Brian and a Caterham 7. The 7 I have and am running in Germany, the Frogeye is unrestored and the Sebring has been nearing completion for the last 17 years. Typical case of unfinished project I guess. I am making a move again though ~ honest. I know where to get the bits and pieces that are still missing however I wonder if you know of anybody who is running a Sebing replica on the road in Germany. I will send you photographs of my car if you are interested at all. I think you are doing a great thing for an ever growing group of enthusiasts keep going. Sincerely Sven.

Paul Johnson
3 Oct 2011

Re: Another new Sebring Coupe
Hi Martin, I have just started on a Mk 2 Sprite, which is to be a Sebring Coupe replica and was wondering if anyone can recommend a roll cage to fit.  Thanks, in advance. Paul

Tony Stanton
30 Sept 2011

Re: RAM 35
Hi Martin, I am Tony Stanton and I run the history database for the Rochdale Owners Club. Would you be kind enough to give me a ring. I would like to talk with you about Sebring Sprite RAM 35. Kind regards Tony.
[Tony wanted to talk to me about the Minilite wheels fitted to John Britten's RAM 35 as he believes that when some of its mechanicals were transferred to SS 1800 the 6" wide wheels were used on Alex Kim's Rochdale (wider 7" ones being fitted to the Lenham). Alex was then an employee at John Britten's Garage. The Rochdale was later burnt out when its Weber carbs back-fired setting light to the fibreglass body.]

Andrew Moynagh
28 Sept 2011

Re: Girling brakes
I am an owner of a Turner Climax. My understanding is that the front Girling Brake assembly on my car and the Sebring Sprite were the same. That being the case the easiest way of replacing the discs is to use a Mk 1 Escort disc. This needs a small amount of machining on the inner face that goes over the hub. Many Turner owners who have problems with calipers in fact use the calipers from the Mk 1 Escort but a new mounting bracket is needed. See  go to the spares list under brakes. Let me know if I am wrong and these are not the same brake. They look like the ones in your pictures as do the pads.

Jim Dougherty
27 Sept 2011

Re: Works hardtops
Martin- would you happen to have any information on approximately how many DMH Motor Co. hardtops that were used on the Sebring Sprites were actually delivered?  Were there any identifying decals or tags other than the metal tag with the production number? It would appear that many of the tops were delivered with side curtains that have fabric covered frames. Were any of the side curtains all-aluminum?  Thanks for your help with this.  Jim

Peter Fletcher
26 Sept 2011

Re: New Sebring
Just started a Speedwell Sprite replica withe the Speedwell Monza front and the fastback rear. Based on an ex Arizona December 1961 MG Midget Mk1. The body is now down to the chassis and has just been blasted ~ nothing drastic just a pair of floors and the battery tray that had rusted through due to misplaced battery acid ! Went to see Andrew at Archers a month ago very helpfull and ordered all the new bodywork and a full cage. I am putting all the photos of the build on Flikr see here: Feel free to use any pics there will be many more. Hope these are of interest. Cheers Peter in Scarborough.

Pierre Lequeux
15 Sept 2011

Re: 2080 PO
Hi Martin, Just to update you ~ the car went to Birmingham to Archers where Andrew is already starting to work  on a mould for the bonnet ! Hopefully I'll get a few pictures by December/January for you. Also I have progressed well in tracing the history of the car and hopefully will get a few more clues whilst visiting a few stalls at the Revival tomorrow. Apparently the car may have taken part in the European hill climb championship in 1967 (I know that Starley  raced at the  Mont Ventoux hill climb in France on 18th June that year ~ not sure if it is any help for the FIA papers…hopefully yes…anyhow it is good to know. All the info is compiled on my site: Congratulations again  on your site which is clearly the authority in Sprite information ! Kind regards Pierre.  

Trevor McIlroy
30 Aug 2011

Re: Ian Walker manifolds
Martin, the Ian Walker inlet manifold I have is for an A series BMC engine. Perhaps the simple answer is Ian Walker Tuning made manifolds for the BMC A series as well as Ford and Lotus. Thanks for the information supplied. T.McI Belfast.

David Morys
26 Aug 2011

Re: Ian Walker
Hi, I believe that Ian Walker's son Graham is racing quite successfully in the Team's Gold Lotus Elan 26R. The cars had a central green stripe. I think they also built and raced the Shapecraft Elan coupes with aluminium bodies - just like Sebrings! I don't believe they raced internationally and one is still in existence. I can't help much on the manifold but the Ford connection seems about right. Kind regards David

John Sprinzel
25 Aug 2011

Re: the Ian Walker manifolds.
After his time with the Sebrings, Ian - who was a very good personal friend of mine - started a tuning business and also ran race cars, with Paul Hawkins, who had begun to race professionally. They mainly worked on Ford and Lotus, I would imagine this manifold was from Ford range. Ian's previous business was model making, doing those model aircraft that you used to see in every travel agent's window.
cheers J

Julian Yell
12 Aug 2011

Sebring Mark 2
Martin, Here are the pics of my Sprite, [see Latest News] I restored it 25 years ago, and it has survived really well (photos taken this week) however I am ready to re-do it to concours and have had thoughts of turning it into a full Sebring MK2 replica, per Moss, Innes, Rodriguez, McQueen.  I am cautious however about losing its ongoing history, so I may evolve it and keep it roadgoing, in its original colour, but to Sebring spec with all of the period brake parts, 100 rollbar, engine mods, wire wheels etc. We will see, it will become either a full Sebring replica or a period road going special. The DHMC hardtop by the way is superb and I would gladly take close-ups if required. Any marks on it are just dirt from storage and it polishes superbly. Kind regards Julian.

Graeme Henderson
26 July 2011

Re: Fitting Caterham rad, dash, oil cooler and adj rear shocks to his Fastback.
Martin, No events yet as the car is still not finished. I know that in the last pictures I sent you it looked near completion but I was only at the fitting up stage and it all came apart again for final fettling. I have now reached the wiring stage and have used a standard Frogeye loom as a basis and modifying to fit from there. Dashboards are almost complete see pic. The other major task was fitting a Caterham Alloy and plastic radiator (£190) and fan (£84). This is a much cheaper option than the replica original radiators out there and the fan controller is built into the rad top with several temperature ranges available, The fan fits the rad with lugs that are on the rad much neater than the Kenlow set up. As you can see you have to do away with the original radiator uprights (weight saving) and it sits further forward than the original allowing access for timing the engine etc. The rad sits closer to the cowl in the Sebring bonnet to get max air flow. Oil cooler position now finalised as you will see. I think that is us up to date so please post the pics in my build section on the site. Also I should mention that I do have the adjustable rear shocks from Peter Caldwell fitted to the car and am about to enquire about a set of rears for my Big Healey as well. The build quality is excellent and of course with the stainless steel parts and proper sealing they should last quite a while.... All the best, Graeme.

Neil Anderson, Illinois, USA
24 Jul 2011

Re: Front shock absorbers
Hi Martin,
This is kind of interesting.  Thought you might enjoy seeing it.
I have been wanting to give you a little information on the front Armstrong adjustable shocks that Graeme Henderson has fitted on his Sebring.  I recognized them from the front suspension photo posted on his page from your site. They were developed by a guy, Peter Caldwell,  that I know who has a shock rebuilding business about 100 miles north of me in Madison, Wisconsin.  He is quite an interesting guy.  He was one of the organizers for the 50th Spridget event that I just went to and was also a tech session presenter for us last year at our Conclave Healey event.  I met him a couple of years ago through a mutual friend.  He knows a lot of info about suspension set-ups and such and developed these adjustable shocks.  He has also developed rear adjustable shocks too, because, as we know, the original rear Armstrong adjustables are just about "unobtanium". I don't know the rules on competitive events in  the UK and Europe, especially FIA rules, so I don't know if they would be legal in some instances.  But, Graeme must think they will be allowed for the events he plans to participate in.  You can set them for street use for the drive to the event and then reset them for competition at the track or hill climb. Here is a link to his business:
The adjustable shocks are not listed on his "shock page".  I am not sure how long ago they were developed.  He said he has been selling quite a few units.  A competition car race group is using them in Europe.  He is also selling them through Peter May, making them with a bracket to be used with Peter May's front damper top link kit. Let me know if you would like more information on these adjustable shocks.
Kind regards, Neil

Renaud Vendel
7 Jun 2011

Re: MG Mecca
First of all, congratulations for the new website design. It is easy to navigate and it's very nice to have all these details and history about each and every car. And some of the pictures posted can be really helpfull. I'm glad to see the pictures we took of Steve's WJB 707 and replica Sebring back online ; If you need them, I may have a few other ones from this visit we paid him to collect the Sebring body kit. I recently checked the MG Mecca website, and shortly after I saw your article about Rene Bloemen's cars, and the MG Meca link. I was surprised at first to see them offering Sebring replicas for sale, but had my explanation through your page. It looks these cars are exact copies of RTL (fiberglass ?). But my question is : do you know where these door openings come from ? I've never seen this 'bean form' type, and do not know where to look for them. I'm looking forward the Midget 50 celebrations, and seeing JJO and the other Sebring Sprites there. Unfortunately, our own replica is far from ready, and won't be included in the 'clock' display ! Maybe we will meet on Sunday among all these Midgets.
regards from France,
Renaud Vendel

Charlie Clegg
3 Jun 2011

Re: Le Mans
Hi Martin, I hope you are well and congratulations with the new website - looks great. Thought I would just send you a quick message to let you know that my father and I will be racing in the support race to the Le Mans 24 hrs next week in S221. I will let you know how we get on and of course if any of the Sebring Sprite gang are going out to watch do come by and say hello! I hope you have had a chance to get your Sebring Sprite out and about so far this summer? I am currently having a new race engine built by Janspeed for 184FGJ so unfortunately have not got behind the wheel yet in 2011, but planning to do a couple of races later in the season. Anway I hope you have a good weekend and I look forward to catching up soon at some Sprite related event!
Kind regards,

Mike Wylie
27 Apr 2011

Re: "Flying on 4 Wheels"
I have attached a copy of the front cover of the book referred to in the article sent to you by Neil Anderson.   The book was published by Patrick Stephens Limited in 1986, and I suppose it is likely that copies can be obtained through the familiar internet sources.   I note that the International Class Records were set on 13th April 1960, but that the Speedwell GT (VP 7) used by Graham Hill was the one usually raced by John Venner-Pack and from the text appears to date from 1959 in GT form.   For simplistic reasons, I suppose it is in my self-interest to prove that the Speedwell GT pre-dated the more iconic and practical special bodied Sebring Sprites created by John Sprinzel, and to which your site is rightly dedicated.   It seems to be that the first Sprinzel car, with a 'Sebring' front, but still a conventional hardtop, was finished in time for the November 1960 RAC Rally, and would have had its 'tailored' Williams & Pritchard roof with curved windscreen fitted some time after this event.
The Speedwell Streamliner was based on VXT.523, that had started life as a more ordinary Frogeye and must have been a sort of Speedwell Works Runabout.   As such it is shown in a photograph in Chris Harvey's book 'MG and Austin Healey Spridgets' - from The Oxford Illustrated Press - 1983, fitted with an earlier type of Monza front, with the headlights behind plexiglass fairings and an unfamiliar straight swage line running back from the top of the front wheel opening.   This would suggest that there was a degree of experimentation until the definitive Monza bonnet was born, and that this took place some before the GT was created.

Christoph Klamert
23 Mar 2011

Re: Fly-off hand- brake
Dear Martin, Congratulation to the new website. I am not through everything yet but it is really well done. If you have two more pawl assembly kits available I would happily buy them for my cars. If you could tell me the total amount incl. p&p to Austria  and your banking details (bic and iban) I could transfer the amount. Do you know anybody who would sell me complete set of brake items needed to convert the rear to Sebring specification (8in) brake drums? Kind regards Christoph. 

Michael Meerlo
22 Mar 2011

Re: His Sebring Fastback's engine
Hi Martin, On your question about the motor, well the valve springs were binding so that the camshaft had no lobes left on it the folwers were badly damaged and the pushrods were bend. The strange thing is that the engine still was pulling strong but it never reached the bhp figure it should have, only 85  while it shoud be closer to a 100. Now I don't realy care about bhp but 15 less is a bit much. Lucky we found it just in time before there was more damage to the motor. They had left the locating washer for the inner valvespring in place and when you use the longer rockers it will bind, so we took them out and just as precushion we changed the oilpump and the mains where checked on marks, it is thourogly cleaned and there is a new oilcooler installed. Now everthing is back togehter and it runs again. So we have to wait and see. Andrew has really bin great in giving advice and knowledge about how to deal with it. So 2 thumbs up for him, he knows his way around with A series. I hope indeed the papers for WJB are coming soon, then finally Stephen can take WJB for a spin after such a long time and can feel again how it is drive it. Cheers, Michael.

Pierre Lequeux
22 Mar 2011

Re: Website
Hi Martin, Great update of your website, top mark and as ever great source of information...on my side still dreaming about getting my full steel bodied car..but no luck so far... Kind regards Pierre

Mike Wylie
21 Mar 2011

Re: Website, Replicas in Ireland, and Homologation Papers
Dear Martin, I am full of admiration for all the time and effort you must have put in to upgrade your Sebring Sprite website so significantly.  Marvellous effort! Secondly, I am so pleased to see my old friend, Trevor McIlroy ( and George Wilkin whom I don't know so well) bringing some more Sebring Sprites to Northern Ireland.   I suppose we were all inspired by the Speedwell of Adrian Boyd and the Sprinzel car (52 LPH) of Chris Williams, brought to Northern Ireland by Peter Johnston for 1962 Circuit of Ireland, and owned since then (about 1963?)by Ronnie White in Armagh as detailed in 'Spritely Years'.   Trevor was volunteer mechanic on my last big rally with 505 BZ, the Corse Retro 40 in 1996, and I'm pleased to see that he has at last fallen into line!   I am left to wonder what has happened to a Replica Sebring that was being built in Newry by John Girvan's brother in the mid-1990s.   Presumably this must have been an early kit from Brian Archer, and it must be around here somewhere.   Trevor may know. Finally, I can offer you copies of copies of a few Homologation Papers collected over the years, also making the point that if you are getting the same papers from Tom Coulthard, some of his may be copies of mine and even less clear.   I will scan them to whatever requirement you nominate in PDF form if required. Any way I can help in any way, do please let me know. Michael.

Pete Taylor
21 Mar 2011

Re: Streamliners and WSM Sanction II
Hello Martin. I am in Florida at the moment and I have few things to report. There is a race in Texas in June where Steven Coleman's Streamliner will be driven by Clive Baker once again. The Targa Florio car from Japan will be in the race too. The Author Bill Emerson has commissioned a sanction 2 WSM, being built in the UK. He has sent a rust free Sprite over from the USA as the donor car. Andrew at Archers Garage is making progress with the two Streamliners and we would live to be able to show our car this year, even if only a rolling shell. I have spoken to John Hill of S.Carolina on the telephone. Did you go visit him when you were over here ?? Regards, Pete

20 Mar 2011

Re: Cape dashboards
Hi Martin, Good to hear from you. Sorry, I am afraid the dashboard fell off my urgent “to do” list. Work and the house and creating some space in the garage have taken priority. Far too many commitments and too little time and space to do them! Actually I am selling my Healey championship winning Frogeye as I just don’t have the time to get it out and use it. (Also I have a 3000 race car sitting waiting to be finished, which has been sitting in the garage for far too long…)  I have already sold off most of my small mountain of shells and spares…. I would think by the summer I will get a chance to mould some myself. I know its not a big job, its just finding a weekend to make up the mould and produce a couple! Best regards C.A. [I had asked him how the dashboards were coming on, as several people are keen to have one - MEI]

Michael Meerlo (Holland)
20 Mar 2011

Re: Website
Hello Martin, How are you, I want to congratulate you with the new sebring site,- it must have been a lot of work to change over from the old to the new. I like the new set-up, it looks smart. My car is coming along engine is up and running again, Andrew has it now in the spraybooth for the touch ups and I hope to get it back by the end of April. Speak to you soon. Cheers, Michael

Mark Wilson
19 Mar 2011

Re: Website
Hi Martin, New site's looking good - I hold you and Andrew Forster entirely responsible for a mid life crisis of Midgets, Sprites, rust and Mig welders. Best regards Mark Wilson

Nick Conklin (USA)
19 Mar 2011

Re: Website & fly-off handbrake
Martin, Nice Job!!!...I've been cruising around your site, very nice. I am interested in that parking brake mod you have, what would it be with shipping for me out here in California?..Nick

Peter White (NZ)
18 Mar 2011

Re: Website
Hi Martin, You have done a great job.. Your web-site certainly has helped me in staying motivated and in the detailing of my Sebring Sprite project during it's build. A big thank you from me. Regards Peter. [The page about Peter's car will return shortly MEI]

John Hill (USA)
15 Mar 2011

Re: Pit-stop photo
I found my scanned copy of the pit stop with me standing next to John. The note with the picture says "Note Graham Hill in the background". I asked John about the pictures that had been on his web site and he said they were not his but YOURS. Do you know who is the person standing a way back between John and myself? [Am not sure which photo on the site John refers to, as yet. Photo 1? Photo 2? MEI]

John Hill (USA)
15 Mar 2011

Re: 1411 WD
I was looking at some stills taken from my 8 mm movies, which I was panning the MGAs in the pits before the start of the race and ended up with a good looking Sprite (#72). Today I was looking at your site trying to be sure 61 (Falcon Sprite) started with a windscreen and did not have one later. John Sprinzel said on your site there was none at the start. But if you enlarge the "start" picture, you can make the outline of the screen. I contacted S. Moss to ask if he told them to remove the screen. He answered back that " he could not remember after all  he had been 695 races and was 81 years old. He said he would check his notes but they were in England and he was in FLA" Oh, yes the #72 Sprite had a tag number 1411WD and was a good looking blue. See the attachment. John. [See Latest News]

Peter Fellows (Australia)
12 Mar 2011

Re: Website
Hi Martin.Good luck with the upgrade of the web site .I, as well as many others around the world appreciate all of the time that you spend on it. Each day when I check my email I always visit the "Sebring" site to see if you have put up any more news. Many thanks Martin. Regards. Peter.

Andy Sollis, Notts TSSC Webmaster
12 Mar 2011

Re: Sebring Decal
Hi,Saw this on your website and it said to contact you if interested ? I have a Williams & Pritchard Sebring GT Fastback on a Triumph Spitfire 1500 and have been looking for something like one of these to go on my hard top. Although not original, I think it would just set it off nicely. Please could I have more details of where these can be obtained from (Other that the racetrack in the States) Regards Andy Sollis. [Am ordering some decals for him, MEI]

Alan Anstead
11 Mar 2011

Re: IOW Sebrings
Hi Martin. A picture I recently received from Kent Masc member Crispin Whiting. The Keith Bradings IOW Frogeye factory with a Sebring Coupe. Alan. [See Latest News]

Christoph Klamert
9 Mar 2011

Re: Sebring Brochure
Dear Mr. Ingall, I am searching for a copy of the original Sebring Sprite brochure which was available from John Sprinzel back in the 60s. Following your fantastic web site for years I thought you might know somebody who might sell either an original brochure or at least could provide a copy of the four pages? Hoping to hear from you or maybe meet you personally at the goodwood revival 2011. Kkind regards from Austria. Christoph.

Neil Anderson
8 Mar 2011

Re: Cars for sale
Hi Martin, Here are a couple of links that have come through my Healey email lists recently.1958 Lenham bodied Sprite: This next car, (WSM Healey 3000) I never knew existed and therefore have never seen any photos.  There was a report from a guy in Australia, and he said that Tony Wilson-Spratt had been trying to buy the car back.  He had not heard from Tony to find out if he was the person who purchased it at auction.  Have a good day. Neil [Tony was not able to buy it but it stays in the UK]

Alistair Gilchrist
7 Mar 2011

Re: Sebring for sale
Martin, I found this, I don't know if it is original but a bit pricey for a replica
regards Alistair.

Ian Grainger (to Ken Grazing)
7 Mar 2011

A response to a query about fitting the healey 100-4 anti-roll bar, as used on early Sebrings
Hi Ken, Martin Ingall has forwarded your email about the Sebring Sprite Anti-Roll to me as I have an original Sebring Sprite which still has its original ant-roll bar and fittings. I hope the enclosed photograph explains the set-up. As you can see the only reinforcement to the wishbone is a rectangular piece of metal ( there is a similar one on the inside of the wishbone), which are drilled to accept the anti-roll bar link and the two bolts. All very simple!! Incidentally, to make an original anti-roll bar link you need a rear link assembly with the bush which joins to the shock absorber cut off and the shaft threaded. I hope this helps. If you need any more info, please get in touch. Regards Ian.

Ian Grainger
7 Mar 2011

In response to my query as to how to build a good motor for super-charging.
Good Morning Martin, I am running a 266 profile cam with a low compression head and a 978 cc block. The distributer was rebuilt by Aldon to match this spec. As you are aware the supercharger was originally supposed to be used with a standard engine albeit with a low compression head. I'm not sure if this is any help, but good luck with your project and if I can help further, do get in touch. Regards Ian.

Trevor Mcilroy (Belfast)
6 Mar 2011

Re: 317AOV & Midget 50
Martin, read the ex Alan Hastey/Kim Dear car 317AOV is now in Northern Ireland, perhaps you could pass my Email address to George Wilkins. I take it you got my email expressing an interest in displaying XXC818 at the Midget 50 event. regards Trevor McI.

Mike Wood (to Graeme Henderson)
5 Mar 2011

Re: Body fixings
Hi Graeme, Many thanks for replying to my request for information on how to join grp bodyparts to Sprites. Thank you for the pictures of the joined Frogeye rear body. Apart from the rivets into the B post and rear floor, am I correct in assuming that there are two or three layers of chopped strand mat (CSM) and resin fibreglassing along all the connections between steel and the grp? And the grp Sebring roof at the bottom of the front windscreen surrond is bonded with a few layers of fibreglass internally and rivetted externally the same way, but with the external rivets covered in body filler? Or is the join to the front steel scuttle is only fibreglass? I guess the bonding of the grp roof to the grp rear is done like grp repairs by grinding the joint out at a very shallow angle to create a V of about 3" wide which is then filled using layers of CSM with resin, tissue and resin and body filler. Is there much metal kept behind the B pillar, maybe with holes to effect a large area for GRP joining, with boding through the holes as well as over the top of the metal? Thanks Mike.

Mike Wood
5 Mar 2011

Re: Body fixings & website
Martin, Many thanks for sending me John Makin's magazine article. Thanks too for forwarding my details to Graeme Henderson. Graeme has already replied - what a great networking, as well and information tool your website is. Good luck with the website restucturing - sounds like a lot of work, as well as the time you put into updating. Best wishes, Mike.

Graeme Henderson
5 Mar 2011

Re: Body fixings
Martin, There were no contact details for Mike Wood in his question regarding fixing the Sebring body to the chassis. Firstly he should take advice from Andrew at Archers plus look at some of the other cars being built pictures attached to there articles on your site. He will see pictures like the ones I have attached of my own build to see where and how they have been attached. I live in Aberdeenshire if he is interested in contacting me. Best regards, Graeme Henderson [I have put them in touch]

Mike Wood
5 Mar 2011

Re: Various
Hi Martin, Thanks for the reply and putting my assorted requests for info on your website. Can you please e-mail a copy of John Makin's article on WYT381 that you mention on your webpage for this car. On the grp front, I've got hold of a combined reprint of two excellent long-put of print Osprey books on grp car repair and painting by Miles Wilkins of Fibreglass Services, Arundell who knows all about Lotus body repairs including the monocoque Mk1 Elite. This book - How to Restore Fibreglass Bodywork & How to Restore Paintwork - is available from Lotus Books in Germany; see: and order form:

Good luck with the website reconstruction. Do please keep lots of the car info and pics, including projects and completed replica info, as well as updated news pages - they are what makes the current site great. A short - tounge-in-cheek - how to guide/recipe to recreating a Sebring Sprite would be fun, based on the experiences and pics showing construction details you've already got ('first start with a rusty shell, a welder and panels, add in panels from Archers and an idea from the website or grainy photos of what you want to recreate ...'), including the FIA homologated historic racer route on a Frogeye and quest for correct brakes etc, or the use 1275cc Spridget base with its discs as a donor for road or hillclimb.  A bit more on what competition work people have got up to in replicas, as well as the orginals, would be good too. Best wishes Mike.

Kai Eriksen (Norway)
5 Mar 2011

Re: Website
I'll wish you luck with the new web-site. I think Version 2 has been very good too. I'm working with my replica to get FIA approvement. It's not easy and I'm looking forward to see some FIA homologation form on your web-site. Thanks to Craig Chapman who maks it possible to get an alloy top. Regards Kai.

Alan Anstead
4 Mar 2011

Re: WYT 381
Thanks for this Martin. Still trying to find out what the badge is/was that was fixed to the radiator grill. A club badge perhaps but for what club. If you are in contact with Paul Wollmer could you enquire. I may still be on the grill. Alan

Derek Stewart
3 Mar 2011

Re: Midget 50
Hi Martin, Would you please include me for the 'Midget 50' event. Although the car is still being assembled it should be ready as only(!) the mechanical bits need bolting on. Saw the Tifosi SS at Race Retro and thought his basic product looked quite good. Rgds Derek

Laurent Derancourt
2 Mar 2011

Re: Ashley Bonnet
Hi Martin, How are you? Are you sure the front is a W&P It looks like my Ashley front but with a modified buble on top of the rocker cover - same nose and same flanges. Link cheers Laurent.

Pierre Lequeux
1 Mar 2011

Historic Sebring
Hi Martin, Many thanks for forwarding this to Butch. He since has been in touch with me, however (probably due to the pedigree and quality of the car)the price of USD 140 K + shipping remains out of reach for me. Many thanks however for taking the time to look into my query. Kind regards, Pierre.

Butch Gilbert USA
1 Mar 2011

Re: Historic Sebring
Thanks for the lead. I will email him with the updates. I have done nothing with the Sprite except taking it to a couple of vintage races just to run it around the pits . Hope to do much more now that the year of bad health is over. You web site keeps growing and looking better all the time ......keep up the good work. Best Regards, Butch Gilbert.

Mike Wood
27 Feb 2011

Re: Various
Hi Martin, Interesting. 'Getting into Minis' - sounds like BMC Works Dept in early 1960s moving away from large and small sports cars! On another subject, it would be interesting to see how people have bonded Sebring tops, Peel and Frogeye rears to steel rear floors, scuttled and B posts, and what an MoT tester and an IVA person would make of it. Are you building another car? I noted your request for Riley 1.5 parts on the Midget and Sprite Club wanted webpage. Best wishes Mike. [The Riley brakes are wanted for Ken Grasing in Oregon]

David Pratt
24 Feb 2011

Re: Replica
Can I start by saying its a Great enthusiasts web site. I am number 68 on the replica list - I picked up my fastback kit on the 14/07/10. Mmy plan is to use a basket case MkIII sprite Reg no LKK511F but upon purchasing it blind Ii found the bodyshell is actually from a 1500. However they are very similar apart from additional strenghening to take the rubber bumpers which i am drilling out and a few smaller bits and pieces. Regards Dave

Charlie Binyon
20 Feb 2011

Re: Speedwell Sprite
I bought a 1959 Speedwell MK 1 Sprite back in 1972, it was painted in Yellow, had a Monza style fibreglass bonnet, and an opening bootlid. it had a "Speedwell" badge on the rocker cover, but this might have originally been on the bodywork. I bought it from a man in Twickenham from the "Exchange and Mart". I never knew anything about its past, if it had one. in the intervening years, it has been modified and repaired a lot, and is now undergoing a complete restoration with a steel frogeye bonnet, and the rear boot opening has gone. so the only original bit still there is the Speedwell badge on the rocker cover, but I remember the Monza bonnet, and buying a steel bonnet to replace it from a scrapyard for a fiver.

Nick Conklin (USA)
15 Feb 2011

Re: Shorrock bulge
Hi Martin, My Shorrock setup is exactly like the one in the pic, same pop off valve arrangement. I have been communicating with John (Sprinzel) in Hawaii and he explained to me that the teardrop bulge was only used on the carb variety for clearance and that the bulge was a Speedwell development. He explained that the scoop was a Works mod (as Ian also states). He also said that later when he ran the supercharger he would shave the dashpot down while still leaving enough threads for the top, and also shaved some of the brass off. This he says allowed for the needed clearance(too tight for my liking). The Shorrock kit that was later offered must have differed slightly from the earlier version in that it clearly stated that no body mods were needed (again in line with what Ian states) I am not comfortable with the shaving so I will have the "scoop" duplicated from the pics I have. Thanks Again, Nick 

Michael Roberts
14 Feb 2011

Re: Replica
Hi I currently have a Lotus Elise and have become a little bored with it. My daughter has written off her MG TF135 which I am breaking for spares. I have been thinking of a K series midget for years and as I have the engine I am considering selling the Lotus and building a Sebring Coupe with disk brakes and uprated suspension. My question is would a K series engine fit under the bonnet with its lower profile.
[My answer was: YES]

Dean Powers (USA)
14 Feb 2011

Re: Replica
Martin, good to hear from you. Unfortunately not much progress has been made towards completing the car. I just today received the seats from Archers. The car was at a friends shop and he got really involved in another project so I will be moving the car hopefully this coming weekend to a new fabricator to complete the preparation of the shell  for painting. The gearbox has been completed it is a ribcase straight cut close ratio. I have a 1275 A-series that I acquired from the guy I got the Girling brake setup from many years ago. When I was there he told me he had another Sebring brake set up. My jaw dropped about 2 feet on hearing this news. He said he would rather have them go to a friend than on to eBay so I was able to get the complete set up for $200!!!!!!!!! I think Andrew may have already told you about this but it was a great find. I will get some pictures together and send them off to you of what I have done so far. I am going to try and push to have this project completed by August. Hopefully I will have much better luck with the new shop. Cheers, Dean

Neil Anderson (Chicago)
13 Feb 2011

Re; TFR 5
Hi Martin, I am including a couple of Sprite related things that may be of interest to you.  The first is an advertisement relating to the Sebring race (year not mentioned), but this could be 8427 UE with its Les Ireland hardtop.  I had never seen this ad before, so I purchased it on ebay.  You may reproduce it if you wish. The second inclusion relates to something I found in one of my “Healey” boxes while looking for something else.  I found an article that was published in the May 1984 issue of our Healey club magazine “Chatter”.  It is an article (see attachment) on TFR 5 (LWD 959E) , the 1967 Targa Florio Sprite, and in 1968, the Sebring car running the rare XSP petrol injected engine with a cross flow head. The article was written by an Englishman, David Pratley, who became friends with a couple who helped found the Austin-Healey Club of America.  He lived in the Chicago area in the late 1970s and, I believe early 80s.  I joined the Healey club in late 1980, but never met David. Since finding the article again (obviously, I was quite intrigued) I have been trying to do more research on the car and on David Pratley.  I reread the sections in Geoff Healey’s book “More Healeys” about TFR 5 and its Targa and Sebring race history as he reported. I also found, through Google, that TFR 5 may be in Japan and still raced in vintage events.  I found a Japanese website that has some info about the car and a Youtube video of TFR being raced in Japan.  Here are the links: TFR5 and  What a beautiful Sprite!  I would be interested in your comments about the race driving from the in-cockpit view of the race.  I wonder if this has a 5-speed gearbox.  It almost doesn’t look like it. Anyway, I hope you enjoy looking at all this if you haven’t seen it before.  I became more interested in this Sprite since I didn’t see anything yet on your website about the late “works” cars.  I also called my friends, Chuck and Edie Anderson (no relation to me), who were friends with David Pratley in Chicago to try and find out if they have any contact info for him.  They have lost contact with him and unfortunately, do not have current info, but said that they think he lives in the London area.  I would assume that you might like to talk to him about the time when he owned TFR 5.  Supposedly, he sold the car quite some time ago.  Hopefully, the Anderson’s may be able to find him. All the best, Neil.

Ian Grainger
11 Feb 2011

Re: Shorrock bulge
Hi Martin, I'm sure I've covered this in previous correspondence with Nick. The only 'Works' Sebring Sprite to be supercharged was 7080 AC. This was a standard bodied Sprite, but had the earlier Shorrocks supercharger with the safety valve angled slightly 'off centre', but more vertical than later superchargers, hence the need for a 'bulge' in the bonnet. A photograph of the 'bulge' appears on page 156, and of the supercharger, on page 157 in 'Spritely Years'. Hope this is of help. Regards Ian

Nick Conklin, USA
8 Feb 2011

re: Shorrock bulge
Martin, Do you have a picture of what the "Shorrock Bulge" looked like on the factory cars?, I do have a good pic of the scoop but would rather have the bulge. I have the car all sorted out, runs like a top, dual exhaust is a screamer and the supercharger looks great installed and functions very well, I am in the final stage of fitting/sorting out and the bonnet is the last issue before a teardown metal finishing and respray. I'll take some pics and forward them on to you. Looking closely at the car it seems that it was originally Old english white, then it was painted a metallic blue, then BRG. Nick Conklin [passed this on to Ian Grainger]

Pierre Escudier
7 Feb 2011

re: Replicas
Dear Sir, I am very interesting about sebring sprite, is it possible to have your catalogue about the replica parts available from archers garage and wheeler davies. thank you for your answer very warmly.
Pierre Escudier

Trevor McIlroy
6 Feb 2011

re: Website
Great January News page Martin. Good to see the pictures & notes on all the current replica/restoration projects. Keep up the good work. Trevor McI. XXC818. Belfast.

Mike Wood
6 Feb 2011

re: WYT 381 & Donor Car
Hi Martin, Thanks for the very interesting and enjoyable Jan 2011 news page on your Sebring Sprite website. Seeing the progress that Gordon Higgs has made from a tired MkIV Sprite donor is really inspiring. I remember his first post and thinking what a challenge, but with a great approach, using an attainable AH donor with good engine and brake spec. Also hearing the auction news on one of the originals is great too. The detail, enthusiasm, news and dialogue on your website sets it apart - thanks. I have started to collect bits for a replica close to the open ex-Barry Shawzin rally car: That pic [of the car on the Lyons-Charbonnieres] sums up small 'big' healey! At the moment a leaky lock-up, house move, lots of work travel on trains (wondering if I can sneak an Archers Sebring front into the luggage compartment!) and part-time studying restricts car fun. But I am on the long term look out for an affordable donor - ideally a Mk2.5 Sprite, but a MkIV would do - that isn't 500 miles away from me in Ayrshire. Hope you are well. Best wishes, Mike

Pierre Lequeux
2 Feb 2011

re: Historic Sprites
Hi Martin
Many thanks for providing us with such a great website. I am always eagerly reading the updates and being impressed by the wealth of information you gather. I am currently on the look out for a standard bodied frogeye (such as no 53 (butch Gilbert) or 2214 UE  equivalent in its early days specifications...). To that instance I wonder if you know about any sale going on. I would possibly consider importing the car if it has the right specs. Any helps, tip appreciated. Kind regards, Pierre.

Paul Slangen
2 Feb 2011

re: New Replica
Your Website is very nice and loaded with news from history but also from nowadays. Due to this web-site I could learn more about the beauty and strength of the magnificent Sprite and Midget racing conversions. I have ordered 1.5 years ago a fastback with Monza bonnet at Archers garage and bought all the body panels from Racers of Kent to build my own Lenham Sprite.  (It will be like the one of Peter Warren). As a passionist and hobby restorer of classic cars I am always checking your site for news. Hope you can continue this site for a long period. I will visit Andrew Forster within 2 weeks and will make some pictures of the progress of the car. If you are interested, I can send you some pictures. Best regards, Paul H.L. Slangen from Belgium.

Gary Lazarus
(Editor of
Mascot magazine)
31 Jan 2011

re: 777 EBH - Alexander Sprite
On returning from a wonderful day out on Saturday where I was honoured to able to join a small group of motor racing enthusiast who were entertained all day, by the evergreen and truly wonderful Murray Walker, I had the additional joy of being contacted by the owner of one of the original Alexander Sprites. The car is now only a few months away from completion and is a very early Mk1 Sprite with a Vin number in the very low 800's being within a couple of Jonathan's old Frogeye. The only image which I'd previously seen was a black and white one showing the car with a standard frogeye body with the familiar Alexander white stripe down the side. The current owner has sent me an image of the car in period with a fastback, as well as a photo of it "as found" in a bush. Do any of you have any additional information on it which I could pass on to the owner (and very recently joined member of the Midget & Sprite Club)? Particularly who is likely to have built the body? Any help would be greatly appreciated and will also help to build a future article. Kind regards, Gary.

Alan Anstead
29 Jan 2011

re: WYT 381
Hi. I have just bought 'Les Healey dans les Alps' by Herve Chevalier and WYT381 is pictured but what is the club badge on the grill? Can I have a copy of the article you mention and might I plunder some of the info from your website as I was going to do a piece on the series of books, by this author, for Mascot. Alan.

Gordon Higgs
23 Jan 2011

re: Coupe Replica
Hi Martin. I hope 2011 finds you well. I'm sorry its been so long since my last mail.  I've been keeping busy on the sprite build. It seems I've been waiting for ages to get her into the paint shop - a small local  business called Lone Pine thats been in the same family since the early 1950's. They specalise in high class and classic cars. My Sprite was in outstanding company. While she was in, there was a Shellby Mustang bare shell waiting for paint, two Aston Martins and a Rolls Royce not to mention the 1930's  Bentley body parts being painted in cellulose!  After our earlier mails I did some searching through our extensive paint colour information at work to see if I could throw any light on the Tartan/ Alfa red question and I found there were several Tartan reds so I've chosen a lighter Tartan. It probably is not the same as  PMO 200 but I like it and thats what counts! I'll call it Gordon Tartan! HaHa! The Sprite is home now so the long build-up process can start. All the suspension parts have been plated and powder coated overhauled and are ready to refit. I've enclosed a few more photos for you to update your site. Thanks for all your hard work on the site. Its good to see what other people are up to and very useful as a reference. Regards Gordon

John Sprinzel
11 Jan 2011

re: 2214 UE
Looking through your web page, I can still hardly believe that 2214UE is still around - after my rallying on the Liege and German Rallies half a century ago, John Patten's drive with Paul Hawkins on the RAC and then Mike Reid's efforts with the Octagon crowd, I wonder how many bits can still be original. Good fun though, to see what the cars managed. I read the auction brochure on the Hedges cars and the huge list of owners. Did Donald and Geoff ever imagine their little car could stand up to so much for so long? Hope you are well and having a good New Year, in spite of what I hear about your weather.  Aloha, John

Andy Chaffey
5 Jan 2011

re: New Coupé
Martin. I drove up to Archers today and ordered my bonnet/coupe top / front and rear and screens. Andrew was most helpful and I really enjoyed seeing the cars there.  Andy.

Lauren Derancourt
29 Dec 2010

re: Amicale Sprite & Midget Club, France
Dear Martin, I wish you a happy new year. I have changed my blog to permit translation in to English. You just have to click on English to get the translation: Cheers. Laurent

David Morys
26 Dec 2010

re: RTL 304
Hi, Seasons greetings and best wishes for the new year. I have three photos of the Chris Keeble Sprite registration RTL in the paddock at Silverstone at the main MG day on two occasions - both in the nineteen nineties. I know Chris - we both had MGC GT's. I have a '59 Frogeye now and I was able to purchase the Spritely Years book from you earlier this year. I found the link to the two Targa Florio Sprites and was always interested in TFR7 which I had always dreamed of finding tucked away somewhere in a Florida garage unloved and forgotten. It was interesting to find it ran in period at Sebring in 1970. Best wishes for the new year and keep up the good work on the website - I am in Broadway, Worcs and the ex-Moss Sebring (S221) plus the other replica (184 FGJ) live just up the road. I may have the odd photograph of other cars that might be of interest. I seem to recall having one or two of one of the ex Sebring Mk 2's which used to turn up quite regularly at Prescott where I competed with a Mallock and another unique clubman's car. I think this was perhaps the practice car but the owner's name eludes me at the moment. Anyway I have attached the three pictures which Chris reliably informs me were 16 and 17 years ago respectively. Chris swapped the 13" standard wheels for 14" 72 spoke competition MGB wheels. I thought the first year was 1992 but there you go! Kind regards, David

John P. Hill
24 Dec 2010

re: Sebring & Le Mans
Looks like John Sprinzel pulled all his photos when he put out his book. In the new promo pics, I am standing next to him and he tells about Graham Hill in the background. Another shows him with the drivers, the same one I have shows me to the right looking at the car. The comment on one of the pictures was that cars were back from the race, but they were parked after after the clutch swap , ready to go TO the race. He said I was a NASA technician that did maintaince on the cars, but I was actually an electrical engineer with North American  working on the space program. ersons that  really did all he claims.  A little check of BMC and Healey history will show the bare chassis were sent to the Healey factory, and Roger Menadue reworked them including fitting special bodies.  The first was a kit car made using a "Falcon" body, English not American. In fact that chassis had three bodies used on it. I DO NOT know this to be a fact, but I believe BMC required the race cars to look like street cars and allowed only prototype car to run. And the street car bodies were set, so no big changes. There were some bitter feelings  between the two groups. Enough of that, I have , or will make some JPEG files and send them to you but not tonight! John

John P. Hill
23 Dec 2010

re: Sebring & Le Mans
Hello Martin, I do not know what happened to the article, but my photos have shown up on the John Sprinzel web site, though the captions are incorrect. Attached is my prelim copy of the article, including a photo of me at Daytona in my MGA-TC. These are for you to use as you want. All the Sprite pictures were taken before the race. If you go to Sprinzel site, there is picture of him talking to the driver with a caption stating that Graham Hill is standing in the background, BUT I am standing next to John. Merry Christmas. [see John's article "Article for sprite Mag" on the Articles page]

John Hugenholtz
9 Dec 2010

re: RTL 304
I brought RTL304 back from the UK to Holland in the '80s having bought the car in South of London for Dutch dealer Tonio Hildebrandt. I drove it on the road with an open exhaust to Sheerness for the ferry to Vlissingen. MY wife was driving our rental car which I dropped off in Sheerness, I was forced to store our luggage in the Sprite and the spare wheels on the roof as it went on the boat. In Vlissingen I had my road car and trailer and the car was taken to my home in Overveen (nr Zandvoort). It had a 1,293 Cooper S engine at the time. I think I tested it once at Zandvoort but never raced it. I sold it to Ecury. Wonderful to see it's still out there and looking lovely.

Trevor McIlroy
4 Dec 2010

re: XXC 818
The car is now stripped to a rolling shell, bodywork dismantled, panels prepare and primed. The body is to be re-sprayed in original colour OEW. There will be various modifications during the rebuild which I will up-date you with as we go along. If you can add the attached pictures to Gary's oringinal ones it may be of interest to other folk, how the car is progressing. I personally like to look at all the rebuilds to pick up tips from the modifications carried out. Merry Christmas. Trevor

Dermot Healey
Nov 2010

505 BZ and 52LPH
"My contact with Sebrings consisted of regularly looking at the lovely 52LPH in the early 60's, when I was an 11/12 year old, and it would sit in Joshua White's garage in Armagh when it was being rallied by Ronnie White. I think it was previously raced in the UK by Chris Williams? Some years later (1970ish) I came across the ex-Adrian Boyd 505 BZ in a very depressed state and encouraged a fellow student at QUB to buy it. I remember driving it back to Belfast against the sun with zero visibility through the horribly scored Perspex windscreen. Later I took on the task of bodgingh the brtakes and electrics to get the poor thing useable...of sorts. Nice to see that both 52LPH and 505 BZ survive. Best regards Dermot Healy.
Neil Anderson "I spotted in a recent issue of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car magazine that one of the '61 Works Cars recently came up for auction at the Mecum-Monterey auction in California. It was unsold at $50,000. An average selling price was said to be $17,500.  The car seems to have deteriorated since the photos I have were taken.  The value represented here is based on a regular production Bugeye Sprite, not the factory lightweight pictured here. This was part of Briggs Cunningham's 1961 assault on Sebring, where it finished 8th. According to documents, it was one of 4 that emerged from the experimental shop at Warwick where it was fitted with alloy doors and a fiberglass nose and rear body section. It was 'restored to perfection', which is merely opinion when the windshield surround needed replacement, the knock-offs had road rash, the paint on the hood (bonnet) was cracked, the right side number ring was cracked and lifting, and the rest of the exterior trim had tarnished. At least the bolt-in roll bar was present".

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