Intended to make sports car motoring more affordable, the Donald Healey-designed Sprite entered production at MG’s Abingdon factory in March 1958. The new car was officially introduced a few months later in Monte Carlo, just prior to the Monte Carlo Rally, underlining this brand new car’s sporting intentions. Its unitary construction body shell featured a distinctive, rearward-hinging, combined bonnet and wings, which was topped by two ‘frog eye’ headlamps, thus ensuring instant recognition and the now familiar nickname.
Powered initially by the Austin A35’s 948cc A-Series engine, the Sprite used independent front suspension and rack-and-pinion steering, ensuring great roadholding. Equipped with twin SU carburetors, the engine produced 43bhp, which was good enough for a top speed of around 86mph. Despite a Spartan equipment level – even the front bumper was listed as an extra! – the ‘Frog Eye’ sold well, which perhaps was unsurprising as there was nothing competing with it either on price or performance.
This delightful matching numbers Frogeye was originally delivered to Belgium, in 1958, and as such is one of the first delivered. The Sprite has been the recipient of a body-off restoration and still presents very well, complete with the correct soft-top, tonneau and side-screens. This cherry red “pocket rocket” drives very well with a sweet sounding and enthusiastic engine. We are sure this little Sprite will be a fun summer companion for a very sensible outlay.