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 carburettors, 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.
Alexander Engineering was renowned in the 1950s and 1960s for converting popular models into racing cars in limited numbers. Extensive performance modifications include a tuned engine producing 64 bhp, a close ratio gearbox and a Weber carburettor. For this reason, the Alexander tuned Sprite can only be compared somewhat aesthetically to the standard model. Highlights include adjustable shock absorbers, a dual exhaust system, wider wheels and an original Sebring steering wheel compliment the car and subtly hint at the increased efficacy of the vehicle. The very unique Alexander hardtop is perhaps the greatest superficial clue that this is no ordinary Sprite- this can be removed, leaving just the “aero” screens in place for an immersive driving experience.
Coys are delighted to present this exceptionally rare original 1959 Alexander-tuned Austin Healey Sprite. The current owner bought the vehicle in 1975 from Sweden and has kept it dry stored for approximately 40 years. Since 2009 it has not been driven on public roads, and the odometer reads just over 29,000 kilometres- remarkable for a 60 year old car. This special example is the first of its type to be offered for years, and comes with Swedish license number “CAD 087”. With just three known worldwide, this is an atypical opportunity to own a piece of motoring history and should not be missed.