Sprite Model Overview
"I'm looking for a Sprite, and I need some advice."
This is a request that we frequently receive from new members who have joined the club to learn more before purchasing their first Sprite. First of all, that's a wise move, to join the club and learn as much as possible before spending thousands of dollars on a recreational car. Congratulations, you are already on the right track!
At this point, more than anything else you need information, and providing information is probably the most important thing that this club does. We want to give you information, and steer you towards more, in your efforts to learn before making the purchase decision.
Selecting a recreational car can be a joy and pleasure, but it can also be a source of doubt and stress. The good news is, whichever model of Sprite you do choose, you will own a classic and handsome car that can give you tremendous satisfaction and enjoyment.
The information presented here represents knowledge that has been gained only after many years of experience. It can save you much time and much money, and it can help to insure enjoyable ownership of these classic British sports cars. In that regard, perhaps the single best piece of advice we can offer is this: Buy the best Sprite you can afford. The cost of an extensive restoration far exceeds the price of even the top examples available. Unless you specifically want a "project," you will be far better off buying a well-preserved or already-restored Sprite.
Additionally, although you can save money by performing much of any needed restoration or repairs yourself, most people greatly underestimate the time, skills and costs required for a do-it-yourself restoration or repair. Unless you have ample time, patience, facilities, tools, skills and experience, it is generally inadvisable to take on such a project. Buying a good Sprite - not a "project" - will also help to insure that you can begin driving and enjoying your Sprite right away, and isn't that the whole point?
Now then, in the broadest terms, Sprites come in just two varieties:
- The "Bugeyes" built 1958-60 - they're in a class by themselves.
- The "box Sprites" - so-called because of their squarish, angular body design - these are all the rest of the Sprites, cars that were built 1961-71 contemporaneously with their twin, the MG Midget.
The following links lead to more detailed descriptions of the individual models.
- Austin-Healey Sprite ("Bugeye")
- Austin-Healey Sprite Mark II
- Austin-Healey Sprite Mark III
- Austin-Healey Sprite Mark IV
- Austin-Healey Sprite Mark V and Austin Sprite
Whichever model of Sprite you do decide to purchase, you will own a very satisfying and enjoyable car that gives pride of owning an important part of automotive history, and that opens doors to camaraderie among fellow enthusiasts and club members from around the world. The Austin-Healey Club USA is dedicated to helping you to become a member of the community of Austin-Healey enthusiasts, and to helping you keep your Sprite on the road for a very long time to come. The staff of the Austin-Healey Club USA remains available and anxious to assist members in every possible way throughout your ownership. Please call on us.
Sprite Overview Conclusion
This brief overview should be only one part of your learning process. Here are some more suggestions for adding to your knowledge before making the purchase decision:
Join clubs. The Austin-Healey Club USA is, first and foremost, an "information resource." If you have not already joined we encourage you to do so. You can join online using your Visa or MasterCard, or you can print an application and mail it to us with your check. We also recommend that you join a local club if there is one in your area, and don't overlook multi-marque clubs that include more than one British marque. Your small membership fees will be some of the best investments you can make on the road to Sprite ownership.
Attend British car events. In addition to the clubs, British car events offer additional opportunities to meet people who are already owners, some of whom will probably have just recently gone through the buying process themselves. Many owners are happy to talk about ownership and will gladly go over their car with someone who is interested in becoming a Sprite owner. Additionally, talking to the owner of a car that is not for sale will help to guarantee that you get honest opinions about the car in general, local mechanics, local clubs, etc.
Read. The Austin-Healey Club USA offers a wide variety of books on Austin-Healeys at discount prices for Club members. You can save more than the amount of your club dues as you build your Healey library. A list of available books is included in the New Member Packet sent to each new member, and a copy is also included with the September-October issue of Austin-Healey Magazine each year. You may also obtain a list by contacting the Membership Information Officer (his contact information is in each issue of Austin-Healey Magazine).
Whichever model of Sprite you do decide to purchase, you will own a very satisfying and enjoyable car that gives pride of owning an important part of automotive history, and opens doors to camaraderie among fellow enthusiasts and Club members from around the world. The Austin-Healey Club USA is dedicated to helping you to become a member of the community of Austin-Healey enthusiasts, and to helping you keep your Sprite on the road for a very long time to come. The staff of the Austin-Healey Club USA remains available and anxious to assist members in every possible way throughout your ownership. Please call on us.