Classifieds Find: 1965 Sprinzel Sebring Sprite

The Sprinzel Sebring Sprite was one of the most successful Austin Healey Sprite conversions ever. Starting in 1959, BMC debuted three modified Austin Healey Sprites at Sebring in Florida. Utilising the skills of British Rally Car Champion John Sprinzel, who owned Speedwell Conversions, these Sprites utilised prototype Dunlop disc brakes, larger twin SU carbs and special twin plate clutches. They proved a potent package finishing first, second and third in class.

In 1961 BMC decided to sell its London based conversion operations to Sprinzel who then formed John Sprinzel Racing. He continued to develop the alloy based Sprites, launching his Williams & Pritchard alloy bodied Sprinzel Sebring Sprite coupe at the 1961 Racing Car Show in London. The striking coupe was well received and went on to achieve homologation status with the FIA. Six were built with two raced by Stirling Moss and his sister Pat Moss at Sebring in 1961.

Other notable Sebring Sprite racers were Bruce McLaren and Ian Walker. The Sebring Sprite proved a popular low cost GT for private racers, outperforming many other cars in its class, despite its more basic production car origins. And it continues to be a popular GT conversion choice today.

Offered for sale is a recreation of the famous Sprinzel Sebring Sprite. Utilising a 1965 MG Midget platform and an Archers Garage Sebring Conversion Kit, it is described as a faithful evocation of WJB 707, the Sebring Sprite raced by Stirling and Pat Moss and later by Ian Walker. This Sebring Sprite conversion has a rebuilt Sprite engine which has been bored out to 1,275cc and has been converted for unleaded petrol. The body shell has been completely stripped and finished in Jaguar Opalescent Gunmetal Grey. Both the gearbox and differential were rebuilt by Universal Tranmissions and a new clutch has been added. Other works included rebuilt carbs and suspension, refurbished wire wheels with new tyres and an FIA Design approved roll cage. The interior has been also been renewed with period seats and new carpet.

We have to say this Sebring Sprite looks stunning. Gunmetal grey is a great colour on most cars, but on this Sprinzel Sebring Sprite it looks superb. The MG Midget conversion appears to have been done to a very high standard, helped by the fact that a John Sprinzel approved Archer Garage Kit has been used. The freshly trimmed red interior looks fantastic, working really well with the grey paint job. The seats looks supportive and comfortable and the Mota Lita steering wheel really sets of the rest of the interior. The engine bay looks clean and fresh, as you would expect from a full rebuild. We expect this twin carb 1275cc engine will help this little Sprite fly.

It really is amazing how much of a transformation Sprinzel’s design had on the Sprite. He took a fun, cheeky little car and made it into a purposeful racer, giving the Frog Eye the power its road going owners craved. The coupe look was an amazing transformation and we actually think it looks like a smaller Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato. It would be dwarfed parked next to a DB4 GT Zagato but this would only help enhance its feisty upstart looks. Looks aside, this Sprinzel Sebring Sprite would be a superb choice for historic rallying or hill climb events.

Incidentialy WJB 707, the actual Sebring Sprite raced by Sir Stirling Moss, Pat Moss and Ian Walker is coming up for sale at H&H Auctions on the 15th April. With an estimate of between £80,000 – £100,000 this historic Sprite is out of reach for most. This is what therefore makes this particular Sebring Sprite evocation all the more appealing. At £19,950 it is all of the fun at a fraction of the outlay. We’d love to see how this Sprite drives and handles and you can bet it would be an awful lot of fun!

This Sprinzel Sebring Sprite is located in Strensham in Worcester and is offered for sale by Retro Marques. The asking price is £19,950.

More details can be found here on Retro Marques website.

See our other feature for a rather nice 1958 Austin Healey Sprite

The GPBox Vintage Car Memorabilia Collection


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