The engine on these cars was revolutionary! 16 valve Alloy head 127 BHP, 0-60 mph in 7.6 seconds, looked cool in red with the black vinyl roof.
The inside was also good, lots of real wood and instruments and switches with adjustable steering wheel and twin headlights and fog lamps up front.
Really shocked some of the so called "fast cars" around the time I had it. Like a bunch of lads in a Renault Fuego at traffic lights, scoffing at my "old rust bucket" while they were still scoffing, my blue smoke made them choke as the limited-slip diff, on the live rear axle, sat the Sprint back and I took off like a banshee.
It wasn't just the power, it was the control, but this was at a heavy cost in money, time and effort! The "revolutionary engine" had too many valves in it for the amount of alloy in the cylinder head, even when I was careful after the first warp, being gentle when cold, it still warped within 6-12 months, needing a head-skim and a new head gasket each time. luckily I was able to do the repairs myself, so the cost wasn't astronomical, but still a real pain!
That's not to mention the handling and inadequate brakes, constant failing suspension bushes didn't help at all, all that power needed the back-up of good handling, which was not there unless you had the time and money to keep tweaking and fixing the brakes and suspension.
I had a very unusual thing happen with this car, a big bang then a noise like there was a hole in the engine. Fearing the engine had blown, and unable to see anything in the dark, I called the AA. The AA guy took a look under the bonnet, and came back smiling, I was not amused as I thought the engine was shot, he handed me a sparkplug that was hollow? He replaced it and the car ran fine, what a relief!
On the plus side, when this car was up to it, it was a joy to drive, I loved it, the twin carbs and K&N air filter made a sound like it's name.
I was in a hurry at dawn one morning, no traffic around, I was flagged down in Haverfordwest town centre by a policeman, I thought I was in for a speeding fine, he said "Nice car" I looked at him sheepishly and he said "Do me a favour, at least keep it down to fifty?" and waved me off, we were both grinning!
The car had to go the third time the head warped, I just couldn't put up with the the unreliability, I scrapped it! I had a TR7 as well you see, but that's another story.