Austin Healey Sprite Reviews

1958 Austin Healey Sprite Frogeye / Bugeye 948cc from North America

Model year1958
Year of manufacture1958
First year of ownership1997
Most recent year of ownership2007
Engine and transmission 948cc Manual
Performance marks 4 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 2 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 2 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
3.3 / 10
Distance when acquired60000 miles
Most recent distance65000 miles

Summary:

A great little sports car

Faults:

Complete restoration to original specs. All components rebuilt or replaced with quality new parts. No serious problem since. Still leaks fluids of all kinds though.

General Comments:

This is a very sweet little sport car of a past era, when cars were light weight and simple. Makes people smile.

It's very fun to drive, especially on curvy roads with good pavement. It handles like a go-kart. The handling actually improves the harder you drive it. Little power makes momentum preservation the driving style of choice. Great predictable over-steer makes you feel like Fangio.

Uphill performance limited by the 43bhp engine.

Engine is okay for its size. Original smooth case transmission is not great; slow gearshift required, noisy in 1st, and can't keep oil inside. Upgrades are available, but I want to keep my car original.

Comfort is not part of the game. Only a soap box can be more basic. Hard to get in. Upright seat not great for the back.

4 drum brakes and no safety feature whatsoever, so you've got to drive this very conservatively in the traffic.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th July, 2007

1963 Austin Healey Sprite MkIIA 1.1 from Australia and New Zealand

Model year1963
Year of manufacture1963
First year of ownership1966
Most recent year of ownership1968
Engine and transmission 1.1 Manual
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 2 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.0 / 10
Distance when acquired34216 miles
Most recent distance58000 miles
Previous carAustin Healey Buick Roadmaster 1947

Faults:

Clutch plate

Pressure plate

Gearbox

These were replaced at 34516 miles.

King pins replaced at 51022 miles. A terrible job as they freeze in the A-frames and cannot be removed. Very costly.

Big end bearings replaced at 58000 miles.

General Comments:

A great fun little car in its day. I bought it at age 23 and we went on our honeymoon from Sydney to North Queensland in it. Handled really well compared to other cars of the era, but really needed the anti-roll bar at the front. Even then, I can remember that if it was going to break away in the corners, it would go into a front wheel slide first.

GREAT fun, especially as this one has the sliding windows and you could remove them on a hot day and get loads of air in without burning the head off with the roof down in summer.

Great girl-catcher, but then I was engaged when we bought it. All the girls really liked it.

If you're going to have a car like this, get it while you're young. Don't wait until the second childhood because it just looks bad.

Very glad I had the car at the time and have fond memories in spite of the unreliability of BMC and high cost of parts (at the time). The only other car I had which came close was a Fiat 128SL (better, but not a convertible).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 13th September, 2006

1962 Austin Healey Sprite 948cc from North America

Year of manufacture1962
First year of ownership2002
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 948cc Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 6 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 0 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.0 / 10
Distance when acquired68000 miles
Most recent distance76000 miles
Previous carAustin Healey Sprite

Summary:

Low cost vintage fun

Faults:

Transmission is weak and have to replaced often.

General Comments:

Aftermarket very strong lots of parts for this car, and they are not very expensive to rebuild.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th December, 2002

1969 Austin Healey Sprite 1.3 from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1969
First year of ownership2001
Most recent year of ownership2001
Engine and transmission 1.3 Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
9.0 / 10
Distance when acquired91000 miles
Most recent distance92000 miles
Previous carAudi Coupe

Summary:

Cheap taxfree 35mpg fun, with no boring roof

Faults:

Nothing has gone wrong yet! I have just bought the car and it is an absolute gem, it's very original.

General Comments:

The car has had a vast amount of money spent on it before I bought it (£4000 in 3 years) and everything seems to work OK. I get lots of envious looks driving around in a small flashy red sports car.

The mechanicals couldn't be easier to work on, lots of support from local clubs etc, and spare parts are a lot cheaper than for the Audi I had before.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th July, 2001

15th Aug 2001, 10:04

I have now had the car for two months and done 4500 miles, nothing serious has gone wrong, except the throttle spring broke, 25p to replace it.

It is now giving 40mpg and will sit on the motorway at 85mph all day.

Still fun and still funky.

27th Nov 2001, 08:08

A 1966 'MkIII' 1098cc Sprite was nearly my first car, bought in 1972. My actual first was a dangerous, brief and expensive 1/4 share in a clapped out MkVII Jag with some school mates. The Sprite was a revelation after that and it spoiled me. I thought all cars had near perfect front/rear balance and could be safely slid sideways by a learner. It was certainly more chuckable than the Jaguar. The Sprite was a lively, simple, cheap to run car for a young driver. The only downside was the feebleness of the Armstrong lever arm shocks. The front ones were constantly needing rebuilding, and I don't think the back ones ever worked at all. But for buzzing around the good South Australian roads with the foot flat for as long as you dared, it must still be a hard car to beat. There are still a lot around, driven by grinning drivers, which says it all.

Average review marks: 6.1 / 10, based on 4 reviews