1961 Austin-Healey Sprite Bugeye
1961 Austin-Healey Sprite Mk I "Bugeye"
- Final Year of the Bugeye
- Texas Car
- Red over Black
- 55k Original Miles
- Upgraded 1098cc from a 1964
- Drives Awesome
(Please note: If you happen to be viewing this 1961 Austin Healey Sprite MkI Bugeye on a website other than our Garage Kept Motors site, it's possible that you've only seen some of our many photographs of this vehicle due to website limitations. To be sure you access all the more than 150 photographs, please go to our main website: GarageKeptMotors.)
“A cheeky chappie that gives you more smiles per mile than any other sportster, the Bugeye is still fun at 50.” Classic Motoring; “Crazy Frog” Bugeye Sprite review, 5/4/11
There's an elemental driving purity to an Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite. The absence of flash, unnecessary adornment, and pop-up headlights(in favor of those iconic “bug eyes”) was more than made up for by responsive handling and seat-of-the-pants feel. Classic Motoring described it this way: “Weighing little more than half a ton the Sprite is amazingly agile and zippy. Steering is light and sharp the un-servoed brakes are positive and effective if in good order. The gear-change is reasonably precise and the (Bugeye) is a fun car to punt around - and still return almost 40mpg. Thanks to a surprisingly rigid bodyshell the handling was way ahead of its time and – thanks to quarter-elliptic rear springs (it) handles even better than later (models), plus suffers less from axle tramp, although ride is always a little hard. In terms of civility, the (Sprite) has virtually nil, while boot space is only accessed from the cockpit. But for the purist, that's all part of the car's charm.”
The Bugeye offered here is among the last of the Mark I Sprites. Originally a Texas car, it has traveled just 55,000 miles, an average of under 1,000 mile per year. The car's condition evidences well above average owner care through the years. Lovely in red over black, the beauty of the car's simple lines is easy to appreciate. The condition of the paint is bright and shiny, and chrome trim is similarly well maintained. The red-painted metal wheels with chrome hubcaps are the height of simplicity, and the classic “Bugeye face” is as engaging as can be. (There's a reason the model starred in the Disney hit movie “Cars.”) The engine bay is tidy and nicely displays the upgraded 1098cc engine transplanted from a 1964 car. Interior touches include the raised, painted base of the floor mounted four-speed shifter, fixed-height side windows, spartan door storage bins, straightforward Smiths gauges, and the “Austin Healey Sprite” logo center-located on the sport steering wheel.
We are always impressed when owners have kept good records and held onto original literature and repair manuals for cars of this era, as is the case with this Bugeye Sprite. Of course, the best way to fully assess the car's overall condition is an in-person visit, which we are happy to arrange by appointment. That said, the more than 150 photographs and the short walk-around video available on the GarageKeptMotors site are the next best thing.
When it comes to living with a Bugeye Sprite, Classic Motoring found the little cars a pleasure for collectors to own: “There isn't much that isn't available new for the Sprite…. What isn't available new is generally available second-hand. Running costs are also very low and it's hard to get fuel consumption below 40mpg…. Insurance should be cheap too, so what are you waiting for?”
We have to echo that last question.