1959 AUSTIN HEALEY SPRITE EX FACTORY(works) RALLY CAR
AUSTIN HEALEY SPRITE (WORKS) ANNO 1959
FIA RACE car GT – 1E – GTP 1000
Recently redone, completerly rebuilt by a professional Italian classic and race cars.
Following ownership, it passed through some owners including Mr.L. Grandori, who raced in important historical event as “Mugello”, “Coppa Intereuropa” and Donington event year 1982 as evidenced by book publication “SPRIDGETS” by Chris Harvey.
Designed to be used both as full race and legal road.
This car has been update to current race spec, using leatest P.May engineering and MED engineering parts.
- Perfect heritage shell with fiber glass body.
- Ribbed case 4 speed gearbox.
- OBP pedal box triple cylinder with remote adjuster mounting hardware.
- Alloy rocker cover.
- Aeroquip hoses.
- Panhard rod kit
- Front damper top link kit.
- Uprated adjustable rear lever arm.
- Alloy rose jointed.
- Nylatron bushes.
- Front disc with Pagid RS pads.
- Aluminium water radiator.
- Oil cooler.
- Filled race tank.
- Facet fuel pump.
- Plumbed in fire extinguisher and Fia homologated Harness.
- Kent 544 camshaft.
- Front coil spring 400lb
- Full roll cage FIA Omol.
- Vintage race seats.
- 4 R&R Alloys wheels 5×13 with semi slick legal road tires.
- Weber carbs 45 DCOE
- Quick release steering wheel boss.
An Austin Healey Sprite with a great desire to run.
Source: December 30, 2018 | by Paolo Mazzetti
Prepared by Austin Healey to win in rallies, during his long career this Sprite has also raced on the track and in the time trials. After an intense past, punctuated by various elaborations and some road accidents, today it is undergoing restoration and is looking forward to running again.
A light, nice, spartan and cheap roadster: launched in 1958, the Sprite – immediately known as Frog Eye (frog eyes, due to the headlights protruding on a mask that looks like a smiling mouth) – was immediately a success. It was the second model, after the 100, to be marketed under the Austin Healey brand, the result of the agreement between BMC, British Motor Corporation, and Donald Healey. But if the vast majority of the Sprites were intended for a young audience, some chassis (as on all British sports cars of the time, the chassis was separated from the bodywork) passed from the Donald Healey Motor Company, Cape Works, to Warwick, and from the BMC Competition Departmentad Abingdon, where the famous MG “works” had come from and where a few years later the even more successful Mini racing bikes would have come to life.
Prepared by the House. This is the fate of the Frog Eye protagonist of our service which, in 1959, was destined to compete in rallies: it is a “works” (literally factory, workshop), a term that the British use to indicate an official car of the House built for competitions. Instead of the standard 948 cm³ engine, a slightly larger one was mounted on this Sprite, with a displacement of 976 cm³ which declares its destination, i.e. the rallies, while those destined for the track had a 998 cm³ engine.
Designed for racing.
Compared to the standard model, the care of Donald Healey and his team included enlarged valves, lightened flywheel, polishing and balancing of various components, as well as the adoption of a Weber 45 DCOE double-body carburettor: all for a power of about 102 CV, against 43 in the standard version. The BMC Competition Department enrolled its Sprites in the major competitions of those years, with several successes, including that obtained by John Sprinzel and Willy Cave at the Alpine Rally in 1958.
In Italy he ends up in excellent hands.
Luca Grandori, creator and editor of countless magazines, including Dove, Gulliver, Carnet, Qui Touring, Autocar and Autocapital, first bought it in England and brought it to Italy in the 1980s, in order to participate in competitions for gentlemen drivers. magazine dedicated to the “luxury” of the automobile. Just as he was at the helm of Autocapital, Grandori imported his Sprite. To have it restored and prepared, Grandori was not satisfied with just any workshop. Thanks to the friendship with Giuseppe Lucchini, the owner of the Scuderia Italia, who in those years made his debut in Formula 1 as a BMS builder, Brixia Motor Sport (with Dallara chassis and Ford-Cosworth engines), the Frog Eye was brought to Brescia and then entrusted to the expert hands of the team led by Remo Ramanzini to the Mirabella Mille Miglia, where the F1 cars were prepared.
He runs on the track and in the time trials. Restoration and preparation took place under the direct supervision of British Motor Heritage and BMC Special Tuning. Unfortunately, all the abundant documentation relating to the construction and sporting past of this specimen, used for the first restoration, was subsequently lost. Unchanged in the bodywork, the car was completely redone in mechanics, allowing Grandori to make a good impression both on the track and uphill. After Grandori sold it, the Sprite underwent a couple of passages until 2008, when it was purchased by a well-known driver in the world of time trials for historic cars, Giorgio Taglietti. As a first problem, the doctor from Brescia had to solve that of the renewal of the Fiche for competitions. The car possessed an FIA CSAI identity card issued in 1984, which homologated the car as GTS 1000 of the period E.
However, the regulations in the meantime had changed and the car was completely restored in mechanics, only with original parts. The only substantial change concerned the roll-bar, of a type no longer approved; to house a new one, Taglietti had to modify the hard-top by raising it. Later, taking into account that in uphill races, unlike rallies, it is more convenient to race with the car open, a second single-seater roll-bar was installed behind the driver. As for the bodywork, the entire interior and luggage compartment, the underbody and the engine compartment were cleaned and sandblasted, restoring the details that appeared deteriorated and reinforcing some welds; everything was then painted in the original color, Royal Mail Red, while the car exterior was kept in its original condition, in order not to lose the patina of time and use.
He will be back on track soon.
With his Sprite, Giorgio Taglietti won in 2014 the Italian Championship of the GT 1-E-GTP 1000 class, where GT indicates the cars of the Gran Turismo category, P stands for Prototype and E the construction period, from 1947 to 1961. Unfortunately, in 2015, the Sprite suffered serious damage in a crash that occurred at the Cesana-Sestriere time trial. The new owner is undergoing a laborious repair and restoration.