Lot 310

Dare to Dream Collection

1960 Austin-Healey Sprite Mk I


$35,000 - $40,000 USD  | Offered Without Reserve

Canada | Toronto, Ontario



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Chassis No.
AN5L 43205
Body No.
BAE 47705
Canadian Registration
To be offered on Saturday, 1 June 2024
  • The charming and nimble “Bugeye” Sprite, beautifully restored
  • Numerous desirable mechanical upgrades, for ultimate performance from this model
  • One of the finest available for driving enjoyment; award-winner in previous ownership
Please note, this lot is registered in Canada and import duty will be applicable to all countries outside of Canada, including the United States. RM Sotheby’s will assist buyers with importation and for residents of the USA, in obtaining a US title.

Austin-Healey’s Sprite was the introduction of a generation of enthusiasts to sports car ownership: an inexpensive, very simple little roadster, that was basically scarcely more than a metal tub with a small four-cylinder engine—which was, of course, a considerable part of its magic. There was not much engine, but there was not much to move, either, and the result was a quick, buzzy little roadster that was a thrill to run. It was, as the ads claimed, a “sassy little brother” to the Austin-Healey 100/6, which “sets a new high in 948cc performance.”

According to its British Motor Industry Heritage Trust certificate, which is on file, this particular Sprite was built on 14 July 1960, finished in Old English White with Black trim, and equipped with front bumpers, windshield washers, tachometer, European-specification headlamps, laminated windshield, and heater. The completed Sprite was dispatched four days after its construction to the original selling dealer in Dusseldorf, Germany.

By 1996 the car had made its way to Canada and was acquired by collector Robert Maitland of Alberta, in whose ownership it was fully and properly restored, invoices for which are included in the file. This work included bodywork by the noted Coachwerks, with extensive proper metal repair; the current body number, it should be noted, does not correspond to the BMIHT Certificate. A 1,275-cubic-centimeter engine was built by British Cars International of Calgary, including a block bored 0.040” over, Omega forged pistons, Swintune Stage 3 Road Rocket cylinder head, Titan roller rockers, and other performance modifications, with the specification sheet noting “engine should produce 115 bhp @ flywheel – 95 bhp @ rear wheels.” Compare that to the original 24 bhp at the flywheel of the stock Bugeye engine, and one gets an idea of the impressive performance of this little machine. Matching the power was a Frontline T9 five-speed gearbox, Swiftune electronic ignition, an alternator in lieu of the stock generator, heavy-duty shocks and sway bars, later Sprite-style front disc brakes, and Panasport wheels.

The completed Sprite, resplendent in Leaf Green with rich dark green interior, received Best Debuting Restoration at the All British Field Meet in Vancouver in 2008, and in the coming years continued to be shown and driven by Mr. Maitland, at one point completing a 750-mile rally into the northern parts of Vancouver Island. It was acquired for the Dare to Dream Collection in 2019, and still appears in excellent overall condition throughout—a Sprite that is spritely, indeed, and surely a thrill to exercise and show.