1959 Austin Healey Bug-Eye

Photographed in November 2018 at Richmonds, South Australia

3y ago

More commonly called the Bug-Eye in the US, these sweet little Austin-Healey Sprites actually have quite an outstanding Motor Racing history despite their frugal specification.

Powered by a 948cc in-line 4 Cylinder mated to a 4-speed manual box, these babies produce a whole 43hp! Yep - Forty-Three!

The complete absence of weight means a top speed of 133km/h, and surprisingly sporty performance.

To give you an idea of the scale of the Bug-Eye, they are 2 feet shorter and 300 pounds lighter than a VW Beetle from the 1960's.

Produced from 1958 through to 1971, the Sprite was also known as the "Frogeye" in UK.

48.987 Sprites were built, and the fixed headlights which so defined the model came about as part of a cost-cutting exercise which eliminated the original design of pop-ups!

Sprites won or placed in numerous races including Class wins in the 1958 Alpine Rally and the 1959 Sebring 12-Hour. Many owners still race their Sprites in club events.

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Comments (2)

  • So simple, yet very beautiful!

      3 years ago
    • When I was a teenager, a pal had one of these with a Lotus-Cortina motor in it! It was a monster, I couldn't catch it on my Honda 750... And it handled like a go-kart too! Very cool little car.

        3 years ago