With fresh bright work, wire wheels, and a smart black hood and new carpets, this Austin Healey Sprite MK4 is a car which had no expense spared in its journey to become somebody’s most loved classic.
It has got a fantastic history and this Austin Healey Sprite MK4 could be YOURS, if you enter Lancaster Insurance Services latest FREE competition.
From project car to picture perfect
Prior to Lancaster Insurance Services snapping up this Sprite, the car had been owned by Kevin, who had bought the vehicle as a treat to himself for his 50th back in 2019. Like so many of us, the car wasn’t simply a car; it was a vessel in which to travel back in time to happier, carefree days. Kevin told us, rather cheekily, a vibrant youth was well spent in a previous Austin Healey Sprite and this one had seemed perfect for recapturing lost youth and fond memories.
As 2020 loomed and lockdown finally gave many of us an excuse to get those long-term project motors back onto the road, Kevin found his time diverted from TV and film extra work back to his garage and the Sprite got some real focus.
The car was in a bit of a sorry state but plenty of welding and new panels including a new sill, new bonnet and new boot got the project off to a good start. A plethora of other cosmetic jobs have been done including all bright work rechromed – not a cheap job! The car has been resprayed too and wire wheels and new tyres mean the car looks appealing before you’ve even popped the keys into the ignition.
A full no-expense-spared engine rebuild coupled with various other mechanical jobs such as new brakes, new master cylinder, competition brake hoses and various other perishable items changed and replaced make this a restoration which will hold its own for decades to come if looked after and cherished.
With a file brimming with paperwork inches thick, we’d be here for hours describing all the due care and attention applied to this restoration, but rest assured, from the recovered seats to the new wiring loom; the next owner of this vehicle is in for an absolute treat!
The driving experience
Steph Hoy, Lancaster Insurance’s Head of Car Club Liaison took the car for a spin and reported:
“After having driven an equal measure of bangers and well-built classics in my time, I’m well versed in the subtleties of noting a well built classic. As I moved through the gearbox on test, changes between gears were smooth and there was none of the ‘double declutch to avoid a crunch’ nonsense, the box was spot on.
The brakes were sharp and with discs to front and drums to rear, there is plenty of stopping power to accompany the 1275cc nestled under the bonnet. I put my foot down on test and found the engine to be lively and kept up with traffic. It also pulled well up the hills as I navigated the Yorkshire Moors on my rather spirited drive. Compression is good and the engine sounds absolutely spot on. There’s nothing to indicate there are problems with timing either – quite often you find older cars are let down by little things like this.
Sitting at around 4500rpm at 70, the car isn’t the quietest on test, but a late mid-century British built convertible isn’t going to be offering the ambiance of a modern SUV! I noted on test all gauges worked and the car ran to temperature perfectly. The only noise I noted which wasn’t from the purring engine was an errant tool in the boot which occasionally gave a dull bump as we navigated pot holes and speed bumps.
Ride and handling, all elements have been rebuilt and replaced. New polybushes all round have been a valuable investment. Purists will note that whilst the original seats have been recovered, the seats are the same shape/styling as factory fitment; so the ride is as ‘close’ to showroom spec as one might hope for.
This is a car that deserves to stay as is – modernisation could really take away from how special it is but worthy investments to take this to the next level might be the addition of some sound deadening, the heater blower plumbing in and a five-speed box putting in for longer road trips. However, these are all small details and more of a ‘nice to have’ than an essential.
In short, this is a car which was built for keeps by a mechanic with decades of experience and it shows. Whoever wins this car will find there are miles of smiles to be had and with a folder inches thick with valuable paperwork, there is a history as vibrant as the paintwork.”
WIN this Austin Healey Sprite MK4
Keen to win this car? There are two different FREE ways to enter:
Visit Lancaster Insurance Services stand in Hall 5 at the Practical Classics Restoration Show with Discovery+ where this beautiful car on display. Speak to one of our agents and they’ll be able to go through the online form with you.
Or simply head to Lancaster Insurance – competitions and fill out the online form there – good luck!
Find more info:
Join the club:
Austin Healey Club