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1959 Austin Healey Frogeye Sprite Mk1

MAKEAustin
MODELHealey Frogeye Sprite Mk1
REGISTRATIONUER 252
ENGINE SIZE948
TRANSMISSIONManual
YEAR OF MANUFACTURE1959
CURRENT V5
COLOURRed
INTERIORBlack with red piping

1959 Austin Healey Frogeye Sprite Mk1

  • UK RHD all steel Mk 1
  • A 5 year restoration
  • Many new parts
  • Thousands spent
  • Current ownership for nearly a decade
  • Please scroll down the page past the video and to read a full description for this lot
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Description

  • UK RHD all steel Mk 1
  • A 5 year restoration
  • Many new parts
  • Thousands spent
  • Current ownership for nearly a decade

This delightful, cheeky-faced sports car offers more smiles-per-mile than you could ever imagine. Frugal, fast and fun, the Frogeye proves you don’t need to spend a lot of money on a car to have a lot of pleasure from it. This diminutive bundle of happiness is capable of providing far more enjoyment than many classics several times the size, and price. Here is your chance to join in the fun.

History overview

After retiring from a career as a “Planner and Survey Engineer” for a huge telecoms firm, our vendor acquired this Frogeye nearly a decade ago.

The Frogeye had undergone a previous very good restoration. The plan was for it to be a “small retirement project, that I was just going to tidy up”. Looking back now, after five years of very enjoyable labour, our vendor agrees; where he started and where he ended up are two very different places.

There are literally, pages and pages of invoices, all available on request. These come with nearly 700 before, during and after photos. As you can see, she is looking absolutely smashing.

Engine

The power unit in the Frogeye at the time of acquisition was a 1098cc unit. Although there was nothing wrong with that engine, out it came. Our vendor sourced a genuine 948cc Frogeye unit. Once he had that, he stripped it down and examined it all. We’ll just pause here for a wee bit. There is examining and examining. In one of the images you’ll see a micro-meter. That says it all.

A complete set of new shells were fitted along with a set of piston rings. At the top end the cylinder was stripped, checked, not found to wanting, it was re-assembled with just a re-lapping of the valves and seats.

Engines don’t come much simpler than this. With twin SU carbs fitted, it was good for around 45bhp. On the road, that raw data counts for nowt. The minimalist Frogeye weights just c600kg and combined with a low frontal area, it give this little sports car a performance that will take you by surprise.

Slip it into 1st gear and drop the clutch and she’s away! Before you know it, the little A-Series will be shouting at you to grab 2nd gear. As you drive up through the short-shift gearbox, glance down at the speedo and you’ll be hitting 50-55mph in no time and smiling all the way.

Swing up that lovely steel bonnet and you’ll see that everything nestling neatly in the engine bay looks spot-on. The care and attention to detail is clear for all to see.

Outside and underneath

The images do speak for themselves, nonetheless, we’ll cover a few bits.

The body had all the paint removed. It was then fully inspected. The previous restoration had held up well. The only areas that needed attention were a couple of small items of cosmetic corrosion on the outer sills. These were dealt with and made good. The body was then treated to a professional repaint. Invoices are in the file, please ask if you’d like to see them.

You can see from the images, the ‘bumpers’, wing mirrors; in fact all the bright work, is in good condition.

This classic Frogeye comes with a full weather kit, along with a hood, frame, tonneau cover and side screens. You’ll also see, from the very good images provided, that a couple of small repairs been undertaken to the hood and tonneau cover. They are “precautionary repairs”, where a natural fold occurs in the hood or cover. To be clear, as you can see from the images, the hood is in good condition.

You can also see the condition of the underside of the Frogeye. You’ll make you own mind up as to  how good that is.

Interior

There are sizable invoices in the file, from AH Spares for pretty much all the soft fittings inside the Frogeye. Carpets, with sound-deadening felt, seats, etc, were all done around five years ago. To our mind, they look just right now. Not overdone so as to look out of place, but still in fabulous condition.

Other information

We are running out of puff now, there is just so much!

A few period modifications, front disc brakes, servo, anti-roll bar and wire wheels helps make this car a pleasure to drive.

A new three-part clutch was installed when the engine came out. New brake calipers on the front were fitted. The old ones come with the Frogeye, along with a big box of spares. A complete “all the way through” stainless steel exhaust was fitted not long ago. That was circa £800!

A new radiator sits up front. There wasn’t any problems with the previous one, but our vendor just wanted to be sure.

Four new shock absorbers were fitted. We’re told there wasn’t anything wrong with the old ones though.

An anti-roll bar was fitted also. This makes the lively Frogeye even more fun through the bends. Staying with the suspension and drive train, you’ll note the springs and diff have been overhauled; again, invoices are available. New UJ’s were fitted to the prop-shaft. These were done recently too, “just in case”.

Inside, a new fuel gauge and rev counter – an option on early cars – were fitted. At the back end a new fuel tank, to be on the safe side, has been fitted, along with a new fuel pump.

You may by now be getting the theme of “just in case”. Our vendor is particular. He wanted to enjoy the classic without fear of any issues, and as recently as last month he was still fitting new parts, because he didn’t want the new owner to have any problems either. This is a good car!

Our view

There aren’t many classic cars than can touch the simplicity and purity of a Frogeye.

Weighing little more than half a ton, the classic Frogeye is amazingly agile and peppy. Steering is light and sharp, the brakes are positive and effective. The gearchange is precise and the Frogeye is a fun car to fly around in – and still return almost 40mpg.

This is the best and most well sorted Austin Healey Frogeye Sprites we’ve seen in a long time. With all the hard work done, the new owner can just jump in and enjoy.

As an all-steel, genuine right-hand-drive Mk1 example that’s had an awful lot spent on it over the years, it’s probably a safe place to put your money, too. As an aside, the reserve price probably won’t cover the five year rebuild costs on this Frogeye, in total, probably over £30,000, hey-ho.

In the last few years Frogeyes have been soaring in value. They have stabilised a little now. Not that this one is going to set you back a fortune, it has a very sensible reserve.

Our vendor is moving on this charming, superb Frogeye, so he can embark on another “small retirement project”!

 

Vehicle Location: Fermanagh, Northern Ireland – it’s the responsibility of the winning bidder to make collection / transportation arrangements directly with the vendor.

Have a question about this vehicle? Please contact the Evoke team at auction@evoke-classics.com and we will speak to the vendor on your behalf.

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