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Thread: Sebring Sprite

Discuss the Austin Healey Sprite and the MG Midget. Two different but similar cars sometimes referred to collectively as the Spridget.

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    Great Pumpkin aeronca65t's Avatar
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    Sebring Sprite

    This car (displayed last weekend at Thompson Speedway) is an actual, factory Sebring Sprite.

    What's interesting is that cars with this sort of provenance are often displayed in better condition than when they were new.
    But not this one; it appeared "as raced". Which was sort of neat.





    Also, here's Ray Stone's SCCA multi-championship Bugeye. He bought it 1959 when he was in high school and began racing it almost right away. And is still racing it 55 years later. Ray is still super fast with only one or two of the 1275 cars able to stay with him (he's running a 948).



    Finally, here's my friend Pete trying really, really hard at Thompson last weekend. Thankfully, he saved it.

    All my photos and videos from the Thompson weekend here---> https://vintageracer.tripod.com/thompson-2014.html


    Nial's #909 Spridget
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    Yoda Boink's Avatar
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    Re: Sebring Sprite

    Wow... ol' 55 looks lucky! Terrific shot!!!
    - Mark

    Former 1956 Austin Healey 100-4 (BN2)
    Former 1962 Mk1 Austin Mini (850)
    Former 1973 Austin Mini (really a 1980s Cooperized Mini)
    Present 1959 Austin Healey "Bugeye" Sprite (with 1275, 5 speed, discs, etc)

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    Obi Wan
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    Re: Sebring Sprite

    Just piles of drool here. Fantastic photos and videos.

    Again, it seems your car isn't as fast on the straightaways as the others, but it sure catches them in the corners.

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    Re: Sebring Sprite

    Thanks for the pics, Niall. Great to see that Sebring Bugeye still on the track.

    And I can't imagine still running the same car 55 years later. Heck, I'm not even running the same cars I had last year!
    Drew Frink
    '59 RHD Frogeye Sprite - "Penny" under restoration
    '66 RHD Morris Minor - "Maggie"
    '70 RHD MGB
    '06 Triumph Bonneville T100

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    Yoda HealeyRick's Avatar
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    Re: Sebring Sprite

    Niall,

    Do you have any more info on the Sebring Sprite? What year it ran at Sebring (would have to be '59 or '60 as the '61s had a fiberglass bonnet) who were the drivers. etc?
    Rick

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    Great Pumpkin aeronca65t's Avatar
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    Re: Sebring Sprite

    Rick: I really wish I had paid more attention to that car. There were a bunch of folks around it talking about its significance but I never got any details. If I hear any other info about it, I'll let you know.

    Nial's #909 Spridget
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    Yoda
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    Re: Sebring Sprite

    That's great stuff, Nial! Makes me want to try vintage racing. I will be at RA in a couple of weeks to cheer on our local BE racer and pump him with question's on getting into the sport. What would you say is a bottom dollar annual cost. Not counting the car, I think I can get that cost pretty close.

    Kurt.
    65,66 Midget
    57 Berkeley, MGA
    Working on quality rather than quantity

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    Great Pumpkin aeronca65t's Avatar
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    Re: Sebring Sprite

    Kurt:

    In my area, entry fees are around $300 to $400 per weekend. Hotel rooms plus food is similar in cost.

    So, last weekend at Thompson probably cost me close to $1000 if you include tolls, gas etc.

    I run around 8 events per year so you can see what my basic cost is. That does not include car repair, tires (for race car, trailer and tow van), spare parts, tools, etc.

    I probably *just* touch five figures per year to run my 8 events assuming no big repairs.

    Around every 3rd year I usually need a pretty major engine rebuilt plus clutch and stuff like that. That can easily go around $2000 even if I just have my machine shop do the boring/grinding/etc. and then things assemble myself.

    (I hope my wife doesn't read this!)

    Keep in mind I'm a "mid-pack" hobby racer with modest setup and no hopes (or real interest) in "leading the pack". I have friends who spend 10 times what I do.
    On the other hand I have a buddy who supports his entire racing budget by selling stuff on craigslist. If he doesn't sell stuff (mostly used MGB parts), he doesn't race. Last year he raced one more event than me and he will probably do the same this year.

    In other areas of the country, entry fees are cheaper and of course, a lot of racers camp out at the track instead of using hotels. That can save a lot.

    Nial's #909 Spridget
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    Re: Sebring Sprite

    Quote Originally Posted by aeronca65t View Post

    Keep in mind I'm a "mid-pack" hobby racer with modest setup and no hopes (or real interest) in "leading the pack". I have friends who spend 10 times what I do. .

    Kurt, it's not a car race, it's an arms race.

    From what I've seen, it's a race to see who can spend the most time and money in a season. The team I was on always won and we always spent the most time and money; I'm sure that's no coincidence.

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    Yoda
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    Re: Sebring Sprite

    Thanks guys....I suppose that middle of the pack hobby racing can have a tendency to escalate! I would have to read up on the rule's. I figured that they would limit expenditure.

    In my youth I raced motorcycles mainly because it was a cheap way to race. That and dirt tracks were far more available to us. At that time I considered myself as a consistent 4th place finisher. Among our group we decided that you couldn't beat "cubic buck's". Didn't matter what the other guy had for an engine just how much he had in his bill fold!

    Sure looks like a fun way to spend a week-end. If I lived closer I'd volunteer to be part of your pit crew, Nial.

    Kurt.
    65,66 Midget
    57 Berkeley, MGA
    Working on quality rather than quantity

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    Great Pumpkin aeronca65t's Avatar
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    Re: Sebring Sprite

    I did motorcycle enduro too. Had a Can-Am, a Montessa, a Honda 250, a Suzuki 250 a KDX 200 (the best!) and others. After I hit 40 it took me two weeks to recover from an enduro weekend so quit and flew ultralights instead.
    I ran a lot of the famous ones including the Jack Pine Enduro, The Sandy Lane Enduro and The Meteor. My brother ran The Alligator Enduro in Fla.

    I'd really suggest you attend an autocross (even just to watch). They are great fun and not expensive. I still run them once in a while (and intend to do more now that I have the street Super 7)

    Not sure where you are in SD but you should probably look at ~These Autocross Events~

    Nial's #909 Spridget
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    Re: Sebring Sprite

    Kurt, you mentioned dirt track, hat you can actually win money. The problem is that it should be sponsored by Jerry Springer (at least a round here).

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    Yoda
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    Re: Sebring Sprite

    I only did sportsman flat track and short track plus a little hill climbing. I was a skinny kid when I did that and stuck to the 200 class. A friend and I were in business together building bikes. He built the frames and I made the fiberglass tank's and seats that went on them. 2 sizes depending on displacement. Nial you did well to keep at it till you were 40. I found that once I hit 25, every time I went down I didn't recover like when I was younger. That and wives don't appreciate nursing foolishly wounded husbands!

    But my british car affliction has hung on till this day!

    I have been threatening building an auto-crosser. Local club has several auto cross events annually.

    Kurt.
    65,66 Midget
    57 Berkeley, MGA
    Working on quality rather than quantity

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    Yoda HealeyRick's Avatar
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    Re: Sebring Sprite

    Found through Martin Ingall's Sebring Sprite website https://www.sebringsprite.com/index.html that this is Bill Prout's car. Found this on Youtube as he prepares it for the Lime Rock Historics.

    Rick

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    Yoda PAUL161's Avatar
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    Re: Sebring Sprite

    Nial, Thanks for posting those photos! I loved the factory Sebring Sprite pics. Originality is rare these days. Question, what is the car behind the Sprite? It looks like a sprint car I had many, many years ago. Mine had a Ford 60 in it with Offenhauser heads and duel 97s. Believe it or not, I still have the engine, but carbs are gone!

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    Great Pumpkin aeronca65t's Avatar
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    Re: Sebring Sprite

    Rick: Thanks for the video. If he runs at the Lime Rock Fall Festival (on Labor Day) I'll see him. I noticed in the video that he has the exact same type of van and trailer (Econotrailer) that I have. He even added extra "narrow" ramps to accommodate a Sprite, just like I did.

    Paul: I'm sure it is a vintage sprint car. That event at Thompson Speedway was a joint VSCCA and VRG race. There are a number of old sprint cars running with VSCCA (generally I think most have been converted to clutch transmissions to replace the old "in-out" boxes).

    I just ran the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix and a number of VSCCA guys brought their old roundy-round cars to that event.

    You can see some of them mixed with other vintage racers if you browse through ~THIS LINK~

    You might also see some in the ~Photos I Took at Thompson~ last month.

    Nial's #909 Spridget
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    Yoda
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    Re: Sebring Sprite

    Nial, on the first set of still's about a quarter way down the page there is a picture of a blue car with the hood up. The engine that is in it is a flat air cooled 2 cylinder. Can you tell me what the car is?? I'm stumped.

    Great pictures and video footage as well, Nial. Thanks for posting!

    Kurt.
    65,66 Midget
    57 Berkeley, MGA
    Working on quality rather than quantity

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    Great Pumpkin aeronca65t's Avatar
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    Re: Sebring Sprite

    It's a Panhard Dyna Jr.

    The owner is Bob Duell who has owned it for a very long time. Very nice guy with a great sense of fun about his little car.

    I used to race with a guy named Harry Schneider who had a Deutsch-Bonnet, a little French car that uses a Panhard engine.
    As soon as I mentioned that Deutsch-Bonnet to Bob he knew exactly which car I meant and knew Harry quite well. The Panhard/Deutsch-Bonnet community is small but very tight!


    Nial's #909 Spridget
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    Spridget~MGB~Miata~Austin A35~Midget~Aeronca65T~Super 7~Accord~Chevy TowVan
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    Yoda HealeyRick's Avatar
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    Re: Sebring Sprite

    Quote Originally Posted by aeronca65t View Post
    Rick: Thanks for the video. If he runs at the Lime Rock Fall Festival (on Labor Day) I'll see him.
    We'll have to meet up.
    Rick

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    Great Pumpkin aeronca65t's Avatar
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    Re: Sebring Sprite

    Cool! We'll just be spectating but Michael O. will be there racing his Elva (or Ginetta....I forget which one). He is also a big Healey owner.

    Right now, we'll looking at going on just Friday (but that could change depending on which day looks better weather-wise).

    Nial's #909 Spridget
    My Race Events
    Spridget~MGB~Miata~Austin A35~Midget~Aeronca65T~Super 7~Accord~Chevy TowVan
    Jersey Music!

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