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  bullet May 92 - July 2010: 1963 Austin Healey Sprite MK II (HAN7 37761)      

Here are my two Sprites "as delivered" in the backyard of a friends house. The blue car was a 65 I think, I don't know as it didn't have a title or serial number plates. The "new" Herbytoy is a 63 MKII manufactured in late 63 based on the VIN. It is a running revision on the the early MKII and sometimes called a MKII-1/2. In 63 with the HAN7 designation they added front disc brakes, increased displacement to 1098 and added the better "ribcase" transmission and a few other "refinements".

Herbytoy at this stage was definitely a "20 footer". A closer look revealed numerous "bodges" typical of old British cars. But hey, I finally have a Sprite!

It looked good on the surface, but after serious inspection... The car ran okay with a 1275 and ribcase trans but the clutch made nasty noises. Turns out it was the throwout bearing. There was also quite a bit of body damage that had been marginally repaired.

In hindsight the parts car was in pretty good shape, the floors were rotted but the car was salvageable.

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(7/20/04) All this time I thought it was a 64 I've discovered it's actually manufactured in late 63 based on the VIN. I apparently transposed  the the last 3 digits in my mind and that put it as a 64. It's still an HAN7 which is the 2nd iteration of the MKII with front disc brakes and the 1098 (originally) as well as other improvements.

With  info from OS&M (Original Sprite & Midget by Terry Horler, practically the Spridget Bible) I may be able to figure out what the parts car was. I still have the 1098 engine that I pulled out of it. Of course that may not be the original engine.

Initial plan was to replace Herbytoys clutch and get it on the road. We started playing with the parts cars engine, found out it ran, moved and stopped. Since we had to pull the engine & trans to replace the clutch  why not just dump in the whole mess from the parts car. Besides, I didn't have much cash at the time (sound familiar).

We ripped the 1275 out of Herbytoy and dropped in the 1098, hooked everything up. After a little tweaking it ran pretty good. At least drivable. Time to get it registered and do some cruising. 

After the first drive though I found the brakes needed work as well as the electrical. Welcome to the world according to Girling and Lucas. The brakes were a breeze. I rebuilt the unique tandem brake/clutch master cylinder, the rear wheel cylinders and threw on some new rear shoes. Now that it stopped on to the electrics.

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Here's my  rough sketch idea. Libre wheels with fat tires, flares w/front spoiler and twin stripes. Here is a an example of what I'm shooting for (apologies to MOSS)

'95: Finally have a garage (see view from outside) that I can work in. You can see the 'new' right front fender I added as well as a roll bar. The wiring was very poorly "repaired" so I thought "Hey, I'll replace the harness". Sprite_95.JPG (63995 bytes)         

The plan is for a "streetable" weekend/autocross car with a modified 1275 or hot 1380 (possibly supercharged!) and a Datsun 210 5 speed, some race pieces in the suspension with some fat tires, a six point roll bar. It will pretty much be a fair weather only car.

   Lucas Smoke

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'99:This is what happens when you say "I'll just replace the harness". Pretty soon the whole car is apart. At this point I decided to strip the car completely and start from the ground up. My first full "resto", well hopefully. I've had it this long and haven't totally lost interest yet, just procrastinating.
10/00:Some progress. Got my 13 x7 Libre's (W/Yoko 008's no less). Now about that paint & bodywork (and the engine, electrical......). Herbytoy is now up on stands and being stripped of it's many coats (about 5 I think) of paint and will soon lose the front and rear suspension components so the bottom of the tub can be cleaned and repainted. Sprite_libre.jpg (118309 bytes)

I started out planning to paint all the "inner" compartments with a fleck finish or trunk paint as you can see here. I have since changed my mind and planned to paint everything a  gloss or semi gloss light gray.

Yes I removed the battery tray. My first plan was to replace it but have now decided to put the battery in the trunk. You can see that the firewall needs some rust repair and holes filled. The black panel on top of the firewall is the new cowl panel. Mine is so wavy it should have white caps!

You can also see the difference in tire width between the 205 Yok's and the 175/70's.

March 3, 2003: I finally got my rotisserie built and the shell (W/suspension still attached, for now) up on it. Click on the link above to see more rotisserie pics.

Now to pull the suspension and strip the rest of the body down to bare metal. At least I got a little welding practice in assembling the stand.

July 2010: I made the tough but realistic decision that I'll never get to this project or at least never give it the attention it deserved. So in early 2010 I put it up for sale.

 On July 31 it was officially sold and trailered away. It was tough to give up on another project but also a small relief. Now I can devote more attention to my 62 MKII.



Off to be restored by another diseased enthusiast :)


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bullet 1963 Austin Healey Sprite W/Olds V8

V8 Sprite.jpg (59906 bytes)

One of those hard to pass up deals.
An ex-racer V8 Sprite for $300!

The car was pretty trick, at least for the time it was built it was. It was a ’62 or ’63 Sprite (I don’t remember, definitely MK II) with a 215 aluminum Olds v8 (Like the Rover nee Buick) with a 2-speed Powerglide tranny and a narrowed ’57 Chevy rear-end mated to the stock elliptic springs. The guy who built it (at least according to the guy I bought it from) used it in SCCA C/Modified class racing sometime in the early 70’s then the current owner bought to drive on the street until the tranny blew up. He parked it his carport where it sat for about 8 years before he decided to sell it.

It was in pretty ratty shape and needed lots of work. Basically what it needed was to be completely taken apart, cleaned up, rebuilt, repainted and put back together. In other words, full restoration. With two other cars, a low paying job and no prospects for a better one yet it was going to be tough. I figured I could sell my Mustang to pay for it. You know, sell one project to fund another. Besides this was the closest thing to a race car I ever owned!

After getting it home, cleaning and sorting through things making phone calls about parts availability on the Olds engine and transmission I came to the conclusion that this project was way bigger than I could afford at this juncture, in money and time. So I sold it as is (albeit cleaner) to a guy and his son for $300(no major loss there!). They ran a British repair shop and were looking for a project. I hope they had better luck with it. At least they had more and better resources. I chalked another one up to experience.

215 Olds aluminum V8.

Much metal work to fit this in!
I'm lucky I didn't have to do it.

 V8 Sprite Engine.jpg (72527 bytes)

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bullet June 01 -  Current: 1962 Austin Healey Sprite MK II (HAN6 18XXX)         a-0835.gif (62922 bytes)

AH 61 driving up ramp.JPG (42201 bytes) AH 61 leaving close up.JPG (208580 bytes)

Here is the car being loaded on the carrier for it's trip south. Looks pretty small compared to the others including the MGB on the front.
Received June 7, 2001. Purchased from a man in Oregon who reluctantly had to liquidate his automotive holdings (i.e., too many cars in the garage & driveway according to his SO).

I had a Spridget lister (Paul A.) who lives in the same area take a look at it and give me his evaluation. His unbiased evaluation turned up some problem issues but nothing to deter my purchase.

Project "RestoMod" because it will be basically stock with a few "upgrades".

It is a mid year 62 MKII originally equipped with a 948 cc A series engine. Near as I can figure it was either Old English White or Signal Red.

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Most of the hard work has been done. Body was sandblasted and repainted BRG. Floors replaced and most rust repaired/replaced (one exception below). The original 948 was removed and replaced with a 1275 with a 45 DCOE Weber, header, Mallory dual point distributor and capped with an aluminum rocker cover.

The carpets and  most of the interior panels have been replaced. It also has the 13 x 5 Minilite style Minator wheels with new 165/70-13 tires. Amazingly all the lights work.
It still has the smoothcase (non-synhcro 1st gear) and front drum brakes. There are no bumpers with the car and actually I kind of like the bumperless look.

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As you can see the seatcovers are pretty much shot. These are most likely the original seats as it appears the car may have been originally Old English White which came with the red interior.

I have already installed the old seats out of Herbytoy which are in a little better shape and black. I also installed the 10" steering wheel out of Herbytoy. That huge stock wheel is hard to squeeze under when getting in and out of the car.
It looked pretty sad as delivered with all the dirt from it's trip. After a quick bath it looked much better.

It was pretty much as advertised and as Paul stated. The brakes weren't as bad as he said. At least I didn't think they were. After all they are drums front and rear. Of course I haven't pulled the drums to take a look yet!

The off-idle hesitation however needs to be cleared up before I can comfortably drive it in traffic.

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Cleaned up and put away for another day.

Even being small cars it's a tight fit in the garage now. The two plastic tubs contain extra parts that came with the car.

Herbytoy unfortunately has now been relegated  second class status and moved outside (under a cover) to give me more room to work on the 62.

The 1275cc 'A' series motor with a 45 DCOE Weber, tube header(non-LCB), aluminum rocker cover, Mallory dual point distributor and Lucas Sports coil. According to the PO (previous owner) the rest is stock.

It still has the original (and functional) tach drive generator.


The "smoothcase" transmission will eventually be replaced by a "ribcase" (a little tougher, better ratios & synchro 1st gear) or maybe a Datsun 210 5-speed.

So far the only rust damage I have found that wasn't repaired (at least that I can see so far).

I finally got the carb issues sorted out. I just installed the 40mm DCOE that I bought for Herbytoy. I rebuilt it, bolted it up and it ran just fine. I did have to play with the jets a bit but it runs pretty good now. Good (though a bit rich) idle and great acceleration. I also found that the accelerator pedal arm was a little different as it was angled out toward the driver more than the spare I had. This put the pedal at an awkward angle. I replaced it with my spare and smooth acceleration is no problem now.

Here's the 62 in it's first show. You can see I added a white tonneau and the Bugeye rear bumpers.


I finally got around to doing the interior (May 04). I bought upholstery kit a few years ago but too many projects (distractions?)  got in the way. They turned out okay for my first seat cover job.

I had the seat pans and back media blasted then painted them. The foam piece on the back is for a little (very little it turns out) lumbar support. The back padding is carpet pad (original was jute). I bought new foams for the bottom. I also put in a complete panel kit on the rest of the interior. That was fun crawling around in the footwells to install it. All upholstery pieces came from AH Spares in England.

Big difference from what came with the car, don't you think.

Sure changes the look of the car. I guess I'll have to replace the carpet now too. Although it looks a little better in person than in the picture.

The vinyl panels that were in the car were good but incomplete and didn't match the grain on the seats.

 At some point I'll redo the dash to match the rest. The vinyl piece came with the kit. The door pocket covers still need to be recovered too.

I changed to a new black tonneau cover along with an original tonneau bar to support it. The black fits better with the rest of the interior.

Next up on the list is the front suspension. I am currently cleaning up all the old pieces in prep for paint and sending off other's for rebuild (swivels and shocks). I have most of the required new parts from collecting (swap meets, e-bay, etc.) over the years so that helps.

I have procured a Datsun 210 5-speed (Thanks Larry !) so that will be another project. I was hoping to get it installed before the September Palo Alto Field Meet but time and funds may quash that. Oh well, another winter project.


The first step in rebuilding the front suspension is cleaning off the years of old crusty road grime, grease and assorted crud. Makes it easier to get to the nuts and bolts. A liberal spraying of penetrating oil over a period of days helps immensely (I used PB Blaster).



   Well I got the components stripped off but the inner fulcrum bolt/pins were a PITA. I ended up "buggering" one hole trying to pry it off but was able to hammer it back into shape. I ended up using the sawzall on the rest. It was much easier!

As you can see it's red. That means I need to prep and paint it all.  I also discovered a little rust in the lower corner of the footwell. It's funny (not really) how a simple project becomes a major one.

My latest acquisition. An original MK II hardtop. It's a little rough but it's all there and the price was right. Along with repainting it needs all new seals and rechromed hardware. Not sure whether yet whether to paint it White or BRG.

Finally got the new front suspension components on and torqued down. Looks much nicer.

Also cleaned and painted the heater components (core box, motor, brackets) and cleaned up the fan housing. I'll have heat for winter driving.

By early 2007 the ol' smooth case was getting pretty sloppy. The best option would be to pop in the Datsun 5 speed I have. Unfortunately I only have one and they're scarce and therefore expensive when you find them. I want to save it for my 63 so I decided to throw the rib case  from the 63 in the 62.

The goal was by the British Field Meet in Palo Alto September 9th. In addition to the trans I needed to correct a few small issues. The brake and fuel lines were dangling and needed to be popped back into the holders. The smooth case was left in place when the PO repainted the car so the tunnel needed paint. Plus it was also well caked with usual years of oil and grease. While I was in there the driveshaft got new u-joints. I wanted to sandblast and paint the header but it was tight on the exhaust pipe and I was running out of time. I decided to leave it alone for now. The firewall required some grommets replaced and a few unused holes required plugging.


Yes, I did get it together in time. Got many compliments on the car too so that was great! The show doesn't give out awards but then I didn't really expect to place anyway. Too many nice Bugeye's !!

The winter project will be the rear end. While bolting up the rebuilt driveshaft I discovered lots of drive lash. I have a 3.9 diff that I may rebuild and pop in. The tub underneath needs some metal work and painting too. I also want to move the fuel pump out of the trunk and back underneath where the factory SU mounts on later cars. Also want to try and fix the fuel gage as well. I replaced the sending unit once but didn't test it first.

August 2010: With the sale of the 63 Sprite project this is now my only "toy" project. While everything is a project and kind of a "toy" this Sprite is my weekend toy and not intended as a daily driver like the Dakota and Camry.

I have made some changes and purchased some items for upgrading or restoring. I'm leaning toward turning this Sprite into a period modded car. By that I mean using performance or accessory parts available in or of the style used in the 60's (or 70's). To that end I picked up a HIF6 SU carb and manifold. I also found a vintage looking finned style valve cover. I have some 13x5 American Racing Libre wheels to replace the Minatours. Hopefully I can find a vintage looking but small diameter steering wheel as well.

I still have the Datsun 5 speed but I'm debating whether to use it. I am selling off most of the performance engine and suspension pieces purchased for the 63.

I do have most of the new rear suspension pieces so hopefully I'll get to that this fall/winter. It is nice to have space to actually work in the garage now.



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