Austin-Healey Sprite MkI

Fro­g­eye g buy­ing tips

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Forgotten Hero - MS

1 ACHILLES HEEL

Body rot can be wide­spread. The worst af­fected ar­eas are of­ten the rear spring mount­ing boxes be­hind the rear seats and you should in­spect the rear bulk­head where the springs en­ter the un­der­body.

2 THE OTHER HEEL

Sills and A-posts are also po­ten­tial rot prob­lem ar­eas and the bon­net hinges, grille sur­round, rear whee­larches, bodywork below the rear num­ber­plate and all weld­ing seams should be in­spected.

3 ORIG­I­NAL IS BEST?

While orig­i­nal­ity is de­sir­able in early Sprites, many have been fi­fit­ted with re­place­ment up­rated en­gines. A-se­ries en­gines do not last for­ever and a 948cc’s big-end shells may only have a life of 40,000 miles. Ex­pect oil leaks if the en­gine is fi­fit­ted with a scroll-type rear crank oil seal.

4 GEAR­BOX PAIN

Gear­boxes have syn­chro­mesh on the top three ra­tios, al­though synchro on se­cond is prone to weak­ness on early ver­sions. Many Sprites have later gear­boxes; not a prob­lem but it may af­fect sell-on price.

5 KING­PIN

Front trun­nions and king­pins need greas­ing ev­ery three months to pre­vent pre­ma­ture wear. On the rear sus­pen­sion, check that the ra­dius arms run­ning par­al­lel to the springs have not rot­ted through, as they’re tricky to re­place.

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