HomePick of the DayBugeye 1960 Austin Healey Sprite

Bugeye 1960 Austin Healey Sprite


Originally created by the British Motor Corporation as a low-cost sports car that could be sold for less than the MGA, the Austin Healey Sprite quickly took on a life of its own once it appeared in showrooms in 1958.

Part of its enduring charm are its protuberant, hood-mounted headlights that earned it the nickname of Bugeye in the U.S. and Frogeye in the U.K.  The original plan of retractable headlights was ditched because of cost considerations, which turned out to be a beneficial decision. 

The Bugeye Sprite with foul-weather gear deployed

With its bug eyes and its grille turned up in a cheeky smile, the little Bugeye was loaded with personality.  “Cute” would be the operative word. And despite its small size, simple appointments and 948cc engine, the Sprite turned out to be a hoot to drive and, when set up properly, very competitive on the race track.

The Pick of the Day is a 1960 Austin Healey Sprite in Iris Blue (or what I’d call baby blue) that is “in wonderful condition inside and out,” according to the Kentwood, Michigan, dealer advertising the sports car on ClassicCars.com.

This little car has tons of history, and a lot of mechanical work has been performed,” the dealer says in the ad. “The 948cc engine is a happy revver and is said to have been a replacement engine that also has had the head rebuilt and new head gasket installed as well.”

The small four-cylinder engine is fed by a pair of SU carburetors
The small four-cylinder engine is fed by a pair of SU carburetors

The Bugeye looks in the photos with the ad like it has been restored, and the dealer says it’s in excellent condition and comes with all its equipment, including the convertible top, side curtains with stowage pouches, a tonneau cover and a car cover.

“The paint is in excellent shape and the unibody chassis and body are free of dents and damage,” the seller says. “The chrome exterior trim is very bright and has excellent shine; even the badges are bright and add a splash of color. The car sits on white steel wheels with chrome factory hubcaps.

“The soft top is in great shape as well. The blue interior is excellent and features dark-blue seats with light-blue piping. Everything is in wonderful condition, and the clean dashboard and wooden gear shift knobs are particularly nice as well.”

The simple, unadorned interior has plenty of sporty appeal
The simple, unadorned interior has plenty of sporty appeal

These basic little sports cars are a great introduction to classic British motoring, and one like this is guaranteed to attract attention everywhere you go, not just because of its tiny stature but its iconic styling and barking exhaust note.

While Bugeyes can readily be found in ratty shape with low asking prices, this one in what appears to be exceptional condition is fully priced at $24,900. 

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


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