The Austin-Healey Sprite is a small open sports car that was produced in the United Kingdom from 1958 to 1971. The Sprite was announced to the press in Monte Carlo by the British Motor Corporation on May 20, 1958, two days after the Great Monaco of that year . Prix. The goal was to be a low-cost model that "a guy could keep in his bicycle shed", but that would be the successor to the sporting versions of the Austin Seven before the war. The Sprite was designed by Donald Healey Motor Company, with production taking place at the MG plant in Abingdon. It was first launched at a price of 669 pounds, using a tuned version of the Austin A-Series engine and as many existing car components as possible to keep costs down.

When the Mk. The Sprite II was introduced in 1961, to which was added an MG version of badge engineering, Midget, reviving a model name used by MG from the late 1920s to the mid-1950s. Enthusiasts often refer to these later Sprites and Midgets collectively as "Spridgets". The MG emblem version of the car remained in production for several years after the Austin-Healey brand ceased to exist.


The Sprite quickly became affectionately known as the "frog-eye" in the UK and the "bugeye" in the USA, because its headlights were prominently mounted on the top of the hood, inside the front wings. The car's designers intended that the headlights could be retracted, with the lenses facing the sky when not in use; a similar arrangement was used many years later on the Porsche 928. But the BMC cost cut led to the exclusion of the opening mechanism, so the headlights were simply fixed in a permanently upright position, giving the car the most distinctive feature. This gave the car its appeal as a result of its much loved cute appearance. The body was styled by Gerry Coker, with subsequent changes from Les Ireland following Coker's emigration to the USA in 1957. The car's distinctive front style bore a strong resemblance to the extinct American Crosley Super Sport 1951. 48,987 "frogeye" sprites were made.

The problem of providing a rigid structure for an open-top sports car was solved by Barry Bilbie, chassis designer from Healey, who adapted the idea provided by the Jaguar D-type, with the rear suspension forces directed through the body floor. The Sprite's chassis design was the first volume production sports car in the world to use unitary construction, where sheet metal body panels (in addition to the hood) suffer from many structural stresses. The original metal gauge (steel thickness) of the rear frame specified by Bilbie was reduced by the Austin Design Office during the construction of the prototype; however, during tests at the MIRA (Motor Industry Research Association), distortions and deformations of the rear structure occurred and the original specification was restored. The two legs of the front chassis that project forward from the passenger compartment mean that the housing is not a complete monocoque. The sheet metal front assembly, including the hood (hood) and wings, was a one-piece unit, hinged at the rear, which rotated to allow access to the engine compartment.

The 43 hp 948 cc OHV engine (coded 9CC) was derived from the Austin A35 and Morris Minor 1000 models, also BMC products, but updated with 1 1/8 inch SU carburetors. The rack and pinion steering was derived from the Morris Minor 1000 and the front suspension from the Austin A35. The front suspension was a helical spring arrangement and lucky bone, with the Armstrong lever damper arm serving as the link for the upper suspension. The rear axle was located and suspended by elliptical quarter springs, again with lever arm dampers and upper links. The wheels were equipped with 13 "520X13 cross tires or upgraded with Pirelli Cinturato 145HR13 radial tires. There were no exterior handles; the driver and passenger were forced to reach inside to open the door. There was also no tailgate due to the It is necessary to maintain as much structural integrity as possible and access to the spare wheel and the luggage compartment was achieved by tilting the seat backs forward and reaching under the rear deck, a process similar to that of many owners, but which resulted in a large space available to store reduced luggage.

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