76AHF003 OXFORD DIECAST Austin Healey Frog Eye Sprite in Leaf green
Aptly named due to its fixed upward looking headlights, the Frogeye Sprite was introduced in May 1958, just two days after the Monte Carlo Grand Prix.
Designed by Donald Healey as a low-cost compact sports car and classed as a 2-door roadster, production took place in the Abingdon MG factory.
This Oxford model is based on the Mark I version of the Sprite, which sported a 43 bhp, 948cc OHV (overhead valve) engine, in turn featuring elements of the BMC family’s Austin A35 and Morris 1000 models.
The rack and pinion steering was also copied from the Morris 1000 and the front suspension came from the A35. The front suspension was a coil spring and wishbone configuration with the arm of the Armstrong lever shock absorber serving as the top suspension link. The rear axle was located and sprung by quarter-elliptic leaf springs with the same lever-arm shock absorbers and top links.
Performance-wise, the Frogeye Sprite had a top speed of just over 82 mph with fuel consumption around 43 mpg.
Externally, there were no door handles. There was no boot lid either, with the boot space and spare wheel accessed by tipping the interior seats forward.
The wheels were only 13” and in tune with the day, the car was fitted with Dunlop tyres.
You could buy a Frogeye Sprite for £669 and just under 49,000 of the Mk I were manufactured before the Mark II emerged in 1961.
The sports car was a popular entrant – and winner – on the race track too.