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PDLJMPR's Sprite Hall of Fame

PDLJMPR Web Magazine, November 1, 1996
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Bert Jonsson's Beautiful MKII Sprite
He's been turning at least one woman's head with it, for 33 years...

Click on any of the following images for a full-size view

My Sprite:

a few notes on GYH 402.

At birth, this Mk II, Austin Healey Sprite was named H-AN6-L/2475 and rolled off the assembly line at Longbridge, Birmingham on June 9, 1961, having taken three days to assemble. Given a total Mk II production run of some 0.000 (??? - ed.) between 1961 and -64, this is one of the early ones. Shortly thereafter, on June 13, it was on its way to Stockholm, Sweden. A month later, on July 14, its first owner, an Esso filling station mechanic probably took it out for a spin around the block right away. He kept it until February of the following year where it was sold first to a Mrs. Collin and then to a used car dealership. The production records show that it came with both front and rear bumpers, Centigrade thermometer and kilometres speedometer among other typical export features. The colour was and still is Highway Yellow with black interior trim and hood.

That's where, on October 26, 1963, I first set eyes on what was then a badly stripped down Sprite with registration number U 19368. In those days Swedish car registration numbers consisted of a letter to reveal the area plus up to five digits. With the growth of motoring, the present system was introduced in the early 70's and it was given the current numbers. Most of the interior panels had been removed, a massive revcounter rested on the transmission tunnel in front of the gear stick and it looked as if it had been raced with a vengeance. (By Mrs. Collin??) I was a bachelor in my mid 20's then, trying to trade in my second Morris 1000 and could immediately see the potential this car offered to improve the quality of my social life. About $1.000 later and lighter I took it out on the road for the first time. It was late afternoon in late October and in Sweden that means dark, cold and nothing like sports car driving conditions. Did I care? Not a bit. Did I freeze? - you bet. Did it improve my social life? Ask my wife!

It has been a constant companion and occupier of garage space for all of 33 years now. For ten years in England where in 1969 the original 948 cc engine imploded. It now sports a replacement 1098 cc unit, otherwise as close to original as I have been able to reconstruct. Reconstruct is the operative word. As many other Sprite owners I am sure, I could not wait to throw away the original steering wheel, disc wheels and seats replacing them with more exciting models. Fortunately, I did not make any major structural changes or converted to spoked rims. However, I could not help the bodywork from slowly disintegrating where it stood. Sometimes the garage conditions were less than ideal and hastened the process but I always meant to do something about it though - you know what I mean.

Between 1991 and 95 , with the help of a professional restorer, who had no idea what he had gotten himself into, the Sprite was reduced to so many boxes of bits and pieces, a pile of discarded, rotting panels and wings but not much more it seemed. On closer examination it was possible to keep and repair some, but the entire floor, one rear and one front wing and both door sills had to go. It took endless telephone calls and large amounts of cash to track down and retrieve an original steering wheel, ventilated steel rim wheels and seats.

In April of last year, 1995, I was able to fire it up again after almost 12 years and was again amazed at the respectable sound coming out of that tiny exhaust pipe. Those 50 bhp sure sound good.

Bert Jonsson , Karlstad, Sweden

bertlo@algonet.se

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