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Patrick Conover's 1968 MKIV Sprite

PDLJMPR Web Magazine, September 1, 1996
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In 1981 I broke my neck in four places. I was expecting to get $1500.00 from my newspaper delivery insurance. While waiting for my check, a friend told me about an Austin Healey Sprite that was for sale for exactly $1500.00. I saw it and fell in love with it. I had turned 16 just a few months prior, and now I was going to be driving a convertible to highschool.

I soon found out that Sprite mechanics were few and far between, but I found one. He knew what he was doing and kept the car in good running condition. Instead of putting her back in original condition, I decided to make it look a little sportier. I changed the BRG to a glossy black, removed the bumpers and luggage rack, and bought a hardtop w/sunroof, and Western cyclone wheels.

I made the mistake of driving the car to Panama City Beach and getting caught in the lines of traffic on the strip. The clutch was soon to go and it did. I had no choice but to drive the 300 miles home without the clutch. I had a friend that would push me off if we ever had to come to a complete stop (which wasn't very many times). I soon had the clutch, throwout bearing, and pressure plate replaced, but the damage had already been done. Within the next year the transmission went, and every time I went to buy a parts car it disappeared before I could buy it. So in the spring of 1996 I came into some money and I took my 1985 license plate to the DMV. I ordered my personalized plate a week after I found a mechanic.

I then proceeded to have the transmission and engine rebuilt. The engine is bored 0.040 over with a road performance cam. There were several other things taken care of also, including a pair of seatbelts for safety. I have a 2 inch pipe coming off my header that goes to a short glass pack which makes the car sound very nice. The grille got broken and I inserted a pair of driving lights and fog lights instead of paying $140.00 for a $10.00 piece of aluminum. I have put euro-style black mirrors on her and would really like to find a front spoiler for an incredible ground effect.

I know this isn't one of the restored vehicles but I like the way it looks and hope you and others will enjoy its own originality.

Patrick Conover