PDLJMPR Web Magazine, February 20, 1999
Hi, I'm Eriks Skinkis, 36 years of age and living in Sydney, Australia. I originally became involved with Sprites and Midgets about 5 years ago when a close lady friend at the time decided she wanted to own a Sprite. After searching the newspapers for several months and always being told the cars had just been sold we finally found a Mk3 Midget (1968) that was still available. I was pretty unimpressed with the car, it had some rust in the luggage compartment floor and was attrocious to drive, but my friend decided this was the right car for her and bought it.
After driving the car for a week we decided to remove the drivers seat as it had a broken frame. Once the seat was out we lifted the heavily glued down carpet and found the floor was so rusty and thin we could actually push our fingers through it. Not knowing anything about Midgets or Sprites and their parts availability, we decided to put the car onto wooden blocks in my backyard while I learnt how to weld and proceeded to fabricate new floor pieces from the rear floor of a junked Ford station wagon (it was flat with ridges in almost the right places). As things turned out I ended up replacing a whole lot more than just the floor under the drivers seat!
Several months into the nightmare, a friend of a friend told us about the Sprite Car Club of Australia. Going along to the first meeting was a real eye opener, parts were readily available from a parts trader only 10 minutes from my place. The members were very friendly and made us feel very welcome. Also three cars came up for sale during that meeting, all cheaper than the car my friend had bought and in far better condition. And you wonder why I'm now always suggesting to people to join a club first!
After nearly eight months and the Midget being almost back together, my friend purchased a Bugeye through the club and so wanted to sell the Midget. Even though I knew the Midget was in a pretty poor condition, after putting so much effort, blood, sweat and colourful language into this car I couldn't bare to part with it so purchased it from her. At least I knew I wasn't going to fall through the floor anymore!
Since then I've purchase another Mk3 Midget (1970) which has been my project for the last 3 years and have only just completed it and took it for the first drive last week. It is such a pleasure to drive, everything about it feels so nice and firm. I chose a non original colour "Caspian Blue", I think it suits this car very well. Not that this project hasn't had it's frustrating moments either and I can see why so many project cars don't get completed. I'm glad I had the first Midget to drive around and enjoy during this time. My original Midget is now off the road and I will probably start on its restoration next year (using genuine body panels this time).
I've also found myself getting quite heavily involved with the Sprite Car Club as I've now been club editor for a little over three years as well as setting up and maintaining the club's Web site for 18 months. I've found the more I've put into the club the more I've gotten out of it, great friends with similar interests, an invaluable source of help with my project car, newly learnt Web publishing skills, and the most exciting one which is currently in the process of happening, I enjoy producing the club magazine so much that I'm now working on a career change away from the System Administration I've been doing for the last 17 years to one of Desk Top Publishing. (I'm also open to job offers)
So what's the best piece of advice I can give to anyone? "Join a club" and get out there, take part in it and enjoy it!
Editor - The Sprite Car Club of Australia
Send Eriks an email or check out The Sprite Car Club of Australia Web site. Ed.