Even If You Lose The Race, You Still Win

Speed Blur! So you know it's fast.

Currently up for auction here in the Great Frozen North is this beautiful Austin Healey Sprite, spotted by our beloved MaryWithAnM. It has already been converted to a race car, so there is absolutely no need for you to go through the agonizingly painful process of converting it. Let’s face it, any time you’re dealing with an old English sports car, it’s going to be tough to do any modifications at all without feeling some pain. This little Healey solves that problem.

The only time a 998 cc engine is fantastic is when you're racing in a category that requires less than 1L of engine displacement. Then it rules.

Let’s face it, it just doesn’t get much cooler than the possibility of taking a gorgeous old sports coupé around a racetrack. From the look of it, it’s already equipped for duty in a vintage race series, so all you need to do is give the little four-pot motor a good tune-up and head for the track. The 998cc engine is well-sorted for the old <1L Displacement category, and would give you a whole lot of fun while looking good doing it.
The estimated selling price is between $50,000 and $75,000. That might seem like a lot, but if you wanted to restore or build a vintage racer, you would be looking at substantially more than that cost. Since most vintage race cars of this sort start out as barely-surviving barn finds, there can be an easy $50k invested just in bringing the car back from the dead, and then another $50k is required just to get it up to race spec. And that’s a pretty conservative estimate. This could be a reasonably cheap way to get your foot in the door of a very exclusive series.
Of course, by “reasonably cheap”, I still mean “about 20 times more than the average Hoon will spend on a vehicle, and still well over 100x too much to be eligible for a LeMons race”. Unless you’re really good at cheating or can sweet-talk one of the judges. I hear Lieberman is a pushover if you buy him flowers and a box of chocolates, and tell him how pretty he looks in his robes.

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  1. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    The prices vintage racers command are amazing.
    There are two things that seem to drive price: a massive restoration from a barn find or a car that's been racing its whole life. A documented log book is gold.
    Not something I aspire to today, but if I had the wealth to spend 100k on a toy, a vintage racer is certainly a classy way to do so.

  2. CptSevere Avatar

    Racing this would be one hell of a lot of fun. Paying for it, would make you weep. I can just imagine what it would cost to run an E-Type.

  3. ptschett Avatar

    Interesting car. That's not your usual '61 Sprite — it has the round rear wheel arches and grille of a Mk I, but the front and rear light treatments are Mk II style.

    1. taborj Avatar

      I had a friend who raced a Bugeye, and then later a Mk II Sprite. I learned from hanging around him that it was common practice to cut out the square arches and make them round, either by acquiring the body panels from a round arch, or by recreating them from scratch. The advantage, I believe, is the ability to fit wider rear tires. Most likely, that's what happened here.
      Gives it quite a profile. When I first saw the photo, I was reminded of a Sebring Sprite, i.e. Bugeye body with a custom aluminum bonnet, as was common "back in the day." Alas, I then saw the tail lights.

  4. Novaload Avatar

    50 – 75 k is quite a range! This is clearly for someone trim and free of bad bones and joints. So even if I had the money, I couldn't spring for this.

  5. engineerd Avatar

    Absolutely gorgeous.
    Vintage racing is very appealing to me. If I had the means I would totally be out hooning a classic Austin Healey or Jag around a track. Instead, I read Vintage Motorsport and dream of the good life.

  6. taborj Avatar

    I live vicariously via Youtube. Especially the 6 hours of Spa.

  7. Betsy Markey Avatar

    This is truly so cool!!! Thankyou for putting this out there

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