Rory McDonald's 1966 Austin-Healey Sprite MkII
I have wanted a little British sports car since I was a teen, and when my mid-life crisis period came around I got the bug again. So, I started looking online and locally, and found a red Triumph Spitfire I liked, at $7000. Unfortunately, my wallet was uncooperative so I continued my quest for something a little cheaper.
Not long after I was browsing eBay, and came across a 1966 Austin-Healey Sprite MkII. It was awesome, as it was painted over completely with a Union Jack flag, a ‘la AUSTIN POWERS "Shaguar" style. Even the air filter covers and valve cover was painted with the UK flag! The ad said it was in nice condition and the pics appeared to verify that.
The starting bid was $3400, which was very appealing but I figured it would probably end at auction beyond my means. But there was no reserve on the auction, so I figured "Why not?" so I took a shot at it and became the first bidder.
Three days later I was shocked to see that no one else bid on the car, and that I had won!
The car was in Oregon, and I lived in Thousand Oaks, California at the time, so I booked a flight and hoped my trip wasn't in vain.
I met the owner, who was a truck driver. He said he did the paint job himself and fixed up the engine as well. He had added wheels from Victoria British, along with a tonneau cover and new sparkplug wires and other little fixes.
We took a little drive and I was sold.
Driving back to Cali I drove my new dream car through the "Avenue of The Giants", the most breathtaking drive among huge Redwood forests on the historic 101 highway. When I approached the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, my clutch gave out.
I had AAA tow the car off the bridge, and they took it to a great British repair shop in San Fran. The mechanic, a lanky British fellow (a good sign?) sorted out the clutch (ordered from VB) and some other dicey issues to the tune of about 1k and in a day, I was back on the road.
Finally, I reached my home in SoCal and reveled in my find. A year later I moved to Utah and drove the Sprite first to Las Vegas, then to Salt Lake City without a hitch.
Since then I have replaced the gas pump, rebuilt the master cylinder, and most recently replaced my fuel tank, all from Victoria British parts.
I am no mechanic but I was able to do the fuel tank, some electrical and other basic maintenance myself, which was a rewarding experience.
When I drive the AH people constantly wave, whoop and holler their admiration for my little '66. One guy even yelled "You're my hero, man!"
Driving a vintage car like this is always a fun and satisfying adventure!
I say my car gets 60 SPH- "Smiles Per Hour!"