Thomas Kerschensteiner's 1961 Austin Healey Sprite


Please find photos of my 1961 Austin Healey Sprite (Bugeye). It was a “barn find,” having been restored since 1969 by its second owner. I purchased it in 2006.

The restoration was complete and total ­— a tub-off/bare metal repaint. Original color of Old English white with red interior/white piping. All systems were replaced or updated: wiring, brakes, shocks, steering, engine, carbs, transmission, clutch and interior. The restoration was started in 2008 and finished in 2010.

The second owner had intended to restore the car at some time. He had the original engine (948cc) completely rebuilt. It was then preserved in Cosmoline. For nearly 40 years it remained sealed.

When we disassembled the engine, all internals looked as if they had just been assembled (hone marks were perfect). We replaced the bearings and re-gasketed the 948. It was terrific, with excellent oil pressure and cooling.

Overall, I could not be happier with the car. The only non-stock items are a ribcase transmission and the modern wheels (still have the smoother case trans).

The car is only driven on great sunny North Carolina days and taken to car shows, where nearly always, someone says they either had a similar car or knew a friend who had one, and wished they had it now.

Thanks, Victoria British, for your help in my restoration.