Here’s a Sprite with a great story which, for obvious reasons, we’ve named “Lawton.”
The Sprite was bought as (a year old) used car in November 1960, at Barker Motors, Inc. – Imported cars – 2291 Fairfield Av, Bridgeport Connecticut by Mr William Nelson of 192 Main St., Bridgeport, CT for $1546.35. Nelson owned it for seven years and with 142,000 miles on it, he sold the car to Mr Lawton in 1968. Nelson went to Utah where he was stationed in the military, and Lawton put the car in a barn, where it sat for about 30 years.
Between 1999 and 2001, Lawton attacked and restored every square inch of the car. The body was media blasted to bare metal and any rust was cut out with new metal welded in. The original engine was bored 40 over, everything was balanced and blueprinted, the crank was ground, the cam was re-profiled, everything was done right. The transmission was completely rebuilt. There is an impressive build sheet that details all that was done, including the front end and brake rebuild, etc. Email if you would like to see the full-page breakdown of exactly what was done, but basically, everything was done!
Lawton drove the car about 8000 miles, and sold it to me.
I drove the car about 80 miles from his house to our shop (great fun) and made a short punch list that included restoration of the charging system and replacement of the front shocks, which we have now done. This great car is now ready for a new owner to use and enjoy. The car has about 8100 miles on it since the major restoration, and still drives like a new Bugeye.
Check out the video below, this car is a joy to drive. Of note is the period Abarth rear muffler, with distinctive twin chrome tips and wonderful exhaust note. They are hard to find sized for a 948 engine. (In the video, I got the mileage wrong, it’s 8100 since restoration as mentioned above. Also, that’s my lunch in front of the passenger seat, and it’s not included)
Also of note is the restorer’s choice to paint the underside with single stage paint to match the original rust colored primer. It’s really well done and completely sealed and ready for another 50 years! According to Horler’s Original “Sprite and Midget”, some cars were painted underneath and in the boot this way at the factory, although the majority painted body-color underneath. So the color underneath (and in the boot) is correct!
The car comes with a great top and sidecurtains, which I will photograph soon and post. No tonneau, but we can build one for the car in red or black if you like.
Call or email for pricing information or with questions. Lawton is an excellent restored example with all the correct components. This is a car for anyone looking to win shows and have a great time driving to them!