1964 Austin Healey Sprite, Viewed 15/03/2015

1964 Sprite

It’s been some time since I last posted. Partly this had to do with the fact that I’ve been very busy, but also, as inferred in earlier posts, the snow and salt that dusted our streets here were not conducive to testing a classic car, or even pulling one out into the driveway. To my (and probably all of Toronto’s) great relief, the snow is melting, the air is warming and the streets are clearing. And the search is back on.

Yesterday we looked at a 1964 Healey Sprite. This car was on offer from a dealership, but the dealer was keeping it at his home as he didn’t want to leave it on the lot. The car looked good in the pictures, but I’ve learned the hard way that they are not always accurate. Evelyn and I arrived in the early afternoon and didn’t have to search for the house number as the car was sitting out in the driveway. At first glance it did look very clean, but I found the powder blue paint job not exactly to my taste, and was disappointed to see that the colour of the interior matched. On closer inspection, the paint was not great – it was sagging in places and looked hurriedly done. Other than that, the car was very clean. These are not easy cars to look under as they are so low, but I dirtied my jacket and took a look underneath and was surprised to see that it was absolutely clean – no suggestion of rust at all and no soft spots.

So far, so good. The interior was generally good, but the carpet wasn’t spec and had an “I applied it myself!” look.  The engine looked clean as did the engine bay, but the hood didn’t close flush on the drivers side front. Chrome was generally good although the bumper showed a good amount of light pitting. The owner didn’t want it on the streets yet (can’t blame him), but he was happy to allow me to start it up, and the engine sounded very good indeed. I presume the engine had been started earlier as it started unchoked, but still, it revved well, and idled beautifully. All in all then, this is a very solid car. The car had a tonneau cover that was well used but in good nick, but only had the framework for the convertible top.

So – to price. the owner was asking $18,000. He said it had been lowered from $20,000. I’d say that, by Hagerty values, this is probably a Category “3” car, which suggests that the value is somewhere in the US$10,000 range – or about CDN$12,750. I don’t think I would want to pay even this much based on the paint issues and lack of the convertible hood. I was actually very tempted by it, but was a little concerned about the amount of grunt that 60 horsepower will provide, in spite of the diminutive stature of the car. I will want to test drive one of these sooner rather than later…

Value for Money: 3/10 – This is overpriced for what it is.
Driving Impression: NA – Engine ran very well, though.
Body: 8/10 – I’d have given this a little higher than this as the body LOOKED very solid – but the dodgy paintjob makes me wonder if there are any dodgy surprises underneath.
Engine: 9/10 – Not really fair to judge and engine sitting in a driveway, but it looked and felt very good, from the driveway perspective, anyway…
Handling: NA

Evelyn’s rankings:

Cool factor: 6
I liked the look of this Healey Sprite. But the colour was a little less than winning for me too. This would be a car that would look great in red, but that means more $$, which hurts its cool factor.  The car was in great shape though.
Comfort: 4
I was surprised by how spacious this car felt (in comparison to the TR6. It was rather too low to the ground for comfort though, which made it a little more difficult to get in and out of (again, relative to the TR6). But, I suppose that’s something I will have to get used to if a classic sports car is to be in our future.Also, the drivers side seat didn’t adjust, so I’d find it hard to drive.
Price: 3
Likelihood that I’d join Bruce on a Sunday drive in this: Definitely.

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