Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Oakland Street Sighting - 1968 Austin-Healey Sprite Mk IV

In this era of political correctness it seems like the word "midget" is considered derogatory to little people. So what does that make the MG Midget? A Midget by any other name... is an Austin-Healey Sprite.

The early Austin-Healey Sprite most people know is the "Bug-Eye" or "Frog-Eye" Sprite, the ridiculously happy-looking little roadster that was starting to appear dated by the early 1960s. A more modern design was created for 1961, shared with the MG Midget pretty much down to the last bolt. Only the badges were different, and the Midget had a chrome side trim. The car went through a series of improvements throughout the decade that gave it a curved windshield, roll-up windows, vent windows, more power and a fixed fabric convertible top.

This cheerful Pale Primrose Yellow example is a series IV car which, if the registration is original, is probably a 1968 model. It's a good year to be, as most post-1968 models were disfigured somewhat by federal side marker reflectors and a detuned version of the 1275 cc four-cylinder to meet new emissions regulations. I believed this car was a 1967 model until I saw that the reverse lamps appear to have been equipped on '68-and-up cars. The only '67 with reverse lamps that I could find on Google was a Barrett-Jackson auction listing, and those aren't always accurate.

I quite like the setting for this shoot. It wasn't planned, either. I was going to see a movie with friends at Oakland's Grand Lake Theater that evening, and beforehand we decided to stop at the Kwik Way Drive-In, a local landmark dating back to 1956 (formerly the Grand Lake Drive In). This little Healey just happened to be parked out front. Sometimes you get lucky.


  1. I think the MG version of this looked a lot cooler. Whats the brown muscle car in the background?

    1. If you mean the one with the door open, that's a 1970-73 Chevy Camaro.