Market Watch: Austin-Healey Sprites fall from favour

Austin-Healey Sprite prices are past their peak

by Phil Bell |
Austin-Healey Sprite prices are past their peak

After more than ten years of marvelling at how expensive Austin-Healey Sprite MkIs had become, we’re now seeing a fall from the peak.

The sports car nicknamed ‘Frogeye’ thanks to headlamp pods bulging from a face fixed in a happy grin leads our Price Guide Movers On The Slide this month with a 7% drop.

That places rough project cars around £4k, tidy, driveable examples at £7k and fault-free ones at double that. For a chance at victory on the concours show field, add a further £6k. That’s quite a drop but still a couple of percent ahead of where these cars were five years ago.

Ironically, the success of the cheeky-faced sportster of 1958 was that it was so cheap for something that was so much fun to drive, albeit with a modest 43bhp 948cc straight-four to propel it along. But advanced unitary construction and a ruthless disregard for luxuries ensured it was as perky as it looked with a top speed of 83mph. If that doesn’t sound very fast today, imagine those sorts of speeds in something as cosseting as a go-kart.

This moves comes in a month when a third of the fallers are in the sub-£50k price band, just three of which are under £20k. The others range from the Fifties Austin Westminster to the Honda S2000 of the late Nineties with the TVR Vixen from the late Sixties in the mix. None of these cars sits in the fad-led and consequentially frothy area of the market so it’s interesting to see even those cars experience a price correction after a period of measured growth.

We’ll be keeping an eye on this sector as the season develops.

Price Guide Movers On The Slide is part of 16 pages of market insight and buying advice in the June issue of Classic Cars.

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