Market Watch: Austin-Healey Sprites look spritely

Price bulletin, 20 October 2021.

Classic Cars archive

by Phil Bell |

Our latest roundup of Price Guide Movers On The Up confirms that Austin-Healey Sprites have become more desirable than the mechanically same MG-badged Midgets.

The MkI ‘Frogeye’ Sprite that preceded both has long been a more expensive exception thanks to its cute looks and first-of-breed position in the family tree. Sprites from the MkII-onwards shared all but the details with their MG cousins but those details, and the prestige of the Austin-Healey badge is driving a wedge between them, one that varies in thickness between 11% and 20%, depending on model.

Our new figures show growth of between 5.1% and 9.1%, depending on generation. The MkIII has moved fastest, up 9.3% to put rough project cars at £1.6k, tidy examples at £3.5k and the nicest cars in the £7.5k to £12k range, depending on condition.

The MkII has moved more slowly at 8.3%, but from a slightly higher baseline. That puts the price range at £1.85k to £13k in equivalent condition. The MkIV was the last generation, finishing in 1970 and leaving the MG Midget to soldier on through to 1980. It’s seen the slowest rise of the three Sprite growers, up just 5.1%. Price range is now £1.3k to £10.3k.

Given the relative scarcity of Sprites, it ought to be surprising that they’ve taken so long to attain an appeal that’s distinct from their MG cousins, but of course the Austin-Healey name has to compete with the power of the MG brand, with its longer history of motor sport success and huge following. The balancing factor is that owning something different from the mainstream is part of the classic car experience, so if you’re hooked on a popular classic, finding a car that’s a least a little different from that of your fellow enthusiasts retains an air of distinction.

Price Guide Movers On The Up is part of 16 regular pages of market tips, analysis and buying advice in the latest issue of Classic Cars.

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