While there have been many, many small British sports cars that were prettier, faster, or handled better, or all three at the same time, none have had the same lasting impact on our collective consciousness as the 1958 Austin Healey Sprite, nicknamed Frogeye. This beautifully designed and engineered could never be called gorgeous, but ‘cute’ seems to have done the trick, and for its many thousands of fans, no car has ever had more charm! Mechanically speaking, the original cars were built from the bones of the Morris Minor and Austin A35, but the design was entirely its own. Even the very distinctive headlights were tacked on as an afterthought, since the system to make them retractable would have proven too expensive. Talk about a stroke of good luck!
In terms of performance, the Austin Healey Sprite, particularly in 1958, was nothing to write home about. It was powered by a 950cc inline four cylinder engine, which provided it all of 43 horsepower. The top speed was 84 miles an hour, while the 0-60 acceleration time was an underwhelming 20.5 seconds.
Of course, over the years, and because of the car’s success, the engine improved, as did the on-board luxuries. Unfortunately, the styling evolved as well, and by all accounts it soured considerably. That being said, the little Austin Healey Sprite remains a favorite in the hearts of millions!