Sprite Car Club of Australia
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|Sport||Cruising, motor racing, motorkhana|
|Regional affiliation||Sydney NSW AUstralia|
The Sprite Car Club of Australia is a club founded in 1960 for owners and enthusiasts of Austin-Healey Sprites and MG Midget cars. The club has social events and sporting programs for amateur racers.
The Sprite Car Club was founded in 1960, by seven enthusiasts at a BMC car dealership in Sydney, for owners of Austin-Healey Sprite Bugeyes also known as Frogeye which started assembly in 1958 at Abingdon, Oxfordshire, England. Later from 1959, Sprites were shipped to Australia completely knocked down Complete knock down kit form to be assembled at Pressed Metal Corporation, at Enfield, New South Wales in Sydney (a BMC subsidiary located near a major rail interchange). The range of models assembled in Australia included the Mk 1, 2, 2A, 3, 3A Sprites, and the Mk3 Midget.
The club has grown to over 300 members from all parts over NSW and USA and England. Its members participate in events around Australia, including weekend away social tours like a tour of Tasmania. Some members have travelled with their Sprites and Midgets to Europe and to the United States for the Big Healey Challenge.
AH Sprite Mk1
Affectionately known as the "Bugeye" the Australian model prefix was YHAN1, and assembly numbers started at number 501. The BMC A-Series engine 9C-U-H (948cc) motor was used for the model. Front bumpers, tachometer, windscreen washer, locking petrol cap and tonneau cover were standard on Australian cars (these items being optional extras on UK cars). Price was 998 pounds (Australian), plus on road costs. 894 Mk1 Sprites were assembled in Australia.
AH Sprite Mk2
First assembled in Australia August 1962, the Australian model prefix was YAAN2, and assembly numbers started at number 501. The 9CG (948cc) motor was used for the model. 326 Australian Mk2 Sprites were assembled.
AH Sprite Mk2A
First assembled in Australia March 1963, the Mark 2A designation was only used in Australia. The Australian model prefix was YHGN7, with the assembly numbering continuing on from the Mk2 Sprite. The model used the 10CG-D-A (1098cc) motor. The Mk 2a Sprite also had disc front brakes. 976 Mk 2a Sprites were assembled in Australia.
AH Sprite Mk3
First assembled in Australia October 1964, the Australian model prefix YAGN8, and assembly numbers started at number 501. The model used the 10CC-D-A (1098cc) motor The model saw the introduction of wind-up windows; semi-elliptic rear springs; redesigned dash; self-cancelling direction indicators. 600 Mk3 Sprites were assembled.
AH Sprite Mk3A
First assembled in Australia August 1965, the model prefix was YHGN8 model, with assembly numbering continuing on from the Mk3 series. 800 Mk3a Sprites were assembled. Australian Sprites had a chrome waist line strip that was only applied to Midgets overseas. Wire wheels were supplied as standard equipment in Australia. Car seats changed from the earlier curved back rest to the flat back rest (Mk3 Midget style) some time during the Mk3a Sprite production run.
MG Midget Mk3
There were no Mk 4 Sprites assembled in Australia. If a Mk4 Sprite in seen in Australia, it has either been imported, or is a Midget that has been re-badged to look like a Sprite. (There were no 1500 or Rubber Nose Midgets assembled in Australia either).
Sales of the Mk3 Midget took over from where the Mk3A Sprite finished. Midgets were imported from the UK in CKD form and assembled locally. The first Midgets assembled being equivalent to the September/October 1967 UK Models. By the time the cars were freighted to Australia, assembled, then sold, it was January 1968.
There were two main models produced during the production run. The earlier model is easily identified with the vertical chrome bar radiator grill and was assembled between November 1967 and March 1970. The later model, with the black pressed metal radiator grill and slim bumber bars was assembled between April 1970 and December 1971. As there had not been any earlier Midget models assembled in Australia prior to these, these cars are sometimes referred to as Australian Mark 1 and Mark 2 Midgets.
The earlier model had a chassis prefix of YGGN4 or YGN4, while the later model had a prefix of YGN5 and is commonly referred to as the "facelift" model. The chassis numbers started at number 501 for both model runs. A total of 1184 Midgets were assembled in Australia.
Apart from the obvious radiator grill and bumper bar changes, there were other less obvious changes that took place during the Midgets production run. The first cars assembled in 1967 were wired positive earth, had thinly cast engine blocks requiring nitrated crank shafts to provide extra rigidity. Later engines blocks were cast with thicker walls. Other changes were to negative earth wiring and alternator, chunckier boot lock handle, internal door latch handles, and quarter light window handles. Plastic window winder and internal door pull handles. Crossflow radiators running at higher pressures. The differential ratio was also changed to 3.9 some time during 1970.
Most of these changes took place within the earlier models production run. This can be a source of frustration for anyone attempting a factory original restoration, trying to work out some of these finer details for a particular car. Original tyres fitted to cars in 1969 were Olympic GT Radials. All Australian assembled Midgets were fitted with 1275cc engines, an oil cooler, front sway bar, radial tyres, twin horns, and wire wheels as standard. The Leyland corporate badging used only on the later model cars read "Leyland Australia" instead of "British Leyland".
Paint types used for Australian Sprites and Midgets
CKD cars were sent to Australia painted in red primer, the final colour being applied locally. The colours used on Australian Sprites and Midgets are different from those assembled in the UK. Details of the paint type and colour can be found on the compliance plate which is attached to the firewall near the battery earth wire. The paint colour name was prefixed with a single digit representing the paint type:
The paint colour name was followed by a single digit representing the paint manufacturer:
- 1 - Balm,
- 2 - Lusteroid,
- 3 - Berger,
- 4 - Brolite,
- 5 - Taubman,
- 6 - Spartan.
Following are colours that have been used on Sprite and Midget models:
|Colour type||Model||Colour type||Model|
|Aintree Green||Sprite MK1||Arianca Tan||Midget Mk3|
|Bard Grey||Sprite Mk1||Black||Sprite Mk3a|
|British Racing Green||Sprite Mk1, Mk2a, Mk3, Mk3a||Cameno Gold||Midget Mk3|
|Card Red||Sprite Mk1||Carnation Red||Sprite Mk1|
|Champion Red||Sprite Mk3, Mk3a||Chartreuse||Sprite Mk1|
|Crystal White||Midget Mk3||Daffodil Yellow||Midget Mk3|
|Gambier Turquoise||Midget Mk3||G.T.O. Green||Midget Mk3|
|Hawthorn Green||Midget Mk3||Heron White||Sprite Mk1|
|Indigo Blue||Midget Mk3||Jay Blue||Midget Mk3|
|Jet Red||Midget Mk3||Katoomba Grey||Sprite Mk2a|
|Lake Green||Midget Mk3||LeMans Red||Sprite Mk1|
|Marine Blue||Sprite Mk3a||Monarco Blue||Sprite Mk1|
|Monza Red||Sprite Mk1, Mk2, Mk2a||Nurburg White||Sprite Mk1, Mk2, Mk2a, Mk3, Mk3a|
|Primrose Yellow||Midget Mk3||Rheims Blue||Sprite Mk1, Mk2a|
|Sandown Red||Midget Mk3||Sapphire Blue||Midget Mk3|
|Sky Blue||Sprite Mk3||Stella Blue||Midget Mk3|
|Snow White||Midget Mk3||Storm Grey||Sprite Mk3|
The above list was compiled from colour names appearing on the compliance plates of Australian assembled cars belonging to members of the Sprite Car Club of Australia, and from people who have submitted information to this site. This list is not complete.
The BMC Australia colour range
The colours used by BMC Australia were different from those used by the parent company in the UK. Balm Paints became Dulux and around 1999 Dulux sold their Automotive and Refinish paint sections to PPG. Each of the colours has a numeric code associated with it, by adding a preceding zero to a code, that code is still recognised by PPG distributors.
- 1963 - 67: Acacia - Marine Blue
- 1963 - 67: Moss Green - Twilight Grey
- 1967: Clay Beige - Special Burgundy
- 1969: Amber - Willow Green
- 1968-1971 Leyland colour list
- BMC Australia paint formulae for 1961