Austin Healey Sprite and MG Midget: spiritual successor to the MG TC
Less than three years after the launch of the beautiful MGA, which replaced the last of the old Midgets (the TF), yet another all-new sports car emerged from the Abingdon factory in Oxfordshire. Unlike the MGA, this one boasted monocoque construction; like the MGA, it used many of the mechanicals found in the mainstream sedans produced by the British Motor Corporation. Despite the fact that this newcomer shared many of its credentials with the dearer MGA, it was not branded ‘MG’ – at least, not yet.
This was, of course, the Austin Healey Sprite. BMC’s publicity department aptly chose the Monaco Grand Prix as the occasion to launch the new car. The date was 20 May 1958, the eve of the Grand Prix:
Today the Austin Motor Company makes motoring history with the announcement of a completely new and inexpensive sports car ... the Austin Healey Sprite. It is some 20 years since Austin made a small sports car, but the Sprite lives up fully to the fine traditions established in the 1920s and ’30s, and more recently by the Austin Healey 100. It has a maximum speed in the eighties and rapid acceleration, but with fuel consumption ranging from 30 – 45 mpg.