It was 1990, I was 20 years old, laying on the couch reading The Trading Post. The ad read “Sprite mk2a good condition, runs well, needs some work, $5500”. After a test drive around the block I talked the guy down to $4650 and it was mine. However, I had no idea what a ‘Sprite’ was. I just knew it was the cutest car I had ever seen. Compared to my daily drive – a 1975 Toyota Celica – it handled like a Ferrari.
Fast forward 24 years – I am now 43 and have had many cars over the years. But my Sprite is still parked in the garage. I have replaced almost every part on the car – some after they fail, some just before. Overall, the car has been very reliable and has rarely broken down. I drive it regularly and at one stage was driving it to work every day.
The car has had a few engines under the bonnet and I’m currently running a 1275. A few years ago it was resprayed in original Monza red, as the duco was getting very tired. I was also keen to do some track events so installed harnesses, a roll bar, pulled out the carpets, trimmed the weight and added some numbers. Cosmetic work has been done including re-chroming, new seats and interior painting.
For many years while I have lived in apartments, the car has sadly been left outside under a car cover. However when my wife and I were looking to buy a house in 2010, a double garage was on top of the list. The Sprite now has pride of place in my deluxe man cave.
In February last year I thought it was about time I joined the Sprite Club. As Shannons say, I wanted to ‘share the passion’ with others. I am enjoying the friendly, social nature of the Club and the great advice and support from fellow members.
The car has a fibreglass Sebring style bonnet, electric dizzy, weber, mild cam, race pads and yokohamas. So you could say it’s a bit of a ‘mongrel’ – half street car, half race car. I put it onto the track for the first time earlier this year and had an absolute ball. It was great fun pushing it to the limit and learning what the car could do.
Friends often ask me “When will it be finished?” My response is “It’s like painting the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Once you get to one end you have to turn around and come back.”
Photo courtesy Peter Harrison