A successful Sprite

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Sir,

Having read Mr. B. A. Philpott’s remarks under your heading “Tales of Woe,” I have come to the conclusion that he must have been singularly unlucky, both in respect of the particular car he got and with his dealings with his garage and the Agents.

My own Austin Healey Sprite is now eleven months old, and shows 10,000 miles on the “clock” – and each mile has been nothing short of enjoyable motoring from the word “go.” There was a rattle in my car, too – noticed during the first 30 miles I ever drove her – so that I turned about and returned to the people I bought her from (in my case they were Agents) – and despite the fact that the time was 1 p.m. on a Saturday, they sent a fitter out with me to listen to the noise and remedied same within half an hour by a simple adjustntent of the bonnet hinges – which, incidentally, are made to adjust – a praiseworthy point, I thought. At 8,000 miles occurred my first calamity in the shape of nothing more serious than a broken speedo. cable. Again I returned to the Agents on a Saturday morning, this time at 11 a.m., when they immediately fitted a new cable under the guarantee. Since then I have had no further troubles – and, indeed, having previously been solely a Vintagent and kept some 32-odd cars going on small resources and large enthusiasm, I now find myself rather at a loss for something to do on my Sprite other than polish the thing, clean points and grease regularly, etc.

But I should mention the fact that at 5,000 miles, on the advice of the Head Fitter of one of the Tuning Specialists, I threw away the G.G. needles in the S.U. carbs. and substituted M.8s; and after careful tuning and balancing of the carbs. the improvement in the bottom-end performance (previously decidedly hesitant) was nothing short of astounding, with little or no effect on petrol consumption that I have noticed.

But could I take your good selves up on this question of the Sprite’s road-holding, which you have so often praised? Is it really that good, do you think? Or have I driven vintage models too long? The fact remains that before fitting an anti-roll bar I thought the degree of roll truly excessive; and given a damp road, a really wet one, or a deluge, my Sprite has to be driven with the constant expectation of a rear breakaway at ridiculously low cornering speeds – more so, I think, than any other car I have driven. I understand that a change of type of tyre will help cure this, but after 10,000 miles and three change rounds the original Dunlops show little sign of wear, so that I do not feel inclined to face the expense just yet.

I am, Yours, etc.,

Brentford. – J. W. Burtnell.