Built in June 1959, 2824 MV was purchased new by Rolls-Royce dealer Danny Margulies who, like his friend John Sprinzel, traded from mews premises in London's West End. He competed with the car in three international rallies: The first was, with J.Campbell-Jones navigating, on the 1960 Alpine Rally and the second in that year's Liege-Rome-Liege with Stuart Turner, unfortunately failing to finish in either event.The car was entered by American Lotus distributor, Jay Chamberlain, at the Nurburgring in 1961. Unfortunately he rolled the car in practice (see photo 3, right). Bryan Allart tells us "it shows Jay Chamberlain in the foreground, myself attempting to get the car into some sort of race worthy condition, while Dan Margulies casts a watchful eye in the background. The editorial states (now amended) that Richard Melville was probably driving the car at the time. That is not so. Jay Chamberlain was at the wheel and claimed the roll was due to a blown front tyre. That also is incorrect!".
2824 MV was damaged again that year when Peter Jackson borrowed the car for a club rally when its (alloy) Monza bonnet was crumpled. Dan and Peter then entered MV for the 1961 Tour de Course using Peter's fibreglass Sebring W & P bonnet from 46 BXN, which subsequently remained with the car for many years.
The car was sold to Tom Jones who had it only briefly before selling it on to Anthony Moore for £500 in 1963. A year on and the car went to the Gold Seal Car Co before finding its 4th owner, David Taylor of Birkenhead who kept it for quite a few years only parting with it to David (or Dean) Donley in 1977**. Donley imported into the USA around 1980, repainted the car in green and gold and raced it at Sebring and West Palm Beach. He finished 3rd in the vintage Sebring race of 1981. After nearly 5 years in his ownership, 2824 MV was advertised for sale and was acquired by Bud Nixon of Lutherville, Maryland for $4,500. The car was entrusted to Jack Merryman of Merryman Modifications in Hanover, Pennsylvania for restoration and the fitment of a Speedwell Monza bonnet to bring it back to its original appearance. The car had deteriorated over many years of racing and much of the rear of the car had to be re-made from scratch. For the next few years it became a show car being exhibited at numerous Sprite and Austin-Healey events in the north-eastern states, though Nixon did race the car on occasions. In his ownership for 17 years he finally sold it to Jeff Brenner in 1998. It moved on again to its 8th owner, Maryland driver, Dan Leonard in 2001 and for a second restoration by Jack Merryman. Leonard raced the car for just one season and with more than 100 bhp at the wheels it was said to be an exciting ride. He kept the car until 2012 when he sold it back to Jeff Brenner with whom it remains, though it was offered for sale at auction in 2015 (Bonhams) guide price $70,000 to $90,000. It failed to reach its reserve. See Classic Car Chasers.
** It seems there was in fact another owner of the car between 1969 and 1971/2 ~ Colin Cramphorn who says (in Nov.2016): "I am at an age where you tend to think about the past and 2 or 3 weeks ago I thought I would research a car I once owned. It has always had a place in my memories as it was a fantastic car to drive and I sold it to buy an engagement ring. So I typed the registration number 2824 MV and to my surprise pages of information appeared. I always knew the car as a Speedwell Sebring Sprite but I never realised what a rare car it was. At the time I was studying engineering at High Wycombe College and was part of a group with high performance cars such as a Turner Climax and several Morgans. I bought the car in the summer of 1969 and sold it late in 1971 or early 1972. It was dark blue with two silver stripes when I bought it but I sprayed it red in 1970. The engine was a highly tuned 948cc red lined at 9500 and as a road car had a startling performance. Difficult in traffic and would backfire if kept stationary for too long. I had very few problems with the car other than the very tight ground clearance and some rust in the chassis. I cannot remember who I purchased the car from or sold it to but I have found two photographs which include the car. They were taken by my wife to be so the car was not the center of her attention! I will send them to you but they are not really suitable for your site. I would be interested to know how this fits in with your current history and I will be checking to see if I have any further information".
Some of the accompanying photos were sent by Jeff Brenner to Jonathan Whitehouse-Bird in the 1990s. N.B. An unusual feature is the MGA coupe door handles.
Summer 1988, Maryland USA
photo: Dan Leonard
taken in 2013
Dan Margulies & Stuart Turner...
..on the Liege-Rome-Liege Rally in 1960
After Jay Chamberlain's roll in practice at the Nurburgring
1961 Tour de Corse...
with Peter Jackson
From 1969 until 1971/2....
....2824 MV was owned by Colin Cramphorn
Dean Donley around 1980
Donley's colours green/gold
With new Speedwell bonnet