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Dedicated to the memory of the late Brian Archer who fulfilled his dream to re-create John Sprinzel's Sebring Sprite Coupé

 

58 FAC ~ the 1963 'works' Le Mans entry

Following their engine failure with 1411 WD at Le Mans in 1961 the Healeys decided not to go to the Sarthe the following year. However, for the 24 Hour race in 1963 they built another coupé which we know as 58 FAC, its UK registration number. As Geoff Healey says in his book, "More Healeys", "The front end was simplified and the tail finished in the well-known sawn-off fashion, devised by Kamm".

The car was given a test run in the Sebring 12 Hours in the spring of '63 where it was driven by John Colegate and Clive Baker. It was classified 32nd after 161 laps stopping just short of the finish after suffering engine failure. For the Le Mans race in June BMC offered two of their top drivers: John Whitmore and Bob Olthoff.

Geoff continues:"The small changes made to the bodywork and the increased output of the engine were sufficient for the drivers to lap in excess of 100 mph for the first time 58 FACin practice. It looked as though the car would do well. In the race it ran at an average speed of just under 100 mph until just after 1 a.m. on the Sunday, when Bob Olthoff had an accident at White House. There was no question that Bob was going too fast and he claimed that he was momentarily dazzled as he entered the corner." Olthoff was badly bruised and dazed and was quickly flown home to Britain where he made a rapid recovery. Sadly, the car is believed to have been destroyed. [photo above: Matt Gilbert]

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[Photos above from Karsten Stelk's extensive archive]

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The car, ready to race. N.B one of the Sebring Mark 2s in the background.
[Photo: Geoff Healey]
58 FAC March, 1963 and Autosport shows a photo of the car being painted, ready for Sebring. Sebring
At Sebring in '63
KS 42
Photo: Karsten Stelk
58 FAC
John Whitmore leans on pit wall [Photo: Russ Smith]