1964 Sebring & Le Mans Prototype
Thanks to the fascinating article by Baird Foster which appears in the April 2012 issue of Healey Marque, we now know that there were in fact two very similar aluminium-bodied Sprites produced by the Donald Healey Motor Company for the Sebring 12 Hour Race which took place on 21st March 1964. Their car having failed to finish in both the 1961 and 1963 Le Mans 24 Hour races, they built these new aluminium Coupés for 1964, similar in appearence to the '63 car which had crashed, ~ the goal being just to complete the distance in the '64 event. Using the wooden buck created for their Targa Florio car they fabricated a new body, this time with a one-piece forward-hinging bonnet for easier access to the engine bay. This car, registered in the UK 770 KNX, was entered in Class P.3.0. (Prototypes under 3 litres) for Clive Baker and John Colgate. Painted "silver blue", the car was to finish 24th overall. The sister car, 776 KNX, was entered in the GT class for up to 1.3 litre cars and was to be driven by Al Pease and Donna Mae Mims. However, while Pease was driving, it suffered rear axle failure after only 9 laps.
770 KNX was next entered for the 1964 Le Mans 24 Hours where it was driven by Clive Baker and Bill Bradley. To quote Geoff Healey from his book "More Healeys" 'both drivers 'drove well within their capabilities, finishing twenty-fourth'. Well, 24th position was actually last, but the car achieved 257 laps or 3,458.3 kms at an average speed of 144 kph on its little 1100cc engine. The car was said to have poor aerodynamics due to its tail shape. [Thanks to 'Healey Meets Le Mans' for 3rd photo down on the right].
Geoff Healey states in his book "Baker and Colgate again beat the Abarths to win the class in the twelve hour race despite a broken oil pump, also in the eleventh hour. We filled the sump way up so that the crankshaft was submerged and they managed to run under their own power to qualify at the end". A photo of the car at Sebring can be seen on this link. In that event it came home 25th overall.
Unfortunately we do not know the Chassis No. allotted to this car, nor its current whereabouts, ~ if it in fact survives.
[See also the web page for the sister car which survives today, 776 KNX]
Fabrication under way
The Le Mans entry
with Geoff Healey (ctre)
There are a number of superb action photos of the car at
Le Mans to be found in "Les Healey au Mans, 1949-1970".
Sports Car Graphic article