briefly registered as PMO 200, and known in the States as a "Sprinzel"
First registered 26th July 1960 ~ Chassis No: AN5-39664
Terry Cowan of California, USA has owned 96 RPE for quite a number of years. He gave the car a break from racing between 1992 and 2010, but then restored it, and has since competed in a number of further races. This year (2013) he took part in the Wine Country Classic, followed by a three week trip to Scotland for the European Healey Meeting at Crieff, then the Monterey Historics, and several others. Preparations are now in hand for HSMA's Speedfest in San Diego. Briefly owned by John Sprinzel and registered PMO 200, Terry likes to display that famous licence plate on its bodywork. A founding member, and President of the AHC of San Diego for the past 7 years, Terry owns 4 Healey BJ8s, a factory 100M, and 5 Racing Sprites including a rare Speedwell GT. He also runs Toy Shop Restorations.
The following early history was kindly supplied by Tom Coulthard and Jonathan Whitehouse-Bird from the Sebring Sprite Register:
"96 RPE/PMO 200/855 GNV Originally owned by Bob Snow the car was first Nevada beige, then Alfa Red. All-alloy berlinetta (built by Peel’s as a replica of the fastback they had put on S 221/JT 51) was prepared for the 1962 season and Le Mans, but did not get an entry. It initially had a Starsprite bonnet though this was later changed to one of the W & P Sebring variety. Fitted with a Don Moore 997cc FJ engine, a Panhard rod, a 70-litre alloy fuel tank and a Triplex screen, it was an Octagon Stable team car, sold at the end of the 1962 season. Later, in 1973, the car was acquired by John Sprinzel and re-registered PMO 200, though not used in competition and sold in 1975, re-registered 855 GNV (see log book, right). An advert in the Australian A-H Club Pacific newsletter in the late 70's shows what is said to be an alloy-bodied GT (‘one of six made’). The shape is that of a Peel’s fastback, very similar to S221/JT 51. It survives in the States, having been owned by the late Dr George H. Simmonds for some years and now owned by Terry Cowan of British Speedwell Racing."
Nov, 2014: More of the story has now come to light. I was contacted by a former owner of the car, Michael Duffey:
" I found the car in Los Angeles in 1978. The owner then was Herman Llano who purchased the car from Sprinzel through Morris Stapleton Motors maybe six months prior. It was black at that time and had a fiberglass front and was fitted with snow tread, rally tires. I tried to buy the car from Herman but he had a prior arrangement with a man named Brandon Burke; Burke didn't keep the car long and sold it to Roland Rodwell who attempted to drive it from California to his home on the East Coast. I knew Brandon and contacted Rodwell who had started a 'restoration' but agreed to sell it to me. All of this was in 1978. The car had Girling front discs and big drums in the rear with Konis on the rear, long distance alloy fuel tank, a mild 1275cc A Series, standard gearbox and overall, was in good condition for what it was. I had the logbook showing the car as PMO200 but would later learn that John used that number on several cars. Chassis number is AN5-39664. Stripping the car, I found many colors though the first was Colorado Beige. I acquired and installed an XSP Formula Junior engine, (one of the 3" stroke 1100cc units with dry sump), and a straight cut gearbox. The BMC stores in California had a set of brand new 5" wire wheels unsold since the 1960's so I bought those too. I also converted the rear hubs to double bearings supplied by Joe Huffaker. The photo of the car in the red/orange paintwork is just after restoration. I raced the car several times in Northern California and through Jim Proffit, sold it to Joel Nave who then owned Jim's yellow coupe. Joel sold both cars to George Simmons who passed them on to Terry Cowan where they still reside. I am looking for more photos, but these are the first ones that I could find but will send more as they appear".
On my publishing this information Ian Turner then responded: "Michael Duffey`s comments about 96 RPE brought back memories of a Sprite I went to look at in early 1968. It was advertised in the Birmingham Mail as a Sebring Sprite for I think about £350! I only had about £200. It was at a used car Dealer in Acocks Green, Birmingham, painted pink, with a Sebring front and wire wheels. From your website, 96 RPE was sold to Michael Forbes in Aug 1968 - he lived in Sheldon which is only a couple of miles away. It could have been the same car".
From "Spritely Years" the entry on 96 RPE additionally tells us that the car appeared at the BRDC International Trophy meeting at Silverstone on 12 July (1962), and that it was unfortunately involved in a fatal accident in practice for the Nurburgring 1000 km the following day. Withdrawn from that race, it next appeared on "11 August when it scored a 6th overall in the Silverstone Six-Hour Relay in a two-car Octagon Stable team with 2214 UE".
with Sir Stirling Moss
My thanks to Tom Coulthard, Jonathan Whitehouse-Bird, Michael Duffey and Terry Cowan for the above information and photographs.