The original Donald Healey Motor Co
Sebring Sprite fibreglass hardtop.
Donald Healey's company used, on its Sebring Sprites, a fibreglass hardtop produced for them by the Jensen Motor Co at West Bromwich. One of the first of the Sprite hardtops, it utilised a pair of taller-than-standard sidescreens providing enhanced visibility. The cars which raced at Sebring in 1959 (left) used this hardtop, Q.3137. Apparently the top was only available to those purchasing a car converted to 'Sebring spec' at The Cape. Each top was marked with a serial number but the total number built is not known. [BMC produced their own hardtop, almost identical in appearance, which became available as an optional extra, and used the Mk 1 Sprite's original production sidescreens.]
The original DHMC hardtop is now very rare and as far as I am aware there is no mould available to re-produce them. Pete Farmer is producing some replica tall sidescreens and can be contacted by email on: firstname.lastname@example.org If anyone knows of the availability of an original or replica DHMC hardtop please contact me via Feedback as I am touch with one or two owners who would like one.
During 1962, DHMC offered a second hardtop, designed by Les Ireland, specifically for the Mk 2 Sprite, this time produced 'in-house' at The Cape, Warwick*. This hardtop was first seen and used on the 'Works' cars at Sebring in 1962 (see right and link). Occasionally, the Mk 2 Sprite hardtop (or "Warwick" hardtop as it became known) was retrospectively fitted by the DHMC to some Mk 1 Sprites, such as Ian Grainger's 2341 UE. Some have Perspex rear windows while others are in glass, front fastenings vary in size/design and the hardtops also vary in weight.
*Julian Yell has one of these hardtops, still in immaculate condition and tells me that one of the DHMC brochures indicated they were made by Messr. Glass Fibre (Birmingham) Ltd.,
19-31, Albion Rd, Birmingham (though might this perhaps be a name Geoff Healey gave to his hardtop division ?)
In Tom Coulthard's email to me on 17 Feb 2014 he says: "Robert Visser’s photo of XOH 276’s hardtop that you ran in the January newsletter is fascinating. The delicate reveal on the drip-rail clearly shows a different moulding from the other high-sidescreen hardtops I have seen, where the drip rail is ‘filled in’ – presumably to aid release from the mould. This seems to confirm my theory there were two distinct stages of high-sidescreen hardtop production – the initial ‘BMC prototype’ phase and the later DHMoCo phase (mooted in Spritely-Years pp. 148 and 181)."
Many thanks to Jim Dougherty, David Matthews, Julian Yell, Tom Coulthard and others for information and help in assembling this web page.
Original drawing 1 on PDF
Original drawing 2 on PDF
This photo of Dan Paul's DHMC hardtop with the standard BMC side-screen held alongside it clearly shows the difference in the shape of the side opening.
New side-screens produced by Pete Farmer (currently sold out but put your name on the list for the next batch - Feedback)