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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

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1966 Targa Florio

EAC 90C

TFR 3 - open, later became TFR4 - coupé

To quote from Geoff Healey's book 'More Healeys':
"TRF 2 had shown a strong tendency to understeer, an unwelcome feature on the Targa Florio's twisty circuit. For 1965 we built another special, TFR 3, which incorporated subtle changes in the body design. The fuel tank was moved further back and lower down, and the inclination of the rear springs was reduced, lessening the effects of roll understeer. These modifications were sufficient to turn the car into the perfect candidate for the Targa's Circuito Piccolo delle Madonie - quick to turn into a corner, while giving good traction on the exit". It was painted light green, Dockers Docka-colour. The team was made up of drivers, Rauno Aaltonen and Clive Baker, supported by Geoff Healey, John Harris as mechanic, his brother Brian and Derek Blunsden. Unfortunately a sticking brake caliper delayed them for 15 minutes losing them the chance of a class win. The result:
1965 Targa Florio - #154 - Aaltonen/Baker - 15th, 2nd in class.

After the race Geoff often used the car on the road, often driving it down to Cornwall and it became one of his favourite cars.
For 1966 the same car was converted into a coupé and re-named TFR 4 The idea seems to have come from Rauno Aaltonen who felt that a roof "would give greater protection in the event of an accident". The race was wet and when Rauno was driving he broke a wheel on a rock and knocked the axle slightly askew. Although the wheel was changed the next problem was a broken half shaft which Clive changed out on the circuit with help from some English enthusiasts. The result this time: 1966 Targa Florio - #208 - Aaltonen/Baker - 20th, 3rd in class.
(I believe the car then had an MGB overdrive gearbox).

Geoff Healey and his wife, Margot, travelled down to Sicily in EAC 90C on both occasions.

From John Baggott's book 'Mighty Midgets & Special Sprites' I learn that: "From 1967 to 1969, EAC 90C was seen at club events in the hands of Austin-Healey Club member Dudley Lucas..." He fitted a Sebring 997cc dry sump engine acquired from the Healeys. Dudley entered the car for the 500kms Mugello Grand Prix in both 1968 and 1969 sharing the drives with Arthur Appleby. In '68 they finished 16th and 6th in class after changing a wheel out on the circuit, but in 1969 after damaging the car in practice they were not allowed to compete in the race itself. For 1970, Appleby entered the car on his own. However "on Lap 4, going through the fast right-hander on the approach to Giogo, an Abarth moved over on him, catapulting the Sprite into a bridge parapet, putting him in hospital with a broken elbow and completely destroying the car" (John Baggott quote).

EAC Mugello
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EAC Mugello

[My thanks to those who have kindly contributed photographs including John Phillips, Karsten Stelk, and Ian Turner, and to Geoff Healey and John Baggott for parts of the text]

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LATE NEWS

In conversation with Dave Groves I discovered that his cousin was married to Dudley Lucas who raced EAC with Arthur Appleby. It seems that after the Mugello crash in 1970 the car was broken up and its remains buried beneath a new entrance drive. The dry-sump motor, Healey wheels and other mechanicals were built into another racing Sprite which had a Sebring bonnet and DHMC Mk2 hardtop. Never registered for the road this car was eventually dismantled and the parts sold off.

EAC
Under construction
KS 13
Ready for the Targa 1965
KS 1
The starteac
underway
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The '66 start-line
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Jack Wheeler passes by KS 99

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