Owned/restored by Jonathan Whitehouse-Bird - Competition Results
Built on 12.7.60, this Sprite was originally painted Iris Blue and registered on 18.7.60 as GUY 603 for its first owner Guy Wilson, a solicitor from Carlisle, Cumbria. It was dispatched to the Donald Healey Motor Co. at Grosvenor Street, London, and converted to Sebring specification - Girling disc brakes, wire wheels, etc., for Guy to compete in motorsport activities at club level.
The following year on 12.4.61 the car was re-registered 410 EAO and offered for sale by John Sprinzel Ltd., Lancaster Mews, London, and purchased by Andrew Hedges. Part of the deal included the fitment of alloy coupe bodywork by Williams & Pritchard Ltd. When completed, the car was painted metallic Healey Ice Blue with a dark blue stripe broadening to the width of the grille aperture, echoing that of a small number of cars racing under the Scuderia Light Blue banner. Expert tuner Don Moore provided the race engine.
The cars debut event in alloy coupe form was the 1000 km race at the Nurburgring in May 1961. With Andrew Hedges, and fellow team mate Bill McCowen sharing the driving, it finished 4th in class and 32nd overall.
At the end of a very full and successful 1961 season, the car was overhauled by Abingdon's Competitions Dept. Once again, it returned to John Sprinzel Ltd. and was advertised in October 1961, for £1,150. However, the Sprite was purchased by its next owner - Les Arnold, after noticing the car on its trailer and following it across London.
Les Arnold was the owner of a fleet of London taxis and competed with 410 EAO during 1962 and 1963, mainly in club events. He achieved great success with the car and as a result was offered a drive with the Healey Motor Company (sharing with Clive Baker), for Le Mans in 1964. However, the invitation was declined.
In 1964, the car passed into the hands of Michael Barnett. Unfortunately, during his ownership and while practising for a race at Oulton Park that year, 410 EAO rolled at Lodge Corner crushing the alloy roof and damaging the rear alloy panelling. The alloy roof was deemed to be beyond repair and scrapped, but the rear alloy bodywork was repaired. The car was repainted - still Ice Blue, but without the dark blue stripe. A standard Sprite windscreen and glass fibre hardtop were also fitted. Thereafter, it was sold to Michael Barnett's brother-in-law for use on the road.
At the NEC Birmingham Classic Motor Show in November 2008 a guy names Chris Milner turned up to reveal that he had previously owned EAO. Apparently he bought the car in 1965 (to be confirmed), after responding to an ad' in Autosport. He paid about £430 for it from a guy in Manchester. He travelled up from Plymouth where he was living, and returned home with EAO the same day. He was a member of Plymouth Motor Club and used EAO in club circuit race meetings for one season only. Following previous owner Michael Barnett's accident in 1964, the car now had a W&P/Speedwell type glassfibre hardtop painted in O.E.W. Towards the end of the '65(?) season, the engine went rough and was removed. A strip down revealed a crack in the F.J. crankshaft! With no money for repairs the car was sold in bits and Chris Milner moved on to racing with Ford Escorts and later Capris.
By 1967, 410 EAO had made its way to Sutton Coldfield in the West Midlands, owned by Warwick Edgington and used occasionally on the road as a "fun, second car". It was acquired by Graham Jacques in the early 1970s. Its past history long forgotten, he employed it as daily transport until the winter of 1975, when he lost control on 'black ice' and struck a lamppost.
The Sprite then sat in the owners garden, exposed to the elements for 12 years, before being moved. It was eventually discovered by Jonathan Whitehouse-Bird during November 1990, housed in a semi-derelict warehouse, when Graham Jacques offered the car for sale.
Over the next 18 years Jonathan meticulously rebuilt 410 EAO to its original 1961 specification. Len Pritchard, of Williams and Pritchard, by then in his 80's was persuaded to make a new alloy hardtop for the car, and this was then fitted. Its first registration - GUY 603 survives, currently on a silver 1979 Fiat X1/9 sports car. Former owner of the car, Andrew Hedges, sadly died in 2005.
Having brought the car back to pristine condition Jonathan's work was done and, not wanting to race the car and it being unsuitable as transport for his young family he decided to sell the car and move on to other projects. Hence the car was placed with Gordon Elwell who obtained its MOT and gave it a shake-down on the public roads before it went to auction at the Autosport Racing Car Show in January 2011. Although there was some enthusiastic bidding, and bids reached £77,000, at the end of the day the car remained unsold.
11th August 2011 ~ EAO has been sold to Jim Lowry of Equipe GTS fame who hopes to have the car out on the circuits shortly.
and in the 1000 kms at Nurburgring, also 1961
Les Arnold in 1963
Former owner Chris Millner
Les Arnold leads a GSM Delta at Mallory Park, 1963
EAO on its trailer behind A40
Simon and Adam Edgington with EAO about 1966 or 7
As Jonathan found her in 1990
The restored shell
The motor comes together
Nearing completion - 2007
Raring to go!
At Goodwood, Sprite 50th
With her sister cars
At Coys Auction 2011
|May 28||Nurburgring ADAC 1000 kms||Andrew Hedges||Bill McCowen||4th||32nd|
|Jun 18||Snetterton 100 Trophy Meeting||Andrew Hedges||4th||6th|
|Jul 8||Silverstone BRDC 23rd British Empire Trophy Meeeting||Andrew Hedges||2nd|
|Jul 15||Aintree RAC British Grand Prix Meeting||Andrew Hedges||4th|
|Jul 23||Snetterton Autosport Championship Race||Andrew Hedges||2nd||3rd|
|Aug 7||Brands Hatch BRSCC Peco Trophy||Andrew Hedges||3rd|
|Sep 3||Nurburgring 500 Km [Team Sebring Prize]||Andrew Hedges||Robert Kuderli||4th|
|Sep 10||Urcy Hillclimb (Nr. Dijon)||Andrew Hedges||[class record: 2.04.00]||1st|
|Sep 30||Snetterton BRSCC Autosport 3 Hours||Andrew Hedges||[lap record: 2.00.07]||1st|
|Oct 15||Montlhery Autodrome, Coupe de Salon Mtg||Andrew Hedges||3rd|
|Oct 22||Monthlhery Autodrome, 1000 Km de Paris||Andrew Hedges||Bill McCowen||4th*|
*despite rear oil seal failure