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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

S221-Goodwood

S221 on display at the 50th anniversary celebrations, Goodwood, 2005.

S221

YLN13YLN 13
Team 221Team 221-Aintree 1960
S221-ring Nurburgring 500S221 GrosStDHMC, Grosvenor StSebring 4 HrsSebring 4 Hours, 1961S221 in park S221 brochure photoJT51Peel bodywork, JT 51
8-RIK
8 RIKS221 goodwood at Goodwood
Spa
At Spa in 2006
Clegg-McGlone
McGlone's Aston DB3S
Clegg/McGlone Clegg & McGlone at Le Mans 2007
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S221-
S221 LeMans-
S221 LeMans-
S221 Le mans
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S221

 

Purchased new by Cyril Simson, this now famous Sprite was originally registered YLN 13, before being fitted with his personal registration number S221. It was initially raced as a standard bodied Sebring Sprite and one of a team of 3 Sprites -  S221, H221 and X221 entered as Team 221. It made its race debut at Goodwood on Easter Monday, 1960, but crashed. However, its mild damage was rapidly repaired, and success followed with Paul Hawkins winning the GT race at the Aintree 200 meeting. It also finished seventh with Ian Walker driving, as part of the Sprinzel Sprite team, to help win the Team Prize at the demanding Nurburgring 500 kms race for under 1,000cc Touring and GT cars in Germany.  Cyril then delivered it to John Sprinzel  at his London-based tuning and race preparation workshop for it to be further modified for the 1961 season. In addition to the usual Sebring 'mods' already fitted - wire wheels, front disc brakes, etc., S221 received an aerodynamic lightweight body built by Williams & Pritchard Ltd.

At the start of the 1961 season, Cyril Simson made his car available to the two-car Castrol-backed "works" team for the Sebring 4-Hours small-capacity GT race when it was driven by Pat Moss and Paul Hawkins. The car was practiced by Pat's brother Stirling (who was to partner Paul Hawkins with it) although, due to a slipping clutch, he transferred to John Sprinzel's sister car PMO 200 for the race, sharing that car with John. Afterwards the car was serviced and returned to Cyril Simson so that he and Paul Hawkins could contest the major Sebring race, the 12 Hours, on the following day. Subsequently Peter Clarke purchased the car, re-registered it JT51, and drove it in the 1961  Nurburgring 500km race where he had the misfortune to roll the car. When repaired the car was fitted with extended fastback style top/rear by Peels.

By 1963 the car had moved on to Graham Capel, nicknamed Ricky, so it gained the registration 8 RIK.   (see adjacent picture of the car on its trailer, at the Brands Hatch circuit on 19th May, 1963 when it was entered by Redstone Racing. Photo courtesy of Ron Edwards).

In 1964 it was raced, wearing the registration 184 FGJ in Marque sports car events driven by Ed Braine and John Palmer, the latter owning it from 1966 until 1989. It then passed into the hands of a Ginetta builder, Martin Phaff, for a short period before being acquired by well-known British competitor/car collector Colin Pearcy. He later commissioned Len Pritchard to make a new alloy rear end and coupé top to return the car to its original form. During 1994/5 the car was restored by Archers Garage. When Pearcy sold the car, to a private German buyer, Martin Burhenne, the fastback Peel body was included. The car was sold again in June 1998 by Brooks auctioneers at the Goodwood Festival of Speed for $33,206, (about £25,000 at that time).

Re-united with its early registration number S221, the car is currently owned by Chris Clegg who has campaigned it for a number of years in historic racing events. It is the only one of the original coupes to have survived structurally intact  - but even this car has now had two new sets of alloy panels. Painted in its original colour scheme of silver metallic with the nose dipped in light blue, its pre-race preparation continues to be carried out by Archers Garage, for Chris to drive.

Over the weekend of 30th Sept/Oct 1st 2006, Chris Clegg and Brian Archer took S221 to the Spa-Francochamps Circuit in the Ardennes of Belgium for the hour-long British Saloon & Sportscar Challenge, one of the support races for the 6 Hour Endurance event. Chris shared the driving with his friend Martin McGlone, the pair also running Martin's Aston DB3S in the Woodcote Trophy in which they finished 3rd in class (picture right). The Sebring had some pretty hot competition with a race entry of 73 cars including a Jaguar D-type, an Aston DBS V8, several Corvettes, Cobras, GT40s, etc. In their class were a TR4, Healey 100M, 4 MGBs, a Rallye Imp, an NSU TT, and an Alfa Guilietta. After qualifying, Chris found the pit entrance had been changed which delayed him so that Martin had only time for about 1 lap. When the Sprite came in afterwards it was found to have a broken alternator bracket, which had to be changed. Their best practice time around the dramatic 7 kilometre track was 3m 41secs - 12th out of 14 in the class. The TR4 was fastest with 3:08.6. Unfortunately the Sprite had another delay in the race itself, losing a lap when the Panhard rod came adrift forcing the car into the pits for its removal. Two cars in the class failed to finish, leaving S221 tenth out of the remaining 11 finishers. Their best lap of 3m 32.5 suggests they might have come as high as 7th had they not had to pit. I found the two photos and the following clip on the Grandstand Motor Sports' (the sponsor's) website: "In the one hour British Sports & Saloon Car Challenge race in the Sprite, Martin and Chris felt a little out-classed being the smallest car in the field of 73, including a large number of big V8 engined cars! Nevertheless they finished 53rd in front of (amongst others) a Sunbeam Tiger and a Ford Mustang".

During 2007 Chris raced the car at Le Mans (16th June), in the Legend Race which accompanies the main 24 Hours event, where he started 60th on the grid and shared the drive with Martin McGlone. The race is for original Le Mans, or similar type cars built between 1st Jan 1956 and 31st Dec 1968. They finished 46th overall, coming 3rd in the up to 1500cc class, and he therefore received an Automobile Club de l’Ouest trophy. 

At Spa, he started 65th and finished 52nd overall. Two very good results for a 46 year old car and its "young" driver! The cars latest outing was in November at Paul Ricard where it ran in a 1½ hour race. 

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Early Competition History

Date Event Driver/Co-driver Class Overall
18 Apr 1960 Goodwood BARC Cyril Simson   Crashed
22 May 1960 Nurburgring 1000 kms Cyril Simson 6th (1300class) 38th
12 Jun 1960 Rouen GP     DNF
13 Aug 1960 Silverstone 6hr Relay     PNR
20 Aug 1960 Goodwood RAC Tourist Trophy (supercharged) 7th (1300 class) 20th
4 Sep 1960 Nurburgring 500 kms   1st  

Converted to full alloy Williams & Pritchard coupé, painted metallic silver "dipped" in light blue. LH sidescreen 2" higher than driver's side.

--Mar 1961 Sebring 4 hr race Stirling Moss (practice), Pat Moss/Paul Hawkins (race)   7th
25 Mar 1961 Sebring 12 hr race Paul Hawkins/
Cyril Simson
4th 37th
28 May 1961 Nurburgring 1000 kms Paul Hawkins/Cyril Simson   DNF
3 Jun 1961 Brands Hatch Paul Hawkins 3rd  
6 Aug 1961 Snetterton Peter Clark 1st  
1961 Holmpatrick Trophy, Dunboyne Peter Clark 1st 7th
3 Sep 1961 Nurburgring 500 kms Peter Clark rolled in practice  
7 Apr 1962 Oulton Park, BARC Peter Clark    
12 May 1962 Silverstone BRDC meeting Peter Clark    
11 Aug 1962 750MC 6 hour Relay, Silverstone Peter Clark Team finished 14th  
2 Sep 1962 Snetterton Peter Clark 2nd  

Le Mans 2007 - photos courtesy of Dave Silvester - www.manxmotorsportphotography.com

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