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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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XSP Engines

[This page is in the early stages of construction]

Morris Motors Ltd., (Engines Branch) made power units for vehicles produced by the Nuffield Organization, and its factory became part of British Motor Corporation when Morris Motors Limited merged with The Austin Motor Company Limited in 1952. [Wikipedia]

In addition to producing the vast array of production engines for the BMC group, Morris Engines Branch built special engines for competition use, these finding their way into Cooper racing and sports-racing cars, the many racing and rally cars of both the Donald Healey Motor Co and the BMC Competition Department at Abingdon.

In his book "More Healeys", Geoff Healey says: "The man who probably made the greatest contribution to improving both the power and the strength of the 'A' series engine was Eddie Maher at Morris Engines. This was largely as a result of his work on the BMC Formula Junior engine, which continued until 1964 when the Cosworth-developed Ford engines ran away with the series". He also mentions Maher's colleague at Morris Engines, Derek Frost, the independent tuner Harry Weslake, Gill Jones and Harry Broom at MIRA, Tim Fry of Rootes and Jim McManus all of whom contributed to the improvements made to the little motor.

Another quote from Geoff: "The 948cc unit fitted to the Frog-eyes and the early MkII.Mk1 Spridgets benefited from Eddie's work on the Formula Junior engine as used in John Cooper's car, with which Jackie Stewart did so well. This used the stronger crankshaft, connecting rods and valve gear that were essential if the tuned unit was to stay together. The crankshaft was nitride hardened and manufactured from better alloy steel, and this found its way into most of our racing engines". This crankshaft was commonly known as the "Red" crank.Fuel Inj Engine

XSP numbers appear to run in the sequence in which they were built, whether they were 'A' series, 'B' or 'C' Series. Here are a few of the 'A' series numbers to start us off:

Engine No.
Fitted to vehicle:
Chassis No
UK Reg No
Capacity
XSP 1462/2
1958 A35 Competition Car
A2S5/HCS/86838
PFF 754
995cc

XSP 1548/1

1960 Falcon Sprite Sebring/Le Mans (ST401)
?
5983AC
?
XSP 1729-7
1959 'works' Sebring Sprite race car
AN5/8145
UWD 97
? 995cc
XSP 1736
Ex-Nick Ramus, Tony Straker,Frank Tiedman
ST 456
5435 WD
XSP 1736-1
1961 'works' Sprite - Sebring 4 hours
AN5/47400
8423 UE
995cc
XSP 1736-2
1961 'works' Sprite - Sebring 4 hours/Ecurie Ecosse Le Mans coupe #42 (?XSP1736-4)
AN5/47402
8427 UE/1413 WD
XSP 1736-3
1961 'works' Sprite - Sebring 4 hours
AN5/47401
8424 UE
995cc
XSP 1736-5
1961 'works' Sprite - Sebring 4 hours
AN5/47398
8425 UE
995cc
XSP 1736-4
1961 'works' Sebring Sprite 'roadster'
(? also fitted to E.Ecosse Le Mans coupe)
AN5/47399 or ST 450 S
8426 UE
?
XSP 1862-2
A 'works-modified' Mk 2 Sprite

HAN6L 21533

510 DWD
997cc
XSP 1863-3
Alloy-bodied 'works' Sebring Sprite Mk 2
HAN6 ?????
9251 WD
995cc*
?
Alloy-bodied 'works' Sebring Sprite Mk 2
HAN6 11561
9252 WD
995cc*
XSP 1973-7
ditto (now with Jonathan Peck)
ditto (for '63)
ditto
995cc DS
XSP 1862-1
Alloy-bodied 'works' Sebring Sprite Mk 2
HAN6 11562
9253 WD
995cc
XSP 1973-6
ditto
ditto (for '63)
ditto
995cc DS
?
Alloy-bodied 'works' Sebring Sprite Mk 2
HAN6 11563
9254 WD
995cc*
XSP 1973-8
ditto
ditto for '63
ditto
995cc DS
XSP 1973-9
Alloy coupe bodied Sebring/Le Mans Sprite
HAN7-63 H 73-14
58 FAC
1098cc DS
XSP/2068-5
Ex-Alec Poole Frogeye Sprite
AN5/40654
TZA 238
1071cc
XSP 2173-4
Sebring/Le Mans works coupe 1964
?
770 KNX
1098cc
XSP 2173-2
1964 Sebring works coupe
HAN7 11563-H-2
776 KNX
1098cc
XSP 2195/3
Roger Enever 'works' MG Midget (July 1965)
GAN3-23948
138 DMO
1293 cc
XSP 24262
Alloy bodied works Sprite (1965)

HAN8-R65-5

DAC 952C
1293cc
XSP 24263 ?
Sebring/Le Mans works coupe in 1965
?
770 KNX
1293cc
XSP 24264 ?
1967 road-going car
?
4 HAC
1293cc
?
Alloy bodied works Sprite (1965)
HAN8-R-65-52
ENX 415C
1293cc
XSP 24266
Alloy bodied works Sprite (1965)
HAN8-R-65-35
ENX 416C
1293cc
XSP 3191-3
A thick wall block with no removable tappet covers, owned by Kim Johnson, Droitwich
1275cc
XSP 26044
Alloy bodied works Sprite (1966)
HAN8-R-143
HNX 455D
1293cc
XSP 26043
Alloy bodied works Sprite (1966)
HAN8-R-144^
HNX456D
1293cc
XSP ......
Road-going display alloy bodied Sprite
HAN8-R-202
-
1293cc
XSP.......
A standard-bodied Sprite Mk4 (Targa Florio)
HAN9-R-157 (TFR 6)
LNX 629E
1293cc DS
XSP 29073
Alloy-bodied Targa Florio Sprite (1967)

HAN9-R-235 (TFR 5)

LWD 959E
1293cc FIXF
XSP 306313
Alloy bodied Le Mans Sprite (1968)
HAN9-R-237^
RUE714G
1293cc FIXF
XSP 306314
(Currently in TFR5 - see 29073 above)
1293cc FIXF
XSP306323
As above (not raced by works)
HAN9-R-238
-
1293cc FIXF
XSP 306322
Ex-works alloy bodied roadster
HAN9-R-250
-
1293cc FIXF


* The '62 engines in the Sprite Mk 2s are known to have used a split centre exhaust port effectively creating a 4-exhaust-port head.
DS: Dry-sump motor.
FIXF: Fuel-injected with crossflow head, and dry sump.
^ same car (144 became 237).

The Cooper Formula Junior Service Parts List shows the following capacities:

Year Engine Prefix Bore Stroke Capacity
1960
XSP/1462
2.537"
3"
995cc
1961
XSP/1717
2.537"
3"
995cc
1962
XSP/1722
2.667"
3"
1100cc
1963
XSP/2036
2.82"
2.6875"
1100cc
1964
XSP/2224
2.82"
2.4375"
999cc


Standard BMC engines were:
948 - Bore 2.478" - Stroke 3" - Capacity 948cc
1100 - Bore 2.543 - Stroke 3.296" - Capacity 1098cc
1275 - Bore 2.78" - Stroke 3.2" - Capacity 1275cc

(Contributors to this page to date include John Poulter, Rob Maxstone-Graham, James Thacker and David Scothorn to whom I extend my sincere thanks.)

[This page is in the early stages of construction ~ any further information and numbers would be gratefully received.]