The Mark II version of the Austin Healey Sprite made its first appearance
In the summer of 1961.

A far cry from the original "Frog Eye", the Mark II had undergone a clever restyling, provided a conventional nose, with its headlamps at the front of the wings and a conventional tail with opening boot lid.

The new model had a completely new body of flat, rectangular and singularly unimpressive appearance.

Available in De Luxe and standard forms, with a close-ratio gearbox standard, the De Luxe model featured additional bumpers, screen washers and a rev-counter.

The Austin Healey Sprite Mark II was powered by the same 948cc power unit as used on the Frog Eye, although this was soon to change.

From the autumn of 1962, BMC decided to push up the power by fitting a 1098cc A-Series engine generating 56bhp, while front-wheel disc brakes were fitted as standard.

An opening boot-lid was a welcome addition as previously access to the Mark I model's boot having been through the cockpit which now came equipped with carpets in place of the rubber maps found in the Mark I.

These updates were also the same used on the newly launched and totally identical MG Midgets of the day.

A series of significant changes  followed in the spring of 1964, when the Sprite was upgraded to become  the Mk III, also marketed as the Mark II MG Midget.

The Mark III came with a revised rear structure with half-elliptic leaf spring rear suspension,  an overdue enhancement that made the handling less reactive, while retaining  its sporting character.

In keeping with the Sprite's still Spartan image, the most major technical equipment update was the provision of wind-up windows

For those who could afford to indulge themselves, wire wheels were a pleasant optional extra, making the new 1098-cc Sprite was a slightly more self-respecting sports car.

Despite its improving façade, the Sprite still failed to provide too much of an exhilarating ride, with a top speed of just under 90 mph offset by the fact that fuel consumption was still over 30 mpg.

In March of 1964, another upgrade was announced, taking in a curved windscreen, lockable doors with externally operated push-button door handles, fully winding side windows and hinged quarter lights.

The next and final update to the Sprite came in October 1966   when the 1100 Mark III engine was phased out to be replaced by a 1275 cc Mark IV 65 bhp model, based on the same engine used on the Mini Cooper.

The Sprite's body received its usual list of updates, with most substantial being the switch to a permanent hardtop in place of the removable version.

The last Sprite, the MkV, briefly became just a plain Austin Sprite as part of a failed marketing strategy before production ceased in 1971.

he MG Midget continued alone until 1979, as a totally revamped testament to the Frog Eye.

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