A lot of information is available on Sprites and Midgets, and not surprisingly, most of this information is either United Kingdom or North American based.
However, quite a number of Sprites and Midgets were sent to Australia in a completely knocked down (CKD) kit form to be assembled at Pressed Metal Corporation, at Enfield in Sydney (a BMC Subsidiary). The range of models assembled in Australia included the Mk 1, 2, 2A, 3, 3A Sprites, and the Mk3 Midget.
Most Australian records were lost when Leyland Australia closed down its local plant. The Sprite Car Club of Australia (Inc) is currently working on a project to try and compile a history of CKD Sprites and Midgets in Australia.
If you have any information that you think might be of value to our project, no matter how insignificant it may seem, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Registrar at The Sprite Car Club of Australia (Inc) about any general details concerning Australian assembled cars, or submit details of your car to the Australian Sprite and Midget Register.
Sprite & Midget models
This next section will give a brief run down the different models that were assembled, and list differences between Australian assembled cars and those assembled in the UK including production dates. As more information is compiled it will be added.
Austin Healey Sprite Mk1
Affectionately known as the “Bugeye”. The Australian model prefix was YHAN1, and assembly numbers started at number 501. The 9C-U-H (948cc) motor was used for this model. Tachometer, windscreen washer, locking petrol cap and tonneau cover were standard on Australian cars (these items being optional extras on UK cars). Price was 998 pounds (Australian), plus on road costs. A total of 894 Mk1 Sprites were assembled in Australia.
Austin Healey Sprite Mk2
First assembled in Australia August 1962 The Australian model prefix was YAAN2, and assembly numbers started at number 501. The 9CG (948cc) motor was used for this model. A total of 326 Australian Mk2 Sprites were assembled.
Austin Healey Sprite Mk2A
First assembled in Australia March 1963, the Mark 2A designation was only used in Australia. The Australian model prefix was YHGN7, with the assembly numbering continuing on from the Mk2 Sprite. This model used the 10CG-D-A (1098cc) motor. The Mk 2A Sprite also had disc front brakes. A total of 976 Mk 2A Sprites were assembled in Australia.
Austin Healey Sprite Mk3
First assembled in Australia October 1964 The Australian model prefix YAGN8, and assembly numbers started at number 501. This model used the 10CC-D-A (1098cc) motor This model saw the introduction of wind-up windows; semi-elliptic rear springs; redesigned dash; self cancelling direction indicators. Approximately 600 Mk3 Sprites were assembled.
Austin Healey Sprite Mk3A
First assembled in Australia August 1965 The model prefix was YHGN8 model, with assembly numbering continuing on from the Mk3 series. Approximately 800 Mk3a Sprites were assembled. Australian Sprites also had a chrome waist line strip that was only applied to Midgets overseas. Wire wheels were supplied as standard equipment in Australia. Car seats changed from the earlier curved back rest to the flat back rest (Mk3 Midget style) some time during the Mk3a Sprite production run.
MG Midget Mk3
There were no Mk 4 Sprites assembled in Australia. If you come across a Mk4 Sprite in Australia, it has either been imported, or is perhaps a Midget that has been re-badged by a previous owner to look like a Sprite. It is probably also appropriate to mention here that there were no 1500 or Rubber Nose Midgets assembled in Australia either.
Sales of the Mk3 Midget took over from where the Mk3A Sprite finished. Midgets were imported from the UK in CKD form and assembled locally. The first Midgets assembled being equivalent to the Sept./Oct. 1967 UK Models. By the time the cars were freighted to Australia, assembled, then sold, it was January 1968.
There were two main models produced during the production run. The earlier model is easily identified with the vertical chrome bar radiator grill and was assembled between November 1967 and March 1970. The later model, with the black pressed metal radiator grill and slim bumber bars was assembled between April 1970 and December 1971.
The earlier model had a chassis prefix of YGGN4 or YGN4, while the later model had a prefix of YGN5 and is commonly referred to as the “facelift” model. The chassis numbers started at number 501 for both model runs. A total of 1184 Midgets were assembled in Australia.
Apart from the obvious radiator grill and bumper bar changes, there were other less obvious changes that took place during the Midgets production run.
The first cars assembled in 1967 were wired positive earth, had thinly cast engine blocks requiring specially nitrated crank shafts to provide extra rigidity. Later engines blocks were cast with thicker walls. Other changes were to negative earth wiring and and alternator, chunckier boot lock handle, internal door latch handles, and quarter light window handles. Plastic window winder and internal door pull handles. Crossflow radiators running at higher pressures. The differential ratio was also changed to 3.9 some time during 1970.
Most of theses changes took place within the earlier models production run. This can actually be a source of frustration for anyone attempting a factory original restoration, trying to work out some of these finer details for your particular car. But at the same time presenting quite an interesting research project. (It was actually this very reason that sparked this entire Australian CKD history project in the Sprite Car Club.)
Original tyres fitted to cars in 1969 were Olympic GT Radials.
All Australian assembled Midgets were fitted with 1275cc engines, an oil cooler, front sway bar, radial tyres, twin horns, and wire wheels as standard.
The Leyland corporate badging used only on the later model cars read “Leyland Australia” instead of “British Leyland”.
Austin Healey Sprite Mk4
Further details to be provided.