There is an expression in sailing - "seat of the pants" - and it means not concerning yourself with the technical details but just getting out there and working it out as you go - that's my kind of sailing and my kind of driving.
The Sprite IIA was just such a car to allow you to feel you were very close to the action - the Lotus was another which gave this sensation. Much as the Frogeyes were the most popular, I never got into them but the IIA I adored and it was pure British roadster in miniature - big on tweaked up performance and a bit weak on creature comforts.
One felt one was back in the pioneer days of motoring and the most important thing of all - it was sheer fun at a time when cars were becoming boxy and predictable.
From the outset, the Sprite had been designed to be of unitary construction, with the floorpan and body being built as one strong, rigid structure. Stiffness was provided by box-like sections sills and crossmembers, a deep transmission tunnel, the scuttle, and the box shaped boot. At the front, the crossmember for the suspension and steering was carried on a pair of chassis legs which projected forwards from the scuttle bulkhead.
The last Mark IIA [1963/4] had some engine improvements and 1098cc, larger crankshaft journals to counter big end failures at high RPM and these are sometimes referred to as square-bodied Sprites. Front disc brakes were also introduced and wire wheels became an option. The HAN7 Series is popular.
However, the end was in sight:
This model was also rebadged the Mark I MG Midget, without Donald Healey's consent or approval.
I wasn't actually … er … around for the introduction of the IIA and only got into it years later when even the MGB was on its last legs but I knew enough about it to know that a Sprite is not a Midget. Grrrr!
I hope Sprite owners will forgive me including a pic of my last "baby" but it is the closest anyone's going to get today to the great British tradition of small sports roadsters, now the Sprites and Midgets are collector items.
By the way, I drove this through Scotland in November and was as snug as a bug in a rug.
Sigh. I shouldn't have done this post - I miss