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|The Austin Healey 'Sebring Sprite'|
raced by McQueen at Sebring in 1962
Steve competed in two races at Sebring in March of 1962 as part of the World Championship circuit. In Star on Wheels William F. Nolan quotes Steve:|
"I drove two cars that weekend in Florida," he said. "They had a kind of warm-up race there on Saturday, a three-hour production go in which all of us BMC drivers were put in Austin-Healey Sprites. I finished ninth in a field of two-dozen plus."
This photo shows Steve posing with the car - registered 9251 WD - that he drove in the 3 Hour event that Saturday. To the left is John Colgate Jr. and behind him Donald Healey.
Sadly, the car is known not to survive. It remained in the US following the event and was purchased by B.M.C. San Francisco on the West Coast and subsequently sold to Willy Striker. He raced the car briefly, before selling it on to Peter Talbert. He continued to compete with the Sprite, but while it was parked up at the Cotati drag strip, an out of control drag car collided with the little Healey virtually cutting it in half!
The Austin Healey 'Sebring Sprite' was basically either a MkI or MkII Sprite, fitted with numerous performance enhancing modifications available from the Donald Healey Motor Co., principal among which was a disc brake and wire wheel conversion (made by Girling/Dunlop). The car Steve drove was a standard shape MkII Sprite (Sebring spec') with all bodywork produced in alloy (the standard BMC model had steel panels).
Special thanks to Jonathan Whitehouse-Bird for providing the above picture and information. Jonathan is co-registrar of the Sebring Sprite Register in the UK and is a highly respected authority on the cars, both restoring and documenting the history of the Sebring Sprite.