A contender for the cutest car ever?
Has there ever been a more unselfconsciously cute car than the Frogeye Sprite? That grinning air intake, those amphibian headlights and pert form, to the dainty little tail-lights, the little Austin-Healey is about as friendly and cuddlesome as a miniature Schnauzer. Had Pixar created it, it couldn’t have any more maddeningly lovable.
The Frogeye manages to pull off the near-impossible. Despite its manifold charms, somehow managing to skirt the ‘girlie’ jibes so many other diminutive roadsters often fall prey to. The Frogeye was cute, yes, but also sported a decent set of sports car chops, noted for its well sorted chassis and excellent steering.
Sports Car Illustrated certainly thought so, noting, “with the introduction of [the Sprite] BMC have changed the spelling of the word ‘fun’. It’s now a six letter word: Sprite.”
Its simplicity and light weight allowed the Frogeye to score notable racing successes and demonstrated that cubic inches weren’t always necessary to bring a little joy into your life. At around £700, it was cheap too; sufficiently so that the average chap in a tweed jacket could stretch to one on hire-purchase in the summer of 1958. So like the Mini that followed it just over a year later, the Frogeye was also something of a social leveller.
But frankly all of the above serves as mere sideshow to the real point of the exercise. Just look at it. Cuteness without a trace of pastiche – gentlemen and ladies, all rise in the presence of cute car royalty.
Author’s note: The DTW Cute Car Hall of Fame is now open. Nominate a cute car, write a few lines to back up your assertion and as they say in The self-styled “Worlds Best Car Magazine”, ‘shape the debate’. No pressure though. Only if you’d like to. No really, it’s fine if you don’t – we won’t be upset at all…