Charlie Binyon

a bit of an experiment in website design!

1959 Mk 1 Sprite 196 LTW

I bought my Frogeye in 1970 for £40. the engine needed a bit of work but it was all there. it had a "speedwell" fibreglass bonnet, and a cut out for a fibreglass bootlid. in about 1974 I sold it to Steve Beresford for £37.50. Steve kept it for the next 30 odd years, sometimes it was on the road with MOT and other times it was in his garage waiting for some love and attention. In 1990, when I came home for a wedding, I borrowed the Frog for a few days to run around in. it behaved faultlessly. In December 2003 Steve found he could not keep it anymore, so offered it back to me if I could arrange for it to be collected quickly. It went to my mothers house in Cobham, Surrey until I could fly back to sort it out. I did quite a lot of work on it, fitted disk brakes to the front, a bit of welding to the floor pan and got a new MOT on it. I also re-did the interior in Red, and put new Perspex in the side windows. So it was then quite driveable and I set off to take it to France in January 2004.

It was quite a long drive, the top hose split on the motorway whilst still in the UK, and the bottom hose half way through France, but I had filled the car with spares before leaving so I could sort out these problems. Once I had a bit of time I started looking harder at the condition of the shell, and decided that the rear bulkhead was not really strong enough, having been repaired over and over again. So I started stripping the car for some bodywork.

Feb 2007 I took it to Prestige Carroserie in Vence where it was sent to be sandblasted and for them to cut out the rotten parts and replace them with panels from "the frogeye spares company". It has turned into a much bigger job than originally expected, with almost all of the bodywork and chassis being replaced - so it is now a new car.

I picked up the main body in Jan 2008 and had it in my workshop for a couple of years whilst putting everything back. I got it running and took it back to Prestige to have the bonnet repaired and fitted. 

I have fitted a 1275 engine to give a bit more grunt, along with uprated suspension and drive train. There is still some work to do, but it can wait until I have the finances to finish it.

Update: I got the car back into my garage in September 2012, and finished off most of the little jobs. after a couple of road tests, I drove back to the UK over a couple of days with only a few problems, the inlet manifold lost a blanking plug which I fixed with a twig from the roadside and insulating tape, the exhaust snapped at the rear which I had to get help to fix at a tyre/exhaust place in Reims. then through the channel tunnel and to home. I now have to do a few little jobs to get the first MOT expected in March 2013, the front oil seal was leaking badly,(now fixed) the half-shaft seals had soaked the rear brakes, and the wipers are not really up to the job. .

 

Photos

Front, in Cobham 1972  rear in Cobham, 1972

ready to drive to France  arrived in Antibes at prestige, in kit form Stated to be rebuilt,22-3-07

  in kit form picked up from body shop  having bonnet fitted first road test