Sprite owners turned out in force for the 60th Anniversary celebration of the diminutive, but very popular Austin Healey Sprite. In all, some 17 Sprites, one square body and 16 Bugeyes, highlighted the 2018 California Healey Week Car Show held on Saturday, October 20 in one of Solvang’s public parking lots. The Sprites took up one and a half rows of parking, with five cars occupying the “Short Row” and twelve cars spanning the full length of the “Long Row.” (Photos 1, 2, and 3) Cursory research suggests this may have been the largest showing of Sprites at any California Healey Week.
Competition for the top finishing cars was very keen, but in the end three deserving Sprites were awarded plaques by virtue of popular choice voting at the event. First Place (Photos 4 and 5) went to Naomi and Brian Bliven of San Jose, California, for the concours quality restoration of their 1960 Sprite, a car that has been in the Bliven family since new. Second place (Photos 6 and 7) was awarded to Tom Spangler’s 1961 Sprite. The pristine condition of Tom’s Sprite might have some assuming it is a “trailer queen,” but, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, Tom drives his Sprite to car events all over Southern California and beyond, pretty much every weekend. Most recently, Tom drove his car some 2,200 miles from Fountain Valley, California to Madras, Oregon and back to attend the Healey Rendezvous held in that city. Taking third place (Photos 8 and 9) was the spectacular orange 1960 Sprite owned by Chuck and Barbara Meng of Los Angeles.
Kudos to Ed Neumeyer for organizing a very successful CHW car show.