1980s / Austin / Mini / Sunday classic

Sunday classic: Austin Mini Sprite

mini-sprite-1British Leyland launched several special edition models based on the iconic Mini in the 1980s in order to keep buyers interested in the aging city car. Although most of the limited editions consisted exclusively of aesthetic modifications, they sold fairly well and are becoming increasingly sought after today.

The Sprite edition was introduced in 1983 as a mid-range model that was aimed at folks who preferred the Mini’s sporty side over its practical and economical aspects. Available in either Cinnabar Red or Primula Yellow, the Sprite came standard with flat black wheel arches and bumpers, two door mirrors and model-specific 10-inch alloy wheels mounted on 165-section tires. The finishing touch was a set of “Sprite” stickers below the belt line.

Inside, the Sprite featured seats upholstered in gray herringbone fabric and standard headrests for the front passengers. The driver was treated to a four-spoke steering wheel adorned by the Austin Rover emblem and a complete instrumentation that included a tachometer.

Austin made no changes under the hood and the Sprite was powered by a 998cc four-cylinder engine that made 42 horsepower and 51 lb-ft. of torque. It was linked to a four-speed manual transmission which, of course, sent power to the front wheels.

With a base price of £3,334, the 2,500 examples of the Sprite sold out before 1983 drew to a close. Many special editions followed and Mini re-used the Sprite name on a different special edition that was introduced in 1992.

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