Austin Healy Sprites look like the happiest cars. Built from 1958 to 1971, they all seem smiling, playful, and puppy-dog cute. So it's sad to see one sitting out in the elements like an animal in an ASPCA commercial. You can almost hear Sarah McLachlan singing mournfully in the background as this Sprite sits abandoned, rusting away.
Fortunately, the guys at WD Detailing were given an opportunity to rescue it. When the owner of the scrap yard saw how they transformed the abandoned Volvo 740 estate a few weeks ago, they were offered a chance to clean up the Sprite and bring it back to life. If they could do that, then the Sprite was theirs for free.
Cleaning the car is challenging enough, but bringing it back to life after 31 years? The Austin Healey Sprite looks complete, with its engine and interior somewhat intact. However, performing a resurrection and getting it looking presentable might prove to be too monumental of a task.
The WD Detailing crew removes all the leaves, dirt, and other gunk in the car before washing it. Yet even before they can fire up the power washer, they run into a problem removing the seats. Like most cars of that era, especially British cars, the Sprite is a collection of rusty parts held together by a stubborn willfulness to be a pain in somebody's rear end.
This car is most likely a parts car or a passion project of someone with deep reserves of time and money combined with equal amounts of grit and fortitude. Even cleaning the car requires unconventional methods. The pressure washer only removes part of the grime, so the team resorts to removing the rest with sandpaper.
Eventually, the grime is gone, and the Sprite's red paint shines again, at least the parts that haven't rusted away. Moving on to the engine bay, wheels, and interior, the car gets a deep cleaning, leaving it with a nice patina. It's amazing to see the car cleaned up and transformed from a mouse nest and tetanus trap to an intact, presentable car that we hope will eventually get the home it deserves.