Fronting the August 2021 issue of Irish Vintage Scene is a rare Irish example of possibly the most characterful sports-car of all time. The Austin Healey Sprite might have been tiny, crude and not very powerful, but it provided a sporty driving experience in a package that wouldn’t break the bank
Fronting the August 2021 issue of Irish Vintage Scene is a rare Irish example of possibly the most characterful sports-car of all time. The Austin Healey Sprite might have been tiny, crude and not very powerful, but it provided a sporty driving experience in a package that wouldn’t break the bank. This one was first registered by the American Embassy in Dublin in 1960, and has been beautifully restored during last year’s lockdowns after decades off the road.
Our second car feature this month takes us back to a very different era of motoring, when we learn about the restoration of a 1929 Rolls-Royce 20hp that was last road-tested in the mid-sixties and had fallen into serious disrepair before it was taken on as an ambitious first project three years ago.
Our tractor feature this month tells the story of the Funk six-cylinder side-valve engine conversions available for the Ford 8N model in the US back in the late 1940s, and we photograph a rare Irish-owned example on our pages.
Our motorcycle story drops in on a long-time Norton enthusiast to check out his latest restorations, while our commercial feature brings you two quirky classic Dacias – a Shifter pickup and a Duster 4×4 – owned by a lifelong fan of this Romanian brand.
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Designed to be the most affordable and DIY-friendly sports car you could buy at the end of the 1950s, the Austin Healey Sprite’s disarming styling and involving drive saw it become an unlikely success on both sides of the Atlantic and spawn the iconic 1960s MG Midget in the process. This original Dublin example has just been beautifully restored after many decades off the road.
Although practically unheard of on this side of the Atlantic, the engine conversions offered by the Funk Aircraft Company in Kansas for the Ford N-Series tractor were steady sellers in the late 1940s and early 1950s, before Ford’s own tractors improved to the point that rendered these conversions unnecessary. Tom Brownrigg’s 1948 8N is the only Funk conversion we’ve come across on this island.
Roll With The Punches
When Neil Fraser bought this 1929 Rolls-Royce 20hp in 2016 as his first rebuild project he’d certainly jumped in at the deeper end of the restoration hobby, with a solid 3.5 years of work and expense in store before it would make its triumphant debut at his local show in Shrule. Looking at it today, it was worth the effort.
The lockdowns of the last year and a half have taught many of us what a happy refuge our garages can be, away from the worries of the world outside. Victor Wheeler’s workshop is a shrine to two-wheeled motoring, and the Norton marque in particular.
Iron Curtain Call
When asked to choose a classic pickup or four-wheel-drive you might think of a Ford P100, a Mini, a Land Rover or a Toyota. Either way, the Dacia Shifter or Duster are unlikely to be models which spring to mind, and makes Nigel Moore’s pairing all the more unusual.
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Each month we pitch a motoring question at Irish Vintage Scene’s regular contributors.
William Carson’s bi-monthly trawl through his classic magazine collection.
Laid to Rust
A monthly pictorial of vehicles that are rusting away in the peace of our countryside.
Ireland’s best-known motoring historian, Bob Montgomery looks back at motoring and motoring events in the early days.
News from the ever-growning world of model collecting.
Tales from Over the Water
Clare-man PJ Francis shares with us his old vehicle adventures in the United States.
On The Spanners
A look at the restoration projects going on in sheds all over the island.
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Behind the Wheel
Dick Byrne looks back at his memories of motoring in the last century.
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