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Not small, just fun-sized: Just 14 of these pretty Sprite-based GT coupes were produced

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Photos by the author.

Italy’s carrozzerias were renowned for crafting beautifully shaped sports car bodies out of hand-formed aluminum, but in England, where the burgeoning sports car and racing specialists were doing the same, their material of choice was usually fiberglass.

One particular sports car specialist was Douglas Wilson-Spratt, the owner of an Austin dealership. Douglas, like many other enthusiasts, longed to produce his own sports car, so he teamed up with Donald Healey’s London sales manager, Jim McManus, and together they formed The Healey Centre. Based in London, they specialized in servicing Austin-Healeys and doing high performance tuning for those owners seeking more power. Within a short period they built a one-off fastback coupe using a Sprite as the foundation; combining their last names they called it the WSM.


Sprite_03_5000 Sprite_05_5000

Looking somewhat like a 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Ferrari from the rear, the WSM Sprite was a very attractive little sports car. Like other Sprites, it was powered by the A-Series Austin four-cylinder engine of either 995/1098/1275cc. Fitted with a lightweight aluminum body and a forward-tilting fiberglass bonnet, the little sports car weighed just 1,100 pounds, and with an engine putting out close to 100 horsepower, its performance was quite electrifying.


For such a great looking sports car, only 14 examples were produced, with the car you see here being the only example in the United States. This WSM beauty is owned by renowned Austin-Healey collector and historian Bill Emerson. As the former owner of an ultra-rare Austin-Healey 100S, a 1946 Healey Westland and various Big Healey models, Bill is also the author of The Healey Book, a large, hardcover book that profiles all the different Austin-Healey models – and boats. Bill was fortunate to the know the builders of the WSM and bought the car directly from them just a few years ago. A full-length story on this fascinating little sports car will soon appear in Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car magazine.