Austin Healey Sprite Mk1
If you look at the Austin Healey Sprite Mk1, you will see how the industry has advanced in the last 50 years. The little, bug-eyed Sprite Mk1 is a tiny roadster with two seats, a cramped interior and a small trunk. It weighs just 1,500 pounds and gets its power from a 943 CCM engine that produces just 45 HP. Although this may sound like a joke, the Sprite Mk1 was an immensely popular roadster back in the day.
In fact, Austin Healey sold over 350,000 examples, most in America. In fact, the U.S. consumers loved it for the compact size, peppy engine, nice driving dynamics and pure driving feel. Basically, when you drive a bug eye Sprite Mk1, there is nothing between you and the road. It looks like a little tin can with a small windshield.
Not surprisingly, the Sprite Mk1 was a favorite car in amateur racing on the West Coast. Interestingly, many latter racing champions started driving behind the wheel of this little thing. So, for around $20,000, you can find a nice example that will introduce you to the basics of open-top motoring.