Sprite Club April General Meeting – “Stars and Their Cars”

The April meeting of the Sprite Club of SA was held at the clubrooms of the Sporting Car Club in Unley, as we have done for the past few years. This special night allows the display of member’s cars on stage and a chance to find more about the featured members and their cars with a Question and Answer on stage.

Members arrived at the earlier start time and were provided with two tickets, one for the door prize raffle and the other for a complimentary drink from Stan the barman. There was also an array of pizzas to sample prior to the meeting.

President Gordon Boyce conducted an edited meeting covering the required basics of minutes, finances, coming events and reports from the various representatives.

Then the attention turned to the four vehicles displayed on stage, 1958 Bugeye Sprite of Jim Schubert, 1963 Sprite Mk IIA of Miles Jackson, 1965 Sprite Mk III of Kerry Fisher and the 1968 MG Midget of Russell Schmarr.

President Gordon asked each member different questions about the history of their car, why they chose a Spridget and some of the enjoyment of ownership they have had with their vehicles.

Starting in order with Jim’s Bugeye, which is the oldest in the Sprite Club as it turns 60 years in August this year, and was one of the early cars imported during 1958. Jim has owned the Sprite for over 30 years, purchasing the car from club member Don Williams. These early cars have several structural changes from the later Bugeyes and a different windscreen.

Miles’s Mk IIA was next in order, which started as a left-hand drive project car that need a large amount of work before returning to the streets. Miles outlined the parts restored during the process and some of the minor issues he has had since. Miles has used the Sprite on Interstate runs and is heading to the 2018 Sprite & Midget Nationals this month.

The Mk III of Kerry provided a chance to talk about why he bought a Sprite, to which he replied, “it was in the paper, it was red, it did not have a hood and the price was right!”. Kerry has completed only minor repairs and upgrades during the either years of ownership, although had to repair a broken throttle cable only recently. Kerry uses this Sprite regularly to work, having used it almost daily in the week preceding the meeting, but is yet to reach the 90 days allowed under Club Registration!

Finally, Russell’s fifty-year-old Midget was the final car to be discussed. Russell has been a member of the Sprite Club for 10 years, and displayed a magazine showing the first meeting he attended, and how some of the current members and committee were still involved, including Miles who was librarian in 2008! Russell has driven and attended several Sprite and Midget Nationals and Interstate Rallies with the Midget.

Each of these Spridget owners also had an interesting non-Spridget point of interest that was discovered during the Q & A:

  • Jim Schubert has an interest in woodturning and had produced the finial that tops the Sporting Car Club clubrooms
  • Miles has had a previous history in motorsport, racing Sports Sedans against Pat Miller at Adelaide International Raceway and Mallala
  • Kerry left the Navy and bought the Sprite
  • Russell took an interest in Sprites when he would see Richard & Mandy Stokes plus two kids pile out of their Midget at hockey matches many years ago!

Thanks to sponsorship from Penrite Oils and Pedder’s Suspension there was approx. 20 door prizes to giveaway! President Gordon invited Mary Dutch and Jan Symonds to assist with the raffle draw. Once the prizes were handed out, husband’s Ken and Alan were also invited on stage, where President Gordon talked with each about their years of membership (the Symonds joined in 1984 and the Dutches in 1990), and displayed photos of the Sprites they had both owned over the years, totalling approx. 7 Sprites, and a Mini Cooper S & MG Magnette, between both couples!

Then President Gordon announced and awarded both couples with Life Membership of the Sprite Club of SA for their services to the Club over the years, presenting all with certificates, name and lapel badges.

The meeting then concluded with members continuing to chat and mix with others, inspect the cars on stage and talk specifics with each owner. This has been a successful meeting over the past few years, and one that I think will remain on the calendar.

Special thanks must go to the Sporting Car Club for use of the venue, Michael McClaren for arranging the use of the clubrooms, and supplying the drinks and pizzas, Penrite and Pedder’s for their sponsorship and giveaways and particularly to Jim, Miles, Kerry and Russell for supplying and talking about their Sprites and Midgets.

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