Old is for ... Old timer.
An "Oldtimer" is defined in Germany as a vehicle whose first registration is at least 30 years old. As long as the car is in its original condition without modifications, it can classify for "historic preservation" status and is thus exempt from fulfilling modern technological and safety requirements.
About six weeks ago, I wrote a blog about the masculine muscle car Ford Mustang convertible. Today's blog is dedicated to the most definitely feminine car I've ever seen: the Austin Healey Sprite roadster and its lady owner.
The first thing you'll notice about this car is it's friendly, smiling face. It looks like a woman's face to me. The perfectly round headlights look like eyes, in fact, in the US this car has the nickname "Bugeye" and in the UK it's called "Frogeye". The Austin Healey Sprite emblem creates a cute button nose just above the wide grill which looks like a mouth.
In photo #2 you see a friend of mine in classic old-timer apparel – a leather cap and leather gloves. I rode with her on a chilly spring morning and I can testify that these special clothes are absolutely necessary! The back of my head really felt the cold wind despite a scarf. When we started the drive, she warned me that the car would be loud, but it's not, especially not compared to a Mustang.
The difference between a convertible and a roadster is that the roof of a roadster can be completely detached.
The Austin Healey roadster has a top speed of about 80 kph, a maximum torque of 5200 and has a 42.5 horsepower, 4 cylinder engine. The motor had been converted to run on unleaded gasoline and in the process of the conversion an electric pump was installed so there's no need for a choke any more. The car weighs only 760 kg and is 204 cm long.
The cockpit and interior is narrow and small. There are no headrests, no seatbelts, the seats do not adjust and there are not even handles on the doors, just a small knob.
Just above the gear shift you'll notice a gauge and some small knobs. To start the car, you turn the key, then pull the start knob. You drive quite slowly with a low torque until the water temperature warms up which took approximately two kilometers uphill as we drove up the mountain, only then can you shift into third gear.
My friend bought her bugeye in 2011 as she started to get more interested in old- timer cars. The car was manufactured in England in 1960 targeting mostly the American market (left-side drive). This one was shipped directly to the US where it spent most of its lifetime in the Seattle Washington area. It returned to Europe via the Netherlands in 2006. This car is a rarity compared to the Mustang; in the three production years from 1958 to 1961 only 48,987 cars were built.
She enjoys driving the gently curving roads in the beautiful, mountainous Odenwald region near Heidelberg and occasionally showcases her car at Classic Car events in Southern Germany.