John Sprinzel and my Austin Healey 3000 BJ8
Crossing paths again - 33 years later....

In July 2005, some otherwise 'lost' history of my Austin Healey 3000 came to light - highlighting some amazing coincidences. The black & white car has had 5 owners (or 'custodians') since it was sold new in 1966. Chris Dimmock is the current 'custodian' (since 1995). The first part of the story was when we discovered that my Healey 3000 MK III Phase II BJ8 (H-BJ8/37244)- the 'black & white' car - was originally sold by John Sprinzel Racing Limited, Lancaster Mews, London, in July 1966, to Mr Richard Steil, the first owner. We discovered this thanks to Richard, who found some amazing original documents that he'd kept for nearly 40 years! Richard had bought 'my' Healey, brand new, fully optioned for 1,098 Pounds Sterling, registered (UK) JGT 874D and used it as his transportation for nearly a year in England before driving it from 'London to Sydney' in 1967.

Richard bought the 'black & white' Healey 3000 MK IIIA from John Sprinzel Racing Ltd, with the options shown on the invoice below. Richard originally ordered a Healey Ice Blue car - but due to the delays in manufacture of a fully optioned Healey Ice Blue BJ8 - John Sprinzel Racing managed to get an 'Ivory over black' BJ8, fully optioned to Richard's specification, from the Austin Healey distributor, Car Mart London.

Invoice from John Sprinzel Racing Ltd for the Black & white Healey 3000

Original purchase Invoice from John Sprinzel Racing Ltd. Courtesy Richard Steil.

I emailed John Sprinzel on July 14, 2005, and sent him a scanned copy of the invoice (above). John replied "Hi Chris, Yes, the invoice is not only from my company, but is all handwritten by me. I tended to do that in those days before computers. We went on computers in 1970, the first BMC dealer to do so!"

As the Heritage Certificate shows the 'Dealer' as Car Mart London, I emailed John again on July 15, 2005 and asked how the supply chain worked from the Factory to the retail dealer back in the 1960's. John Sprinzel replied "Hi Chris... Dealers in those days, got their cars from a distributor, Car Mart for Austins and Healeys, Stewart and Arden (later Henleys) for Morris, and University Motors for MG. So your Healey came from Car Mart, who, incidentally, rebuilt my seriously crashed PMO200 after the Greek Acropolis shunt. They had all the factory body jigs, which was part of the contract with BMC for getting a Distributorship."

John Sprinzel and the Healey 3000 coincidences:

Isn't it an amazing coincidence that Richard Steil bought the 'black & white' car from John Sprinzel - the renowned BMC race and rally driver - and then drove the 'black & white' Healey 3000 to Sydney - just a year before John Sprinzel raced an MG Midget in the 1968 London to Sydney Marathon!

John Sprinzel is also the Patron of the Sprite Car Club of Australia - a club I have been a member of since 1979.

What's even more coincidental is that John Sprinzel had actually presented me two trophies in Sydney in 2000 (3rd outright in the 'Club Drivers Championship' 1999, and 'First Associate' (non Sprite) in the 1999 Club Pointscore) that I won driving the same Healey 3000 MkIIIA which John had sold new to Richard over 30 years earlier in London!

John Sprinzel presents 3rd in SCCA Driver's Championship trophy to Chris Dimmock, Sydney 2000 John Sprinzel presents SCCA Associate Championship trophy to Chris Dimmock, Sydney 2000

John Sprinzel presenting 1999 competition trophies won in the 'black & white' Healey 3000, to Chris Dimmock, Sydney 2000.
Photos Courtesy Steve Koen.

When John Sprinzel presented these trophies to me back in 2000, neither John or I were aware that John himself had sold 'my' Healey 3000 new to Richard Steil back in 1966...... we didn't discover this until 2005!


The ownership and competition history of the black & white car


Copyright© Chris Dimmock 2001 - 2005

Last Updated: July 16, 2005