Steve McQueen's Sebring Austin Healey Sprite Mk.2

Mitch Goldstein is looking for information on what became of this car:

From Mitch:  "I've been trying to locate or determine the fate of a works prepared AH Sebring Sprite MK2 Driven by Steve McQueen in the Sebring Three hour race in 1962.  The car was one of four prepared for that race that year.  The registration number on the car was 9251WD. After the event the car was was sold to"BMC San Francisco" (Kjell Qvale?),supposedly meant to dominate west coast SCCA racing but was not allowed to was too highly modified."
More from Mitch:   "An article was written about the car in Sports Car Graphic in '63.  The car was test driven at Cotati for that article. (Article below)  The car has not been seen since.   I have been in touch with every living person who may have had contact with the car (Qvale, Morrill, Lyons, SF SCCA region, SCCA National, Joe Huffaker and many more.) Most don't remember the car, none know where it ended up.

It's a right hand drive, alloy bodied works car.  I would think it would have drawn attention somewhere sometime, even though at the time it may have been considered a used up race car.    I've included a couple of images including the SCG article.  Any info, images or recollections of this car would be more than I've currently been able to find!"

If you can help Mitch find this car:  Please email me!

(3-2-10)   From longtime racer Stephen Griswold:

"I believe that this car ended up in the hands of Willie Stryker, a really fantastic fabricator in the Bay area who also did work for BMC on Van Ness Ave. 

I drove the car for him at Vaca Valley Raceway ( RDC 3 hr enduro) and had a real ding-dong battle with Ed Leslie in Harry Martin's 1300cc Simca Abarth.  We changed places every lap with the Abarth disappearing down the straight (lots of grunt) and the Sprite (superior handling and brakes) able to overtake him on the high side of the banking and into Turn 1. In the end the clip that connected the throttle shafts of the carbs broke and I had to retire. What a great car!!!"

(6-2-11)   More from Mitch Goldstein:

"I've discovered more info regarding Sebring Sprite MK2 9251WD!:  The images are of Willy Stryker stepping out of the car after the RDC 4 hour event at Vacaville (described below), the brief letter from Willy to me, and the three entries in the car's log book when Willy owned it (again described below.

Thanks to Stephen Griswold's response to my Mystery Car posting, I, along with the help of Jonathan Whitehouse Bird of, searched out and found Willy Stryker!  He bought the car from BMC San Francisco through Joe Huffaker Sr. whom he worked for at the time as a fabricator in Kjell Qvale's competition department at BMC San Francisco. The car cost Willy 2500.00 in 1962.  Willy wasn't sure the car had been driven by McQueen.  It was fun to tell him it was! 

Willy ran the car at the Oct. 24th 1962 Vacaville RDC 4 hour race along with Stephen Griswold.  The car ran in G Modified along with the big Ferraris, Maserat's, D Jags, Coopers, etc.  They finished 18th overall and 2nd in class. Willy then ran the car again at Vacaville on November 10th 1962 in an SCCA event, again in G modified, where he finished 11th overall and 3rd in class.  Willy's final race in the car was at Riverside on January 2nd 1963 in a CSCC event running in C Production.  He finished 22nd overall and 7th in class failing to finish due to a broken axle.  Willy also ran the at Half Moon Bay dragway setting a class record.  The record didn't stand.  Willy wasn't willing to let the officials tear his engine down.

In the time Willy owned and ran the car he made no modifications to it.  He sold the car, having a young family at the time.  Willy says he enjoyed the fabrication end of the racing business over the driving end.

Willy told me the car was destroyed after being raced by the new owner at Cotati.  The car was sitting towards the end of the drag strip at Cotati when an out of control drag car ran into the parked Sprite cutting it in half.

The new owner was Peter Talbert of early Trans Am fame.

That's the story as I have it so far. I've yet to find the whereabouts of Peter Talbert.  I've been told by Joe Huffaker Sr. that he was a Dentist in Walnut Creek California and also raced a Huffaker formula Jr.  Mr. Huffaker also told me that Talbert Passed away some time ago.

Peter Talbert's 1966 Trans Am Mustang is now owned and vintage raced by Carl Stein of Carmichael California.  I've not yet been able to contact Mr. Stein.

If anybody out there was at any of the events or has knowledge of Peter Talbert or his surviving family, or of Carl Stein please let me know! 

To contact Mitch:  Please email me!

(10-26-11)   From Rick Bastedo:

Hi, reading about the MqQueen Sprite and thought I'd do a little searching.
Probably not the right guy but there is a Peter Talbert living in Phoenix.

Here are some links I followed:

Peter Talbert:

Maybe...  Wife: Ann Reinking  Married to "Sports Writer" Peter Talbert and living in Phoenix Arizona:

Picture of Peter Talbert on this page (is that him?):

Just trying to help,

Rick Bastedo
Owner of a little red MK2 Sprite with a 948cc Bugeye motor. 

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