Mike Garton

with volunteer pit crew

Mike Treutlin and Pete Knipe

1411 WD

Nurburgring 1965

 In 1966 Mike  raced the 1965 Le Mans Sprites at the 1000kms of Spa and the Nurburgring, as a member of the Richard Groves Team. His final Sprite race was at Sebring in 1968 although he went on to race Chevrons including a B8, B16 and B19 and his final race was the 1000kms at Spa in 1972.

Mike then switched to the Technical side of things becoming an International scrutineer and FIA Technical Delegate. He was also a part of the Grand Am (Daytona) team that developped the Daytona Prototype Class and held the position of Chief Scrutineer of the prestigous BRDC at Silverstone. He was elected as a member of that exclusive club largely based on his racing history with the Austin Healey Sprite.

Mike is still active in Motorsports and is currently a FIA Technical Delegate, International Scrutineer and Commissioner with RACMSA, and with Formula BMW in Asia.
 The car was later modified to a Kamm Tail design, and was known as the 'Bobtail Sprite'

Mike explains the story of how this modification came about

' After collecting the car from the Cape I was at Snetterton where we had a class win and a third in a 1600cc class. A couple of weeks later was the Arhie-Scott Brown Memorial International 100 miles race where Geoff entered Chrissie Carlisle in one of the Spridget bodied cars. Dunlop had supplied me with a set of the new lower profile 500L tyres. Too keen to impress Geoff and beat Chrissie with cold tyres in practice, I lost the back end going into the old Esses and hit the bank sideways. I collected the bits, the rear screen etc, and in the paddock AHC members seem to come from everywhere and we had the car looking quite tidy on the grid. We had a class win ahead of both of the Dick Jacob's Midgets.

The extended rear body was on outriggers that also supported the large 70 litre fuel tank used for Le Mans. ( I always used the smaller 45 litre tank, particularly at the 'Ring as the car handled better). We found that the accident had weakened the rear body so we talked to a firend of a friend who was the body man at BRM, who were located at Bourne near my home in Peterborough.

We took WD to his home workshop and after discussion I decided I wanted the rear end cut off. The supports were shortened and a  single sheet of alloy was shaped and cut giving a small gurney type lip. This was then alloy welded ( a beautiful piece of work), the original lights were re-fitted after re-painting and so the "Bobtail Sprite" was born.

Mike Garton - Sprite Racer
At the July 2006 International Healey Weekend I was lucky enough to win this jacket in an auction; thereby becoming the proud owner of a piece of Healey history.

The jacket belonged to Mike Garton who very generously donated it to raise funds for the Midlands Healey Club.

The jacket was issued to members of the 'BMC' team racing at
Sebring in 1968. The team comprised an MGC GT (driven by Paddy Hopkirk) an MGB GT, an MG Midget and an Austin Healey Sprite, which was driven by Mike  and Clive Baker who together finished first in Class.
photo courtesy of
Mike Garton
photo courtesy of
Mike Garton
Fastest Laps in the Race were as follows:

3 mins 27.6 secs - M. Garton - AH Sprite
3 mins 28.0 secs - C. Baker: - AH Sprite
3 mins 29.0 secs - P Hopkirk - MGC GT
3 mins 31.0 secs - A Hedges - MGC GT
3 mins 40.0 secs - R Canfield - MG Midget
3 mins 44.0 secs - R Mc Daniels - MGB GT
3 mins 44.0 secs - M Brack - MGB GT
3 mins 44.6 secs - M Rodrigues MGB GT
3 mins 47.0 secs - J Truitt - MG Midget

1411 WD was the first all-alloy Coupe built by Geoff Healey for the 1961 Le Mans 24 Hours. The car is also depicted in Bill Emerson's book on pages 184 and 185. It had wire wheels in Le Mans form but in the action pictures shown in the book it has Healey alloy wheels and is actually being driven by Mike at Mallory Park and Brands Hatch..

The photo above also shows the car with the Healey alloy wheels and at this time it had a 1098cc engine. Up to 1964 the Nurburgring 500kms was restricted to capacities of 1000cc.
Mike began his Sprite career in 1959 with a Frogeye and then progressed to a special racer registered MEG 199 in which he became very successful. In some books the car is incorrectly referred to as a works car and also that it was not a Frogeye. In May 1963, Geoff Healey who knew that Mike wanted to race the Nurburgring 500kms, suggested that he should race the 1961 Le  Mans Sprite, 1411 WD and  took MEG 199 in part exchange for the Le Mans car!
The 'Bobtail Sprite' at Brands Hatch driven by Mike Garton

photo from
The Healey Book
Bill Emerson

Bill was not aware of the history behind this modification until Mike explained it to him in 2002, which was after the book was published
The photo on the right shows Geoff and Donald Healey standing in front of the streamlined AH Sprite driven by Mike Garton and Clive Baker at Sebring.

Geoff is wearing a team jacket similar to the one above.

This was no ordinary Sprite though - It was a prototype with four wheel disc brakes and a 1293cc engine, which with its streamlined body meant it got close to 150 mph on the straights!
Mike Garton
in 1411 WD

Mallory Park

The Healey Book
Bill Emerson
Sebring 1968 Team Jacket