Sprite's Musketeer caravan attracts lots of attention
The fast-selling Sprite Alpine underwent a change in layout, and now featured a rear double dinette, front corner washroom with side double dinette, and wardrobe with centre kitchen opposite – all of which gave the Alpine added appeal.
Since the 1950s, Sprites had been acquiring a reputation for record-breaking towing feats. In June 1961, at Snetterton race circuit, in order to further prove the vans’ towing stability and lightweight structure, a Mini was again used to tow the recently launched 400 model in a 24-hour endurance run. The small outfit covered 1083 miles in the time, at an average speed of 45mph.
To increase the company’s lightweight tourers, Sprite displayed a new face-lifted Musketeer at the 1961 Earls Court Show. The new Musketeer had 50 balloons tied to it, and certainly attracted a lot of attention. Apart from larger windows, innovations included a hydraulic hitch and uprated suspension. The range was to be enlarged to allow more choice. In fact, the nine models also included larger static holiday models, designed to be kept on-site, rather than for touring, even though they were equipped for this.
Record-breaking attempts were evident again in mid-1962, when, in Holland, at the Zandvoort Grand Prix race track, a standard Morris 1100 was used to tow a Sprite 400 1114 miles in 24 hours. Joining this small outfit was an MG Magnette towing a Sprite Musketeer. Both outfits were driven by a team of five comprising two Dutch racing drivers and three Sprite engineers. Continental dealers couldn’t fail to be impressed, which further enhanced the Sprite brand on the continent, and generated more orders, with Holland one of the biggest export markets.
The home market, though, was changing, with new caravan manufacturers beginning to make their presence felt, especially in the north. Hull was becoming the nucleus of this, with new makers such as Astral and Ace expanding at a rate of knots, and achieving swift acceptance. For the time being, however, Sprite would still dominate the ’60s entry level caravan market.