The Donna Mae Mims "Think Pink" Sprite
** Click on any image thumbnail to enlarge **
The Automotive Archeologists, Ltd.
The Donna Mae Mims Think Pink Sprite
Black and white period snapshots from Donna Mae's collection
Jeff Moore and Donna Mae at the Yenko 40th Reunion, July 2006, Nelson Ledges
The Sprite as last raced in 1987, by John Francis
photos taken in 2006
Restoration begins December 2007
The first proof of the heritage of the car
Stripped to the bare tub, flared rear quarters cut off, time for some hammer
and dolly time and a little rust repair.  Most of the tub is very solid, of course,
its been a race car since it was a year or two old, not much street use
The story of the Donna Mae Mims
"Think Pink" Sprite is a very
interesting one.  Not only was it
Donna Mae's 1963 SCCA
H-Production National
Championship car.  It also was
the very first time the SCCA had
crowned a female national champ.
But that's not all.  The original
owner of the car was none other
than Jonas Salk, inventor of the
Salk vaccine for Polio.  He used
to drive the car around the
University of Pittsburgh campus.

Donna Mae bought the car from
Bill Wissel who had already
prepared it for competition.  After
Donna Mae won HP in '63 she
decided to move up to an MGB
and sold the car to Ross Harris.  
Ross raced the car until he sold it
in 1971 to John Francis.  John
raced the car in SCCA
H-Production competition until
1987.  John finally sold the car on
eBay in 2004 to my friend Curtis
Wood.  I love Bugeyes (I have
had a couple) and I really didn't
need it but I really wanted it so we
cut a deal.  

I had plans to restore the car
someday and had it stored in the
back of my shop.  After reading
Victory Lane Magazine Oct.
'07 issue I realized that 2008 was
of the Austin Healey Sprite.  So I
put my Hot Rod restoration
project in the back room where
the Sprite was parked and began
to tear the Sprite apart.  The next
thing I did was to find some proof
that it was actually Donna Mae's
old car.  I had scratched through
the multiple layers of paint, but
couldn't really see any pink.  
Most of the car had been sanded
down to the bare metal at one
time.  The one area that looked
like it hadn't been disturbed was
the license plate light plinth
screwed to the back of the car
from the inside.  Nobody ever
wanted to crawl all the way into
the back of the car to unscrew it
since the factory installed it.  So I
crawled in and sure enough,
factory Old English White with
pink around the edge.  After
some careful sanding the pink
could be easily seen.  Ok, now it
was time to write to Donna Mae
and send her some photos of the
proof (PINK PAINT).  Donna
wasn't too sure that this was her
car when I talked to her about it at
the 40th Yenko Reunion because
she had been told that Ross
Harris had totaled it in a race.  I
talked to Randy Canfield at the
2006 SCCA Runoffs at Heartland
Park Topeka about Ross and the
car.  Randy said that he
remembered that Ross had
wrecked it, but he then repaired
it.  The right front corner has
taken a pretty good hit at one
time.  A couple of weeks after I
wrote Donna Mae I received a
letter from her with snapshots
and a "So now you have it!  

Since then I have found what we
think is '56 Pontiac Camellia Pink
all over the place.  It still even has
its original doors!  Pretty good for
a car that was raced for 26 years.

Now the plan is to have it ready
for the June 27-29 2008 SVRA
race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car
Course celebrating the Austin
Healey Sprite and reunite the little
Sprite with Donna Mae.

Stay tuned
Last updated June 20, 2013
Location of the original roll hoop
The original Yenko fiberglass seat
was still installed in the car
It took a lot of work to get the
inner fender panel this straight
This was a great find when my friend John Gresham removed the
convertible top hooks to reveal a wonderful sample of Camellia Pink
Due to time and the fact that I
don't want to undo 26 years worth
of development, the car is going
to retain its 1987 SCCA suspension
The new roll bar replicates the original one.  There were very large
access holes from the previous bar installation that I repaired.
Color picture supplied by Don Baker
Established 1989