Austin Healey Modifications

Modifications are on my mind, particularly as our electric car nears completion. This green Bugeye below looks and feels like a Bugeye, yet everything is different. I am still getting used to seeing a large battery boxes when I look at the engine bay. Exciting, (especially with 108 lbs of torque generated by the AC motor under the boxes) but very unfamiliar.
“Pal,” the light blue Bugeye parked alongside, is also transforming into a a different kind of modified Super Sprite, with a supercharger and multiple other modifications, so that this blue car, while it also looks and feels like a Bugeye, is also upgraded in just about every way.

How do you feel about modifications? Most of us love the pure essence of our British roadsters, and we like to think we can switch to a spin-on oil filter perhaps, but keep the rest “original.” Now that we have sent more than 225 Bugeyes out into the world, we love the modifications more than ever, primarily because those mods help to keep our customers happy and out on the road instead of frustrated on the shoulder.

For example, “Pal” has our hot weather kit with better fan and radiator so that the car can handle more horsepower and Los Angeles temperatures with grace when it arrives at its final destination. The metal four blade fan is quaint, but the six blade version works a lot better if you want to stay cool.

Last week, I took my green modified Austin Healey 3000 to the “British by the Sea” car show in nearby Waterford, CT. That car has perhaps 50 different upgrades and modifications, including air conditioning and a twin spare tire rally-tribute boot lid. The entire rear seat area, which was never terribly useful unless your kids are just the right size, has been turned into a locker for fuses, electric relays and a superb audio amplifier.

Throughout this large British car show I marveled at the response from the audience. Some shook their heads in disbelief, as if to say, “why would anyone modify a Healey like this?” Many approved and showered praise on the incredible workmanship that went into the restoration. I couldn’t help but notice that our car attracted quite a crowd, while most of the other stunning Healeys in the line-up didn’t seem to be attracting too much attention. We lovers of British iron need that crowd. We need people to get interested and excited and to have an opinion about these cars. Anything we can do to stimulate discussion helps us all, as we strive to broaden the appeal of our little universe of wonderful cars.
When the green BJ8 was called for first in class, I was gratified to know that the approving votes won out, not because I needed another trophy, but because I was glad to see that people appreciate a well-modified car. Our car bested about a dozen other wonderful big Healeys, many that could have easily won the class.

If you like modified cars, you can see Pal’s modifications queued up in the video below, and I’ll show you some before and after pictures next week when the car is finished. You don’t need a limited slip differential in your Bugeye, but when you drive one thusly equipped, you might just agree it is a modification that makes your wonderful little car that much better!

All the mods in the video are available through our catalog. If you can’t find what you need at, please call us at 203 208 0980 and we will gladly add any missing products to our roster!

Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite floor restore

This week, our Maryland project Bugeye got a nice new driver side floor pan. Here, Kenny lights up the shop with his masterful welding. There’s more to do, but now this Bugeye Sprite is a useable machine that is finally mobile for the customer after a roughly 35 year hibernation!

Inner rocker patches were needed too, as was a patch on the front dip switch toe board. You should be able to see Ken’s patches in the photo album below.

Old dog, new Bugeye Sprite

Meet “Dino” (circa 1970), a devoted dog who would routinely jump in dad’s Bugeye and spend hours waiting for him to come home. Dad was in the military and stationed overseas, which left Dino longing. Now, about 50 years later, dad has bought our Bugeye “Rose” this week (our 226th sold, below), to celebrate those days, and a passion for these cars that that will never die.

Congratulations Tom! Enjoy your new Bugeye!

Don’t do this to your Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite

Here’s the gearbox from a Bugeye we took in trade for an owner who wanted a better Bugeye, and sadly, this one only made it 10 miles in our possession before the wheels locked up and we almost had to drag the car home. We disconnected the diff at the drive shaft and found the diff was fine, but the transmission was in trouble. When we drained the transmission oil, large pieces came out. Game over.

Nose off, engine out, transmission off, and we discovered the last person to visit this site had neglected to install a pilot bushing, which allowed the transmission input shaft to travel in an oval arc, thereby contributing to the early demise of this gearbox.

Not recommended.

We made a custom pilot bushing to support a new rebuilt transmission, put it all together and off the car went to Tennessee and a new home. So the moral of this story, should you ever take off your transmission, make sure the pilot bushing is properly set-up before you put the assembly back in the car. We sell the stock bushing, it’s about $5, in case you need one…

Striking 1961 Triumph TR3A for sale

Here’s a different kind of “Bugeye.” TR3s are a blast, and this one is a perfect driver that just about any British car lover will thoroughly enjoy. We just got the car from the 40 year owner, who traded it for the Bugeye “Luigi.” He was ready for a change. But this car will blow Luigi away. Tr3s are quick! Indicated mileage is 56,032

TS73540L is a superb driver. The paint shines beautifully. It’s about a 40 year old paint job, and you would never know it because the car looks quite good. Originally Yellow, the car was repainted red just before the last owner took possession in 1978.

We have all the original ownership history, including the original title From June of 1961 when one Linda Hoyt of Darien, CT purchased the car new from International Motors of White Plains, NY. She then sold the car to Joe Mauro of Stamford, CT on September, 30 1972. He sold it on August 1, 1975 to John Anzalone of Southbury, CT, who sold it to Robert Milford of Woodbury, CT on 2/12/77, who then sold it to Tom, the most recent owner, in 1978. Five owners since new.

It’s easy to see why Tom kept this car for more than 40 years. It’s a perfect sports car, rugged, loud, windy and very sexy. These cars are like tractors, they just seem bulletproof. And this one’s a pisser to drive.

The top is nice, no tonneau, worn side curtains. The engine is strong, with great oil pressure. Disk brakes up front. Four speed non-overdrive transmission. Solid body. No visible damage anywhere, nice straight lines. Spare tire well is quite clean. The car needs very little and you can drive it anywhere. Paint is older but no crazing anywhere, it was a good job. This is a car you don’t have to worry about. The interior shows a little wear, like a nice but slightly worn pair of blue jeans. Yet the overall appearance will stun everyone, no matter where you go. It looks that great.

Call or email if you want to make this great sportscar your own!

Bag ‘O Bugeye

Bud’s Florida Keys Bugeye (purchased here) was flooded in the last hurricane, and he didn’t want to take any chances this season when he headed North, so this time he left his car in a waterproof bag. The car is shown here in Florida garage, on a strip of Florida real estate within sight of both the Ocean and The Gulf.

I am a bit worried the car will be knee-deep in mildew and sea monkeys when he opens the bag this fall (probably should have a vent) but the photo is wonderful as it invites many captions. Please send us your favorite, and we will post them here. All I can think of is the little desiccant pouches that come in my vitamins. I hope Bud threw in about 100 of them!

Best caption? From Dan C…. “What temp do you set the oven on again?”
Thanks Dan!

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