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1959 Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite for sale, 1275, disk brakes, Weber sidedraft, lots of goodies!

SOLD to Cory in Texas! Congratulations and thank you!!!

This is a really nice 1959 Bugeye Sprite we call “Belle.” AN5L 12297 is reportedly a lifetime California car with a wonderfully solid underside and no signs of any body rust. The car comes with receipts back to 1984, all from Northern California. 50,471 shows on the odometer. One sees many bright red Bugeyes… this car is the correct “cherry red” color used by the factory.

The car has been upgraded with many of the popular performance upgrades to make this car into a wonderful fast driver. If you are a purist and prefer all-stock, and you just want to noodle around town, you don’t need these upgrades. But this package of improvements is widely accepted as very useful for bringing out the best in a Bugeye. If you want more power and better handling, which for many collectors equates to more fun, then this is a car worth serious consideration.

She has a rebuilt 1275cc engine and upgraded 40 DCOE Weber side draft carburetor and header. The Weber is set-up right and the car performs quite well! Very quick! The carb and header add additional horsepower to the strong 1275 engine (which came from a later Sprite or Midget, before it was rebuilt). Incidentally, the original 948 and later 1275 engine have exactly the same footprint, which is why this is such a popular conversion.

Wheels are nearly new, JB from England, shod with wider 175 series tires with very little wear. Rubber is fresh, from 2015.

The transmission is a rebuilt ribcase unit with no issues, it still works like it’s newly rebuilt. The differential was rebuilt and upgraded for highway cruising, with a 3.9 ratio. If you are unfamiliar, the original differential had a 4:22 ratio.

Front brakes were upgraded to discs, and the electrics were converted to negative ground with an alternator installed for higher output. The alternators are also more durable than the original generator, with better bearings. A new electronic distributor was added with electronic ignition, again for more reliabilty. The tachometer was rebuilt to function as an electronic unit which means the sometimes problematic cable drive system is eliminated. It’s more reliable than the original mechanical version.

Other great features include an electric fuel pump, aluminum radiator with nice upgraded expansion tank, walnut burl wood dashboard and steering wheel, 3-point seat belts/shoulder harnesses, new wiring harness, rebuilt seats with new foam and upholstery, new rear leaf springs, new Halogen headlights, new LOUD Hella horns, brass fuel sender float, custom locking choke control with original knob and an original tool kit.

The top and tonneau are nice, both older Amco models, but still with plenty of life. Side curtains are also of similar vintage and quite usable. A front sway bar was added, for even better handling.

The underside is very solid! The paint shines beautifully and the interior looks like new. It’s a clean Bugeye.

The exhaust system includes a small resonator and muffler perpendicular to the car. It works great, and sound nice. It’s also quite recent so there is no need to make any changes. However, if the new owner desires, we can put in a performance muffler with no resonator for a sportier exhaust note and perhaps less back pressure.

This car would also benefit from a five-speed conversion, for even more wonderful highway cruising. It is quite common for us build-out Bugeyes to the specifications of the new owner, so if you want a five-speed Bugeye, we can convert this one for you. Since it already has so many nice upgrades, it is a perfect candidate for this upgrade.

There is just one thing missing, did you notice? We took off the nice wipers to detail the car, and they are still sitting on the bench. Not to worry, I’ll put them on in the morning.

This is a good one, with great handling and performance, and overall, great fun, she’s a fast driver that will make you smile. We’d love to send “Belle” your way! Call or email if you are interested!

The next chilling chapter of the electric Bugeye Sprite

This was a busy week, with a full house of Bugeyes needing various repairs and restoration work. Our electric project is still a priority, and we made time to add a new radiator to our prototype electric car. This one is tiny, all it has to do is cool the controller, the brain that manages the batteries and motor.

Juice comes in, juice goes out! The AC Bugeye Electric motor controller, roughed-in place, with more wiring to still complete.


I know that the Bugeye Sprite is all about simplicity, and an electronic brain is exactly the antithesis of what the Bugeye is all about. But until further notice, I am hooked on the smooth and maintenance free/turn-key operation of an electric Bugeye. In addition, of the 19 Bugeyes in our building at the moment, the electric is by far the fastest of the bunch. So if we need to add a little cooling to keep the brains of the operation happy, I am more than willing to comply.

I thought you might find this story interesting, as it represents one more way in which we had to engineer a solution to a British car challenge. It turns out that the controller is smart enough to de-rate the power it will transmit to the motor if it gets too hot. You can still limp home, but you don’t get the full power that makes this vehicle so addictive. We set out to fix the problem once and for all so we added a liquid cooled chill plate under the controller.

The silver plate you see in the photo above sandwiches underneath the controller box. You can see the recesses that will carry the antifreeze under the aluminum case that houses the controller. The square O ring around the perimeter keeps the antifreeze in place. Two half inch hoses and a small pump allow the antifreeze to circulate to a small heat exchanger we fit alongside the batteries.

Now, the controller will stay much cooler, which will allow us to send more power to the rear wheels. And thus our car is almost ready for range testing. If the weather improves, we will be out driving the car throughout the balance of the month.

Bugeye Sprite Dashboard Bliss

About the nicest thing you can do to your Bugeye is restore the dashboard. It’s like the headboard in your master bedroom. You see it every night before you lay down with the one you love.

And so it should look nice. It is the foundation of your cockpit, the holder of your precious gauges and the mount for your accurate switch gear. Each dashboard is also a tribute to the factory and designers who originally created your car.

Bugeye “London,” with dashboard removed for restoration.


The reality in the field, however, is that most old car dashboards have become cheezy. Bugeyes, being inexpensive through the years, often sport extra holes for switches, gauges and whatever people felt they needed to hang. People never seemed to add extra stuff to their XKE or Dino dashboard, but the Bugeye dashboard is simple with a lot of open space, which seemed an open invitation for men to drill. Thus, we find old holes from former owners merely covered with vinyl, and that won’t do, since the vinyl will eventually shrink into the hole and leave a depression.

Bugeye factory radio punch out perforations


Further complicating maters is the original factory perforation that came on each dashboard so that dealers could punch out the dash and put in an AM radio. It would seem the holy grail to have a dash that is unmolested and still with its original perforated metal intact, but the reality is that a new dash recover will also shrink into those perforations and telegraph through your handsome new skin. And so you are left with a choice… to fill or not to fill?

Perforations/lumps/divits telegraph-through now removed black vinyl


In the case of the car and parts pictured here, the customer chose to have us fill the original perforations so he could get the most from this investment and the best looking face of his dashboard. We welded a plate behind the radio perforations and used a small amount of filler to smooth out the face and then sanded everything flat. Preparation is critical here, because the thin vinyl will not hide any imperfections.

You’ll notice we also welded up a few extra holes that were non-stock.

In the photos below, you can Kenny massage the vinyl cover into place, and carefully uses pleats and darts to stretch the material around the compound curves. The end result is a new, well-supported and tight cover, with no wrinkles and no extra holes.

Tony, the proud new owner of this Bugeye “London,” wanted us to change the color of the dash on his new blue bugeye from black to navy blue. We not only accomplished his goal, but by restoring the dashboard underneath, we have made the best possible foundation to support his dashboard cover for generations to come.

Want your dashboard to look this nice? We’ll pick up your car and bring it to our facility for restoration, or, you can also send us your dashboard and we will restore it. Email for more info!

Bugeye Roof pod

Bob wanted to take the Bugeye, but the wife wanted to bring the Jeep, so they compromised, and capped their SUV with a Bugeye hardtop, so that everybody got what they needed.

(Actually, this was an attempted hardtop pick-up after purchase, but the buyer ultimately opted for a crate and shipment instead, lest this lid fly off on the highway!)

Looking for your own Bugeye hardtop? We always have a few for sale, and you can see one by clicking here!

Hybrid Bugeye 0-60 run… Midget meets Bugeye!

This is a really cool car I wanted to share before we send it back to its owners in Durham, NC. They sent us the car for a five speed upgrade, which is now complete.

What’s unique about this car is that it is a late 70s Midget with an awesome Bugeye body conversion. The car has all the Midget running gear, including half elliptical leaf springs which definately give a better ride than the stubby Bugeye springs. 14 inch wheels are fit, as is the later braking system. And the interior has been customized. Other than that, the car looks and feels like a Bugeye.

The car has a 1500 cc engine which was found in all the 75-80 midgets (and Spitfires). Twin carbs were fit, as is a great exhaust system and our sport muffler.
If you are wondering if it’s quick, a good 1275 engine feels about the same. Both the 1500 and 1275 were apparently rated at 65 HP, although the 1500 is rumored to have more torque. This one reached 60 in 16.29 seconds. I am sure I can do better with a good take off, this one was not my best start.

Our new electronic GPS speedos give us a way more effectively compare power output of different Bugeye configurations. Here, I am testing the car prior to loading it into a trailer for the trip home.

For those of you interested in our electric car, this week, we changed the rear end from 3.9 to 4:22 and shaved 1.75 seconds off the 0-60 time. Now the battery powered car will run to 60 in 10.98 seconds. Next week, we will see if we can shave a bit more off that with another rear end gear change. We can easily sacrifice highway speed for better acceleration, and we hope the electric Bugeye will be the fastest we have tested! More later!

Restored 1960 TR3 for sale w/5 Speed!


NOW SOLD to peter in Virginia! Congratulations! Happiest man in Virginia! Look for his big smile on the Blue Ridge Parkway!

Here’s a 1960 TR3 fresh out of a multi-year rotisserie restoration. The car is stunning, and beautifully restored in every way.

This car has the classic lines of a TR3 with several wonderful upgrades from the later TR4. If you want to drive and enjoy your TR3, you’ll find these upgrades significant. This is a driver’s car, and it will win shows too.
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Contact us at David@bugeyeguy.com or call (203)-208-0980 during business hours