CURRENT INVENTORY IS SHOWN IN THE SMALL PICTURES JUST BELOW THIS TEXT!
(if a car is not pictured here, it has been sold)

Build your own Bugeye

Who wants the Bugeye of their dreams? This car is just back from a four-month long body restoration and is freshly clad in Olde English White. Don’t be fooled by the green workshop wheels and tires… this car will be fully fit with the best we have, once we dig in to the project.

But what parts shall we use? Would you like a supercharged five speed? Completely stock re-creation? Electric conversion? Chopped windshield vintage racer tribute? Call if you want us to build out this Sprite for you.

We have a lot of projects in the works, so we’ll put this car aside for a while while we wait to see if one of you readers would like to adopt this car and have us build it to your specs. If no one steps forward, we’ll build this car into something special, and offer it for sale once complete, here on our site.

If you are looking for the best value, “Berkley” is a green 1275-powered Bugeye with disk brakes in the next post, which can be purchased for $19,995. It’s always more economical to purchase an already-built car. Call if you would like to learn more about acquiring your own Bugeye this Spring.

1960 Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite for sale– Freshly rebuilt 1275 engine and disk brakes!

Here’s an extremely solid Sprite we bought in California. We call it “Berkley,” and she is known to have lived in California for the past 20 years. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn the car has been in dry climate since new. It’s rare to find a Bugeye that has all the original sheet metal underneath like this one, so we can be certain this one has been in nice weather for a good long time.

Click “read more” below the picture to expand this post and see the photo album…

[Read more…]

Electric Sprite conversion update

Doesn’t look like much yet, but the front end is completely upgraded. Electrons coming soon!

Work is progressing nicely on FrogE number 2. This is the car received from a customer in Maryland, who was tired of looking at the inoperative car buried in his garage. Soon it will be a reliable electric-powered rocket, instead of the garage equivalent of home exercise equipment turned clothes hanger.

The car is now stripped of it’s worn 948 power plant and broken transmission, and ready to be loaded with enough lithium and phosphate to deliver 100 miles of Bugeye fun per charge.

https://youtu.be/mWbEoWRa-64
Our second FrogE electric, ready for some juice.

We’ve gutted the interior and will dress it up without going too far. This particular car is pure driver, with older paint and a weathered dashboard. Our goal with this build is to make it nicer and more comfortable but not fully cosmetically restored.

The primary focus is the powertrain conversion. This car only had a driver seat for many years-the passenger seat was missing. We have recovered that seat with the original navy blue material with iris blue piping (just like the original), and built a passenger seat to match. Our navy blue carpet will serve as an attractive foundation. We’re confident people will now want to ride along!

Our approach to building these conversions is to keep as much of the original appearance as possible. Rather than throw away the interior and put in whatever new aftermarket bits we can find, we want these cars to look and feel exactly like an original Bugeye, even though the powertrain is radically different. So we will keep the dashboard shown, albeit with new electronic gauges we’ve made that mimic the original look.

The suspension and brakes have been upgraded with the same sway bar, new king pins and performance shocks we use in any fast gas powered Bugeye, and next the batteries and motor will be massaged into place. Each conversion we build gets us closer to electric kit availability, so that home restorers will also be able to add electric power to their Sprites.

1951 Quonset hut resto-mod progress report

I found this Sprite bottle while kicking around behind a run-down Quonset hut near my home four years ago. The Gods must be crazy, I thought, to put this bottle in my path, but why not… how ’bout we convert this giant metal tube-like building into a Bugeye Sprite dispenser? And like “Pez,” we’ll spit them out, all spiffy and sweet. Could it be possible?

What is now our backyard was a mess when I first saw it in 2015. It was overgrown and generally neglected, with a rotten picnic table that was perhaps once a hobo’s bed (we’re right next to the train tracks). When hobos went the way of dial-up internet, feral cats moved-in, and each time I visited, the brush would rustle, and something furry would scoot off into adjacent underbrush.


First, we removed the brush, graded the yard and installed an extensive drainage system

Fast forward to the present, and now this is one of the nicest sites you can find on the North side of the train tracks if you are riding the Amtrak train between New Haven to Boston, at least if you are into classic cars, or classic Quonset huts, or both.

Here’s that same original rear wall, now enclosed by the addition. Note the new stairwell, which allows access to the largest collection of Bugeye Sprite doors on the planet.

Needless to say, I am just a bit giddy now that this nearly four-year long build-out is about done. The old, crappy, back wall of the building has remained the dividing wall between the original building and our addition until now. This week, we connected the new hut to the old hut, uniting the original structure to the addition, courtesy of a new clear glass partition.

Tear down the wall!

The real hero in this story is our man Kenny, who cut down the metal wall separating the two structures, (and pretty much built the whole addition too). Our neighbor, conveniently in the glass panel business, erected a wall of glass divider between our old and new buildings. This glass wall allows everyone to watch our chefs behind the glass as they cook-up the next Bugeye in their little cantina.

One long tin can

This see-through wall was no small feat. Of course everything had to line-up. And because the new building is a bit lower then the old building, the corners were particularly fussy, lest the new glass protrude beyond the ceiling height of the addition. This meant for quite a bit of custom fitting in the field, made easier by virtue of the glass wall making facility directly across the street. In fact, all the pieces and parts were wheeled over under human power, instead of loaded into trucks as is their usual routine.

New aluminum extrusions that will hold the glass panels to form a see-through partition. The angled corners, and the sprinkler pipes, had to be in the right places. It was a bit like getting the door gaps right on a restoration.

In the end, The Eagle landed right in the Sea of Tranquility. The two halves of the chunnel aligned. The new gaping hole through our building looked good from both inside and out. All that’s left is a few more glass panels and a new overhead door. And then we can pretty much put our Quonset hut renovation behind us. I’ll show you final photos when we are done in the next week or so.

The view from the original Quonset hut

This headquarters is the realization of a crazy vision I had to make a visually exciting space that would blend old and new. I wanted the home of this business to make a statement that would be apparent to all who entered. This building, and this business, is about producing quality products and about fabricating solutions to make wonderful old things functional in the modern world.

Same view as above, without wall. Glass panels go in next, along with a new overhead door, so cars can pass-through. Thank you to Tappe Architects in Boston, and Cherry Hill Glass in Branford, who helped us to realize our vision!

Erecting your Frogeye Hood

Top up and ready for a trip North of Toronto

This week, we sent our Bugeye “Miller” to his new home in Ontario. The client chose to have his car travel North on an open trailer, which meant that the car had to travel with the top and windows in place.

While preparing this car for departure, I thought I would shoot some pictures in case anyone is having trouble putting up their top.

Here’s the top bow locked in the down position, locked in the detent, which makes life a lot easier

Often overlooked are the springs in the top bow. They need to be compressed to put on the top, especially when it’s cold and the vinyl top contracts. Make sure your bow springs work, they are often seized. When pushing them into, for example, your garage floor (safely away from your car), the bows should move up and down about 1.5 inches. If not, use your favorite penetrating oil and free them up.

Above, the bow in the “up” position, release the thumb lock and the bow should pop upward, adding tension to your top (this is the last step, once the top is on the car)

Next put the bows into the holders in the car and lock them in the down position. Lay the top over the bows and fasten the top bar on the back deck hooks. Then fasten the common sense/twist fittings to center the top.

Start with the twist fittings to align the top, then pull the tenax fittings over their studs

Once you have all the rear fittings attached, you can drape the top over the bows, which are still in the down position. Both bars are still parallel too.

Now you are ready to tackle the windshield mounts

Next stretch the front of the top over the windscreen. This is a bar type top, so I like to start with one lift dot on one side of the windshield and then fasten the other side. Once the two lift dots are attached, I will then roll the thin front bar (inside the top pocket) into the groove on the windshield frame.

Here’s one lift dot fastened, once the other is attached, I will then roll the metal bar into the slot on the windshield frame

That front top bar is crucial, as it stops the front of the top from ballooning upward above 21.8 miles per hour. I spent a lot of teenage years driving with my top scooping the rain since I never had one of those bars. Now, I celebrate every one I install. (Click here if you’re late to the party too and want to order one). The bar doesn’t have to go deep into the groove in the windshield, it just has to stop the leading edge from becoming a parachute.

Now that the top is secured, you can spread the two parallel top bars, and release the springs to raise the top bow upward, for a nice tight fit

These tops are pretty simple but everything has to be just right or they can be a real bear. Sadly, most tops are too small to begin with, and they shrink over time, which means that it can be extremely difficult to fit them in cold weather. We sell a top in our catalog that is not only stretchier but it also cut better and thus easier to fit (even in the cold) and will also last longer. They cost a little more, but they’re superior. Check them out by clicking here (lots of colors)

“Weather-tight!” And check out our new cable railing! Our 1951 Quonset is looking faster and faster every week!

Don’t do this to your Bugeye Sprite.

I am not a fan of oversized sway bars. They’re fine if you run on the track, but for street use, they really damage ride quality, and seem to also lessen front wheel traction, especially on bumpy turns. Below is a picture of a 3/4″ bar on a car we prepared recently (before we removed it, more on that in a minute).

The stock unit (from later Spridgets) is just right, and this is a wonderful upgrade for every Sprite with no downside. These bars are only 9/16″ and they seem like they can’t be sufficient to impact handling, but that they do. They reduce body roll and make these cars more fun. Every Spridget needs one. And there is no diminishment in ride quality.

The white powder on the tip of bracket is rim material grinding off of lip of rim! (happening when compressed and properly loaded)

Back to the car above… on this one, not only did we observe harsh handling and a twitchy front, but we heard a grinding noise on sharp turns, which, upon investigation, meant that that bar was digging into the inner lip of the rims. These mounts are just slightly out of alignment, or the bar is not quite bent enough or both, but here is one more reason to only use the stock bar for your street car. That’s what this car has now, problems solved!

There are a bunch of pictures of the stock bar posted here, and you can even buy one while you are at it by clicking here!

Contact us at David@bugeyeguy.com or call (203)-208-0980 during business hours