Here’s a new car in our for sale inventory, one we call “Fred,” and he’s a correct 1958 car. Everything is in place and matching the heritage certificate that comes with the car, so this car is as it was when it left the factory floor. The only exception of a later rebuilt ribcase transmission that was fit by a prior owner. We do have rebuilt smoothcase transmissions available and in stock if that is a detail that matters to you, but the transmission currently in the car is excellent.
This car is very solid, with no rust issues, excellent floors and a very good recent paint job. The interior is excellent and the car drives very nicely! This is a nice Bugeye in every respect, with the added attraction of an early 1958 pedigree.
The engine bay is quite clean and well detailed. No top or side curtains, but we stock these items and can fit new ones!
This is an early car, AN5L 1465, and since production started with AN5L 501, this is about the 964th Bugeye ever made.
I don’t usually make much of a fuss over the year of the bugeyes that have come through our facility. To me an authentic Bugeye is just that and there really isn’t a whole lot of difference amongst all the cars in terms of their factory details throughout the production run. We sell a great book that describes the production changes through the roughly 50,000 cars that were made, but these changes are generally not significant, and thus car number 23,000 for example is not all that different than car number 48,000.
There is one exception to this commentary and that is with regards to the first roughly 5000 cars. These true 58 Bugeyes are unique. I’ve showcased a few of these details in the video linked below.
The most visible difference is really the windshield frame and many of these have been broken through the years and are thus hard to find. I’m delighted that Fred has the correct set-up installed. Another big difference with this assembly is that the pillars were color-matched the car, which is exactly the way Fred is prepared.
I think these windshield frames are very elegant and as I mention in the video, they are reminiscent of the 100/4, no doubt courtesy of Gerry Coker, who penned both designs. I imagine these frames were replaced by the later style for durability. As such most of the bugeyes on the road feature the later style windshield frame, including many of the early 58 cars that are still out there.
There is no reason to avoid these thin frames– they are plenty durable to survive everyday use– it just requires a little bit more care and you do not want to grab these windshields by the side stanchions to pull or push car because it’s not hard to break the glass. In fact I recently heard of someone who broke a later style Bugeye Windshield by pushing on the stanchion… it’s never a good idea.
Fred has the original matching numbers 948 engine and drives wonderfully. It’s a strong running car that’s great fun to drive and an excellence re- creation of an important piece of Bugeye history.
I’ll have a driving video as soon as more snow melts in our area! Check out the new slideshow beneath the video!