Excellent 1960 five-speed Bugeye Sprite for sale!







This is AN5L 40975, aka “Midnight.” This car is now sold, and will be soon heading to a new home in New Hampshire. Congratulations Allen!

Midnight blue is a glorious Bugeye color, even if it was never offered by the factory. This car was restored and painted about 10 years ago, and at that time given an exceptional paint job. But it had never been sanded, and now that we have spent a full day sanding and buffing this paint work, the car simply sparkles.

The fender-top beads were removed during the restoration, which gives a look I love that is more graceful, sleek and smooth (although not correct for Bugeyes). We have seen some cars with this treatment have issues with cracking along the former beading, particularly if the work is poorly done. This car has stood the test of time, and in the in the ten years since the beading was removed, there is no evidence of any issues. I believe these seams were properly welded by the restorer, which should provide a lifetime of structural integrity. The problems arise when the seams are ground and filled with putty–not the case here… Midnight is stunning.

She’s a 1960 Bugeye with a 1275 engine mated to an all synchromesh five-speed Datsun 210 transmission, which is a great conversion because it provides an overdrive fifth gear. It all works superbly. Shifting is easier than on a stock Bugeye, with easy first gear engagement afforded by the Datsun tranny. Highway driving is better with the five speed gearing.

The builder of this car choose a long menu of upgrades: a flip-forward nose for better engine access, a spin-on oil filter conversion, high torque starter, rear tube shock conversion, electronic ignition, front sway bar, mini light wheels, new radiator, recent tires, wind wings, tripod headlights, handsome wood steering wheel and more! THe car shows 17970 miles.

This car is fit with Drum brakes which are in great shape, and the car stops beautifully. We just fit a new upgraded and sleeved master cylinder. I’ve heard people say that disk brakes should be fit with a 1275 car, and I don’t necessarily agree… we have had plenty of excellent performing drum brake cars. One day I hope to do a side by side braking comparison with identical cars save their drums and disks, and I would bet that the braking distances would be close if not exactly the same. We’ve found that properly working drums and properly set up disks yield quite similar results.

What does matter is tires… 165 series tires (as on this car) will out-stop 145 series (stock) tires regardless of the brakes. New tires vs old tires will trump any braking system. Think about the contact patch… with more supple rubber on the road, any car will stop faster. There are many variables… sloppy front suspension and a bumpy surface… again, contact with the road can vary. So a properly set-up car yields the fastest stopping distance.

Drums can also fade, but most of our clients are not heating up their brakes so dramatically that fading is an issue. We fit disk kits to many cars, and can certainly do so for this one for the new owner. But I would never disqualify a car based on drums vs disks… it’s not a simple or clear-cut equation with one exception… disks are easier to maintain than drums. They are self-adjusting, and simpler to set up and maintain. Soon I hope to have another post all about this comparison. In fact, we are fitting a power booster to a drum brake car this week, to reduce pedal effort, another interesting modification which we hope to offer as a kit soon.

Onto the floors… they were completely restored and look perfect. Underside is very solid. And by the way, the chrome is excellent. And the top, tonneau and sidecurtains are nearly new!

This is a great cross country traveler, and a beautiful car that will win shows too. The prior owner said he collected a room full of trophies! Since the car looks better than ever, I am sure there are more in Midnight’s future!

Call or email for pricing information. We now have nine Bugeyes for sale, with something for everyone!

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