Fond memories of a simpler time in a stripped-down Bugeye Sprite

In 1979, I met my first Bugeye parallel parked on the streets of New Haven, CT. Built in 1959, he was dented front and rear, from people parking by feel, and the interior was mostly missing. No vinyl panels or carpet were left, victims of repeated rain shower dousing… the top was dried and barely water resistant… the old sidecurtains hardly closing any gaps. Two ugly teal blue seats were bolted to the bare floor.

I remember driving my little $1100 oil can home on interstate 95 after my purchase was complete, pure simplicity, no frills. The car resonated a lot with no carpet, but i loved the raw sports car surrounding me, and have that car to this day (the only thing I still have from 1979).

Now “Gumby”” is off the road undergoing full restoration, being made nice and restored to modern standards. Much more adult.

But the car here in this video brought me back. Restored for a customer who wanted solid repainted metal and a manageable project he could finish himself, this car is also stripped out, and on my final test drive today, I was transported back to 1979 pretty quick.

Bugeyes are basic cars. As we’ve aged, we are making these cars more layered and shrouded in admittedly really nice finishes and fabrics. Yet there is underneath a raw little sports car, that’s pretty cool in basic form too.

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