Bugeye gear boxes last forever if well cared-for, but many people are heavy handed with their shift levers and grind going into first or gnash going into other gears. A slow hand helps! I like to think that every old gear box I meet draws my shifter into gear rather than me forcing the lever (and potentially creating wear). This is true when driving all old cars. Double clutching also helps on down shifts, and we have other videos that describe how to do this.
In the video above you can see the carnage from sloppy shifting. Fortunately, a rebuilt gearbox for a Sprite is far less expensive than one for a late model car, so even the most smashed gears can be replaced. But with good care, they are very stout and will last the life of the car and beyond!
Make sure to check out the great 1936 video below for more information about transmissions… and some great outfits!