How to fully sort an already great British Sports car





It was very hard to part with this amazing modified 1965 Sprite, but we recently sold it to a great new owner in Nashville, where it will certainly have a great home. After the purchase, we were tasked with improving any weakness in the car, and so we further upgraded this already wonderfully upgraded car. Each improvement made the total package that much better, and now the car is TRULY ready for it’s next chapter.

As with most of the cars we purchase, there is an initial punch list of mechanical issues that need to be addressed, so we handled those first. No matter how well restored a car may be advertised to be, there are always issues that the prior owner either didn’t know they had, or couldn’t address with their resources for whatever reason. That’s why we get so many calls from people who have made recent EBAY purchases, because the listing seldom matches the actual car, no matter how good the photos look. We have the luxury of a fully stocked shop and a whole lot of experience knowing what is truly possible for these cars.

So here is the list of what we did before we could let this car go… first, the brakes were not operating at their potential. Even though they worked OK, I could tell from driving a lot of Sprites that they could be better. The rear brakes, it turns out, were assembled with the springs on the wrong side, so the rear brakes weren’t doing much, and the shoes were wearing at an angle. The Ebrake linkages were also installed incorrectly, so the rear brakes were compromised. Add to that a pair of leaking rear wheel cylinders and so there was brake fluid on the rear shoes. In total, the rear brakes needed to be completely redone.

Next the master cylinder had started weeping a bit, and the new owner elected to have us put in an upgraded sleeved master for improved longevity. There was a plug in the slave cylinder with no bleed screw, so we addressed that, bled the whole system, and that took care of the hydraulic system.

We next tuned and synched the carbs, and changed the ram air inlets to K and N lifetime air filters. I couldn’t tell that there was any degradation in performance but we feel a lot better now that the incoming air is filtered. We did notice a flat spot at about 3500 rpms, and a rich pair of needles fixed that, which was not surprising given the upgraded power plant in this car.

Next we moved on to modern drivability, and enhanced all the lighting, with LED lights on all four corners, and LED brake and tail lights. Cibie-style headlight bulbs also improved the look and lighting on the front end. We needed to convert to negative ground for the LEDs to operate, and that meant converting the electronic tach for negative ground. Complete disassembly of the tach is required for this.

We then added an air horn to replace the “road runner” style “meep meep” horn that was in there.

Another issue was a loose baffle that was rattling in the handsome twin tip muffler. The new owner opted to replace that with our slick Sebring Sprite muffler we have developed, with more petite tips that look more to scale on the car, and a deep and serious exhaust note.

Next were three-point retractable shoulder belts, which really help to make the driver feel more secure.

Shifting was difficult, especially when cold, so we added MTL synthetic, which I love in these Datsun five speed transmissions. It is a magic cure for difficult gear engagement in this particular gearbox.

Add to all this complete service of all the other routine items, and the car is ready for it’s new home. You can see me and Bodhi take our final February test drive here before loading the car into an enclosed trailer for (much warmer) Nashville.

I am not sure what you get when you pay for “dealer prep” shown on the window sticker of every new car. But at Bugeyeguy, dealer prep means 20 or 30 hours of careful enhancements for modern roadways and a thorough diagnostic discussion with a new owner to make sure that the car that arrives is exactly as expected. We’ve had customers who want to do it themselves, and customers with great local mechanics who they want to use for any enhancements. But most of our customers want to take advantage of the expertise that comes from now 120 Sprites we’ve shipped to new homes. With every car we learn something new, and we leverage that experience to make the next car even better!

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