For years now we have been sorting out Bugeyes, making them wonderful again. This particular EBAY car (the white one above, on the right) purchased by one of our customers reminds us of how far things can sometimes go afield, and how a drive in a Bugeye can actually be a rather unpleasant experience unless it is properly prepared. What a shame that the past owner(s) couldn’t drive this now well-sorted Sprite before they bailed, because today this car now drives nothing like the day it arrived here. After about 50 improvements, this car is wonderful again, and the newest purchaser no longer has to worry that he bought a disaster. Check out how nicely the door closes in the video below. It was all out of whack when we got it… now it’s perfect.
Our customer purchased this car from a dealer in California. Since we had been in touch prior to his purchase, he called to tell me of his new acquisition. I suggested that he ship the car to us directly for sorting because I could see a few issues in the photos that were likely to reduce his reliability. Instead he hoped for the best, and had us ship it from California to his home in Florida, where a few drives confirmed that there was a lot to be done. So we shipped the car from Florida to Connecticut for transformation. Already the car has covered some serious trailer miles!
This car is cosmetically quite nice, solid and straight, with a very good interior. It photographed well in the online listing, and I can understand why someone would purchase it. But it was nearly impossible to start when it arrived from Florida. I could just barely keep it running to make the short drive from the trailer to our shop, a telltale sign that serious sorting would be needed.
Everything needed attention. The fuel tank was old and leaking at the filler neck. The fuel was old and separated. The carbs had numerous mis-matched parts and the wrong needles. The distributor was loose so the timing had a mind of its own, all this made certain the car could not run correctly. The steering wheel was loose, mis-aligned, with the front wheels improperly aligned. Basically, every single driver interface was out of spec. The shifter was a smooth case lever in a rib case box, making for a very mushy “staring porridge” shifting experience. The handling was particularly twitchy due to steering issues and very harsh from worn rear lever shocks. A Bugeye is a treat when everything is right because it gives excellent feedback through all one’s body parts. When it is all wrong, every interface disappoints. Even the door latches were messed-up. Now they close nicely (see video above).
The car is better now, a true high-quality machine you could jump in and drive back to Florida. Not bad for a car that wouldn’t even make it up the ramps into our shop just a week ago.
We’ve had many calls from customers lamenting that they didn’t buy one of our sorted cars instead of the heap they purchased from photos online, further proof that the cheapest car is often the most expensive one.