What is the ultimate Bugeye Sprite in 2017? This is a question I am asking myself a lot as I watch Gumby’s rebirth. We’ve repainted the car in Aston Martin Racing Green and Mercedes Silver. We’ve got the engine in now and new parts are going on each week. As a reminder, this is the car I acquired in 1978, in High School. It is the car that inspired bugeyeguy.com, which we launched in 1997. When I purchased the car it was simply the most basic of sports cars, further reduced by prior owners to a beater, with no interior other than shiny teal vinyl seats, lots of extra switches, dashboard holes and wires, plus a cheesy gray primer exterior.
In 1979, I “restored” Gumby with the resources I had a the time, which were minimal. We sprayed the car BRG in my sister’s driveway, and that lacquer paint job served me well for the next 30 or so years. I purchased black vinyl seat covers and laced up a horror show, unwilling to invest in metal seat bottoms which seemed really expensive at the time (they still do!) They weren’t pretty, but these too were sufficient for the task at hand. In sprite of my lousy restoration, Gumby was the successful impetus for the 195 cars we have now sold around the world (almost all of which have been nicer than Gumby ever was)!
Now Gumby is being recreated in a totally different world. In 1979, when I last restored the car, a Ferrari 308 GTS perhaps one of the best cars available at the time, was about $39,000. Now the supercar market is crowded with lots of aspirational options. What might Gumby borrow from a 2017 $400k plus Aventador? (nothing you might suggest, other than just a few horsepower please!) Given just how much the world of cars (and drivers) has changed, I am a firm believer that Gumby needs to be more plush, elegant and powerful while still retaining the soul and DNA of its original self. Gumby will be better in every way, but still very much a simple and pure sports car.
And so we are proud to introduce the world’s newest supercar… introducing the “Super Sprite,” the only Supercar in the world to boast a two digit horsepower rating… (no other Supercar can make such a claim… EG Aventador = 691-740 HP). Gumby will boast about 90 horsepower (more than twice the horsepower of the original power plant).
We’ve rebuilt a 1275 Sprite engine and fit a cross flow aluminum head with four port fuel injection—no carburetors and no distributor. Our goal is computer managed smoothness, efficiency and consistency (and power). We have thrown every other timetested accessory at this car, all of the best features and add-ons we have developed for the 195 cars Gumby spawned. Five speed transmission. Lower rear end ratio. Improved four piston front disk brakes. Rear disk brakes. And a whole lot more we will show you in coming weeks as the car comes together.
Most on my mind of late is the interior. What is the appropriate evolution of an interior in “the best bugeye in the world?” We’ve seen many attempts at this over the years, with high backed seats and custom finishes, but none have been quite right. We hope to upgrade everything but change nothing-to echo and pay tribute to this wonderful piece of sportscar history while producing a contemporary interpretation. Clearly more leather and detail is needed rather than factory rubber and vinyl. We will still proudly build all original Sprites like our concours gold winner, but for this car, and for other Super Sprites we will build in the future, there are fewer limits. We look forward to taking these wonderful sports car to the next level.
Our Super Sprite product line is just beginning. Last year, Morgan was our first blown and injected Sprite with a chopped windshield. Gumby is our second attempt to make the ultimate Sprite. We are starting to build our next Super Sprite before Gumby is even finished. We can only build a few Super Sprites every year, so please call or email if you would like this next one customized just for you!