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Understanding Bugeye Sprite BAE numbers

 

Gumby’s beautiful new green interior is coming together nicely, and so it is time to cover over the rear parcel shelf and say goodbye for now to the BAE number that is still present in crayon on the back deck. 14586 was assigned in 1959 for this body at Pressed Steel, down the road from the Abingdon factory where Bugeyes were assembled. This number is close but not the same as the chassis number, 14908, which lives on as the Vin number for the car. (You can also see the BAE number in the passenger side door jam on the car, as shown).

On many cars these crayon numbers are long gone. I did once see an ebay listing with the vin number, not the BAE # scribbled in this spot in yellow, but I have a feeling that was a sneaky seller. The BAE, not chassis number would be correct in this spot.

I’ve had Gumby since 1978. This is the second non stock paint job, first in BRG and now in Aston Racing green… but I love having that original cherry red reminder under the rear mat, out of site, but still there. The mission of project Gumby has been to innovate while still acknowledging the past.

The BAE number was assigned when the body was stamped and then welded on the chassis at Pressed Steel Company in Swindon. Here you can see a worker at Pressed Steel welding or brazing rear gussets in place on the cargo shelf as the bodies were assembled prior to paint. Note some spots of presumably lead filler on various body panels on the line, in preparation for the trip as shown, down the road to the Morris paint shop in Cowley, where the cars were sprayed. Only then did they move on to the Abington plant for final assembly.

Can you see Gumby in these pictures (circa 1959)?

 

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