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Unearthed! 1958 Austin Healey Sprite Mark 1 single washer nozzle cowl

If you like Bugeye Sprite trivia, this is a post for you.

We’ve had more than 250 Bugeyes pass through out shop and every one of them has twin windshield washer nozzles on the cowl. Windshield washers were actually optional, but I believe all of the US bound cars were fit with them. All dashboard backs I have seen are marked with crayon W/W (for windscreen washer) and I think it was presumed this was a desirable or required feature for all cars offered at US dealers. They never work terribly well, and who would need a squirter on such an open car anyway, but they were still fit by the factory.

The concours standards mention that very early cars had a single nozzle, but we have never seen this anywhere, and never found any photo reference either, until now. Even our very early concours gold car we prepared (AN5L 552) had dual squirters (if you are unfamiliar, production began with car 501, and not all of the early cars were in sequence). So this must be a rare feature indeed. In the photo above, you can see the two large holes that would normally house the wiper posts. The single hole shown is for a tonneau lift dot fitting on the dash. There are no rear view mirror holes on this cowl, those appear to have been filled at some point-you can still see their outline.

One of our projects for a customer includes cowl restoration on his car. We have had a parts car cowl in our inventory for years, and this was the place to use it. When I dug it out, much to my surprise, here was the single washer plain as day. Thus this old part must have come from a particularly early car. According to the concours standards, twin jet systems were offered “shortly after production began.” Too bad this small cowl panel is all that is left of that particular early car!

I thought others who love this sort of detail would like to see this, so I have posted a few photos here. I cannot confirm that this is factory accurate, but given that the usual twin squirter holes are missing, I have good reason to believe this is a genuine single nozzle set-up.

A lot of the cars we see are missing their washer nozzles, and while they often don’t work, it’s always nice to install them to fill the holes in the cowl. Every restoration looks better once errant holes are filled! We sell (twin-type) squirters (left) in our catalog, you can find them by clicking here. We also sell the often missing washer pump, which looks great when you fill that hole on your dashboard. You can buy that product by clicking here.

Contact us at David@bugeyeguy.com or call (203)-208-0980 during business hours