We have been working on a very special 1958 Bugeye for a customer from Massachusetts. This car has many of the early car features which I look forward to sharing with you here. Number plates are missing on this car, but we believe this to be a particularly early car. In this post, you will find a video that calls out what is special about 1958 Bugeyes.
I can’t tell the difference when driving a 1958 or 1960 Sprite. A Bugeye is a Bugeye as far as driving qualities. Even though the rear end was “beefed up” on later Bugeyes, I am not able to discern that difference in the drive quality. These are mainly novelties that make collecting Sprites a little more interesting.
Check out the video below:
Below is what could be one among the last early 58 radiators. Look closely and you can see there are no side shrouds, and no top shroud above the fan. This was a feature alleged to only be present on the earliest cars. It’s hard to know if this radiator was switched from an early car, or was left over at the factory and installed here, but regardless, it was great to see an original early radiator in place. That said, we removed it and boxed it for the client to stay with the car, because it had been leaking, had been repaired numerous times, and, without the shrouding, would not cool the car as well as the later Bugeye radiator we installed instead.
Below, you can see the more abbreviated radiator shrouding found on early ’58 noses. Perhaps they were extended on later cars because of complaints about overheating.
Below is the smaller and triangular radius arm mount for the rear suspension. The radius arm bushings is self extracting here… we put in new bushings to tighten up the suspension.
Below, you can see the longer door levers found on 1958 cars. Along the way, someone mounted a later chrome door knob on the original lever.
In the photo below, Ken is installing our new zip-down window top on the car, and it also received a lot of mechanical restoration on this visit. It’s nice to see another 1958 Sprite out and on the road!
For more information about the type of details described above, you should own “Original Sprite,” a great hardcover resource that describes the production numbers and associated changes. We also made a DVD/digital download all about the gold level concours car we built in 2015. In that video content (which you can order by clicking here), I review the judging sheets and describe what is concours correct and where we lost points on that build, which scored 967.5 points out of 1000, to win a national gold concours award.