Maybe it was the grandkids. Or the golf bag. But for whatever reason, more than a few people have cut the rear deck on the back of their Bugeye, as shown in this photo below.
This is “TJ’s” Bugeye, purchased new in 1959 in England by his now 99 year-old grandfather, and loved by his dad (and family) for many years. This one-family owned car is now here (from Reno, Nevada) for restoration and repaint.
This car had the rear deck modified in England for touring there with two and sometimes THREE kids riding on the back shelf (compare that carefree mindset to the new reality of mask-wearing drivers!)
This week, we stripped everything and mounted it on the rotisserie for media blasting and then paint.
Perhaps with the launch of square Sprites and their factory exposed rear parcel shelf, folks thought it would be groovy to expose their own shelves, and whipped out their sawzalls and started whacking, thusly cutting their precious sheet metal. And since Bugeyes were not valued as collectible or expected to one day be a thing of great value, nobody seemed to mind. Or notice. The shelf was exposed, and that was the goal.
In the case of this car, that shelf helped indoctrinate future Bugeye lovers. Accordingly, it served a noble purpose.
Now, as a restorer, what shall we do? Do we leave the period mods in place? Or do we “restore” and back fill the cutout piece? That decision will be up to TJ.
Also novel on this car is a set of four side marker lights, nicely cut into the corners. This would be the 60s version of daytime running lights.
And notice too the handy badge bar on the nose, which makes lifting the nose a treat (since the bumper is in the way of reaching under the nose). These are mods done by Mr TJ Sr, and if TJ Jr wants ’em left intact for posterity, they will stay!
We never tire of seeing the novel ways people customized their Sprites. With this inexpensive and often customized sportscar it was fair game.
Many people personalized their Sprite. And thus every rebuild is a little bit different.