We have something extra special this week!
This is AN5L 25014, a nationally certified gold level concours 1960 Bugeye sprite (built in late 1959). This car has been to a national Healey club conclave and received gold level certification, which is certified after hours of judging by a team of four judges. This is not a small feat. (Nor is it for the faint of heart, they are tough!)
For a gold award, your car has to be exactly accurate AND everything that is accurate has to be in excellent condition. So a car at this level is a special example that is as close as you can get to purchasing a brand new Bugeye in 1960. And unlike a car that was put away in 1960, a gold level car still looks and operates as though it it being driven in 1960 and everything ALSO looks new (not to be confused with a fantasy time capsule car that has been sitting for 60+ years which would need a complete refresh to run). Moreover, when you go a national concours, you also have to demonstrate that your car runs and drives well, so it’s not just about looking accurate, it has to work properly too!
Keep in mind that there are many mixed-make and local concours worldwide, and this car has performed well at these too. For example, this car received an award when shown at the Greenwich Concours, which is no small feat. Keep in mind though that a mix-make concours like Greenwich generally features roughly 10 minutes of judging and while the standards are high, every minute detail does not have to be scrutinized to the same degree. The prior owner of this car actually drove it to the Greenwich Concours from New Jersey back in 2016, so the car can and will drive beautifully.
The new owner of this car has some interesting choices. The first choice is to take the car as is, and use it as is. This means accepting the few drivability concessions that have been made to make the car easier to drive (at the expense of concours points, should that ever be relevant for the new owner). For example, we have some incorrect but more reliable arrow clamps on the fuel lines which would cause a point deduction on the national field. We also have a later fuel tank installed currently, also a few points off, but clean and new.
Or, we can go after a concours gold upgrade, and try to reach for the 1000 point gold standard with the car. We will have the judging sheets shortly that outline any prior deductions. The goal in this game is to achieve 1000 points- that would be the perfect accurate original car in excellent condition… but anything north of 950 still entitles you to gold.
As a reference, our Primrose Bugeye number 552 that we built back in 2015 had a score of 967.5 and it’s always exciting to try to bring the car back for judging and reach closer to perfection. We can do that with this car, too. We generally try to collect as many accurate and original parts in our warehouse for just such an occurrence. For example, we can put in an original correct one piece fuel tank and change the hose clamps, put in a tar top battery, switch to a mechanical fuel pump with a primer lever and more to try to narrow the gap to perfection. Click here if you want to see a DVD (or digital download, if you prefer) all about concours restoration.
There may be a new owner out there who wants us to provide that service and we can have the car ready for the next to Austin Healey national meet next summer where it can be judged once again. Or perhaps there’s an owner out there who wants to do that work themselves and use our inventory and consultation to reach the final goal. Any choices are delightful for this vehicle, you can own it and you and use it on special occasions or bring it up to the thousand points standard at your leisure or something in between, but to start with a car of this build quality and accuracy is a rare opportunity in today’s market place.
We’ve built now perhaps 400 different Bugeyes and everyone of them has been different. More and more drivability seems to be the priority and therefore upgraded engines and transmissions have been extremely popular as people work to keep compete with modern traffic. But there is also this other giant category of originality for these cars and there is no better way to express that originality than with a gold concours car. There aren’t many out there that I know of, fewer than five, so here’s an opportunity to own one of the most accurate Bugeyes you’ll find in the world.
This special Bugeye is expensive, and not for everyone. If you like this sort of thing, please give a call to discuss!