National concours judging is a difficult game that requires meticulous builders. It’s a nerve-racking scavenger hunt, and at times it’s not even all that clear what is needed to win. It’s easy to be dismissive of Concours fanatics as an oddly detail-oriented bunch, who perhaps don’t understand all the benefits of modern improvements.
I am beginning to realize, however, that Concours is not evil. In fact, it has been a real gift for us to take on this project; in sweating these originality details, in spite of any self-proclaimed mastery, we still have to sweat just as much as anyone else. The pursuit of concours gold has allowed us to come back to the very humble beginnings of the Austin Healey Sprite and to appreciate and acknowledge the beautiful simplicity of its design. I’ve said before this a second honeymoon, but I’ll say it again: we’re falling in love with these cars in a whole new way.
There’s something just so elegant about the basic simplicity of this machine in its original configuration… it’s like returning to a pair of chopsticks in spite of a fine collection of silverware, or reveling in the simplicity of nature in spite of new air conditioning in your home. This car is famous for modifications, and is widely acknowledged to have been customized by perhaps 75% of all of its owners. Every single Sprite we see is different, with signatures and scars and scabs from prior owners, and so to return this particular car to its most pure and elemental form is surprisingly enlightening and beautiful.
AN5L 501, the first production Bugeye, deserves no less.
Please join me in the video below so I can share this artwork with you.