#268 (“Harvey”) departed today, bound for Seattle (and Bill and Julie’s waiting arms, and garage). This is another “signature” model for us, which means we took a perfectly nice Bugeye Sprite and performed about 100 upgrades to make into something extraordinary. The car got everything from tri-bar headlights with LED bulbs to custom spare tire hold-down straps to color-matched tan three point inertia seat belts and a whole lot of service upgrades as well. There is a dizzying list of all the nice things we did for this car, the sum total resulted in the striking car you see above.
In the photo above, you can see me and my sister in my first car in about 1977. This 1966 MGB was only 11 years old at the time, and you’ll notice that it looks like the rocker panels were burned off by one quick exhale from Godzilla. In fact, the entire 3 inch lower perimeter of the car was rusted away, and how the factory managed to produce a car that could self-destruct from the bottom-up in such a short period of time is one of the more remarkable engineering feats in all of modern history.
Still, for my $300, the leather seats felt mighty fine, and I sat in the driveway in my non-running classic for more hours than I can remember, pawing the steering wheel and contemplating the geometry of a perfectly crinkle-finished dashboard. Once I finally got the engine rebuilt with the help of my high school auto shop teacher, I drove this thing for perhaps an entire school year on a single working SU carb. I was perfectly happy driving around with just two working cylinders, and parking only on hills since the two 6 volt batteries were both only putting out about 5 volts each (on a good day).
I’ll not forget the day I finally got both carbs to work, and driving changed forever. The car woke-up as all four cylinders came to life and suddenly my first year with this car seemed quite a tease. Now, when someone sells me a Bugeye and says “it was like that when I got it…” I think about that two cylinder MGB. It got me to school just fine on two cylinders. It was a lot nicer running on four.
On my final test drive of #268 this week, I had time to reflect on what we produced. This is still an old British car. The aesthetics have been upgraded, for example, this is more luxurious than ever intended by Donald Healey. But I love it. And the client will love it. And people who see it, love it.
Modern cars have changed so dramatically since this car was in the showroom in 1960, cosmetically and mechanically, so we are tasked with keeping-up while being true. I say #268 nails that. It is still a 948 CC powered oil-leaking non-synchro classic sportscar. The DNA of that little $1,795 sports car anyone could store in their shed (as Donald Healey was fond of saying) is still quite present. The difference is that this car has been sorted. And personalized. And embellished. And renewed. And kicked-up a few notches.
We are proud to release this signature model into the world. And grateful to have wonderful clients who give us a chance to create our own unique kind of (rolling) art.
Below, Harvey is loaded in the enclosed trailer for a 3000 mile journey to the Pacific Northwest, in good company.
On to the next car!