(if a car is not pictured here, it has been sold)

Be your own Bugeye Sprite

Check out the whimsical Bugeye Sprite with a cameo in a new Paul McCartney music video “Who Cares.” (you can watch the video by clicking here.)

Why a Bugeye Sprite in this new production? You might remember this vintage photo below of Paul and George in in a Bugeye, so perhaps it was Paul’s idea?

But I have a feeling this choice was the idea of the production designer, who managed all the whimsical art and needed a car in the video that would be the appropriate vehicle for anyone who wants to take a stand and stand-up to bullies at the same time.

You might enjoy the “making of” video linked below, to get a sense of how they came up with the visual style for the piece.

Here’s some Bugeye trivia… the original prototype Bugeye had external door hinges as shown in the photo below, kinda like the Bugeye in the video, although the hinges in the video look more like they came from a sureal hardware store than a classic car parts bin.

Bugeye pre-production prototype, note external hinges, chopped front wings, one window top, etc.

So…. who cares if you drive a Bugeye?


Don’t do this to your Bugeye Sprite

We’ve had many issues with the six windshield post screws that hold the stanchions to the side of the windshield frame.

Here’s the proper way to mount these stanchions, with three oval head philips screws per side.

These steel screws thread into the aluminum windshield frame, so it’s easy for people to overtighten them and damage the threads. More importantly, the dissimilar metals will often fuse, which makes it easy to break the screws. Thus, it is common for us to have to re tap the holes or repair them with helicoils. In extreme cases, we have had to TIG weld the butchered holes completely closed and then drill and tap them all over again.

This week, we had our first pop riveted frame. The last restorer must have broken all the screws, so they used rivets instead. It’s not possible to change the windshield rubber glazing with the the stanchions in place (which is what we were hired to do, in this case) so we had to drill out the rivets and hope we could salvage the frame. Once the glass was out, we were able to helicoil the threads and use new proper screws to put the frame back in service once again.

If you have a chance, it’s smart to coat these screws with newer seize or your favorite anti corrosion or anti electrolysis goop. The next restorer will thank you next time your stanchions have to come off!

Don’t do this to your Bugeye Sprite

I bought a Bugeye recently, promised to be running perfectly, save a fuel leak which needed to be repaired before we could drive it. I trusted the seller and had the car picked-up. We fixed the fuel leak and multiple other issues, and on my first drive the clutch was slipping horribly.

This sunk my spirit… now I was in for a nose-off engine-out project, not something I had planned or budgeted for. Most of the sellers we meet are great, and, should there be surprises when we get a car, they are mostly due to lack of experience on the part of the seller, not blatant acts of deceit. This clutch was slipping so badly, it was impossible to cut this seller any slack.

He lied.

Let’s see if we can recover from this unfortunate event with some good learning for all, so that no one ever makes this same mistake (at least with regard to their flywheel). Notice all the pits and corrosion on the flywheel face shown above and below. It was not cut when the clutch was last replaced, so no wonder if slipped so badly. These clutches need all the surface area they can get, and this face is so pitted that the disk is contacting far less than 100% of this flywheel. Old glazing and any lack of flatness isn’t helping.

So make sure to bring your flywheel to your local machine shop next time you change the clutch. Your clutch will thank you, and so will everyone else. Here’s how it looked after we had it faced. We put on a new ring gear too (after the photo below was taken). We sell ring gears in our catalog, if you need one…

One Bugeye photo says it all

I know this photo well.

Combing the Internet for vintage Bugeye images over the years, I have run across this picture several times. It speaks volumes to me, of the glory days of amateur sportscar racing, when a Bugeye owner might spend his or her weekend tangling with Minis, Spitfires and the like, and then bolt the windshield back on and drive their Sprite to work Monday morning, for another week at work, all the while longing to be back on the track.

A few weeks ago, I got a call from one Joel Taylor in San Diego, who had raced Bugeyes in the mid 60s, and then open wheel racers. He went on to his professional career, and now, has arrived at a point in life when he wants another Bugeye, after owning a string of Porsches and BMWs of late.

He offered to send me a picture of himself racing in 1965, while driving his former Bugeye at Riverside, in a cotton driving suit, on laps that often eclipsed 120 mph on the back straight.

He sent me the picture above.

PS: It didn’t take long for a few of you to email in doubt of 120 MPH in a Bugeye, so I followed up with Joel to inquire.

He told me that the back straight was at Riverside was a mile long, so the cars were flat out at peak revs. With no speedometer and only a pegged tachometer in the cockpit. No one knows just how fast they were traveling down the straight. But Joel was told it was 120, so we will leave it at that. And does it really matter? These guys were flat-out in their cotton racing suits with just about no safety gear, so whether it was 104 MPH or 120, it was a bold feat representative of a special moment in sportscar history.

For what it’s worth, my Bugeye top speed is 100, which I hit with ease in a 1275/five speed/3.9 car. That was fast enough for me.

Bugeye Sprite sorting, before and after

Below you can see Dan’s Bugeye right after we picked it up in Oklahoma, a few months ago. Other than a broken tail light, it’s tough to get a sense of how much the car needed from the photo below. But Dan had to roll the car down his driveway and into the truck… it didn’t run and the brakes were also not operating. We pushed it into our shop and attacked.

Now, more than 40 repair and restoration actions (and more than 75 parts) later, this car is a knock-out. I drove it this week to see one our vendors and I was proud of the work our team has done to turn this into an exceptional car. The new five speed transmission makes the original 948 engine a delight. The car is tight and sure-footed courtesy of the suspension overhaul we performed, and the brakes are quite impressive, courtesy of all new hydraulics.

There are multiple cosmetic improvements too, including new carpet and panels in the interior, new rear overriders, new tonneau and a newly sanded and buffed paint job.

This Bugeye is now ready for a lot of great miles ahead. Thank you Dan! And if you have an old English car that doesn’t perform to your expectations, we are happy to pick it up and make into a wonderful machine you can enjoy with confidence. Let us turn your headache into a sculpture you can drive hard and show with confidence. Call or email if you would like us to go to work for you!

And for all you “do-it-yourselfers,” everything that went into making this car spectacular is also available in our catalog, to which you can link in the right margin of this page…

The Gift of Bugeye

This Bugeye is the star of this post. We sorted it and sent it to the family below, near Tuscon

For years, Shon’s dad has been telling people that his son is going to give him a Bugeye this Christmas, and for years it has been a family joke. Dad had a Bugeye back in the early 70s, and apparently hasn’t stopped talking about it since.

This year, it was different. And what you see in the video below is one of those events that makes our work particularly special, and makes our year.

The Big Reveal
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