CHECK OUT OUR SELECTION OF PREPARED BUGEYES (AND NON-BUGEYES) FOR SALE BELOW!

Gas-powered 1275 VS electric Bugeye Sprite

Our electric Bugeye is now ready for its new interior, and we are very excited. The car is sorted and exceeds our expectations mechanically, and now we can make it look stunning. Stay tuned!

If you have been following this project, you know I am in love with it, mainly because it is smooth and consistent. I get the feeling that it will be just as smooth and consistent in 100,000 miles. This is a big service interval in the British classic car world, where the life span of a newly rebuilt 948 engine may only be about 50,000 miles.

This week, I wanted to share two videos… the first is of a gas powered Bugeye with a newly rebuilt 1275 engine and five speed Ford transmission. We installed this upgraded powertrain for Len from New Jersey, and finished it with the same anthracite wheels and new tires you see on the electric Bugeye. Len’s car now tracks like an arrow and cruises beautifully at 70 mph, @ about 3300 RPMs in fifth gear.

The sound is just about perfect, courtesy of our custom twin-tipped muffler. Zero-60 time is 15.27 seconds (stock 948 was reported to be 20.5 in 1958). By the way, I backed off a bit because of the truck bearing down on me, so this time is a bit slower than what is possible…

Next is “Sparky,”our electric prototype, with a 4:22 rear end. Zero to 60 time is 10.2 seconds, a full five seconds faster. It also gets to 60 in about half the distance, 530 feet vs 898 ft. The sound you might love in the prior video is completely missing. But I have come to love the electric motor sound too. It’s not a replacement for a sweet exhaust note, it’s just a different cool sound. In fact it makes me think back to black and white Flash Gordon television I used to watch as a kid. Whenever Flash jumped into Dr Zarkov’s rocket to go anywhere, the spaceship made an electric buzzing noise, and I think of Flash each time I take off…

The electric turns 4800 rpms at 75 mph. You might notice the that electric motor really comes on as the RPMs climb. We will next switch to a 4:55 rear end for even more off the line performance. This will raise the RPMs on the highway, but this electric motor doesn’t care the way our gas engines do. Load matters more than RPMs. Range is about 100 miles per full charge. This car is fit with a fast charger so it works at highway charging stations.

We look forward to the next electric conversion… if you have a Bugeye sitting on your property with a worn 948 engine and transmission, our electric direct drive conversion is an attractive option! Or, if you would prefer a rebuilt 1275 with a five speed, we have that kit in stock too! Call or email to get your car on our winter schedule! We can pick up your car anywhere in the country, even if it doesn’t run.

Restored 1959 Bugeyed Sprite for sale!

This is a restored 1959 Austin Healey Sprite Mark 1, AN5L 6825, a car we call “Mellow.” The car was owned for 40 years by the prior owner, and kept in nice climate in South Carolina. It shows… the car is rust free, without any blisters anywhere. This is a very solid car that benefitted from zero road salt and good garage storage.

Bugeye trivia: This is an early ’59 car that still has the long color-matched door handles. Note coil mounted on top of generator, an early car feature too!

The car is quite stock, with a 948 engine, smoothcase transmission and drum brakes all around. It’s great to drive, and looks great too. We have added a new carpet kit, new interior panels and new door edge gaskets to freshen-up the interior. Overall, the car looks brand new.

The car was repainted once along the way, and the paint is holding up quite nicely. It shines great. The gas cap is properly painted yellow… this was the way the cars came from the factory, with color-matched caps.

We’ve just mounted new tires on the original wheels (which look great) so that the new owner will have fresh rubber. We also removed the windshield frame and replaced the windshield to body gasket and polished the original windshield stanchions while we were at it. We also replaced the carburetor top hat gaskets, which were due because of age.

An older top, tonneau and side curtains are included. 31566 indicated miles. Electric fuel pump upgrade has already been fit.

If you want a very slick stock Bugeye to enjoy, Mellow will do the job! Call or email to make Mellow yours.

Custom Works Tribute! 1967 Austin Healey 3000 MK3 BJ8 for sale

This is, without exception, the nicest car we have ever owned.

This works rally tribute car is the product of an obsessive $200K restoration, complete with an impressive list of improvements and modifications. There are dozens of system upgrades, such as a custom leather interior fit with Healey 100S vented seats, upgraded Bilstein shock absorbers, an impressive custom heating and air conditioning system, a fire quench system and even a lighted WW2 bomber compass beautifully integrated into the hardtop (which has an exceptional headliner finished in ultrasuede).

Works Rally car at 1962 Coupe des Alpes event

The engine was built to exacting standards for a significant power increase. It was fit with roller rockers, a slightly hotter cam and stunning set of triple side draft Webers. Each throat is fit with a velocity stack and filter. These beautiful carbs are accessed by a color-matched custom panel, just like the factory rally cars. The engine is dressed with a rare Ruddspeed valve cover, and the exhaust is a sculptural array of stainless headers and custom pipes.
There are even two matching boot lids, one stock and one with a twin spare tire duck tail (custom built to match the original works rally car boot lid). Both fit the car, and the new owner can easily swap these depending on taste or event. The stock boot lid is currently on the car… many of the pictures in the gallery feature the rally lid in place.

It’s all done to the highest standard. This is a unique opporunity to own a fantastic Healey works rally tribute car, that has been upgraded so that you can use it everyday. I have put a few hundred miles on this car, and it’s a knock out, and tons of fun to drive and show! Check out the awesome sounds that come from this custom exhaust system in the video below!


Check out the smart LED brake lights fit to the original reflector pods on the rear wings. The builder even fit an LED brake light on the back side of the license plate light.

Click “read more” to see additional pictures of this awesome machine!

[Read more…]

Bugeye Sprite front rocker panel repair

One of the chronic Bugeye rust areas is the forward portion of the rocker panel. It would seem that road contaminates thrown off the front wheel batter this part of the car, and accelerate corrosion. The passenger side seems to take the brunt of it because of the crown of the road, which, of course, causes water and salt to gather on the curb side where the right front tire can throw it up.

The car pictured here is one we are preparing for a repaint. It features this exact kind of rust-through on the passenger side, and it is fortunately contained on just the outer skin of the rocker. You can see the box of the passenger footwell (inner sill) is still intact. You can also see the bondo on the back side of the piece we cut away, evidence of a former repair.

Kenny does an artful job cutting away the outer skin, and grafting the front portion onto the balance of the rocker. The result is impressive, and now strong and sealed for many years to come.

Before gas power, before electric power, there was human power.

64K mile 1971 Volvo 1800E for sale, overdrive!

I love this car, and I am excited to own it again! I sold it last summer to Steve in Arizona so when he offered it to me recently, I jumped at the chance to own it a second time. He has made a number of significant improvements, so the car is dramatically improved!

New dash!


This Volvo 1800E #184363034961 has just 64,510 miles (500 more than when I saw it last in 2017) and it drives wonderfully, with a four speed transmission, aftermarket sunroof and factory electric overdrive. Steve had the sunroof replaced with a newer flush mount model that looks much better than the previous version. And all new weather seals are a great benefit of this upgrade. I drove the car today and with an overcast sky, the cockpit is nicely illuminated with the tinted glass roof. With the small windows fit by the factory, the sunroof is a welcome feature, and makes the passenger compartment seem more expansive.

It has the original engine and fuel injection, and starts and runs beautifully. It was driven sporadically by the prior owner who had the car since about 2000, when receipts place mileage at about 60,000. Thus, the car has traveled just 4000 miles in the last 17 years. All service records are included since that time and the car was maintained with no expense spared to keep the car in excellent mechanical shape. Note the recent new front brake calipers and brake lines.

Steve has also put on new tires and completely redone the interior, with new leather seats, carpets and dash cover. New leather door panels too, with the original Volvo insignia sewn in to upgrade those new panels. He’s also put in a new USB compatible stereo. New battery too. He also replaced the seat belts, which were getting faded. The car is now at it’s best and ready for a new home. What a delight to get sit in the car now with new foam in the seats and plush carpet all-around. The new interior transformed a nice car into a great one.

The car was repainted dark green over the original code 104 turquoise. The paint is very good and shines beautifully. Chrome and trim is also in very nice condition. The engine bay is very clean and the underside is nice and solid. Overdrive works nicely. This car is a lot of fun to drive.

This car presents beautifully!

I can’t think of many classic cars this unique, this head-turning, (with overdrive and fuel injection) for this price!

Call or email if you would like to make this cool car your own!

Classic Mini! 1961 Classic Austin Mini Estate Countryman (Woody) For Sale

Further price reduction! Now $13,495!

This is a really fun car for not a lot of dough. Check out the new pictures and video so you can see for yourself. I can’t think of any other iconic classic car you can get for this kind of money… woodies usually mean bigger bucks, and early Minis also command a premium. This car has a lot to like, especially for this price!

A ’64 Mini Cooper was the car I owned just before I bought my first Bugeye way back in the 70s, so I have a particular affection for early cars like like the Mini you see here. This one is a head-turner, and a joy to drive.

In September of last year, we performed a major service to this car and made it into a wonderful driver. We replaced shocks, ball joints, wheel cylinders, drums and shoes and a host of smaller issues, all with the eye to make the car easy to use and ready to go for the former owner, who used the car sporadically and recently decided to simply sell it to us.

The car, AAW7L68346, is fit with a 998 cc engine with a four synchro gearbox. 9571 miles are indicated so perhaps this is when the engine and transmission were installed, although I can’t verify this or what the actual mileage might be. The engine and gearbox are presumed to be from a later classic Mini. The car runs great and shifts smoothly.

Drum brakes are fit all around and they work wonderfully, the car stops straight and true. Nice 165/70×10 Yokahama tires are fit to ten inch minilights for a great performance ride. The underside is good and the rear subframe solid (see photo album). Ready to go!


You can now jump in this car and drive anywhere. It starts up easily courtesy of a premium Interstate battery.

If you like these woody wagons, this one will provide exceptional fun! Call if you would like to take this one home!

This one is registered as a 1961 Mini and it has early door hinges, latches and windows, but a more modern interior and dashboard, complete with comfortable headrest equipped seats and a nice wooden dashboard. Looking for the ultimate beach cruiser? Rack up your surfboard on top!

PS: What is the difference between a Traveller and a Countryman?

Answer: Very simply a Morris Mini estate is a Traveller and an Austin Mini estate is a Countryman. Some people wrongly think that one model had the wood and the other didn’t, but both the Morris Mini Traveller and the Austin Mini Countryman were available both as a Woody and as an all steel version.

PPS: Ever driven a RHD English car? It’s a hoot! My wife regularly drives our RHD Morris Traveler, no problem! If you are unfamiliar you’ll find it takes about 5 minutes to get used to it, and the rest is pure fun. RHD amplifies the attention one gets with a classic car. Totally legal and easy to register anywhere in USA (or elsewhere, we’ll help).


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1959 Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite for sale, 1275, disk brakes, Weber sidedraft, lots of goodies!

SOLD to Cory in Texas! Congratulations and thank you!!!

This is a really nice 1959 Bugeye Sprite we call “Belle.” AN5L 12297 is reportedly a lifetime California car with a wonderfully solid underside and no signs of any body rust. The car comes with receipts back to 1984, all from Northern California. 50,471 shows on the odometer. One sees many bright red Bugeyes… this car is the correct “cherry red” color used by the factory.

The car has been upgraded with many of the popular performance upgrades to make this car into a wonderful fast driver. If you are a purist and prefer all-stock, and you just want to noodle around town, you don’t need these upgrades. But this package of improvements is widely accepted as very useful for bringing out the best in a Bugeye. If you want more power and better handling, which for many collectors equates to more fun, then this is a car worth serious consideration.

She has a rebuilt 1275cc engine and upgraded 40 DCOE Weber side draft carburetor and header. The Weber is set-up right and the car performs quite well! Very quick! The carb and header add additional horsepower to the strong 1275 engine (which came from a later Sprite or Midget, before it was rebuilt). Incidentally, the original 948 and later 1275 engine have exactly the same footprint, which is why this is such a popular conversion.

Wheels are nearly new, JB from England, shod with wider 175 series tires with very little wear. Rubber is fresh, from 2015.

The transmission is a rebuilt ribcase unit with no issues, it still works like it’s newly rebuilt. The differential was rebuilt and upgraded for highway cruising, with a 3.9 ratio. If you are unfamiliar, the original differential had a 4:22 ratio.

Front brakes were upgraded to discs, and the electrics were converted to negative ground with an alternator installed for higher output. The alternators are also more durable than the original generator, with better bearings. A new electronic distributor was added with electronic ignition, again for more reliabilty. The tachometer was rebuilt to function as an electronic unit which means the sometimes problematic cable drive system is eliminated. It’s more reliable than the original mechanical version.

Other great features include an electric fuel pump, aluminum radiator with nice upgraded expansion tank, walnut burl wood dashboard and steering wheel, 3-point seat belts/shoulder harnesses, new wiring harness, rebuilt seats with new foam and upholstery, new rear leaf springs, new Halogen headlights, new LOUD Hella horns, brass fuel sender float, custom locking choke control with original knob and an original tool kit.

The top and tonneau are nice, both older Amco models, but still with plenty of life. Side curtains are also of similar vintage and quite usable. A front sway bar was added, for even better handling.

The underside is very solid! The paint shines beautifully and the interior looks like new. It’s a clean Bugeye.

The exhaust system includes a small resonator and muffler perpendicular to the car. It works great, and sound nice. It’s also quite recent so there is no need to make any changes. However, if the new owner desires, we can put in a performance muffler with no resonator for a sportier exhaust note and perhaps less back pressure.

This car would also benefit from a five-speed conversion, for even more wonderful highway cruising. It is quite common for us build-out Bugeyes to the specifications of the new owner, so if you want a five-speed Bugeye, we can convert this one for you. Since it already has so many nice upgrades, it is a perfect candidate for this upgrade.

There is just one thing missing, did you notice? We took off the nice wipers to detail the car, and they are still sitting on the bench. Not to worry, I’ll put them on in the morning.

This is a good one, with great handling and performance, and overall, great fun, she’s a fast driver that will make you smile. We’d love to send “Belle” your way! Call or email if you are interested!

The next chilling chapter of the electric Bugeye Sprite

This was a busy week, with a full house of Bugeyes needing various repairs and restoration work. Our electric project is still a priority, and we made time to add a new radiator to our prototype electric car. This one is tiny, all it has to do is cool the controller, the brain that manages the batteries and motor.

Juice comes in, juice goes out! The AC Bugeye Electric motor controller, roughed-in place, with more wiring to still complete.


I know that the Bugeye Sprite is all about simplicity, and an electronic brain is exactly the antithesis of what the Bugeye is all about. But until further notice, I am hooked on the smooth and maintenance free/turn-key operation of an electric Bugeye. In addition, of the 19 Bugeyes in our building at the moment, the electric is by far the fastest of the bunch. So if we need to add a little cooling to keep the brains of the operation happy, I am more than willing to comply.

I thought you might find this story interesting, as it represents one more way in which we had to engineer a solution to a British car challenge. It turns out that the controller is smart enough to de-rate the power it will transmit to the motor if it gets too hot. You can still limp home, but you don’t get the full power that makes this vehicle so addictive. We set out to fix the problem once and for all so we added a liquid cooled chill plate under the controller.

The silver plate you see in the photo above sandwiches underneath the controller box. You can see the recesses that will carry the antifreeze under the aluminum case that houses the controller. The square O ring around the perimeter keeps the antifreeze in place. Two half inch hoses and a small pump allow the antifreeze to circulate to a small heat exchanger we fit alongside the batteries.

Now, the controller will stay much cooler, which will allow us to send more power to the rear wheels. And thus our car is almost ready for range testing. If the weather improves, we will be out driving the car throughout the balance of the month.

Bugeye Sprite Dashboard Bliss

About the nicest thing you can do to your Bugeye is restore the dashboard. It’s like the headboard in your master bedroom. You see it every night before you lay down with the one you love.

And so it should look nice. It is the foundation of your cockpit, the holder of your precious gauges and the mount for your accurate switch gear. Each dashboard is also a tribute to the factory and designers who originally created your car.

Bugeye “London,” with dashboard removed for restoration.


The reality in the field, however, is that most old car dashboards have become cheezy. Bugeyes, being inexpensive through the years, often sport extra holes for switches, gauges and whatever people felt they needed to hang. People never seemed to add extra stuff to their XKE or Dino dashboard, but the Bugeye dashboard is simple with a lot of open space, which seemed an open invitation for men to drill. Thus, we find old holes from former owners merely covered with vinyl, and that won’t do, since the vinyl will eventually shrink into the hole and leave a depression.

Bugeye factory radio punch out perforations


Further complicating maters is the original factory perforation that came on each dashboard so that dealers could punch out the dash and put in an AM radio. It would seem the holy grail to have a dash that is unmolested and still with its original perforated metal intact, but the reality is that a new dash recover will also shrink into those perforations and telegraph through your handsome new skin. And so you are left with a choice… to fill or not to fill?

Perforations/lumps/divits telegraph-through now removed black vinyl


In the case of the car and parts pictured here, the customer chose to have us fill the original perforations so he could get the most from this investment and the best looking face of his dashboard. We welded a plate behind the radio perforations and used a small amount of filler to smooth out the face and then sanded everything flat. Preparation is critical here, because the thin vinyl will not hide any imperfections.

You’ll notice we also welded up a few extra holes that were non-stock.

In the photos below, you can Kenny massage the vinyl cover into place, and carefully uses pleats and darts to stretch the material around the compound curves. The end result is a new, well-supported and tight cover, with no wrinkles and no extra holes.

Tony, the proud new owner of this Bugeye “London,” wanted us to change the color of the dash on his new blue bugeye from black to navy blue. We not only accomplished his goal, but by restoring the dashboard underneath, we have made the best possible foundation to support his dashboard cover for generations to come.

Want your dashboard to look this nice? We’ll pick up your car and bring it to our facility for restoration, or, you can also send us your dashboard and we will restore it. Email for more info!

Contact us at David@bugeyeguy.com or call (203)-208-0980 during business hours