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Bugeyeguy Bee Hive build- out

Bending the hand rail

We are in the middle of a big push right now to finish our facility renovations. We’re really proud of our converted 1951 Quonset hut so I wanted to share what we worked on this week, in tandem with the seven Bugeyes we are currently building for clients.

One of the missing pieces has been the railing on our loading dock. Above you can see Kenny putting the bends in the new hand railing. The guy’s good-he started with a straight steel tube. 

That railing hangs from simple I- beams he cut, profiled and mounted to the concrete. We next had them powdercoated. Those stanchions support the entire cable railing system that will go in next. 

Welding the railing to the brackets

Below you can see the nearly finished railings (ran out of daylight). Next week, we’ll finish profiling the loading dock for drainage, and then mount the rest of the stanchions, so the cables can be strung.

Thank you Kenny for fabricating all this great metal work! And thanks to Jeff Hoover of Tappe Architects for this great design!

Code required extensions welded on the bottom of the rail

Don’t do this to your Bugeye Sprite

Here’s another nice Bugeye success story.

At the request of the longtime owner, we picked up the car above in Pittsburgh about eight weeks ago. It had a worn interior, wouldn’t go more than 30 miles without dying and didn’t ride very well. Now it drives great, has a new top and interior and about 100 repairs/improvements have been completed. It’s fully sorted and ready to be loaded into an enclosed trailer for the trip back home. Don’t be confused by the title of this post… DO this to your Bugeye Sprite! This client turned his old friend into a much more useable asset he can trust and enjoy! (And we can pick up your car anywhere in the USA if you would like us to perform a similar transformation on your favorite old english sportscar.)

Now on to the title of the post… one of the issues we addressed was a fuel tank leak at the sender. This is a common problem. It’s not easy to seal the sender into the tank and thus many fuel tanks leak at this gasket. To access the sender, you have to drop the tank from the trunk floor, and thus many tanks don’t get the maintenance they need. If you don’t have a lift, it’s a hassle to drop the tank while on your back.

To make matters worse, if you get it wrong and find that your gasket still leaks after you’ve wrestled the tank back into position, the last thing you want to do is take it apart all over again. But every time you fill up the tank, the sender gasket will allow fuel to fill the little well around the sender (see the photo of the new product below, the sender and well is roughly in the upper center of the photo) and that pool of gas will stink up your garage pretty effectively until it evaporates or runs down the sides of the tank. Look for tracks on the sides of your tank… those indicate a leak and that fuel has been running off the top of your tank and streaking the sides.

To fix this problem once and for all, make sure to use ethanol-proof VITON gaskets. There are two on every sender, and they both need to be VITON. Discard the cork gaskets that come with the tank, or sender. Both of them will leak eventually. Check those out in our catalog by clicking here.

Make sure to seal the screw heads that hold the sender in place. And you need to pressure test the tank (gently!) before installing it, to make sure there are no leaks. Spray the sender gasket area with windex or any soapy solution to verify no bubbles/no leaks. We’ll be happy to sell you the parts for all this, see the links at the end of this post. Or if you don’t want to hassle with these details, we sell a fully assembled, sealed and tested tank, ready to install.

Check out the photos of someone previously attempted to address this issue. Notice the caulking applied around the entire fuel tank perimeter (above). This builder figured that they could seal the union between the tank and the trunk floor whereby the fuel that leaked out of the top of the tank would remain trapped between the tank and trunk.

It’s a lot easier to just fix it right (which we did).

Need a new tank of your own? Click this link to buy one. We’ll send it to you with a new sender sealed inside (with a metal float too!)

Bugeye revival after 31 years of ownership

Dropping off your baby at summer camp

After 31 years of ownership, we were lucky to have Jud bring his Bugeye “Raymond” to our shop for its grand revival. The car hadn’t run in years, and it was time to make the car useable once again.

Some 80 repair/restoration line items later, the car hurtled down the Interstate at 65 MPH once again. While there are about 20 more possible improvements we might make were time and budget available, this car is now ready for the next adventure. It’s incomplete (like many English sports cars). Still, Jud will fly into New Haven this week and drive the car back to New Hampshire. If weather and time allow, he’ll also drive over to The British Invasion at Stowe (in Vermont) next weekend.

Each dormant Sprite seems to need something different. This one had a very rusted battery tray, which we cut out. The firewall had also rusted.

We welded in a new tray, a job that requires access from underneath, which meant engine and transmission removal so that we could finish the repair properly. The car also needed new tires, new hydraulics, new hoses and all new rear brakes and hub seals. We fixed many temporary repairs put in place when time was abundant and money was scarce. Now that time is precious and money just a little more prevalent, this owner elected to have us make the car ready for highway miles once again.

Next up are similar projects on cars that came to us from Boise and Oklahoma City. More and more people are sending their cars to us from all over the country, so we can make them right. It’s an honor to serve a national restoration center for these wonderful little cars. Nothing is more satisfying than taking an inactive dusty vehicle and turning it into a road going machine that brings joy to owners and onlookers on otherwise less exciting roadways. Please call if you would like us to bring your classic car back to life!

Don’t do this with your Bugeye Sprite!

Slave cylinder push rods have it rough. People are constantly modifying them. It seems that some bugeyeguys wish their push rod was longer.

This one pictured above is one for the hall of shame- particularly ugly-but it worked, (barely). This operator added a 1/4″ drive socket to the bore of his slave cylinder to try and extend the throw. We put in a new long model and solved the problem Why are slave pushrod issues so common?

There are multiple reasons. The eyes wear and get elongated. Clutch forks are sometimes bent, which may necessitate a longer or shorter pushrod.

It often comes down to the backplate. If you change from a 948 to 1275 engine, the thickness of the back plate changes. Notice the thin sheet with curved perimeter on a 948 engine (left) and the flat thicker back plate used on a 1275 (right). When you change the backplate, you effectively move the transmission forward (or aft), and these changes can impact clutch actuation.

We sell two different length pushrods,one for each configuration (longer for 1275 backplates). Check em out in our parts catalog, here. Any time you plan to change your slave cylinder, it’s a good idea to have a new pushrod and clevis pin handy, and to make sure your slave cylinder isn’t throwing all the way out at its limit. A longer pushrod can help make sure your slave cylinder doesn’t eject from the bore when you push the clutch, thus spilling all your hydraulic fluid.

Another AH Bugeye Sprite floor restoration

Remember this garage find from a few weeks back? We’ve been rebuilding the mechanicals on this one for the past month for the good folks in Maryland who hired us to get the car back on the road. The car now runs and drives nicely!

Today we embarked on the next phase of the project, to restore the driver side floor pan, which was badly rusted. Here are some photos from the disassembly, that will give you a window into how these cars are built.

Some rust in the foot wells. Some rust in the rear spring area. Once in a while, we get cars that have both, like this one. The footwell had an old patch, with a piece of a street sign. The rear area on this car had never been repaired. Ken will weld in a complete new floor pan, to give this car a new foundation that will out live us all.


Above you can see the prepared floor, ready to fit the new pan. There is some welding and patching still needed on both the inner sill and on the front of the wheel well where the floor meets the rockers. This first step is nearly complete… Ken has stripped away most of the old rotten material. It looks like this car might have been Nevada Beige, as this seems to be the color emerging under the grime on the transmission tunnel.

Building a better Bugeye headquarters

Restoring a 1951 Quonset hut is a bit like restoring a car, only bigger, with more zeros attached when writing the checks. We are nearing the end of our massive facility restoration, and we will all be really happy when we are done. This past week, our lead technician “Russ the mechanic” was on vacation, so we took advantage of the down-time to move everything out of the way and refinish our concrete floors.

This was a monumental undertaking, facilitated by the diamond grinder shown here, and two courageous operators.

Everything had to be moved multiple times, so we could grind in sections. The concrete dust was intense. I must have been licking the floor in my sleep, because the taste of concrete is still with me.

Emerging today is our new light gray coated floor, soon to be completely impervious to the various classic car fluid leaks it will face in its future. You can see the new gray floor coating at the top of the picture above.

As with any good restoration, there have been multiple interesting and creative decisions to make. We have tried to leave the building “original” where possible, to honor the history and keep the vibe of the space in tact. To that end, we tried to use a clear coating for the floors, and so they were ground to smooth them out and remove some imperfections. Our intention was to let the deeper imperfections remain to acknowledge the history of our home.

Unfortunately, the clear coat was not to anyone’s liking-too many oil stains were still showing and the floor darkened dramatically, which made out Bugeye hut look more like a cave. So we made a last minute change to light gray, and now our space it brighter, and uniform, in a sea of other mottled surfaces.

That’s not a bad thing.


Friday at 6AM the team moved everything out of the center of the floor onto the first finished section, and then more gray goop was spread-on, so that by Monday morning, we’ll be off and running once again. We have a bunch of British cars we need to get back on the road! Below, you can see the guys moving everything from the center of the building onto the now dry section of floor, so the rest of the floor can be coated to dry over the weekend.

Thank you all for your interest and support! More updates to follow! Next up… epoxy-coating the basement floor of our parts warehouse!

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