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

Bugeyeguy shop video tour

Your videographer

The Bugeye-lover above paid us a visit last week to explore our universe and he subsequently forwarded a video of his field trip, which you can enjoy below. The video stars our Bugeye “Prim,” which you can see (for sale) in the gallery above.

Thanks Geoff!

Bugeye race car prep in pictures and video

There is something for everyone in our shop this week. We have a 1275 engine upgrade project (yellow car), an electric conversion (at right), and this blue car above, a race car needing a new engine installed.

The car came to us from California in pieces, which arrived in a cockpit jumble.

The 1275 race engine was rebuilt in Florida, and arrived on a skid. We assembled it, added a baffled large capacity oil pan, and installed it in the racer.

The lightened flywheel is a work of art and super light.

The Tilton clutch is even more impressive… compact, light weight and ceramic.

Many race Sprites, like this one, have the exhaust fed through the tunnel, so the the car can sit as low as possible to the track. You’ll notice that this car really looks like a bug, with short legs.

This car also has very trick suspension components. The right silver and gold set up is the adjustable rear sway bar. The left link is a rigid joint to replace the rubber mounted shock “dog bone.” You can also see the solid and adjustable radius arm in the background on the left. These hard joints make for a very hard ride and are for track use only. Notice also the rear axle check strap, which in this case is chain.

Every seven years you need a new fuel cell bladder and this one was overdue. We dropped the red fuel cell through the boot floor …

… and removed the pick up assembly.

Next, the new bladder (below) goes into the box, followed by 115 octane race fuel. This engine has a 14:1 compression ratio and requires race fuel.

Note that the fuel cell is more of a (yellow) foam matrix than a bladder.

Once installed, the cell is now marked for another seven years. Fill access is through the hatch above the tank. Vent line at left goes overboard.

Here’s the nearly completed car ready for testing. The electric street Bugeye is parked in the background.

And come for a short video drive below… here, we are still breaking-in the engine, and making sure we can shift into all the gears. The engine sounds wonderful! She’s quite quick and very addictive!

Here, the happy owner and race driver arrives. You might recognize Jeff, who also owns a supercharged blue street Bugeye, that he has also taken to track days. Look for this car, his vintage racer, at Lime Rock, Watkins Glen, VIR and more this fall!

Congratulations Jeff!

Our ’67 BJ8 is New Zealand Bound-Rally prep begins!

This car is now sold and it is about to get very dirty.

In the Spring of 2020, the car will arrive in Auckland, New Zealand for three weeks of on and off road rallying.

If you build a rally tribute car, you have to expect people will actually rally the car, and thus our most stunning modified 1967 Austin Healey 3000 is about to take its new owner on the drive of a lifetime that may include similar terrain to what you see below.

Our primary concern is to make sure the beautiful cast aluminum oil pan does not take a rock strike on the event. If you have been around big Healeys much, you know it is common to see old dents repaired on this vulnerable sump leading edge. This is probably a brand new sump installed during the restoration. Our goal is to keep it that way, and so we have set out to build a skid plate that should do the job.

Below you can see the cardboard template. Next we will cut and weld an aluminum plate to take any impact the underside might receive. Notice the sump hangs just below the lines of the frame rails. Thus, our center skid plate will include a welded oil pan tray to match the underside profile. We’ll raise the car a bit, which will also help improve ground clearance.

Drain holes and oil pan and transmission drain plug access holes are also integral to this plate design, which we will fabricate and report about in the coming weeks. We’ll also make mounting brackets and use quick release dzus fasteners to hold the plate in place.

The new owner of this Healey ran in the Peking to Paris rally a few years back, and you might enjoy the article about that event, linked below.

When showing this car at local events, people were quite curious about the double spare tire boot lid. I put on the stock lid for sleeker lines, but we’ll switch back to the dual spare lid, since she’ll car carry two spare wheels in the event, just as the original designers of that lid intended.

OEW tribute Bugeye

This is a mean, lowered, five speed/front disk/1275 Bugeye that we’ve been building. It’s almost done.

I am really happy with this build. The car is a tribute to Olde English white, THE quintessential British sports car color. Original white cars frequently arrived w/black seats with white piping. We took that color theme to the next level.

The wheels underline the black and white contrast. Our hardura interior mats are French stitched with white thread. And the dashboard is accented with twin thin white borders for a more elegant level of trim.

Now for the windshield… what’s your preference… Brooklands or regular full size?

We’ll have more pictures next week!

Four-post double Bugeye lift

Space is always at a premium in our shop. Even with our new addition, we still have too many cars and not enough space. As a partial solution we have invested in three new four post lifts, and for this lift pictured below, Ken welded-on two extensions, so that this 8000 pound lift can now raise two Bugeyes at once.

Below you can see the piece of angle iron he bolted to the edge of the lift. To that, he welded several lengths of heavy angle iron.

Next, he boxed in the new platforms and then welded on steel diamond plate. You can see one finished lift extension below.

And here you can see two Bugeyes sharing the lift, nose to nose. The lighter tail end overhangs the original deck and is supported by the extension.

We’ll build a second one like this during the coming week, which will allow us four in the air and four underneath… a Bugeye eight-pack!

Two Bugeyes to go

We are the Hotel California of Car shoppes. Sprites check in all the time and they never leave. That’s because it takes time for us to sort out cars on which we put our name. Our cars are very carefully vetted.

Once they come back from their final test drive and everything works with no strange noises and no issues, then they pass through our pre-departure check list. This list is a describes a stem to stern check over of anything that might need a final tightening before we send the car on its way. The PDI also has us double check anything that has broken on prior customer cars in the past. This is our last chance to locate anything out of the ordinary. Only after this process is complete is the car ready to be loaded into a trailer and take on the world.

Two departures in one day represents quite an accomplishment, worthy of celebration with a (blog) post.

In the foreground is Mr Preston’s Bugeye “Mellow.” This car got polished cockpit trim before departure, for a final cosmetic indulgence (see post below).

In front above is Mr Wellman’s blue bugeye you saw in a previous video. It was ready to depart shortly after that drive. But the second gear synchro was weak, and the owner decided to splurge on a Ford five speed transmission. Out came the engine, and the car was transformed to the next level. Now they are both on their way in an enclosed trailer, shown below.

A word about Ford vs Datsun five speeds. Full disclosure, I have Datsun five speeds in two of my own Bugeyes. I love the set up. But for customers, I am very much against them because we have had many problems with them. We find the Ford Transmission to be much more robust. We have not had one failure of the Ford product, while we have had several Datsun gear boxes with problems, clutch problems, and parts availability issues. You’ll pay more for the Ford Five speed, but you’ll only install it once, and it will last you for the life of your car.

You can read more about our Ford kit here.

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