CURRENT INVENTORY IS SHOWN IN THE SMALL PICTURES JUST BELOW THIS TEXT!
(if a car is not pictured here, it has been sold)

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!

Don’t do this to your Bugeye Sprite, part 5

I’ve written a lot here about the wrong fittings in the wrong holes, but the topic warrants further discussion, because every week we see something new.

On this beautiful leaf green car which was very well restored (elsewhere), snaps were incorrectly used for the back deck fittings. Above you can see one of the snaps in place, right before we drilled out the rivet that was formerly holding it in place.

We were tasked with putting on a new top for the customer, but did not want to repeat the mistake and put the incorrect female snaps on the top. Instead, we changed the snaps to the proper tenax fittings (which you can see at left), and also changed the female snaps in the tonneau to tenax as well. This way everything is factory accurate again, and much more effective too. (Snaps do not work as well as tenax for securing the rear of the top.) Fortunately, the tenax with a plastic washer covered any scars left by the old snaps.


At left you can see the new tenax fitting in place. And you can also see the beautiful stay fast top we installed, which we also sell (by special order, please email if interested). We stock a superior upgraded vinyl top, which you can find by clicking here.

Finally, a Bugeye Sprite that doesn’t leak oil.

And this is it’s motor… an AC unit with 88 HP and 108 foot pounds of torque. Yes, we are building an electric Bugeye Sprite.

This is a big event for us, and we hope it will also be a positive event for the classic sportscar world.

Believe me, I have been smelling like hydrocarbons my entire life, and I have three of my very own dinosaur powered Bugeyes. But I have yet to attend a British car club event with more than a few token souls under the age of 50, and I believe we have to adapt to our new reality in order to keep these cars alive. More and more new car brands are offering electric vehicles in coming years. My hope is that an electric Bugeye will bring more new people into our world, the world of eccentric British sportscars that we all love so much.

Please forgive me for building a great Bugeye with no exhaust note. But I am hoping that there will be multiple other benefits that will offset the loss of the gas-powered soundtrack so integral to the ride.

Time will tell.

Our intention is to offer zero emission power as one more option for anyone who wants to own a Bugeye. We plan to continue to build awesome gasoline-powered cars. We have a very big carbon footprint. This will help.

We will also sell kits for anyone wanting to convert their own Sprite to electric power.

Our kit is completely reversible. The motor fits neatly in the transmission tunnel, about where the gearbox used to live. You can see us offering the motor up to the frame brackets in the photo here.

The batteries occupy the space formerly occupied by the engine. 25% of the battery power will hang under the trunk floor in the space formerly occupied by the fuel tank and muffler.

We are hard at work making our car look and feel just like a vintage Bugeye. We have used stock cosmetics wherever possible.

Above is a link for great video about a 1969 electric E-type built by the Jaguar factory. You’ll notice they have made a digital dashboard which looks very futuristic. Instead, our dash looks just like a period Bugeye, except our speedo is GPS powered, the tach is pulse driven off the motor shaft and our fuel gauge reads battery capacity.

This is a prototype, and in the coming weeks, I hope you will enjoy watching this project unfold. We are excited about this development, and hope that you will be too! The car should be less than 50 pounds heavier than a stock Bugeye with a full fuel tank. Weight distribution will be similar to stock. We’ll do some side by side comparisons… we expect that the electric will be quicker to 60 mph than a gas-powered Bugeye with a stock 1275 engine. Range will be about 100 miles. When you consider that most of our clients only spend an hour or two with their bugeye per session anyway, this range should be just perfect. Our prototype BugeyE is British Racing GREEN.

Stay tuned!

 

Bugeye Sprite Rubik’s Cube

We thank the heavens daily that we are not “Lincolncontinentalguys.com,” because that would change everything. Instead, we are gifted with love for a portable and petite car that is easy to stack. Each Bugeye is just 11 feet three inches, and thusly pretty easy to move about.

Still, it is always entertaining to try and fit 14 Bugeyes under one roof, especially in a rectangular building with only one door. We are lucky to have so many in one place, and these are the next cars we will repair, restore, modify and send on their way.

You can watch how we do it in the video below!

One wicked tube full of Bugeye Sprites

Rear addition, February 2018

We have been working very hard, not just on the cars, but also on our building. We are expanding, and we are not doing so in the conventional way. Why? Because this is supposed to be fun. It’s about passion. And if our home is a dump, well, there wouldn’t be much passion or fun present. Sure we could have torn-down our Quonset hut and built something square, but if you love the two frog eyes on the hood of your car as much as I, you too would dream in curves, and thus our hut is well, Buggy. Curved. Bugeye-like.

Here’s the front facade when we moved-in in 2015.

Front facade, July 2017

As if a formerly run-down Quonset hut restoration wasn’t enough, we added a funky expansion structure with a similar curve, so the two round structures would play nicely. It has skylights, radiant heating in the floor and is at ground level, which allows a pleasant work space and faster departures and arrivals than our current structure which is four feet above grade. We’ll use the current building for more of a display space, and the new building will provide more storage and better work space than what we have now. This expansion will allow us to do more… and to do it even better.

One of the challenges of a bolt-together building is water leaks, and while we have minimized the issue, we still have a few, and thus we needed an internal skin that would allow any leaks to penetrate, with minimal damage. We’ll keep sealing the roof and striving for water-tight, but like the oil sump of a Bugeye, in spite of the best intentions, they are seldom leak-free.

And so we designed a slat ceiling, that would look great and breathe well, that would drain if needed, and would have components we could replace if they got water-stained. It was a smart solution, until we set out to mill the first 360 Eastern pine boards, and stain them, and poly them… well, this is taking longer than we had hoped.

BUT

Look at the awesome results…. one of the greatest gifts of employing great fabricators is that they love to make things, and while our crew is mostly hard at work on vehicle restorations, there is also time each week to make our expanded home spectacular. With the help of Mike (our now full time carpenter), and a host of other sub contractors and suppliers, our ceiling continues to line-up just right.

Now for the next 500 boards!

How we prepare Bugeye Sprites for delivery

I love my job! Even in January, it’s fun to field-test Bugeyes before they ship to new homes.

We were particularly busy this week preparing the four Bugeyes we recently sold (Booker, Marco, Mitchell and Becky). We spent the week combing through the cars to eliminate any kinks before departure. You can see these cars out on the road in the video below, as I conduct final tests.

All of our cars go through a roughly five-hour pre-departure inspection on the lift and then a lot of miles on the road. We complete an exhaustive checklist to make sure that either everything works, or that the customer knows what doesn’t work and has the option of having us fix it. Our partnership with the client starts when the car is sold, and we work together to make sure the product that leaves our building matches expectations. This has been the cornerstone of our business, and we have applied this formula now to more than 200 Bugeye Sprites that we have shipped to new homes.

Booker and Mitchell await road tests in our new addition! Note the new spray foam insulation! It’s warmer now!

People sometimes ask if we have a slow season, but we are busy all year long, and so even in January, I am out road testing the cars to make sure I am comfortable signing off on their departure. I sometimes have to wait for rain to wash off any salt on the roads, but one big benefit of living on the Connecticut shoreline is that are winters are relatively mild and year-round driving is quite doable. We leave the tops off since it makes service much easier, but with good gloves and a hat, convertible winter driving for short trips is not a problem.

Almost every one of our cars is customized after sale to meet the particular needs of the new owner. Thus the green Bugeye “Marco” is being set up for a lot of highway use with a lower rear end ratio and five-speed transmission because the customer has asked for these modifications to suit his lifestyle. Not all of our customers need this level of customization. In fact, the silver car “Booker” needed only new shocks, headlight dipswitch and carburetor gaskets before departure. The black car “Becky” is being set-up with a five-speed too, but this is more for ease of use on short trips given the fully synchronized first gear.

Becky is also getting a rear main seal upgrade while the engine is out-that customer liked the idea of investing in a well-sealed engine while it was out of the car for the five-speed conversion, so here you can see a photo of the back of the engine after this upgrade. We have found that many of the cars leak at the oil pump “dog dish” cover on the back plate. If you look closely, you can see that we have removed, cleaned and re-soldered that metal cover to ensure that it won’t leak. You can clearly see the rear main seal upgrade in place, which adds the large red lip seal around the back of the crankshaft to help keep oil from leaking out the back of the engine. This is a chronic problem on all classic British cars, but especially common on 948 Bugeyes, which used a scroll to sling oil back into the engine, and it never worked terribly well. These two upgrades shown should make this particular engine much more leak-free. If you ever take out your engine, make sure the culprit for oil leaks is not the oil pump cover, because the rear seal is only part of what needs to be right. You can also see a picture here of Russ preparing the front of the engine for a re-seal as well.

Becky’s new short tonneau is now complete, in off-white for the heat it will face when the car arrives in Phoenix. You can see how Ken beautifully fit the tonneau around the roll bar, first with a template, and then with velcro to keep the cockpit weather-tite.

All the cars moved forward this week, ever closer to departure, just waiting for one more test drive before our network of enclosed shippers loads and delivers these babies to their new homes!

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