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

Awesome restored 1960 Bugeye Sprite for sale with wire wheels and all the right upgrades!
Restored, upgraded and sorted 1960 primrose Bugeye Sprite for sale!
Awesome restored 1960 Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite for sale
Striking five speed 1959 Bugeye Sprite for sale! New Video!
Super cool 1965 Morgan Plus 4 four-seater for sale!
Restored Primrose 1960 Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite!
Striking Red 1960 Bugeye Sprite for sale
Fantastic restored 1960 Austin Healey Bugeye Super Sprite for sale
Right Hand Driver 1960 Bugeye Sprite for sale
2018 Mini Cooper S JCW for sale, in Mint condition with just 7000 miles
Striking 1955 TR2 for sale
1956 Austin Healey Lemans spec 100 BN2 for sale, video drive!
Porsche 911 SC Targa for sale-1978 with just 65k miles!

Planting Bugeye Seeds

I received a call this week about a Bugeye for sale that was “a bit rough.” The price was $800, but he would take $500 cash. To make matters more urgent, he said that someone was coming to grab it Saturday with a trailer and cash in hand, but no money had yet been exchanged, and as a courtesy, he wanted me to have a shot at bringing this classic back to life.

As luck would have it, I was planning to be just .7 miles away from this investment opportunity that very evening, and so I decided to stop by for a look.

What I discovered was a self-composting Sprite.

I started to make a mental list of what might be saved here. An original dashboard has value. And the gauges can be restored, after all, they have been shaded all these years by the cowl. And the steering wheel is restorable, as is the cockpit trim.

As I thought about what it would take to liberate the fasteners holding each of these parts in place, I marveled at the pull of gravity as a non-negotiable force, on the fuel tank, for example. Long after the gasoline evaporated, and the varnish left behind had outgassed, the top of the tank rusted through, filling the tank with water, which eventually rusted the floor of the tank.

Perforated on top and bottom, the weight of the now lacy and empty tank itself was still sufficient to have it fall to the earth, as the trunk floor finally evaporated after one last terminal rain drop. Who needs the The Lion King? British classic car lovers have long embraced the circle of life.

Sometimes, the raw power of nature is simply too much, even for the mighty Bugeye Sprite. Clearly, the earth is winning this battle, and soon this car will be fully digested and beyond revival by mere mortals. I paused to salute the impermanence of all things, snapped a few pictures to share, and headed home, amused by the notion of a tree that might one day sprout forth from this ground, and leak 20W-50 sap from its limbs.

But, wait, it comes with a spare nose!

4107 Bugeye miles, part four, homecoming!

Our adventurous Bugeye travelers have had a productive week. They passed through Biloxi, New Orleans and finally home to Austin, Texas, 4107 miles after they departed our shop in Connecticut (they went “the long way”).

They sent this picture above of the car on the beach in Northern Florida followed by the picture below. Bugeyes have never done well off-road, and we all knew Mollie’s exhaust was a bit too low to begin with. Alas, it’s never fun when important parts depart your vehicle.

No problem for this team, and they quickly had the front portion plugged back on and the rear hanger safety wired to the bumper bracket. By the way, it’s not hard to tear the rear exhaust hanger on these cars, and it is smart to carry a spare even if you’ll never drive on rough terrain-they are only three bucks. (you can find these here)

A day or two later they crossed the Mississippi River (below),

and arrived in New Orleans to visit the WWII museum,

and enjoy a sweet New Orleans B&B.

They eventually crossed into Texas, and arrived at home.

Below you can see Mollie’s garage-mate back in Texas, Amanda’s BMW Z4. Why would you leave a perfectly wonderful Z4 in the garage while galavanting around the entire eastern third of America in a 1960 Bugeye Sprite?

Here’s how Amanda answers that question:

Reflections on three weeks in a tiny car… You must be mentally prepared for anything. Weather, mechanical failure, every thing that can happen probably will. Take it in stride as much as possible. 

You will end up talking sometimes for hours with complete strangers about the car, the car they used to have and the memories this one brings back, it’s just going to happen. A simple stop for gas and you finally get on the road two hours later with half the small town waving goodbye. 

Then there’s the Bugeye diet plan. After a day of driving, anything under three miles is a walking distance restaurant!  
Distance: 250 miles a day isn’t bad, 300 and 350 are rough. Cooler and overcast days are easier. Hot ‘stop and go’ traffic not so much. You get so small rain squalls are not a big deal, as long as you can keep moving, it stays pretty dry and can be a welcome break from the heat, lol. Good permanent addition to door map/storage pocket is a microfiber cloth to wipe off the rain on the inside of the windshield!

Stay hydrated. The heat and wind take their toll. Sunscreen is essential, and a hat is pretty much a must have also. 

We mainly avoided freeways. The Bugeye gives you a good excuse to take the backroads, take everything at a slower pace, see everything that you would miss zipping along at 70 with climate control, sound insulation, power everything, & cruise control. 

Did we have difficulties in our 4000+ mile trek, sure. Would I have traded the experience? Not on your life. Now, we’re trying to figure out what our next big adventure with Mollie will be😀

2900 miles in a Bugeye, Part three

Our adventurous Bugeye warriors were last seen in the Florida panhandle, heading west. They have now put about 2900 new miles on their odometer since purchasing “Molly” three weeks ago. This week, they passed through Hershey, PA and then down the Skyline Drive and south to Florence, South Carolina, and then Charleston.

Fueled by cappuccino, in Charleston.

In Georgia, they stopped to see how their Bugeye measures up to an alligator, and they are now heading West toward Texas.

The aluminum thing on the upper right is a Bugeye windshield stanchion. The long black thing in the water is a gator.

A few of you have asked if they have music for their journey. Other than the exhaust note, they are carrying a Bose bluetooth speaker (the black cylinder you see above) that is normally held to the firewall in front of the shifter by a few bungy cords. They can charge their phone from the cigarette lighter we installed and blue tooth does the rest. This is a superior system to a dash mounted radio, which requires a somewhat invasive installation, while the phone driven solution is portable and easily removable with better sound quality than most basic car stereo systems.

This past week the alternator quit on the car, and Vic was quick to find a workable replacement from a local Napa store. The wiring is simple… just two wires come off the alternator to feed the battery… but Vic had to fabricate a new adjusting bracket to tighten the belt. A friendly customer at the parts store lent his shop, vice and belt sander to the project, and below you can see Vic cleaning up his bracket to make the new alternator fit the Sprite.

Always nice to have someone like Vic along on a long trip in a British car

Wired-up and ready go to, an inexpensive voltmeter from Walmart confirmed that juice was flowing in the right direction.

The other failure this week was a lost park light lens.

Park light lenses are held in place by a locking ring that lives in the groove of the rubber cup shown above. As the rubber ages, it becomes easier for the lens to fall out, especially when you bomb down dirt roads in The Okefenokee Swamp, chasing gators. It’s not hard to knock these lens out of the socket while opening and closing the bonnet.

Fortunately, we have a large inventory of spare lenses and rings in our warehouse, as we have knocked out more than our share in our own building. You may want to check your four park lights by wiggling them, and if they are just hanging on by a thread because the rubber is cracked and aged, best to replace the rubber socket for a more positive fit. (we have those here)

“If you’ll give me a few more minutes, I’ll eat your other park light lenses too!”
Tops are optional-Florida rain squall

Most of the trip has been with the top in the boot and the tonneau fit when parked. Even in a squall as seen above, our travelers would get wetter stopping to put up the top then if they just keep on driving. As long as you can keep moving, you stay pretty dry, other than your outboard shoulder.

Thank you Amanda, for the great photos.

2900 miles in a 948-powered Bugeye is no small feat, even with a five-speed transmission upgrade. 500 miles per year is probably the average for most classic British classic car owners and Amanda and Vic still have another 800 miles to go.

Of course, people used to do this sort of thing all the time when our classic British sports cars were fresh. In case you are wondering, there were 180 million people in America in 1960. Today, we have closer to 330 million. There’s still plenty of room for one more Bugeye. Thank you Amanda and Vic for inspiring us all to come out and play.

Who’s next? We want to build the next cross-country cruiser! Each one of these trips helps us upgrade reliability, improve our parts inventory and build a better product. We hope that more of you make your “bucket list” trip this year.

Exclusive! Bugeye convertible top with zip-down rear window.

It’s hot here this week, and I had the pleasure of driving my BJ8 last evening with the rear zip down window zipped-down. The air was cascading through the cockpit while I was shielded from the sun and just enough of the wind.

Bugeye unzipped. Window rolls once and stays put.

It was pure heaven.

It was also the inspiration for this new and exciting product we have been working on for months… and now it is ready.

Zipped-up and ready for weather.

Our new convertible convertible top is two tops in one… this design will give you a nice shady nest next time you are bombing down the tree-less interstate, or zipping through the desert, or anywhere you need to shield your head from the ravages of the sun.

Twin zippers make window adjustment easy.

And in Spring and Fall, this is a wonderful top that will shield you from the elements as well or better than any top out there. Plus the pattern is modified to make it easier to fit than most of the tops you will find online.

This is our best top ever. You can buy our new convertible convertible top by clicking here.

1600 Bugeye miles, part two

Life in classic British car world is particularly unpredictable. For example, I did not expect the new owners of our Bugeye Molly to head north on their way home to Texas. Nor did I anticipate that they would visit Pittsburgh on the way to Key West (all on this same trip!). But alas, all this adventurous reckless abandon was too much for one of Molly’s rod bearings. I got a call last Saturday night that Molly had a rod knock. This meant the demise of her 948 engine.

Return to base.

To be fair, many of our clients will take ten years to cover the 1600 miles Molly covered last week. Who knows how far that engine had traveled previously… as I have said before, the odometer reading on a British car is always just a guess. We felt this was a good engine based on power output, good oil pressure and lack of smoke. But without a known rebuild date or mileage, we are often making our best educated guess.

Like throwing the first pitch at a big game, Amanda removes the very first bolt.

I had the car picked up and brought back to our shop from the south side of the Annapolis Bay Bridge, about 400 miles from our shop. I prepared a recently rebuilt used 948 engine for transplant.

Bugeye Camp couples workshop

Fortunately, the intrepid owners are quite skilled, and Russ the mechanic is on vacation, so we turned Vic and Amanda loose in our shop and gave them the pieces they needed to get the job done. And thus a new part of their adventure began.

Now that’s a throw out bearing!

There is something very special about the people who love these cars. When you take the road less traveled, perhaps you are more able to accept the unexpected that comes your way. These two Bugeye owners embody flexibility and, from my perspective at least, had just as much fun changing the engine on their new Bugeye as they would were they out on the road. (And while we are at it, let’s add a five speed conversion too!)

Petting the five speed to awaken the synchros within.

For three days, we left them pretty much alone in our workshop, and periodically slid them some parts and lubricants. In the end, Molly was reborn stronger and faster, with overdrive, courtesy of a previously rebuilt 948 engine and Ford Five speed box.

Amanda wakes up from nap period with her new engine (actually, she was cleaning the backplate gasket)

We could not ask for better guests and more gracious gypsy mechanics, who wrestled with their little British car in a whole new way this week. They became intimate with every square inch of their new ride, and depended their relationship with the car that will take them on many happy miles to come.

Where next? Only Molly knows. We’ll have an update for you next week (and let you know if they actually head southwest once they depart).

Final testing before mounting the nose

1250 Miles in a Bugeye Sprite, and counting!

These intrepid travelers flew-in from Austin, Texas last weekend and took off in their new Bugeye “Molly” last week. 1250 miles later, they are still on a very interesting geography experiment. I thought they were headed back to Austin but their first stop was due North of our shop in Burlington, VT. This is a good sign. It must mean that Molly is a lot of fun to drive.

Bugeye “electronic key” shirts… car only runs when matching t-shirts are worn.

Amanda and Vic are on one most excellent road trip. And they are collecting pictures of good food and roadside monuments to prove it. For us, it’s a great reliability test, and the further they go, the more we learn about how to build the most drivable British car.

Just add hats and cowboy boots.

Our goal has always been to produce great cars our clients can really use. It’s easy to fall in love with an Internet bride while surfing, but will that classic car make it around the block when it arrives?

And you thought Mercedes Gullwing luggage was special.

We are in the details business, and our goal is for you to get into one of our cars and drive it 1250 miles (and hopefully a whole lot more!) without issue. Customers like Amanda and Vic give us a chance to see how well we are doing.

Breakfast in Burlington… while drivers gorge, Molly gathers over-the-counter drugs across the street for what lies ahead.

After a nice breakfast in Burlington, Molly boarded the ferry to Plattsburgh, NY, and our crew headed to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater out in Western Pennsylvania (Southeast of Pittsburgh.

Across Lake Champlain, to Plattsburgh, NY.
The timeless design world tour

And then back to Gettysburgh. Next stop, Key West! If they keep going, they will eventually run into Texas… (it’s the big one down there somewhere).

Gettysburg. Changing times, changing automotive priorities.

The car is performing wonderfully. She has consumed one quart of oil, which is probably about right for a middle-aged 948 engine. And no issues other than some lighting challenges after an afternoon in the rain. Those cute little British wiring bullets are not as water tight as one might like. And Molly has an older wiring harness, the changing of which was not part of the scope of our preparations. Here’s to drier weather as they head South!

Here’s an excerpt from Amanda’s notebook:

Observations after our first day in Mollie… Driving is far more elemental. More like a motorcycle than a modern car. You are connected to everything around you, nothing filters you from the road and the world around you. Smells, sights, sounds, wind, bugs. It is truly a tiny car, parking is a breeze, but she can hide behind a subcompact. You can’t be in a hurry, you will be stopped constantly by people that want to talk about the car. There seems to be a wave unique to old British car drivers, we seem to now be in the club. There is a surprising amount of leg room, but don’t let you cell phone slide under the seat!  Major rescue operation to get it out lol. I now understand why women used to wear hair scarves!  Sunscreen is a must!

Thank you for sharing your adventure with us Amanda, Vic and Molly! We’ll have another update next week!

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