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Lime Rock Concours recap

We had a nice line-up of Bugeyes in our class at this labor day annual event. Three Bugeyes in one concours class was a major victory for the marque, it was great to see such a strong Bugeye presence. Judging from the response by the spectators, Bugeyes are more popular than ever. It was a particular honor for us to have two of our cars in the same Concours (a first). The third (silver) Bugeye was one I had not seen before, from North Carolina.

It’s difficult for a Bugeye to be acknowledged by judges in a mixed-make concours. Up against the most beautiful (and expensive) sports cars of the period, we don’t stand a chance. So in our class (C2), trophies went to a racing xk120M, twin cam MGA with racing heritage and a beautifully restored xk150S. That’s fine, if I owned a perfectly restored 150S and a Bugeye took my trophy, I would not want to be the judge who had to defend that choice.

This is always an impressive show and for 2018, the Bugatti owners were there in force. I was most impressed with the interiors of the many Bugattis on the track. The leather work was exceptional, most of it with a stunning patina, which is understandable when you consider the conditions each cars sees courtesy of the adventurous pilots. Peppered throughout this post are some pictures of my favorite seats.

They are an intrepid bunch–I met one fellow from Belfast who brought his 30s era Bugatti from Ireland to England where it was shipped in a container to New Jersey so he could drive it to Lime Rock and other New England events this month.

Bugeye identity

The car you wear makes a statement about who you are and what matters most.

Meet Gary, who recently purchased our Bugeye “Bliss” and brought the car home to Massachusetts.

Gary immediately renamed his car “Evinrude,” after the bug eye dragonfly in the Disney movie “The Rescuers.” His daughter designed a sharp magnet to match, which Gary proudly displays on the car. You can see Gary beaming in his new alter-ego.

I’ve never met a Bugeye owner I didn’t like, perhaps because we all have a fundamental passion for the same thing… you can’t drive a Bugeye without challenging the status quo. The cars are so petit yet capable. So adorable yet sporty and spirited. So curvy and simple, yet these little cars have impacted and influenced many people who are leading players in automotive culture today. Lots and lots of people started playing with cars with a Sprite.

Thus we do not get tired of supporting people to have and enjoy these cars, and even after years of this work, we continue to hear new ways to language the passion and enthusiasm that surrounds our work. This week from Jonathan (above) in California… ” I love this little car so much. I never knew it was possible to love a car this much.” Not a trivial statement from a guy who also owns a 356 and has had 911s and lots of other cars.

Jonathan lives in the hills above Palm Desert and routinely driving his Bugeye (that we prepared for him) up and down a 3000 foot incline (where it is 110 degrees at the bottom). Armed with little more than an off-white bikini top and aluminum radiator, he’s sweating his way up and down that hill between home and office in a daily hill-climb. That sweltering drive seems completely impractical, there are many other much more capable air conditioned vehicles for that task. Yet, this week he sent one of my favorite quotes. The personality of a Bugeye is that big. That one could drive this car in these unlikely conditions is a big part of the fun.

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!

Which dashboard matters most?

I’ve been reflecting on dashboards this week, because of the critical importance of the modern digital dashboard pictured below.

This picture is all about how information travels. This “dashboard” tells us that our bulk email messages have the best shot of getting to your email inbox. This is great news, and thanks to a lot of hard work here by our computer ace Kilian, more of you should be able to receive your weekly Bugeye Bugle email.

We have heard from some of you that the newsletter stopped appearing in your inboxes. I always thought it was spam filters on each local computer, and that you could find all your missing messages by opening up your personal spam box. But I have learned that Internet service providers block tons of messages before they even go down the pipe to your door. If you are suspected of being an evil troll, your mail is blocked before it even makes it out of the post office. Scrutiny is at all time high, in spite of the fact that our emails only go to people who signed-up to receive them.

If we want to communicate with you, we need to know how to send out Data. Information management requires constant fiddling, and like teenagers with Unisyn tools in our pockets, we now need laptops at the ready to synchronize our words so that they can flow.

This week, I also spent some time staring at a dashboard of a different sort. This is Richard’s 1956 Austin Healey 100 (BN2) (above). Simple. Clean. Elemental. Pure 1956. We were tasked with fixing his sloppy shift lever and leaking rear pinion seal.

When this dashboard was contemporary, the driver would be perhaps thinking about their current realities just as we now think about data. At that time, the cost of an average cost of new house $12,220.00, average monthly rent was $90.00, a gallon of gas was 24 cents and The Slinky was a very popular toy. On the horizon in 1957… the Soviet Union would launch the first space satellite, Sputnik 1.

Come to Lime Rock

Sunday September 2nd you can see Gumby at the Lime Rock Concours, class C2. Come say hello, we’ll be right at the start of the straight.

Also in our class, Ron’s Bugeye “Goldie!” You’ll see two Bugeyes we built in the same Concours class!

Bugeyeguy Clothing closet

Every Bugeyeguy needs a good wardrobe in their Bug-cave. This is not my clothing closet, nor is it the staff dressing room at Bugeye central (although Russ could use some new jeans!). Instead, this is a photo we received from friends traveling in Northern California who found this unique display in a men’s clothing shop.

Who knew that a Bugeye nose could enjoy such a relaxing retirement, albeit working each day to ensure every item sold comes pre-dusted with primer and surface rust.

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