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

Rock and Roll Bugeye

I’m told that’s Dave Mason in white circa 1967 getting into this Bugeye, and Chris Wood, and Jim Capaldi also on the car. These guys, along with Steve Winwood, started the band Traffic in 1967 and their first song was the hit, “Paper Sun.”

Erecting your Frogeye Hood

Top up and ready for a trip North of Toronto

This week, we sent our Bugeye “Miller” to his new home in Ontario. The client chose to have his car travel North on an open trailer, which meant that the car had to travel with the top and windows in place.

While preparing this car for departure, I thought I would shoot some pictures in case anyone is having trouble putting up their top.

Here’s the top bow locked in the down position, locked in the detent, which makes life a lot easier

Often overlooked are the springs in the top bow. They need to be compressed to put on the top, especially when it’s cold and the vinyl top contracts. Make sure your bow springs work, they are often seized. When pushing them into, for example, your garage floor (safely away from your car), the bows should move up and down about 1.5 inches. If not, use your favorite penetrating oil and free them up.

Above, the bow in the “up” position, release the thumb lock and the bow should pop upward, adding tension to your top (this is the last step, once the top is on the car)

Next put the bows into the holders in the car and lock them in the down position. Lay the top over the bows and fasten the top bar on the back deck hooks. Then fasten the common sense/twist fittings to center the top.

Start with the twist fittings to align the top, then pull the tenax fittings over their studs

Once you have all the rear fittings attached, you can drape the top over the bows, which are still in the down position. Both bars are still parallel too.

Now you are ready to tackle the windshield mounts

Next stretch the front of the top over the windscreen. This is a bar type top, so I like to start with one lift dot on one side of the windshield and then fasten the other side. Once the two lift dots are attached, I will then roll the thin front bar (inside the top pocket) into the groove on the windshield frame.

Here’s one lift dot fastened, once the other is attached, I will then roll the metal bar into the slot on the windshield frame

That front top bar is crucial, as it stops the front of the top from ballooning upward above 21.8 miles per hour. I spent a lot of teenage years driving with my top scooping the rain since I never had one of those bars. Now, I celebrate every one I install. (Click here if you’re late to the party too and want to order one). The bar doesn’t have to go deep into the groove in the windshield, it just has to stop the leading edge from becoming a parachute.

Now that the top is secured, you can spread the two parallel top bars, and release the springs to raise the top bow upward, for a nice tight fit

These tops are pretty simple but everything has to be just right or they can be a real bear. Sadly, most tops are too small to begin with, and they shrink over time, which means that it can be extremely difficult to fit them in cold weather. We sell a top in our catalog that is not only stretchier but it also cut better and thus easier to fit (even in the cold) and will also last longer. They cost a little more, but they’re superior. Check them out by clicking here (lots of colors)

“Weather-tight!” And check out our new cable railing! Our 1951 Quonset is looking faster and faster every week!

Bugeye Vs Rooster

This car magazine cover has all the right elements to attract sportscar fans… attractive car, attractive woman… and a rooster? Well, I guess you never knew what you might find in “Fart and Form” magazine back in Maj (May) of 1961.

“Fart” in Swedish, by the way, means “speed.”

I am sad to report that “Fart and Form” is no longer published, and one can only guess why. There’s talk on this particular cover of air resistance and streamlining discussed inside. But I guess in 1961 the speediest way to go out of business was to put a rooster on the cover of your fart magazine.

Be your own Bugeye Sprite

Check out the whimsical Bugeye Sprite with a cameo in a new Paul McCartney music video “Who Cares.” (you can watch the video by clicking here.)

Why a Bugeye Sprite in this new production? You might remember this vintage photo below of Paul and George in in a Bugeye, so perhaps it was Paul’s idea?

But I have a feeling this choice was the idea of the production designer, who managed all the whimsical art and needed a car in the video that would be the appropriate vehicle for anyone who wants to take a stand and stand-up to bullies at the same time.

You might enjoy the “making of” video linked below, to get a sense of how they came up with the visual style for the piece.

Here’s some Bugeye trivia… the original prototype Bugeye had external door hinges as shown in the photo below, kinda like the Bugeye in the video, although the hinges in the video look more like they came from a sureal hardware store than a classic car parts bin.

Bugeye pre-production prototype, note external hinges, chopped front wings, one window top, etc.

So…. who cares if you drive a Bugeye?


One Bugeye photo says it all

I know this photo well.

Combing the Internet for vintage Bugeye images over the years, I have run across this picture several times. It speaks volumes to me, of the glory days of amateur sportscar racing, when a Bugeye owner might spend his or her weekend tangling with Minis, Spitfires and the like, and then bolt the windshield back on and drive their Sprite to work Monday morning, for another week at work, all the while longing to be back on the track.

A few weeks ago, I got a call from one Joel Taylor in San Diego, who had raced Bugeyes in the mid 60s, and then open wheel racers. He went on to his professional career, and now, has arrived at a point in life when he wants another Bugeye, after owning a string of Porsches and BMWs of late.

He offered to send me a picture of himself racing in 1965, while driving his former Bugeye at Riverside, in a cotton driving suit, on laps that often eclipsed 120 mph on the back straight.

He sent me the picture above.

PS: It didn’t take long for a few of you to email in doubt of 120 MPH in a Bugeye, so I followed up with Joel to inquire.

He told me that the back straight was at Riverside was a mile long, so the cars were flat out at peak revs. With no speedometer and only a pegged tachometer in the cockpit. No one knows just how fast they were traveling down the straight. But Joel was told it was 120, so we will leave it at that. And does it really matter? These guys were flat-out in their cotton racing suits with just about no safety gear, so whether it was 104 MPH or 120, it was a bold feat representative of a special moment in sportscar history.

For what it’s worth, my Bugeye top speed is 100, which I hit with ease in a 1275/five speed/3.9 car. That was fast enough for me.

The Gift of Bugeye

This Bugeye is the star of this post. We sorted it and sent it to the family below, near Tuscon

For years, Shon’s dad has been telling people that his son is going to give him a Bugeye this Christmas, and for years it has been a family joke. Dad had a Bugeye back in the early 70s, and apparently hasn’t stopped talking about it since.

This year, it was different. And what you see in the video below is one of those events that makes our work particularly special, and makes our year.

The Big Reveal
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