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

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!

To Austin in an Austin

This is “Molly,” our 245th Bugeye, and this weekend she departs on a big adventure. Amanda and Vic have flown in from Texas and they will begin their drive from to Connecticut to Austin this Sunday. This will be the second longest maiden voyage a customer has made in their new Bugeye. (Rick drove his from our shop to Seattle by way of Arizona, and he holds the record).

This reliability run puts our departure checklist to the test. We carefully combed through this car all week long to make sure no stone was unturned. We checked everything, and then checked it again. When we were all done, the charging system smoked on the final test drive!


The regulator points stuck closed despite the fact that we had checked and cleaned them earlier in the week. Regardless, the smoke came out.

The best reliability solution we have is to upgrade to a genernator, which is what you see installed above. Along with it, we installed a dummy regulator (below), which is really a 50 amp fused junction box. That should be the last time the charging system fails, now that the offending Lucas regulator is banished for ever. Click here if you want a genernator for your car too!

We’ll have updates next week regardling Molly’s 2000 mile. We’ll keep you posted!

Bugeye Sprite-Will I fit?

This is Mary, the proud new owner (with her husband Frank, he might also get to drive it) of our Bugeye “Vanilla.” It is always really fun for us to turn new people onto these cars, and clearly, here we have a great new member(s) of the tribe.

Frank and Mary came to visit so we could confirm fitment. She’s 5’1 and the seat was low for her. You can see in the photo above that her head was initially a bit low in the windshield glass (note the gap between her head and the top of the windshield).

In the photo above you can see the gap with Mary seated on our more firm seat pillow. We removed the less dense foam from the seat pan and recovered our more comfortable and slightly taller seat foam with the red and white seat cover. Now, Mary is ready to go.

Original Bugeye seat foam (left) next to our thicker replacement foam (right)

The original Sprite seat base foams are easy to identify since they are chambered, with large holes on the back of the pillow. Our replacement might be thicker than the original, although we will never know how much that original foam has compacted in 60 years-perhaps they were once this thick! But the foam we use is very dense, and thus more comfortable, more shock absorbing, and can help shorter folks fit the car. If you would like one (or two) of these thicker pillows, you can order them by clicking here.

Another great nice upgrade we provided was to weld extensions on the driver’s seat tracks. With this enhancement, the seat can slide forward far enough for Mary, and also slide fully back for Frank. We might have moved the mounts forward for Mary, but this would have compromised the length for Frank. Extending the tracks allows the best of both worlds, and a greater range of possibilities. We also left the slightly less dense foam in the passenger seat, so Frank can switch seat bottoms when he drives the car if he feels that Mary’s pillow is too high.

Black track extensions above allow the seat to slide further forward than stock

Our car #248 is now ready to go, with custom seating given the needs of the new owners. This one proves yet again that Sprites can accommodate a wide range of users, despite it’s small overall size. Our tallest customer yet is 6’4″ and with Mary at 5’1,” here’s further proof that just about anyone can fit into a Frogeye.

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!

Contact us at or call (203)-208-0980 during business hours