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

The world’s most reliable (and fun) Bugeye Sprite

Wipers work too! Photo Dom Milano

Above is Jeff in his blue Bugeye “Peggy,”, a car we prepared with a supercharger, rebuilt 1275 engine and five-speed transmission. We also performed about 100 additional improvements, to make the car as reliable as possible.

This is Jeff’s car, before it departed our shop, with supercharger installed.

Much to our delight, Jeff took the Amtrak train to our shop, jumped into the fully serviced car and drove it three hours to Boston, then got up the next morning and drove 145 miles to Lime Rock Park where he ran about 20 hot laps on Saturday in a driver school, drove to the hotel (about 40 miles roundtrip), back to the racetrack for another 20 laps of racing, then another 145 miles home to Boston.

Photo: Ed Hyman

Do you think the average Bugeye sold online or on an auction site can survive this sort of intense mixed use driving?

I doubt it.

After 246 Bugeyes through our building, we know what to look for, and what to change proactively to keep your British sports car on the road. Thanks, Jeff, for demonstrating that our processes work. Thanks for the drivable (and racing) testimonial!

If you’d like a supercharged Bugeye of your own, we have “Carmine” available, a car that would be equally at home on the track or at the golf course. You can see Carmine by clicking here…

Photo: Richard Campbell

Don’t do this to your Bugeye Sprite

When was the last time you inspected your water pump bypass hose?

Please take a close look before you attack the roads this driving season, because this little hose will ruin your day if it fails on the road. Don’t leave yours unattended, like the one shown here.

Right of center, left of hose clamp lurks a failure about to happen

If you are unfamiliar, this little hose bridges a port on the water pump to the engine head. You can see it in the top center of the photo below, its the corrugated hose that is horribly cracked.

‘Bout to burst

This one is all done, and needs to changed ASAP. Corrugated is popular, since the hose is hard to get in place and the corrugations allow you to compress the hose to get it between the two nipples. We find that straight hose if far more durable. So if you order one of our bypass hoses, that’s what you’ll get.

You’ll find this repair a lot easier with the radiator removed. And while you are at it, now is a good time to upgrade your cooling system for hot weather driving ahead. Nothing is worse than waiting on a long line to get into a car show while watching your temperature climb to dangerous levels. These are easy to install when the water pump is removed.

We recommend a new six blade cooling fan and, aluminum radiator. We change water pumps proactively too while all this is apart, since the seals can fail and cause coolant leaks. I suggest you fit a deep impeller pump even if you have a 948 engine. You might have to remove a tiny bit of cast iron inside the water jacket to get it to fit, but you will move more water with every revolution. Of course a new thermostat is a good idea too while the cooling system is drained.

There is no such thing as too much cooling on your Spridget. The products listed will help you enjoy the hot weather that lies ahead! The heater valve is a common leak point, so you might want to carry a spare.

Oh, the places they will leak.

We are plumbers, and we spend our day chasing leaks. This one is quite satisfying to rectify, as it is one of the culprits that causes the seemingly never ending flow of oil out of the back of a 948 engine and onto your driveway.

Dog dish, without the dog.

Above is a photo of the back plate of a 948 A series engine. The thumb points to the oil pump cover, which is soldered or brazed onto the back plate.

The joint fails.

Next time your engine is out, look closely for oil trails above the crank. Oil often leaks from this oil pump cover and down the back plate, (where it unites with oil already leaking from the rear main seal).

People routinely blame the rear seal for the oil they find on the floor of their garage. And leak they do. But they have help. Stamp out dog dish oil leaks. Check yours next time you remove your engine.

In the video below, we demonstrate how to use a high pressure blow gun and soapy water to test the union between dog dish and back plate. Once repaired, rear engine oil leaks are reduced and occasionally eliminated.

Try to save your exisiting oil pump cover. (They are sometimes pin-holed too!) We have them in our catalog but for 1275 engines only. They are not available for 948 and 1098 engines.

Give your Sprite a 60-something birthday present


This is “Suzy,” a 1959 Bugeye we recently sold to Jim in Virginia. This is the 245th Bugeye to pass through our shop (I still can’t believe that number. Gumby, thank you for finding me back in 1979 and starting it all!).

If you are wondering what is the latest and greatest we can offer to make a nice Bugeye even better, check out the pile of goodies below that we will heap into this car, to make it as reliable as possible and to give this little car quite a 60-ish anniversary celebration.

Take two and call me in the morning.

By the way, thank you Jim and all of you who take home our cars, visit our website and frequent our parts catalog. You help us grow and help us keep these cars alive.

Save the date-June 2, 2019 I will be at the British by the Sea car show in New London, CT, with our Green electric FrogE called “Sparky.” I look forward to thanking you in person if you can make it!

Let’s go to the video tape! You can see Suzy’s upgrade shopping spree below. All these goodies are available in our parts catalog, which you can access by clicking here. Just type the name of the particular product you fancy in the search window on the catalog home page for more details and information. And we have several great cars in stock at the moment, let us build/modify/upgrade one just for you!

Quest for the most Spritely knobs

Why are Sprite door knobs so varied? Just when we think we have fondled every variety of Home Depot drawer pull, a new variant arrives. Whether brass or wood, Bugeye owners have been creative over the years. Almost every Bugeye comes to us needing some sort of knob-job. So what gives?

Early cars had it made. Cars up to AN5L 10343 had solid bars to operate their latches, as shown in the photo above. No knob was needed. These worked splendidly, and for some unknown reason, the factory went with a shorter handle with a hole, designed to receive a knob.

Door knob has left the building.

The knobs were held onto the latch with a splined twist rivet that was pressed into the latch from behind. This was not one of the best designs to come out of Britain, because these have mostly vibrated apart. Bugeye knobs are almost universally missing. I am betting they came loose, fell into the door pocket, and, as the masonite pockets rotted away, fell onto the roadway, and joined all the other British car parts found on the side of the road.

Wood-turner’s delight

Industrious owners were not to be defeated, and made custom knobs in wood turning class, or stole the finest knobs in their kitchen (while their spouses were not looking) and cobbled together their own custom Bugeye Sprite door pulls. The world used to be that way. Things would occasionally fall off of cars and people would make things to fix them.

Life was good.

Billiards anyone?

Now, we are getting a little more serious. And so we demand a proper knob that looks like the one that came from the factory. Only this knob is better than ever, and comes with a nyloc nut on a machine thread stud that will withstand whatever vibration you throw at it, even if one of your SU carbs stops functioning at idle, or two of our spark plugs become fouled with oil. These things will stay on through the next dinosaur age.

The correct knob is shown above. Click here if you would like to order a pair.

Bugeye Sprite modern- day test track

Final preparations for departure

This is Mr Wellman’s Bugeye, just about ready to head back home to Pittsburgh. After 75 different restoration tasks, this car is nearly ready to depart. Soon, we’ll load it into an enclosed trailer and send it home.

Watch the video below to get a sense of our completion process. After weeks tweaking every system on the car, we spend several hours running through our pre-departure checklist, looking for anything we missed. Then, it’s time to hit the highway, which you will see in the video below.

A few items I didn’t mention in the video that you might want to know… no, I am not blasting Steely Dan in my ears while I drive… I am wearing superb noise canceling ear buds, which I really enjoy for convertible and motorcycle driving.

And the 0-60 time for this car (courtesy of our new GPS Speedometer) was about 16 seconds. I am not driving aggressively, so this is by no means a maximum performance test. But I can tell from driving lots of these cars that this amount of performance is just about right for a Spritely run with this particular configuration of a 1275 engine with 4:22 rear end.

Enjoy the video! And give us a call if you would like us to pick up your English car and make it wonderful!

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