CURRENT INVENTORY IS SHOWN IN THE SMALL PICTURES JUST BELOW THIS TEXT!
(if a car is not pictured here, it has been sold)

Don’t do this to your Bugeye Sprite

I bought a Bugeye recently, promised to be running perfectly, save a fuel leak which needed to be repaired before we could drive it. I trusted the seller and had the car picked-up. We fixed the fuel leak and multiple other issues, and on my first drive the clutch was slipping horribly.

This sunk my spirit… now I was in for a nose-off engine-out project, not something I had planned or budgeted for. Most of the sellers we meet are great, and, should there be surprises when we get a car, they are mostly due to lack of experience on the part of the seller, not blatant acts of deceit. This clutch was slipping so badly, it was impossible to cut this seller any slack.

He lied.

Let’s see if we can recover from this unfortunate event with some good learning for all, so that no one ever makes this same mistake (at least with regard to their flywheel). Notice all the pits and corrosion on the flywheel face shown above and below. It was not cut when the clutch was last replaced, so no wonder if slipped so badly. These clutches need all the surface area they can get, and this face is so pitted that the disk is contacting far less than 100% of this flywheel. Old glazing and any lack of flatness isn’t helping.

So make sure to bring your flywheel to your local machine shop next time you change the clutch. Your clutch will thank you, and so will everyone else. Here’s how it looked after we had it faced. We put on a new ring gear too (after the photo below was taken). We sell ring gears in our catalog, if you need one…

Don’t do this to your Bugeye Sprite!

We have not seen many axles break. But here’s one we pulled out this week.

Did someone say, “Where’s my tip?”

I would have previously said you are most at risk for this problem with an uprated engine and/or higher than normal output from your engine. But this power plant driving this axle was a stock 948. And I would have also said that most if not all axle snaps happen on the right side, which is the dominant drive wheel with Sprite live rear axles.

But this one is the left axle. So what happened? We will never know. Many of our parts and pieces have been swapped from car to car over the years, so perhaps this was a racer’s former right axle, which found a home on the left side of this particular Bugeye. Or maybe someone along the way was particularly hard on the clutch. Regardless, this is a good reminder to be gentle with your old British stuff. Even if you are a performance driver, remember to be gentle when engaging the clutch, or your axle may end up just like this one!

If you never want to have this problem, use an uprated nitrided axle, which we sell in our catalog which you can see at this link. These axles are much harder than stock, and thus stronger and less prone to breakage. The look exactly stock, except for a slightly iridescent color. Two of these babies should pretty much guarantee you won’t end up with the two piece axle shown above. This is what we used in our electric prototype, so we could make our 0-60 runs in under 10 seconds, without fear of shearing an axle.

Don’t do this to your Bugeye Sprite

Corrosion in wheel cylinders is rampant. Here’s a stuck front.

Hydraulic cylinders are problemo numero uno on all British cars. Brake fluid absorbs water and that moisture corrodes the cylinders and the bores. Corrosion chews up the seals and leaks begin.

About 75% of the British cars that come through our building need new wheel cylinders, slave cylinders and/or master cylinders. The ones pictured here were on “Gavin,” the white Bugeye you see in the trailer in the post above. We changed all six wheel cylinders, the slave and the master, to restart the clock for this car.

You have two lines of defense against this issue:

1) Suck out and bleed out all your hydraulic fluid every two years to get the moisture out of the system. Look for amber, ginger ale colored fluid in the master reservoir. If it has turned black, moisture and contaminants are at work eating up your wheel cylinders and the fluid needs to be changed. 

2) Buy the best cylinders you can afford. There are $20 Chinese cylinders out there and they just don’t last. We sell uprated cylinders. They cost more. And they last longer. We want to save you the hassle of starting all over again when your cheap cylinders fail. Get the good ones, and you’ll end up with some extra free time to enjoy your car. Don’t buy the cheap ones!

We have all the primo cylinders for sale in our catalog, you can find them by clicking here.

Nasty rear.

Why your classic car needs new tires.

Everyone cheats on the date.

And it makes sense, most classics never even begin to wear out the tread. We just don’t drive them enough.

Here’s how you tell just how old your tires are:


058 date stamp

The tire above has a three digit date stamp. This means it was built before 2000. It would have made in the 5th week of 1998, or 88? There is no way of knowing (hence the change to four digits after 2000). All tires after 2000 have a four digit date stamp like the one below. That one was made in the 34th week of 2006, which means it’s 12 years old.

3406 date stamp

In actuality, both of these tires are in our discard pile that you see above. Even the 12 year-old tire is past its prime.

I can tell right away from the ride quality, the date stamp merely confirms what my butt already knows. Any tire more than about 8 years old has started to harden, and as such, it yields less and provides a firmer ride. Sprites need all the suspension they can get, and the tire is vital for a supple ride. Older tires also skitter along the tops of the peaks of any asphalt surface, instead of hooking up with the roadway. As such, an old tire doesn’t grip as well and certainly can’t brake as well.

I used to think this was all propaganda from tire sellers. But I have driven enough Sprites now over the same local roads to be able to feel the difference. Old tires don’t stick. Sprite suspension is so low tech that the tire is even more vital for a good ride and the safest drive. While I hate to put more tires into the waste stream, safety is more important, and if your British car stops 50 or just 10 feet sooner because the rubber is fresh, that might just save your Bugeye nose from some unsightly scars!

Please proceed to your car and check the tire date stamps today. 13 inch tires are cheap, about 1/4 of the price of modern tires for most SUVs.

Shameless plug: we sell the tire we use on all our restorations, you can find it by clicking here.

Don’t do this to your Bugeye Sprite

Here’s another nice Bugeye success story.

At the request of the longtime owner, we picked up the car above in Pittsburgh about eight weeks ago. It had a worn interior, wouldn’t go more than 30 miles without dying and didn’t ride very well. Now it drives great, has a new top and interior and about 100 repairs/improvements have been completed. It’s fully sorted and ready to be loaded into an enclosed trailer for the trip back home. Don’t be confused by the title of this post… DO this to your Bugeye Sprite! This client turned his old friend into a much more useable asset he can trust and enjoy! (And we can pick up your car anywhere in the USA if you would like us to perform a similar transformation on your favorite old english sportscar.)

Now on to the title of the post… one of the issues we addressed was a fuel tank leak at the sender. This is a common problem. It’s not easy to seal the sender into the tank and thus many fuel tanks leak at this gasket. To access the sender, you have to drop the tank from the trunk floor, and thus many tanks don’t get the maintenance they need. If you don’t have a lift, it’s a hassle to drop the tank while on your back.

To make matters worse, if you get it wrong and find that your gasket still leaks after you’ve wrestled the tank back into position, the last thing you want to do is take it apart all over again. But every time you fill up the tank, the sender gasket will allow fuel to fill the little well around the sender (see the photo of the new product below, the sender and well is roughly in the upper center of the photo) and that pool of gas will stink up your garage pretty effectively until it evaporates or runs down the sides of the tank. Look for tracks on the sides of your tank… those indicate a leak and that fuel has been running off the top of your tank and streaking the sides.

To fix this problem once and for all, make sure to use ethanol-proof VITON gaskets. There are two on every sender, and they both need to be VITON. Discard the cork gaskets that come with the tank, or sender. Both of them will leak eventually. Check those out in our catalog by clicking here.

Make sure to seal the screw heads that hold the sender in place. And you need to pressure test the tank (gently!) before installing it, to make sure there are no leaks. Spray the sender gasket area with windex or any soapy solution to verify no bubbles/no leaks. We’ll be happy to sell you the parts for all this, see the links at the end of this post. Or if you don’t want to hassle with these details, we sell a fully assembled, sealed and tested tank, ready to install.

Check out the photos of someone previously attempted to address this issue. Notice the caulking applied around the entire fuel tank perimeter (above). This builder figured that they could seal the union between the tank and the trunk floor whereby the fuel that leaked out of the top of the tank would remain trapped between the tank and trunk.

It’s a lot easier to just fix it right (which we did).

Need a new tank of your own? Click this link to buy one. We’ll send it to you with a new sender sealed inside (with a metal float too!)

Tires for classic sportscars

How old are your tires?

This one is probably 30 years old (it did pop)

I’ve seen recommendations that we should all change our tires every seven years. But we all stretch it, and with good reason. Even if you drive your classic car 1000 miles per year, after 7000 miles, that’s hardly noticeable wear for a modern 13 inch tire that is probably good for 40,000 miles or more. And there are plenty of Sprite drivers out there who just noodle around town, so why bother changing your tires if you never go above 40 mph?

Why leave your tires to chance? Roll with “Fate-O!” (these old tires came to us on a Sprite)

One of the great advantages of driving so many identical cars over the same roads day after day is that I get to experience lots of subtle differences between cars. More and more I am convinced that fresh rubber really makes a BIG difference. I have been to one of the largest tire dumps in America (tire pond) and I hate to see more tires discarded. But old tires provide less traction. Old tires don’t brake as well. Or corner as well. And in an panic situation, this could be particularly important. More importantly, new rubber provides more ride comfort for the occupants. Sure, comfort is not a priority when setting off in a Bugeye, but there is a noticeable difference when new supple rubber. It’s more compliant, and makes the car feel a lot better.

Sprites need all the suspension they can get, and tire sidewalls help provide that suspension. This is one reason I am very much against any tire with a profile lower than 70…. 60 or 50 series tires may look cool, but you sacrifice any cushion the sidewall provides. If you lost a dental filling on your last Sprite drive, you need higher profile (or new) tires.

Lots of original Sprite steel wheels are bent too. These Minilights repros are strong and round and well worth considering whenever you invest in new rubber…


Sure, everything else has to be set up right, and your shocks need to be working properly too. But don’t underestimate the importance of good rubber. Learn to read the date code on your tires so you can stop lying about their age. The date code is a four digit code in an oval box on the sidewall, usually next to a DOT number. 3604 would mean the tire was built in the 36th week of 2004. 1815 is the 18th week of 2015, etc. The new tire at left is 0618, made February 2018 (click the photo to enlarge if needed). If you can only find a three digit number, you are way overdue… in 2000, this designation changed from three to four digits, so if you have only three digits in your date code, your tires are more than 18 years old. Rubber that old just can’t grip the asphalt the way you need it to.

Tires are cheap! Click here if you want to order a set today. We have 155 and 175 series. We also have new wheels available and can mount and balance your tires are wheels and ship them to your door. Click here for more info! And click here to add mounting and balancing…

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

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