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

Don’t do this to your Bugeye Sprite.

Way back when, we would buy engines and drop them right into the car. Too often, we would have an issue that would have been much easier to repair when the engine was out of the car. So we built a simple bench test stand, and now every new engine gets a work-out and camshaft break-in before we put it into the car.

Simple test stand on a castering skid. External fan required
Core plugs that came in the rebuilt engine looked great on the outside!

This week, we received a rebuilt 1275 engine from a client, and when we bench ran it, coolant started leaking from the core plugs. You can see why they leaked in the photo below… there was quite a bit of corrosion around the perimeter of each plug. We cleaned out the block and pressed-in new plugs, which fixed the leaks.

Not so nice on the back

The front main seal also leaked, which we centered and re-sealed. And the timing cover breather was pushed aft in transit which caused chafe between the timing chain and cover, which made quite a noise. With all three issues fixed, this engine was now good to go. Now we can put it in the car.

Block cleaned, new plug installed!
Another view of the new core plugs

Bench running is a good thing.

Brighter headlight bulbs that won’t stress your electric system

All of us need brighter headlights, especially as our eyeballs age. Modern cars just seem to be getting brighter and brighter. Now we can compete.

This is an innovation we are really proud to share, a breakthrough that can make every Spridget (and every classic British car with seven inch headlight bulbs) safer to drive at night and easier for others to see.

Above is the “before” picture of Goldie, with conventional 55 watt halogen low beam bulbs inside vintage look tri-bar lenses.

Above is a picture of Berkley with the same tri-bar lens but loaded with a 35 watt LED bulb. Notice the difference! LED lighting is superior… quite a bit brighter while using fewer watts.

Lots of power in a very small package

We’re excited to offer another great innovation that will help the community see and be seen. We offer a plug and play kit. You can find it in our catalog by clicking here.

Bugeye Sprite Tailor

We have a gifted tailor on staff. While he refuses to shorten my trousers, he does make a mean tonneau. We just bought him a double needle sewing machine, which he is putting to good use on all sorts of projects.

If you are unfamiliar, this machine moves two parallel threads, and affords lots of new creative possibilities. You can see the twin spools feeding the machine in the photo above. Below, you can see twin needle stitching on a stunning black and red short tonneau he made for a red car recently. Notice the single row on the outer trim and twin rows around the steering wheel pouch.

Below, you can see Ken fitting the steering wheel pouch that will be sewn to the tonneau above. Wheel size matters.

Below, you can see the template for the custom double needle black dashboard cover with white contrasting thread. This “one of a kind” dash is for the black and white Bugeye we are building now. That car is Olde English White, with black dash with white stitching in the black hardura floor mats, and blacked out wheels, on a sharp white body. We’re putting in a five speed and 1275 now as we build another Super Sprite!

Stay tuned for more pictures!

And if you would like your own custom short tonneau hand made in our shoppe, please click here.

The long and storied journey of Bugeye Sprite cockpit trim

Oh, what a long, strange trip it has been…

It’s quite common to see Bugeye cockpit trim that looks like it has been through a war. Side curtains are the enemy, their hooks can gouge and scratch. Perhaps this car pictured above once lived in an area prone to thunderstorms or flash floods, and time was of the essence when installing the side curtain lest the car would wash away. Hence they were thrown on with reckless abandon, and the door top trim paid the price. (So make sure to apply your side screens with great care, and put them on before the sky opens up)

After: Only the deepest scratches remain

This is “Mellow,” a nice yellow Bugeye that left this week for its new home in Michigan. Before it left, one of the many services we provided for car and owner was to polish the cockpit trim. I thought folks might enjoy seeing the before and after pictures. Polishing is something you can try at home if you have the equipment.

Before: Side curtain collateral damage

In the case of this trim set, there were as series of deep gouges on the upper edge of each piece. This meant aggressive air sanding to remove the gouges, with 220 grit paper. Once the profile was right, only then did we move to the polisher. We didn’t try to completely remove the craters, because that would mean removing a ton of material. Instead, we removed most of the canyon and left a few of the deepest scars. In this way, the trim looks nicely restored but not perfect, and thus the pieces fit the overall identity of the car.

The top bow will also destroy the finish of the rear trim piece, be extra careful removing and installing the bows.

The wheel buffer brings the luster up nicely, as long as you are patient. Once finished, the overall look is wonderful, ready for another hundred thousand miles, with a side curtain (or sweaty palm) attached!

New chrome side curtain screws complete the look. We sell those in our catalog, where you can find them by clicking here.

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