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

Bugeye Sprite custom gauges

We have just completed further modifying our Bugeye “Goldie” for her new owner in Wisconsin. This is a custom Bugeye with a unique performance vibe. For the new owner “Gary,” we were tasked with taking the cockpit one step further.

Gary wanted more guages, but how to do this without detracting from the style of this particular car? We were lucky to locate a rare pair of vintage Smiths rally clocks for the dash and installed them on the dashboard as shown below.

The challenge with any modifications of this nature is to integrate the graphic style and type font so that the gauges blend together. These Smiths clocks have been built in the same era as the original gauges, and I love them for this reason.

We also built a custom center console for an ammeter and voltmeter under the dash. The challenge here was to keep the gauges away from the shift knob so they don’t get smashed by your knuckles in first and third gear. To accomplish this goal, we wanted to move the gauges forward of the edge of the dash yet still make them visible to the driver. So we built a custom metal console to fit the bill. It anchors easily to the flange on the body of the car at the top of the console.

We love the result so we made up a few and they’re available in black, red or blue. You’ll find them in our catalog where you can order yours by clicking here.

This is a custom welded metal piece wrapped in pebble grain vinyl. It holds two standard 52 mm gauges and also provides a storage cubby for a phone, flashlight, keys or dog treats. We also stock the ammeter and voltmeter shown in our catalog if you want to make your own electric system information command module!

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!

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.

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