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

Bugeye flip-forward nose conversion

We’re getting this particular Bugeye “Bic” (our 241st sold!) ready for departure to a new home in Colorado. The new owner requested a flip-forward nose conversion. If you are unfamilar, the original hinges were mounted at the cowl and the flip-forward conversion gives much better engine bay access.

“Bic” front radiator supports, missing the rear portion for unknown reasons

This conversion was popular with racers so there is precedent and thus it is widely accepted that you can add this conversion to your car without diminishing value. Of course there can be heated discussions about this, with purists and concours judges objecting, but by and large it’s OK to switch to flip forward. Like the 1275 engine, this was a common and popular modification.

The correct original radiator supports shown on a different car

What made this particular modification somewhat unusual was that the radiator supports were modified on this particular car. A portion of the radiator support was cut away, perhaps as a result of an old collision. In order to mount the limit strap bolt of our flip kit, you need the metal base intact so there is something to which we can fasten the limit strap. To be clear, our kit has its own limiter built in and thus no leashes are needed.

New struts welded in place on Bic

So in order to mount the kit and make it work, we cut off the old supports and put in new ones and we were happy to have those newly in stock for our catalog (you can order them by clicking here). Now we can attach the brackets to the nose and button it all up. If you want to make your nose flip-forward, click here to order your kit.

In the photos below, you can see the new hinges in the closed and open position. Next, we’ll mount the nose on the new hinges, align it, and add some leather hold-down straps.

Here you can see the hinge parts in place where they will reside when the nose is closed. Notice the limit strap bolt on the radiator mount, which we could not easily fasten given the new radiator supports.
This is what how the pivots look when the nose is tipped forward. Next week, we’ll bolt the nose to the two open holes shown and Bic will be ready for departure.

Bugeye Sprite tow dolly long term test

In case you were wondering if you can tow a Bugeye on a tow dolly, Ken has 9,000 miles under his belt towing this car behind his motor home (shown below), without issue.

This month, Ken and Sandy piled their dogs, luggage and a bird into their RV and drove from North of Chicago to our door, for a new windshield and rear disk brake upgrade, done while they slept in our front lot!

A rear disk brake upgrade ends leaking rear wheel cylinder issues forever! (click to read more in our catalog)

Once the car was complete, the crew headed south to the Florida Keys with their much improved Bugeye in tow.

Many have asked if you need to remove the driveshaft to flat tow a Bugeye, and even UHAUL tells you this is required, but that seems to only apply to automatic transmissions. Ken reports no issues, after towing this Sprite all over America, driveshaft in place, without trouble.

Ready to head South for the winter!

Bugeye Sprite LED lights

Here’s another former Bugeye owner (had one in the 60s) who added a new Bugeye to his life! This is Mr Walker and his new Bugeye “Miller,” a car you might have seen recently for sale on our site. In the photo below, you see him with son Scott.

The two Walkers came to visit us in Scott’s new Tesla Model 3, all the way from North of Toronto (see below).

It’s fascinating to me that they came in an electric car, particularly since all modern electrics require some extra thought to use. They needed to charge-up three or four times along the way on their ten hour trip. Tesla’s software and mapping makes that easy, but life with an electric car requires active participation and thought in a manner similar to interacting with an old British car.

Driving around in a classic English car, one inevitably knows about what could go wrong and how one might fix it. Driving in a Tesla, one has to know where you could run out of juice and how to string together charging stations. While the two cars couldn’t be more different, life with a Tesla today is actually a lot like life with an old English car. It’s an active relationship. So I found it fascinating that father was getting back into Bugeyes, while son has found his passion in a new Tesla. There are more similarities to the two categories of vehicle than I initially might have thought.

“Miller,” before, with tail lights on and original factory bulbs

We are fitting out Miller for it’s trip to it’s new home in Canada and I wanted to share a “before” and “after” photograph of the new LED tail lights we are fitting to Miller. In the photos below, you can see the stock lights on a Bugeye, and then the new LED lights on another car. The difference is quite striking, and as more and more people seem to be paying less attention to the road, those brighter lights might just save your life.

A different red Bugeye, with tail lights on and LED tail and brake lights fitted

You can find our LED kit by clicking here.

Don’t do this to your Bugeye Sprite.

Don’t cut corners.

It is forever a challenge to get your car right before it goes to paint. And in the case of the car pictured, the builders made an unfortunate mistake.

Look closely in front and behind the rear wheels and you’ll notice that the fender and rocker tips are clipped. These should be a nice fair circular curve. I suspect the fabricator who restored this sheet metal didn’t have reference photos for this piece of the project. Too bad, because so much of the rest of the car looks like it was well thought-out.

Snip, snip.

Here’s a picture of the correct terminations on the ends of the rocker and rear fender bottom. This is also a problem on the front of the rocker panel on many projects, although not on this particular car.

The owner of the leaf green Sprite has repaired this issue, which meant welding-on extensions and blending the paint. He gets credit for trying to make it right and for helping the rest of us try to find these flaws while the car is in primer, not after the paint has dried.

“Original Sprite” by Horler is a good reference tool if you want to see pictures of what is correct. We also have tons of posts on this site, as well as a concours DVD and digital download, to help people avoid similar mistakes.

Follow the circle around the rear tire, this sheet metal is correct.

Don’t do this to your Bugeye Sprite

We’ve had many issues with the six windshield post screws that hold the stanchions to the side of the windshield frame.

Here’s the proper way to mount these stanchions, with three oval head philips screws per side.

These steel screws thread into the aluminum windshield frame, so it’s easy for people to overtighten them and damage the threads. More importantly, the dissimilar metals will often fuse, which makes it easy to break the screws. Thus, it is common for us to have to re tap the holes or repair them with helicoils. In extreme cases, we have had to TIG weld the butchered holes completely closed and then drill and tap them all over again.

This week, we had our first pop riveted frame. The last restorer must have broken all the screws, so they used rivets instead. It’s not possible to change the windshield rubber glazing with the the stanchions in place (which is what we were hired to do, in this case) so we had to drill out the rivets and hope we could salvage the frame. Once the glass was out, we were able to helicoil the threads and use new proper screws to put the frame back in service once again.

If you have a chance, it’s smart to coat these screws with newer seize or your favorite anti corrosion or anti electrolysis goop. The next restorer will thank you next time your stanchions have to come off!

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…

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

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