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

Pegged needles

Pegged needles are forever seductive. 

Highway cruising @72mph @ 6000 RPMs with a 5:38 rear end in our electric FrogE

When I first reported to driver simulator class in 1978, I ran into the room with glee, because this was a necessary step on the pathway to a driver’s license, and the freedom (and British cars) that came with it.

In the basement of the Archbishop Stepinac High School I ran to the first available seat in what looked like a well-anchored bumper car. This would be my first car, in a sense, even though it never moved. We were to simply follow along from these seats while a “Leave it to Beaver” era driver education movie played, with bouncing balls and doors opening when you least expected. We were to “drive” along with the film, and respond accordingly. Our cranky instructor may have seen this film a few too many times, but he did teach me about covering the brake, and about how much time that can save, so I thank him for that. But technology was so absent from this equipment that I would swear the entire modern video game industry was inspired by these prehistoric simulators.

We each had our own controls, but the period GM steering wheels freewheeled and the gas pedal didn’t seem connected to anything. However, if you floored it, which we all did upon sitting down, the horizontal speedo climbed all the way to the far side of the dial, about 120, and that felt really good, even though it made no difference at all when the Impala in the movie pulled out into your path, or the lumber fell off the truck you were following down Elm Street.

We are all hopelessly addicted to the top end.

And so I found myself on the highway this week in our Frog-E electric, which we have re-geared for max acceleration. The higher gearing means higher RPMs, which is good with our particular electric motor, which can run up to 10,000 RPMs. I’ve driven more than 250 different Bugeyes. This was the first one I have held at red line for my entire journey. It was smooth and effortless. And also a whole lot of fun.

My modern-day driver simulator, with a 100-mile range.

Electric Bugeye evolution

FrogE #2 is taking shape. This is an electric conversion for a customer in Maryland. Here’s the car with batteries mocked-up. We have changed the battery chemistry and design for this car (from our first prototype), which should help make our forthcoming Sprite electric kits easier for customers to build themselves.

Below, you can see the cells laid out in the engine bay for 100 mile range and optimal weight balance. An additional tray of batteries will be mounted under the trunk floor in the place of the fuel tank. In this way, we replicate the near 50/50 weight distribution that makes a Bugeye such a delight to drive.

Below you can see how we receive the batteries from the manufacturer. All 50 cells power each Sprite conversion. We’ll share more photos as this build progresses!

Electric Sprite conversion update

Doesn’t look like much yet, but the front end is completely upgraded. Electrons coming soon!

Work is progressing nicely on FrogE number 2. This is the car received from a customer in Maryland, who was tired of looking at the inoperative car buried in his garage. Soon it will be a reliable electric-powered rocket, instead of the garage equivalent of home exercise equipment turned clothes hanger.

The car is now stripped of it’s worn 948 power plant and broken transmission, and ready to be loaded with enough lithium and phosphate to deliver 100 miles of Bugeye fun per charge.
Our second FrogE electric, ready for some juice.

We’ve gutted the interior and will dress it up without going too far. This particular car is pure driver, with older paint and a weathered dashboard. Our goal with this build is to make it nicer and more comfortable but not fully cosmetically restored.

The primary focus is the powertrain conversion. This car only had a driver seat for many years-the passenger seat was missing. We have recovered that seat with the original navy blue material with iris blue piping (just like the original), and built a passenger seat to match. Our navy blue carpet will serve as an attractive foundation. We’re confident people will now want to ride along!

Our approach to building these conversions is to keep as much of the original appearance as possible. Rather than throw away the interior and put in whatever new aftermarket bits we can find, we want these cars to look and feel exactly like an original Bugeye, even though the powertrain is radically different. So we will keep the dashboard shown, albeit with new electronic gauges we’ve made that mimic the original look.

The suspension and brakes have been upgraded with the same sway bar, new king pins and performance shocks we use in any fast gas powered Bugeye, and next the batteries and motor will be massaged into place. Each conversion we build gets us closer to electric kit availability, so that home restorers will also be able to add electric power to their Sprites.

Electric Bugeye Sprite… prototype complete.

Hey, Prince of Darkness, perhaps we can appease you with a pint?

We couldn’t resist poking fun at Lucas electrics on the cover of the main battery box of our prototype electric FrogE. This is what you first see under the bonnet, where the 948 power plant once lived. At this point though, the Prince of Darkness has been excommunicated. There are no Lucas electrics in the lithium manganese oxide batteries and related wiring on board.

Our prototype electric Bugeye is now complete. Take a drive with me in the video below, to the Post office to deliver a last minute catalog order. This week we got the regenerative braking working just right, so that that Bugeye has perhaps the best rear brakes in town.

We have regen dialed in now so that with your foot off the gas, you feel as though you’ve made a downshift into second, and the “engine” braking feels pretty authentic, while also putting some juice back into the main batteries. Add a little gas pedal and the car coasts freely. Feather the pedal for one foot driving, with almost no brake pedal needed. Now we have excellent braking to go with the excellent acceleration that comes with this build.

Check out the video drive below, and if you want your Sprite converted to electric power, do get in touch so we can discuss this impressive transformation.

Our second electric conversion starts here.

This is not a particularly special Bugeye (at least not yet).

We are about to make it special with an electric drivetrain. Welcome to our second electric conversion. With 0-60 times at about 10 seconds (about half of the original), 100 mile range, and smooth torque whenever you want it, this is exciting, for us, for the car, and for the customer!

We’ll dress up the interior and make it look like a nice stock driver. Under the hood will be a powerful electric motor with gobs of torque, along with the high tech batteries to power it. In it’s new guise, this car will go from garage furniture to a reliable and fun machine.

Everything you see below in the engine bay will be removed. It’s all pretty worn out anyway. Nothing against restoring cars in this condition… we do this every month. But this particular car would cost a fortune to fully restore because of prior rear end crash damage. As an electric FrogE, that history is no longer a liability. This is the perfect platform for conversion. We have not removed a concours car from circulation, but instead taken another Bugeye out of hibernation.

We’ll use proper parts in the interior so that it still looks authentic. For example, we only use analog gauges, so that the interior still looks accurate. Our goal is to preserve the DNA of the car, while upgrading the powertrain.

Stay tuned! You can see a walk around video below.

Electric Bugeye Sprite update

Our Electric Bugeye in Classic Motorsports Magazine, January, 2019

We are close to completing our Electric Bugeye! This week, we were honored to have an appearance in the latest edition of Classic Motorsports.

We’ve been busy trimming-out the cockpit, where we confronted a new issue… how could we trim around the heavy gauge wires that run through the cockpit and carry juice from the batteries in back to the controller in front?

We chose to run the wires at the base of the inner rocker panels just like the factory did on a Stock Bugeye. Original car tail light harnesses ran forward the very same way. But the original light gauge wires are easy to hide under a masonite panel, while this new technology requires a much bigger void for a series of 12 gauge wires.

You can watch Kenny solve the problem in the photos below. First, he secured the wires tight to the inner rocker, as you can see below.

Next, he fashioned wood spacers to shim the original style panels outward, so that there would be room for the wires to pass behind. You can just see the black wires sheaths running under the white wood spacers.

Below, he covers the pieces in matching vinyl, in preparation for mounting them them in the car as you can see below.

Below you can see the piece mounted in the car…

And then he added the remaining flat panels on top, to finish off the look

Now, our high voltage lines are well sheathed in a masonite and vinyl soffit, and the interior still looks close to stock.

 We’re all really excited about the result, since it evokes, acknowledges and pays homage to the original factory way. Remember, our number one priority with this project was to protect the vintage car experience while adding a modern electric drivetrain. Thus we stayed with analog gauges and retained as much of the original interior design as possible.

This car will be done next week, and we will be starting on car #2 shortly. If you want us to convert your Bugeye to electric power, please get in touch soon, as our winter schedule of gas and electric projects is filling up quickly!

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