The best air filters for Bugeyes, Austin Healey Sprites and MG Midgets

Air filters are often neglected on A series engines. Perhaps because people often fiddle with their SU carbs, filters are removed and cars sometimes show up here with no filters at all. They play a vital role in protecting your engine.

Foam is an unfortunate but popular choice for filter material. There are some very high quality foam elements, but too often, cheap foam gets saturated with oil and decays over time. We have seen quite a few filters with no filtration at all because the foam has fragmented and been digested by the engine. We have had much better results with the K and N products featured here… they last for life and don’t decay.

Here’s a photo of a typical cheap foam element pancake filter. Notice the foam is long gone, and the mesh is quite coarse, which would allow anything up to small stones to enter your engine.

Stock H1 Filters

If you have H1 stock type 1 1/8 Bugeye carbs, your air filter options are limited to the stock type of screen spark arrestor shown at left. There isn’t much fine filtration in these, but they work adequately, and are copies of the originals that would have come with Bugeyes when new. They look great! Unfortunately, you can’t put the K and N filter shown below on these smaller H1 carbs.

K&N filters for HS2
Stock HS2 Filters
“Pots & Pans”

If you have HS2 later type 1 1/4 inch carbs on your Bugeye or Spridget, you can use our new K and N cone filter. They last a lifetime and can be cleaned and re- oiled with the recharge kit (which we also sell) when they get dirty. These actually fit under the hood of a Bugeye or other Spridget. Pancake filters are sometimes suggested, but they will hit your hood with disastrous results. This cone type fits nicely and the one you need for your car.

Another option is what I call the “pots and pans” air filter assembly that came on later Spridgets with HS2 carbs. We have some of these original assemblies for sale. These work with paper elements inside, which we sell, or you can use K and N filters inside these too, which we sell separately. These filters have a more vintage look and are a viable option at a lower price point than the K and N cones.

Lousy air filters will restrict air flow to your engine. Nothing is worse than perfectly tuning your car and putting on air filters and changing everything when less air gets into the engine. I love the K and N products because the tune stays the same in filtered or unfiltered mode.

We’ve added these filtration options to our catalog so you can do it right. We routinely use the filters we sell on customer cars with great results. Click here to head over to our catalog and get a set of air filters for your Bugeye.

Correct license plate light and support for Austin Healey Bugeye Sprites

This winter we will assemble Gumby, my first Bugeye, now that the custom green paint job is complete. My plan is to showcase all of the great trick parts we have learned about after the 200 Bugeyes that have come through our shop. But I simultaneously want to keep everything as stock as possible. This may sound like a contradiction, but part of the fun is keeping a stock identity while making tasteful upgrades. This is a line that can be hard to define absolutely.

There is a strong market for completely stock Bugeyes. There’s an equally strong market for modified cars done right. I’m not talking about V8 equipped flared-fendered radical designs which are too extreme in my opinion, but simply tasteful improvements that retain the soul of the car. Gumby’s build is intended to look and feel like a Bugeye, with some great extras. We still do many accurate and authentic stock cars, but that’s not the mission with Gumby.

For example, for me, rear disk brakes is a brilliant upgrade, and we are excited to now offer them for sale. I never want to change rear wheel cylinders or adjust the rear brakes again. Disk brakes fit the bill, with modern calipers that are bullet-proof and self-adjusting. For you, that may be too far afield. But keep watching, as we’ll feature “invasive” and less-invasive upgrades so you can pick and choose what is right for your particular car and identity.

We started this week with the back end of the car, in particular the license plate light and support. This is often done incorrectly, perhaps because of a lack of good information about how to do it right, and/or perhaps because of scarcity of the parts. You’ll find both in this blog post, in the video below you can see how to properly affix a Bugeye license plate light and plinthe, and you can click the links below if you wish to purchase the correct stuff.

Get your rear disc brake kit today by clicking here.

Get your proper license plate light with plinth by clicking here.

Click here to view our whole catalog

Correct rear bumper assemblies for an Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite

Next up on Gumby’s build are the correct rear bumper assemblies. Here we demonstrate the proper original assembly, with the upper brackets in an “A” not “U” configuration. Note also that the taper of the chrome bumper points down. We have seen quite a few cars with these details inverted.

We also recommend a piece of rubber between the upper bracket and body to protect your paint during assembly. This is not stock, but that piece comes in our kit so you don’t chip the paint in an area that will remain quite visible once the assembly is complete.

On gumby, I chose to install our LED kit to improve visibility on modern roadways. These brake lights, park lights and turn signals are many times brighter and I will take any improvements here to help make sure a distracted driver sees my nice car. These are very hard to detect when the car is parked, so this is an upgrade that is barely evident (at least when the lights are off) and applicable for anyone who wants a stock appearance on their car.

We have the kit listed below. A link for our LED light upgrade is also included.
Click here to get a complete rear bumper kit

Click here to get your LED kit

Click here to view our whole catalog

Bugeye Friday 5-Speed Sale

5speed-conversion-580x436-2 A five-speed conversion is about the best thing you can do for your Bugeye. If you are looking for a great gift this holiday season, here is the kit for you. Our kit uses a fully rebuilt five-speed transmission from an English Ford and it’s a winner. We have installed many in Sprites that have traveled the nation. We prefer this kit to the Datsun conversion—we’ve done both and find the synchros are more stout on the Ford kit, which translates to better durability. Parts are also more readily available for this Ford gearbox. You will enjoy lower RPM highway cruising as well as a fully synchronized first and reverse gears, for ease of operation by the whole family. Sale! We sell this kit for less! Starting at $3,999.95

This installation requires removal and replacement of the nose and engine on your Bugeye. Some light fabrication is required, well within the means of any intermediate home mechanic. We offer free tech support too so you can install the kit to your car. Alternatively, we can ship the kit to your local shop and provide tech support for them too should any questions arise. Or better still, we can pick up your car and do the conversion (and any other repairs or restoration needed) while your car is here.

img_2501This kit also requires some modification of the shift lever included in the kit so that it will fit in your Bugeye shift tower and allow you to utilize your existing shift grommet. It’s common to have slight variations in the placement of shift towers on Sprites so the shift lever in the kit sometimes needs to be modified to fit your car. For an extra fee we can modify this lever for you or you can custom fit it to your car on your own. Let us know if we can help! The picture at left is a five-speed kit we installed in a Bugeye named Sara, and you can see the original look of the shift tower is retained.

Click here to get your 5-Speed Kit today!

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