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

Super Sprite #003 now complete

Here’s our latest build, our third “Super Sprite,” (our ultimate Bugeyes), custom built to the owner’s specifications. This one has a stock 1275 engine with a four speed transmission. Most upgraded is the appearance and attutude, with head fairing, hard tonneau, brooklands screen, performance exhaust and custom color scheme. We also converted the hubs to run new wire wheels. The car will head home to Alabama this weekend.

Everything is new and driving the car is a delight. The small screen shields your head more than one might think… I put about 30 miles on the car in 80 degree weather and found it quite pleasant. The only downside of the small screen is that the wind wanted to steal my Bugeyeguy baseball hat.

What is a Super Sprite? Every Sprite is “super,” but after the 230+ we’ve sent out the door, the three that stand out the most are our custom builds with special graphics and features that have them turn heads just a little more than usual. Each time we fit and stripe a hard tonneau on a Bugeye it activates my D-Jag passion. There is something so appealing about the flat-topped “aerodynamic” racing sports cars of the 50s and 60s and a hard tonneau evokes that spirit.

The head fairing also feels like it belongs and reinforces the message–all the business happens on the driver side. Everything else is built for speed, and whether 45 or 65 or 100 HP, it’s just plain fun to have a Bugeye that looks like a miniature period racer.

#001 Morgan (silver) was supercharged with a fuel injection. #002 Gumby (green) features four-port injection with a cross-flow aluminum head. This white car (#003) is only mildly upgraded as far as performance is concerned. They’re all probably slower than mom’s new mini van. But if you want to burn a smile into your face that will last for your entire trip inside the grocery store, we’d like to build #004 for you.

Also worth noting is “bees knees” (AKA “Goldie”) another super car we built for Ron from Rhode Island (below). This is another impressive custom Sprite that delivers a similar look with different components. Ron chose a single hoop roll bar with integrated pillow and many of his own Super Sprite modifications. This car retains the original 948 engine with a fantastic exhaust note that makes the car feel like a giant-killer.

If you like these modified cars, you can see Gumby and Goldie at the Lime Rock Concours on Sunday September 2nd. Come say hello!

Bugeye Sprite custom tonneau design

Gumby got the proverbial icing on the cake this week, first with his new hard tonneau, and then with a custom soft tonneau too, both of which look great! We hustled to get these done for The British Invasion car show which starts today in Vermont. As soon as this webpost is up, I’ll be on the road in Gumby and on my way North, looking forward to sharing this unique car at a great show, starting on Main Street in Stowe this evening. This will be the maiden voyage for this car, and our longest test for the new fuel injection system (and countless other modifications) we fit to this car.
Above and below you can first see Russ masking the green stripes on the hard tonneau to match the existing stripes on the car. He has already roughed up the painted green tonneau so that the silver will lay down over the green. Wet sanding and buffing will bring it all back up to a mirror finish once the silver is applied. He has to carefully apply the tape since the green underneath has to be aligned perfectly with the existing stripes on the dashboard and rear deck. He has the added challenge of aligning multiple stripes, and also dealing with the edge of the hard tonneau, which you will notice is painted silver as it rolls into the cockpit. It all works, and his paint work is flawless as you can see if you scroll down to the finished product below. The new hard tonneau stripes are perfectly aligned.

Each new detail adds an attractive layer to this car, and I am honored to be surrounded by such talented fabricators who have helped to create this Super Sprite. Each component is a fitting tribute to what we have learned from the 200+ Bugeyes that have passed through the building that this car spawned. So we feel this amazing attention to detail is a fitting acknowledgement of the business Gumby helped us create. This car is “off the map,” as we have created a head fairing and hard tonneau without reference, and only based on my personal vision. This is the one I wanted for myself, and I borrowed and improvised as we could to make the car that fits my taste. I was certain that Gumby had to look and feel like a Bugeye, but that it would be upgraded in every way without losing its soul.
With Russ’ paint work done, it was up to Kenny to take over and make the ultimate soft tonneau for the boss’ ride. We have made long and short tonneaus for Bugeyes, but never a half tonneau, until today. With the hard tonneau in place, the driver’s side is open, and so a fabric cover is required to keep the sun and water out when the car is parked.

This was a fun design project, as we needed to accent Gumby’s new hard tonneau with an attractive accessory that would fit the overall visual theme of the car. We also needed something that would keep the water out if this show car gets caught out in a shower. There’s a lot of handsome leather in that cockpit that needs protection.

First Kenny made a template for the new soft tonneau, to accommodate the steering wheel and the head fairing. It was essential that the quilted head fairing leatherwork be protected in the event of rain.

Next Kenny stitched up something beautiful from green everflex vinyl, which we had chosen to coordinate with the Aston Martin Green and silver on the car.
We had to add an additional lift the dot fitting to the hard tonneau, so we could tension that new soft cover. You can see that mounted on the new piece in the silver stripe, to the right of the head fairing. When we fit the new cover, we discovered that the head fairing portion of the cover would not stay in place if there was any tail wind when parked, so we put in two tenax fittings on each side of the head fairing and that did the trick. Now Gumby has a superb rain cover! Hopefully we won’t need it this weekend in Vermont!

See you at the show!

The joyous resurgence of a Bugeye Sprite called Gumby

“Gumby” is coming together nicely. We are pushing to have the car ready to debut at the British by the Sea car show this coming June 4, in Waterford, Connecticut. At left, you can see the car secured to the dyno, as we finalize the tuning of the custom multi-port fuel injection system.

Performance wasn’t the only goal though, and with the resurrection of the Bugeye I purchased in high school, we set out to push the envelope and create the ultimate interior while echoing the original flavor and design. Our goal was to pay sufficient tribute to the heritage of the car, while adding elegance and style. We chose to add custom stitching throughout the interior, to upgrade the entire interior without going too far afield.

<It all started with a single cowhide, custom dyed in a dusty light green called “aloe thorn,” and embossed for additional texture. This is the custom color we chose to coordinate with the Aston Martin green and Mercedes silver paint that adorns the sheet metal on the car.

Here, Kenny maps out the components of the interior on the uncut leather, careful to ensure maximum yield.

Next Ken diagrammed the diamond designs we created, careful to ensure the the pattern was symmetrical and balanced. Here, you can see his design for the custom door pockets, which use the original components but accentuate the factory recesses with diamond stitching.

In this image, Kenny sews the contrasting stitching on the seat base to add detail. We were tempted to keep the original ribs normally seen on stock Bugeye seats. We considered adding diamond stitching to just a few of the ribs so that we retained more of the original look. But in the end, we chose to make the entire usually-ribbed center section into a diamond design. (Note, this is the same leather, only the lighting is different, so the color appears darker)

Ken made certain the diamond patterns would align once the seat bases and seat backs were united in their frames. Here, he carefully checks the patterns before he starts sewing. Next, you can see the seat backs completed, and laid out with the leather for the seat bases. Next, Ken made custom silver metallic piping, to match the stripes down the center of the car. Then he stretched the leather over new foam pieces, and with some additional tailoring, the covers and seats were complete and ready for installation.

The door pockets went in next, and then Kenny created custom green check straps to match the leather in the car, stitched with the same contrasting thread detail you would find on stock check straps. He then sewed a high grade German wool heel pad into the rubberized floor covering in the driver side footwell. He next affixed matching green panels onto the vertical surfaces of the car.

Below, the interior is nearly complete, after a good 50 hours of custom work above and beyond the normal time it takes to build an interior. The outstanding result is fitting for the car that inspired the creation of, and a beautiful acknowledgement of the now 204 Bugeyes that we would not have sold were it not for the inspiration Gumby gave us.

In 1979, I purchased this car for $1,100. It was dented and dinged, finished in primer gray. There were no floor coverings and the seats were covered in glossy metallic teal vinyl. The car was wired with lamp cord and the dashboard was perforated with multiple additional holes. Now, after ten years sitting un-restored in the Bugeyeguy warehouse, Gumby is back, with one of the nicest interiors in the Bugeye world. And this custom interior is merely the starting point for future custom interiors we build into “Super Sprites” in the years to come.

Many thanks to Ken Bugden for patiently executing this vision, and for bringing this sculptural interior to life.

Supercharged and injected Super Sprite-fun summer drive

This is a nice warm drive to revisit in the middle of January. It features “Morgan,” our first Super Sprite. That car has a blown and two-port injected 1275 engine. We are now building Gumby and when finished that car will have a similar identity. Gumby, however, has an upgraded four-port injection system (one injector in each cylinder) on a cross flow aluminum head. You can see that engine taking shape this week… in the photo below, you can see the trick roller rocker assembly going together on Gumby’s billet aluminum head. These colored rocker arms feature needle bearings for much more precise and smoother valve operation, with less wear to all components.

Some have asked why we don’t use rotary or other powerplant swaps to get more power. I prefer keeping things as stock as possible, so as not to diminish the soul of these wonderful little cars. That may seem contradictory when you see a radically different head as shown on Gumby, but at least the bottom end (and valve cover-not we’re not using the aluminum one shown) are stock. We want to keep as much of the original equipment as possible and add tasteful upgrades without losing the essence of the car. This is a subjective process, but a changeover to rotary to me feels too far afield, inspite of the amazing power upgrade that engine might provide. Of course if you go too far, you can also suffer breakage of other components, so we have put together the best upgrades that work in harmony with good reliability.

We can only build a few Super Sprites every year so if you want one for the summer of 2017, you need to get in touch as soon as possible. We welcome the opportunity to build you one of the best Bugeyes in the world.

EFI cross-flow Super Bugeye Sprite

What is the ultimate Bugeye Sprite in 2017? This is a question I am asking myself a lot as I watch Gumby’s rebirth. We’ve repainted the car in Aston Martin Racing Green and Mercedes Silver. We’ve got the engine in now and new parts are going on each week. As a reminder, this is the car I acquired in 1978, in High School. It is the car that inspired, which we launched in 1997. When I purchased the car it was simply the most basic of sports cars, further reduced by prior owners to a beater, with no interior other than shiny teal vinyl seats, lots of extra switches, dashboard holes and wires, plus a cheesy gray primer exterior.

In 1979, I “restored” Gumby with the resources I had a the time, which were minimal. We sprayed the car BRG in my sister’s driveway, and that lacquer paint job served me well for the next 30 or so years. I purchased black vinyl seat covers and laced up a horror show, unwilling to invest in metal seat bottoms which seemed really expensive at the time (they still do!) They weren’t pretty, but these too were sufficient for the task at hand. In sprite of my lousy restoration, Gumby was the successful impetus for the 195 cars we have now sold around the world (almost all of which have been nicer than Gumby ever was)!

Now Gumby is being recreated in a totally different world. In 1979, when I last restored the car, a Ferrari 308 GTS perhaps one of the best cars available at the time, was about $39,000. Now the supercar market is crowded with lots of aspirational options. What might Gumby borrow from a 2017 $400k plus Aventador? (nothing you might suggest, other than just a few horsepower please!) Given just how much the world of cars (and drivers) has changed, I am a firm believer that Gumby needs to be more plush, elegant and powerful while still retaining the soul and DNA of its original self. Gumby will be better in every way, but still very much a simple and pure sports car.

And so we are proud to introduce the world’s newest supercar… introducing the “Super Sprite,” the only Supercar in the world to boast a two digit horsepower rating… (no other Supercar can make such a claim… EG Aventador = 691-740 HP). Gumby will boast about 90 horsepower (more than twice the horsepower of the original power plant).

We’ve rebuilt a 1275 Sprite engine and fit a cross flow aluminum head with four port fuel injection—no carburetors and no distributor. Our goal is computer managed smoothness, efficiency and consistency (and power). We have thrown every other timetested accessory at this car, all of the best features and add-ons we have developed for the 195 cars Gumby spawned. Five speed transmission. Lower rear end ratio. Improved four piston front disk brakes. Rear disk brakes. And a whole lot more we will show you in coming weeks as the car comes together.

Most on my mind of late is the interior. What is the appropriate evolution of an interior in “the best bugeye in the world?” We’ve seen many attempts at this over the years, with high backed seats and custom finishes, but none have been quite right. We hope to upgrade everything but change nothing-to echo and pay tribute to this wonderful piece of sportscar history while producing a contemporary interpretation. Clearly more leather and detail is needed rather than factory rubber and vinyl. We will still proudly build all original Sprites like our concours gold winner, but for this car, and for other Super Sprites we will build in the future, there are fewer limits. We look forward to taking these wonderful sports car to the next level.
Our Super Sprite product line is just beginning. Last year, Morgan was our first blown and injected Sprite with a chopped windshield. Gumby is our second attempt to make the ultimate Sprite. We are starting to build our next Super Sprite before Gumby is even finished. We can only build a few Super Sprites every year, so please call or email if you would like this next one customized just for you!


Bugeye Thanksgiving


Soon we will sell our 200th Bugeye. I still can’t believe it has been possible to move almost 200 of these wonderful little cars through our building.

Here’s a picture of “Gumby,” my 1959 Bugeye I acquired in 1979 and the car that made our enterprise possible. In the photos you can see Russ sanding and buffing Gumby’s new paint and soon the build-out will begin. This will be a one-of-a kind Bugeye that honors everything we have learned from the 200 cars that Gumby spawned.

We plan to upgrade everything we can while still retaining the car’s original look and feel. Hidden within Gumby will be, for example, an aluminum cross-flow head, four-port fuel injection, five speed transmission, custom anthracite wheels and four-wheel disk brakes. This will be our most advanced Bugeye yet, built to enhance performance and reliability, and will still retain many stock features to honor its heritage. We plan this car to be a fitting tribute that should be completed right about when we reach our 200th sale.


About 50,000 Bugeyes were sold between 1958 and 1960. I couldn’t find any dealer data for 1958, but in 1962 there were 560 BMC dealers in the USA. Only 100 of those were capable of selling 100 cars a year (and that’s of the entire BMC Leyland line of cars). While it has taken us about ten years to sell 200 Bugeyes, I can’t find evidence that any single dealer ever sold that many bugeyes when they were new, and we are all proud of the fact that we have been able to focus so effectively on this micro niche of the sports car world.

Thank you for your support and thank you for helping to make this happen!

Here in the video below is a “thank you turn,” in the wonderful blue Mini Cooper currently posted on our site. We are having fun, and are here to help you have fun too.

Here’s to a great holiday season for all!

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