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1960 Austin Healey Bugeyes Sprite Barn find for sale! Stored since 1974!

BARN FIND!

UPDATE 9-9-18:
New pictures are posted. We have verified that that car is complete. For sale now at $5,995. I have seen Bugeye restoration projects trade at prices ranging from free to about $9,000. Incomplete or bondo-ladened or disassembled cars (which are harder to put together), can be had for less than this one. This car commands a premium because it has been off the road since 1974, it is complete and has not been molested (and it has a great story). Read about it below, and give a call if you are interested!

It’s getting harder and harder to find complete unmolested Bugeyes so we are pretty excited to find this one!

I first met AN5L 37802 in June of 2015 when the owner (“Skip”) was taking down his barn in the Catskills (in New York) where the car had been stored since 1974. In the picture above from 2015, you can see Skip extracting the car as the barn is removed. He had purchased it in about 1967 from the second owner.

You can still see the original Crandall-Hicks plaque on the back of the car. This was the New England British Motor Corporation distributor at the time, so this is a wonderful plaque to still see in place. You might enjoy reading a bit about Crandall-Hicks at the link here… they sold Indian motorcycles in the 30s and later helped bring the BMC line to our shores. I was amazed to read that in 1955, they built a Quonset hut (just slightly larger than ours) on their property, to house their shop and British car inventory! (That structure was destroyed in a snowstorm but was replaced with another Quonset hut!!! They are still in business, and it looks like they now sell power equipment, albeit not from a Quonset hut.)

Anyway, Skip ended-up trading the car for a Ford tractor and brush hog in 2015, but I was lucky last week to buy it from the latest owner (who merely stored the car inside since 2015). It still looks the same today as it did when it came out of Skip’s barn.

I enjoyed finding the 1973 Major League baseball rule book under the passenger floor mat. I called Skip this week and asked about this (he’s happy to meet the new owner) and it turns out he drove the car everywhere in the early 70s as an umpire for little league games.

The car is well-preserved. She needs a complete restoration and there are some small holes in the floor pans. But this is a great candidate, with minimal rust-through and a good underside. It’s somewhat crusty underneath, but thankfully, it looks like the car was sitting on wood planks instead of a dirt floor. Floor patches will be needed, but the underside is much more solid than most. Take a look at the underside pictures in the photo album for more details.

Skip parked the car in 1974 because it had low oil pressure, so you’ll need to rebuild the stock 948 engine in the car, which would likely need a rebuild from sitting all this time anyway. The original hardtop is a nice detail that comes with the car. But most importantly, everything is in place just as it was in 1974. The car is a bit of a time capsule. Original jack and jack handle is included as is original (torn) tonneau. Period Amco front and rear bumper bars are also nice to see.

Indicated mileage is 74,114. It’s always amazing to think back to a time where it was common for people to routinely use these cars as daily drivers. This one was parked after just 14 years on the road. We’ll never know if it went 74k or 174k miles in those 14 years. But it’s nice to see a car that hasn’t been modified or disassembled, which makes the restoration more attractive and a lot easier to organize and complete.

Tires will of course need to be replaced after sitting for so long. The car rolls freely and we can ship it anywhere in the world. The car is currently in our shop and comes with complete paperwork for the new owner to register the car, anywhere in the world.

Call 203 561 6929 if you are interested!

Bugeye identity

The car you wear makes a statement about who you are and what matters most.

Meet Gary, who recently purchased our Bugeye “Bliss” and brought the car home to Massachusetts.

Gary immediately renamed his car “Evinrude,” after the bug eye dragonfly in the Disney movie “The Rescuers.” His daughter designed a sharp magnet to match, which Gary proudly displays on the car. You can see Gary beaming in his new alter-ego.

I’ve never met a Bugeye owner I didn’t like, perhaps because we all have a fundamental passion for the same thing… you can’t drive a Bugeye without challenging the status quo. The cars are so petit yet capable. So adorable yet sporty and spirited. So curvy and simple, yet these little cars have impacted and influenced many people who are leading players in automotive culture today. Lots and lots of people started playing with cars with a Sprite.

Thus we do not get tired of supporting people to have and enjoy these cars, and even after years of this work, we continue to hear new ways to language the passion and enthusiasm that surrounds our work. This week from Jonathan (above) in California… ” I love this little car so much. I never knew it was possible to love a car this much.” Not a trivial statement from a guy who also owns a 356 and has had 911s and lots of other cars.

Jonathan lives in the hills above Palm Desert and routinely driving his Bugeye (that we prepared for him) up and down a 3000 foot incline (where it is 110 degrees at the bottom). Armed with little more than an off-white bikini top and aluminum radiator, he’s sweating his way up and down that hill between home and office in a daily hill-climb. That sweltering drive seems completely impractical, there are many other much more capable air conditioned vehicles for that task. Yet, this week he sent one of my favorite quotes. The personality of a Bugeye is that big. That one could drive this car in these unlikely conditions is a big part of the fun.

Tires for classic sportscars

How old are your tires?

This one is probably 30 years old (it did pop)

I’ve seen recommendations that we should all change our tires every seven years. But we all stretch it, and with good reason. Even if you drive your classic car 1000 miles per year, after 7000 miles, that’s hardly noticeable wear for a modern 13 inch tire that is probably good for 40,000 miles or more. And there are plenty of Sprite drivers out there who just noodle around town, so why bother changing your tires if you never go above 40 mph?

Why leave your tires to chance? Roll with “Fate-O!” (these old tires came to us on a Sprite)

One of the great advantages of driving so many identical cars over the same roads day after day is that I get to experience lots of subtle differences between cars. More and more I am convinced that fresh rubber really makes a BIG difference. I have been to one of the largest tire dumps in America (tire pond) and I hate to see more tires discarded. But old tires provide less traction. Old tires don’t brake as well. Or corner as well. And in an panic situation, this could be particularly important. More importantly, new rubber provides more ride comfort for the occupants. Sure, comfort is not a priority when setting off in a Bugeye, but there is a noticeable difference when new supple rubber. It’s more compliant, and makes the car feel a lot better.

Sprites need all the suspension they can get, and tire sidewalls help provide that suspension. This is one reason I am very much against any tire with a profile lower than 70…. 60 or 50 series tires may look cool, but you sacrifice any cushion the sidewall provides. If you lost a dental filling on your last Sprite drive, you need higher profile (or new) tires.

Lots of original Sprite steel wheels are bent too. These Minilights repros are strong and round and well worth considering whenever you invest in new rubber…


Sure, everything else has to be set up right, and your shocks need to be working properly too. But don’t underestimate the importance of good rubber. Learn to read the date code on your tires so you can stop lying about their age. The date code is a four digit code in an oval box on the sidewall, usually next to a DOT number. 3604 would mean the tire was built in the 36th week of 2004. 1815 is the 18th week of 2015, etc. The new tire at left is 0618, made February 2018 (click the photo to enlarge if needed). If you can only find a three digit number, you are way overdue… in 2000, this designation changed from three to four digits, so if you have only three digits in your date code, your tires are more than 18 years old. Rubber that old just can’t grip the asphalt the way you need it to.

Tires are cheap! Click here if you want to order a set today. We have 155 and 175 series. We also have new wheels available and can mount and balance your tires are wheels and ship them to your door. Click here for more info! And click here to add mounting and balancing…

1950 F1 Pick up for sale

Now sold to Jason in Texas! Congratulations!

New pictures posted! Someone asked about the condition of the cab corners… these were patched with new sheet metal as needed when the truck was repainted. We have shown in photos how nicely a magnet adheres, in case anyone was worried about body filler. (There is none.)

If you were going to have TWO perfect cars in your garage, one would of course be a Bugeye and the other might just be this handsome green truck. They complement each other so nicely.

This is a friend’s truck. He bought it in Ohio about 30 years ago and has garaged it in CT ever since. It shows about 64,000 miles, and that feels like the original mileage given the unmolested condition. The truck is just right in about every way… if is nice enough to show and impress yet used enough that you can still haul stuff without fear of damage. The bed has a few nicks and scratches yet the cab and overall finish is as clean and tidy as a well pressed denim work shirt.

She was repainted once in the original color about 25 years ago. Interior was restored at about the same time. Now it’s perfectly worn-in.

We have just replaced all the brake parts and pinion seal. The flathead V8 is strong. Fit with the original three speed transmission. Everything works, fun to drive and a serious head-turner.

You can find newly restored and modified trucks. You can find beat-to-death trucks. One in this condition seems quite rare. While some restoration work has been done, this one feels like the perfect original truck you found in your grandfather’s barn in Iowa that was ready for you to drive home, use and enjoy.

Price is $23,995. Call if you would like more pictures or information.

Bugeye revival after 31 years of ownership

Dropping off your baby at summer camp

After 31 years of ownership, we were lucky to have Jud bring his Bugeye “Raymond” to our shop for its grand revival. The car hadn’t run in years, and it was time to make the car useable once again.

Some 80 repair/restoration line items later, the car hurtled down the Interstate at 65 MPH once again. While there are about 20 more possible improvements we might make were time and budget available, this car is now ready for the next adventure. It’s incomplete (like many English sports cars). Still, Jud will fly into New Haven this week and drive the car back to New Hampshire. If weather and time allow, he’ll also drive over to The British Invasion at Stowe (in Vermont) next weekend.

Each dormant Sprite seems to need something different. This one had a very rusted battery tray, which we cut out. The firewall had also rusted.

We welded in a new tray, a job that requires access from underneath, which meant engine and transmission removal so that we could finish the repair properly. The car also needed new tires, new hydraulics, new hoses and all new rear brakes and hub seals. We fixed many temporary repairs put in place when time was abundant and money was scarce. Now that time is precious and money just a little more prevalent, this owner elected to have us make the car ready for highway miles once again.

Next up are similar projects on cars that came to us from Boise and Oklahoma City. More and more people are sending their cars to us from all over the country, so we can make them right. It’s an honor to serve a national restoration center for these wonderful little cars. Nothing is more satisfying than taking an inactive dusty vehicle and turning it into a road going machine that brings joy to owners and onlookers on otherwise less exciting roadways. Please call if you would like us to bring your classic car back to life!

Which dashboard matters most?

I’ve been reflecting on dashboards this week, because of the critical importance of the modern digital dashboard pictured below.

This picture is all about how information travels. This “dashboard” tells us that our bulk email messages have the best shot of getting to your email inbox. This is great news, and thanks to a lot of hard work here by our computer ace Kilian, more of you should be able to receive your weekly Bugeye Bugle email.

We have heard from some of you that the newsletter stopped appearing in your inboxes. I always thought it was spam filters on each local computer, and that you could find all your missing messages by opening up your personal spam box. But I have learned that Internet service providers block tons of messages before they even go down the pipe to your door. If you are suspected of being an evil troll, your mail is blocked before it even makes it out of the post office. Scrutiny is at all time high, in spite of the fact that our emails only go to people who signed-up to receive them.

If we want to communicate with you, we need to know how to send out Data. Information management requires constant fiddling, and like teenagers with Unisyn tools in our pockets, we now need laptops at the ready to synchronize our words so that they can flow.

This week, I also spent some time staring at a dashboard of a different sort. This is Richard’s 1956 Austin Healey 100 (BN2) (above). Simple. Clean. Elemental. Pure 1956. We were tasked with fixing his sloppy shift lever and leaking rear pinion seal.

When this dashboard was contemporary, the driver would be perhaps thinking about their current realities just as we now think about data. At that time, the cost of an average cost of new house $12,220.00, average monthly rent was $90.00, a gallon of gas was 24 cents and The Slinky was a very popular toy. On the horizon in 1957… the Soviet Union would launch the first space satellite, Sputnik 1.

Contact us at David@bugeyeguy.com or call (203)-208-0980 during business hours