This is a 1960 Austin Healey Sprite number AN5L 31994, built in early 1960 (30215 was the first Bugeye built in 1960). We call this car “Brady.”
Here’s an inexpensive way to get into Bugeyes! This car is not a show piece but drives great and looks great!
Brady is a driver — fun to drive with a lot of work done. Most importantly, he has three very desirable upgrades built onto his strong foundation… strong 1275 engine, front disk brakes, and knock-off wire wheels! This is a budget Bugeye with a 10-footer paint job. There are some nicks and chips in the paint, and some people would opt for a repaint. But the car is solid, and looks good, and is ready to enjoy.
The interior still looks nice in tan, but shows some wear. We stock Bugeye carpet kits of our own design (available in tan and other colors) and Brady would benefit from a new set. A carpet upgrade would be a fun and rewarding project for the new owner and would be a quick way to spruce-up Brady’s interior. There is a good tonneau– I’ll post more pictures soon.
The prior owner spent a lot of time making Brady a good driver. He periodically drove the car at night and all the lights work. He put in a rebuilt generator. The tach is not working, but the car starts up and otherwise runs great.
Brady is ready for summer fun! We have not serviced this car to keep the cost down for the new owner (but we can if so desired). Here’s a great car for a new owner who wants to tinker with a wonderful classic British car! As with all our cars, call or email for pricing information.
Here is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a one-owner Big Healey with extremely low miles!
I purchased this car from the original owner who bought it new in 1966, in New York. He lived in Manhattan and Bronxville NY, and the car mostly sat in his garage for all it’s life. Recently, he brought the car to a very reputable repair shop and had a complete mechanical restoration performed, with all the perishable mechanicals restored (to the tune of about $8000!) and the car has a new fuel pump, new stainless steel exhaust system, carbs rebuilt, new water hoses, new battery, new hydraulic components, new brake booster, new front end bushings and more. The car drives exceptionally well and is ready to drive anywhere, even on the (perhaps original) bias ply tires. I would replace them, because they are pretty dried out, but they work and the car accelerates beautifully and brakes perfectly, just as you would expect from a Big Healey.
The car runs great, does not smoke, has excellent oil pressure and everything works. The cosmetics are perfect if you want to preserve the authenticity and story of this car. Or you could restore the interior and paint. There is no rust, and just some minor scaling on the passenger front fender bottom, which I have pictured. This is not serious, and has attacked only the paint, and would not be hard to repair or stabilize. There is one small area of rust in the corner of the trunk floor on the driver’s side (see picture number 67 below). This is very minor, we could weld in new sheet metal for about $600 if you so desire. The rest of the underside is excellent, with some scaling, but exceptionally solid metal in the floors, outriggers, rockers and throughout!
Take a drive in the video below!
Underneath you can see the results of thousands recently spent on service… new brake booster, new clutch slave, rear wheel cylinders, new stainless exhaust, new sway bar bushings, new front brake hoses, and more!
The original owner told me he took the car to Vermont a few times for ski trips in the 60s (with a different date each time, said he never had any trouble getting anyone to say “yes!”) This is one of the more remarkable things he told me representative of how we all once lived… now, most people heading north on a ski weekend does so in a practically armored vehicle with four wheel drive. This rear wheel drive bias ply clad big healey with a ski rack clipped on the trunk made it to Vermont on several occasions… and no one thought there was anything odd about it!
This is a very wonderful car in a very desirable black and red color scheme. We routinely build cool cars for clients but we can’t make low mileage originals. As such, this is a rare collector car with verified original mileage that can not be replicated, and is sure to appreciate in the years to come!
Not a Bugeye and not even British, but a super cool car I found and one I wanted to share. It’s on EBAY this week, and so if you like this sort of thing, click here to bid!
This car is a US spec car purchased in France in 1968 by the owner who flew in, drove around France a bit, and then brought the car home. I believe Volvo has or had a similar program where you could pick up your car at the factory, tour Sweden, and then ship your car home. Apparently, the red 1968 and “F” stickers on the back were affixed on temporary visitors, with a three-month maximum stay. Now those “F” stickers or three letter stickers for your particular town or weekend getaway have become ubiquitous, but I understand back in 1968 these had a very specific meaning.
This particular Peugeot has an exceptionally nice interior. I wish I could find more British roadsters with interiors so well preserved. There are no cracks on the dash, and no sagging headliner and no drooping door panels, common for example on any MGB GT you might find sitting for the same amount of time.
My family had a 1968 404, in which I used to play in the driveway when I was seven or eight. Hard as I tried, I couldn’t wear out any of the switches, as I must have flipped them all hundreds of times, as I imagined myself a 404 captain, navigating the wilds of my town. Perhaps that’s why I jumped on the opportunity to purchase this car that I never actually drove. It is one of the cars that inspired my passion for interesting old cars.
Check out the slideshow below for more images of this cool car!
Also, check out this cool site that mentioned the car, and if you read the comments you can learn more about 404s from some experts. I didn’t know for example that two million of these were made, that 1968 was the first year for disk brakes and that these cars were called “the french Mercedes!”
This is AN5L 31485, one great Bugeye, built in early 1960. This car feels “just right” in vanilla white and burgundy (AKA olde english white & red), and it’s just like the one you used to own after college. Or you would have liked to own. Or your friend used to own.
The car has a nice shine, and all the correct switches and dials, and driving it feels like stepping back in time. It’s unmolested, cleaned up, and it all works, and works well! We’ve been through the car, and fixed a bunch of the usual shortcomings, and now this car is ready for a new owner, and a new home.
We call this car Bodhi. The car is named after our new puppy, who is quite entertaining and attracts a ton of attention, just like this Bugeye. You can see Bodhi in a state of bliss in the photo below, and I think the new owner of this car will feel pretty much the same way!
This car has a 948 engine and drum brakes. Floor repairs are complete, with new sheet metal panels welded in place. Tires are new. All the brake components are new last year, including the master cylinder which was upgraded with a pair of brass sleeves for better durability. Carbs are upgraded to HS2, a nice improvement over the the stock H1s, so you get better performance and easier maintenance. The car drives great!
He comes with a good top, sidecurtains and tonneau, which I will photograph and add to the photo album below shortly.
The buyer for this car is looking for an impressive almost totally stock Bugeye, in classic white with Burgundy. This is a car sure to impress at a very reasonable price!
This is the sixth Bugeye we have for sale in inventory in our Branford workshop as of May 10,2013. Call or email for current pricing on this car and our other inventory!
Shelby has left our shop for a new home in Rhode Island.
With this cool car we pushed the envelope, and built on the theme launched by the car’s restorer. To accent the white stripes, we powdercoated the wheels, built custom leather blue seats with white piping, and had custom Smiths gauges made in England with white faces and black centers. We waited 5 months for these to be built, and it was worth the wait. We could have used aftermarket white gauges but wanted to pay tribute to the original equipment even though we were going “off the map.”
Shelby is one-of a kind, and she went to a great home that already has another modified Bugeye in the stable.
I love the way the Bugeye marketplace is made up of distinct segments, and we enjoy catering to them all… first there is the totally stock crowd, that wants the car exactly as it came off the showroom floor. We recently sold Fred, a totally stock 1958 Bugeye, to a customer in this audience.
Then we do a lot in the modified/stock segment-where 1275 engines and disk brakes abound, with an occasional five speed thrown in. This group likes to drive their cars regularly and perhaps do a car show and look stock, while enjoying driveabilty upgrades.
And finally we have a large audience for modified Bugeyes, including our long wheel base car, and engine swaps and more radical choices based on the Bugeye platform. Shelby straddles these last two groups.
Bugeyes have a long history of modifications, right from when they were new. Many Bugeyes were weekend racers back in the 60s, with quick release windshields and flip forward noses plus other mods, so the precedent was set for creative modifications. And even today, you can find Bugeyes in many different flavors.
That’s part of makes our work so entertaining…. we love each community, and love building cars for each audience!
Ashton is now sold and will be heading to a new home in Ohio. If you love this car, check out Bob, an equally awesome restoration. If you love the minilight wheels on Ashton, these can easily be fit on Bob, and in fact, we can build you a Bugeye any way you like!
I really like this Bugeye, and I know you will too!
Ashton is a 1275 powered car that’s nicely lowered for great handling, with slightly wider tires, disk brakes and a great exhaust note. Also featured is supple glove leather on the seats, not the usual stock vinyl.
The car is further upgraded with 1.5 inch twin SU carbs, 1/4 inch larger in diameter than the standard HS2 carbs you usually get on a Bugeye/1275 package. The car breathes better and more power is the result. This is a quick car you can really use and enjoy, with noticeably more guts than a 948 powered Bugeye!
Another wonderful feature is a mild road cam, that works beautifully in tandem with the better induction system mentioned above. Unlike most Bugeyes, this one “comes on the cam” at about 3500 rpms, and the power builds as the revs increase to the redline. It makes driving this Bugeye that much more fun.
Idle quality is great, with a very mild lope that just hints at more power than your garden variety stock Bugeye. I admire the way that the builder set this up, because there is no downside to this increase in horsepower. He did it just right.
The car is a the result of a multi-year project by a master British car restorer, who has dedicated his lifetime to making great British cars. He stripped the body of the car, cut out any rust, welded- in new panels as needed, laid on a great paint job, and fit all the best mechanical components. And it shows in the quality of the build and the quality of the drive! He also fit an excellent new tonneau and a high end Stay Fast deluxe convertible top (see pictures). No side curtains, but we have new ones available.
We are lucky to have an example of this builder’s work!
The car is ready for another 50 years on the road, and for shows and fun drives this summer! Call or email with questions and for pricing information.
We have a new video posted now as part of the GQ car collector series, check it out in the link below! This is the second of two short episodes they have made about our shop.
In this video you can see my first car (1966 MGB) and my third car, a 1965 Mini Cooper, back in the days when classic cars were nearly new and hair was staying in the places it was supposed to stay. You can also see my dad’s 1979 911S we used to autocross together. I couldn’t find any early photos of my fourth car, the 59 Bugeye I still have, and the only one of my early cars that I kept.
GQ has a great series about a few different car collectors, which you can search for on youtube…
This car is now sold, and has moved to a restorer’s home in Virginia. If you are looking for a project car, subscribe in the upper right corner of our home page and you will be alerted by email when the next one comes in!
Here’s a Bugeye project that has been sitting since 1981!
I purchased it from the second owner who bought the car in 1966. He bought it in 1966 for $50 from a kid who needed the money to put tires on his motorcycle!
He (the second owner) used it very little before parking it in 1981 in his garage, where it has sat until recently. The odometer shows under 10k miles. It’s hard to know the actual mileage on any old British car but the prior owner (who I bought the car from) said he drove it very little, so most if not all mileage was put on this car prior to 1966. Kinda cool.
Now the car needs total restoration, or it could be a parts car, although it would be a shame not to bring it back to life, particularly since the car has the original matching engine that came with the car. I have not tried to turn over the engine, but you should assume it is stuck from sitting for 30 plus years, and will need to be rebuilt. The car appears to be complete, less some obvious items like the ignition switch (which is available new for about $65) and hood emblem (about $30).
The car needs floor pans, rocker panels, fender bottom and spring box repair. We have repaired similar Bugeyes — floor pans are available as are rocker panels and pretty much all parts for the car. We have all the sheet metal parts needed in stock and can ship them to you in/with the car. Bugeyes are built with a simple unibody box construction (remember, they were trying to save money in manufacturing so they could make an inexpensive sports car) so removing the rockers and floor pans is not complicated, and this can be a very rewarding project for anyone looking for fun small car with inexpensive parts. We’re restoring one now in our shop for a new owner in California that looked similar to this car when we started and I have included a few pictures of that car now with its new rockers and floor pans. These are common repairs for these unrestored Bugeyes that have sat for 30 plus years.
Years ago this would have been a parts car, but now that Bugeye prices are climbing, and their cult following continues to grow, a car like this is a restoration candidate. There can only be so many of these left, and there is nothing else like a Bugeye. So please give this car a new home, and another chance to delight both driver and spectator with many more Bugeye miles!
I have posted a number of restoration photos below, all of a different Bugeye we are restoring for a customer in California. That lighter green Bugeye had also been sitting for about 30 years and looked similar to this dark green car before we started our restoration. You can see how we have cut away the rusted metal and welded in new metal, as that restoration unfolds. The resto pix begin after the picture of the MGB trunk spare tire-all photos after that are of a different car, to give you and idea of how we would approach restoration of the dark green car pictured here. Call or email if you have questions!
She drove out of our shop about 18 months ago for a 4500 mile drive to Seattle via Arizona, and when Rick called to say he was interested in a new project, I jumped at the opportunity to buy back this car.
This is a road-ready Bugeye, that we fully sorted out before Rick’s trip, and that he further enhanced and improved after his long trip. And so Abby is now available for the next cross country adventure, or certainly for a fly-in to our shop and fun drive home.
You can read more about this car in the “Rick and Abby’s cross country Bugeye Adventure” section on the right margin of this website.
This is a special car, because Rick spared no expense in upgrading this car for long-haul travel and in maintaining the car after his trip. The car has the best of everything installed… new halogen headlights, brighter LED brake and park lights, disk brakes, 1275 engine, chrome wire wheels, three point seat belts, excellent top, tonneau, windows, luggage rack, motorcycle mirrors in the windshield frame (no extra holes needed) and more!
Another rare feature on Abby is a custom locking partition in the boot, so that behind the seats you have a dividing board that locks in place. It’s a nice security feature, since of course nothing locks on a stock Bugeye.
Fly in and we’ll pick you up at the airport so that Abby can take you home!
Our LWB Bugeye is almost done, and we are busily replacing all the various bits that have come off with new or polished replacement components. The final product is wonderful, in correct old English white and deep red.
I’ve driven the car quite a bit now, and it impresses me more and more each time, mainly because it drives and feels just like a Bugeye. There are no new characteristics I can identify that have surfaced, and no bad habits or features. So I have a new reinforcement for my passion for these cars, now that we have discovered that we can modify the dimensions, at least by 5 inches longer, without any adverse effects.
So much of the Bugeye market is driven by modifications. These generally stay within “the norm” and are limited to bigger A series engines and different transmissions, differentials and the like. But here we have a Bugeye that is actually longer, and still feeling very much a Bugeye, and thus our repertoire has expanded, our offerings will now change, and the possibilities expand.
Some have said we should do a 2 plus 2 Bugeye next, but this feels like it is outside the lines. It would seem a Bugeye should always be a small roadster, and our goal in this case was to make access better for two, not to try to change it to a four passenger vehicle.
Also very interesting to me is the issue of visual balance. Some have seen this car and immediately commented that it looks better with a longer door, that the form is now more in balance. If you look at this car next to ABBY, the red Bugeye in front of our shop, you might notice that Abby’s door does indeed look “short.”
This is an ongoing conversation, with no right answer. Unless of course you have had for example a hip replacement and it’s hard now to get into small cars, or you are taller than 6’3″… then the door aesthetic is irrelevant, and the long door Bugeye opens up a new world of possibility for you. And that was our intent with this car as with everything we do… to open the world of Bugeye fun to as many people as possible.
Our GQ video is up! GQ has a new series of short videos featuring car collectors nationwide and we are psyched to be included!
They featured a number of cars I have collected over the years, including my Olde English white Bugeye, 1955 100/4 and black 1962 MGA MK 2. Most of the other cars in the video are cars we have for sale, or cars that have since been shipped to customers. To see our current inventory, please click on the “cars for sale” catergory on the right side of this page.
When I was in elementary school, I used to bring a different Corgi car to school every day in my pocket. Not much has changed, except now things have gotten just a bit bigger. In 1997, we set out to build a leading restoration facility dedicated to the preservation and restoration of Bugeye Sprites and other classic cars. This video represents a wonderful acknowledgement of what we have created and we are proud to be a part of this great series.
If you like the video, please like, comment and share. Thank you for your support of our endeavors!