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Best Bugeye Photo we have seen this year

marvin hopson bugeye yard sale

While this looks a bit like a yard sale, it’s actually Marvin celebrating the pieces of his Bugeye project which he is determined to assemble this year.

Go Marvin! You can do it! Keep us posted!

Best British car video I have seen this year

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Here’s my nomination for grand prize British car video of the year!

You might remember seeing this 1962 MG Midget for sale on our site about a year ago. This awesome video was made by the car’s new owner, who had us ship the car to Savannah, Georgia, which is the beautiful backdrop you see in the video.

I love this film because it perfectly captures the fun and the lifestyle of ownership of any car full of personality. Whether Bugeye, Midget or any other quirky little car, Jon has captured the unadulterated bliss that comes with ownership of one of these cars. These folks are clearly having a lot of fun with this car.

He’s raised the bar for 0ur Bugeyeguy videos… if only I had the ten hours he says it took to edit his clips into the result you see here!

Enjoy the ride!

Most worn camshaft ever

We have a 67 MGB in the shop that was making a bigger than normal valve clatter, so we removed the camshaft to investigate and found seriously worn lobes and lifters. Once the tappets get pitted, it’s all over, as they will steadily grind away the lobes of the cam and rob performance and ultimately start to make a lot of noise. In the video below, you can see the extent of the wear. While this video features MGB engine parts, all classic British cars are vulnerable to this problem.

Modern oil no longer has ZDDP added, apparently since late model roller bearings don’t need it and because catalytic converters are damaged by it (thanks Bob for the heads up) and so all classic cars are out of luck. Apparently the zinc makes a protective coating that will reduce wear to the valve train. We are offering zinc additive in a four ounce bottle you should add after every oil change. It’s cheap insurance, and after seeing this camshaft, we are now believers! You can click the “add to cart” button below to order some zinc for your engine, or check out “for sale/accessories,” where you can order zinc and other good stuff. And some racing oils also have zinc added, check the label!


 

” No hill for a climbing man…” Bugeye Sprite completes 1350 mile winter drive

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Our man Cody arrived in Navarre Beach Florida last night, after departing Connecticut this past Sunday. He spent about two full days with his 6’4″ frame packed in his Bugeye, and drove straight through Monday night. Congratulations Cody for your great adventure! And congratulations to our team of Sprite experts who helped build this car!

Mechanical issues were minor, and we are delighted, because we spent about a month getting the car ready for its new home so we had high expectations. His wipers stopped when his wiper motor overheated, but his glass was already well coated with RainX since the one speed wipers didn’t work that well even when new.

I got a phone call on Monday night at about 10pm from the shoulder on the Interstate with Cody saying that “the headlights had quit,” which I think caused me more stress then it did him. But I told him to cycle his high beam dip switch, and in two minutes he was back on his way again. Those dip switches are poorly made reproductions and we hope our suppliers can improve the quality, because this is obviously a safety issue. His last issue was a sticking clutch piston in the master cylinder, which should be easy to fix now that he is home. All in all, this was an impressive feat for a 55 year old tiny 45 hp car, and an even more impressive feat for the driver!

Who’s next?

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6’4″ Bugeye Sprite Driver crosses Atlanta, 1000 miles done, 326 to go!

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Cody is purring along, running on Red Bull and books on tape which he is playing through his phone and bluetooth speaker. There was a little problem with his wiper motor which overheated and quit after more continuous run time than it has probably seen in the last 30 or so years, but with a well-waxed windshield, our pilot soldiered on. He sent this photo from the interstate yesterday evening somewhere south of Richmond. “Like riding my Harley in the rain,” he texted.

As you might know the one-speed wipers in a Bugeye don’t work all that well even under the best of circumstances. Now he’s into drier and warmer weather with just 326 miles to go.

Go Cody!

A 1300 mile Bugeye Sprite January Drive with size 13 feet!

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James Cody deserves immediate admission into the Bugeye Sprite hall of fame. This past Saturday at at 10:00 PM he set out into the darkness in his Bugeye, bound for Pensacola Florida, 1300 miles away. Temperature, 14 degrees. Shoe size-13.

This would be a great adventure for anyone, but Cody is particularly unique because he is 6’4. It would seem that he exceeds the max gross height for a Bugeye pilot… and yet when he called me from Woodbridge, VA this morning and I asked him if he had been to the chiropractor after his first 400 miles, he said that he is extremely comfortable in his new car, more comfortable he says than in his Yukon Denali at home! Cody was born part Bugeye.

This bugeye was an ebay purchase Cody made a month ago, from a seller in Maryland. We had the car picked up and brought to our shop in Connecticut, where we recorded 95 items needing attention to optimize the car and make it road ready (sadly, this has become the norm with most ebay cars). As Cody said, it would have been cheaper to buy one of our cars in inventory because our work to sort out the car exceeded his purchase price. But he was happy to invest in a car he has loved since his last one in 1967 (see video below)

This car was jumping out of gear and needed a new transmission, as well as new top and windows, re-wiring, hydraulic and suspension repairs. We are psyched that his little stock drum brake and 948 car has soldiered on through the cold night, even in freezing ran. As of Monday morning he was 400 miles in, with 900 to go, sitting out the freezing rain in a motel.

On behalf of sportscar lovers worldwide, we salute you James Cody.

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A year of Fun with Bugeye Sprites and British cars

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Most of us grew-up with fantasies of trucks swarming our property, or displays of our prized miniature toys hidden around the house. This house keeps that memory alive. I wish all of us who love these little cars a great year of childlike bliss.

I went to this house to purchase the MGB you see in the garage for a client. This is our new year’s card, our universal greeting, and our mission… here’s to a year of exceptional transportation out of the ordinary, and a year of great fun!

128 improvements later, test drive this near perfect 1960 948 powered Bugeyed Sprite

Our red Bugeye is nearly ready to ship back to the customer in Maryland, with a whopping 128 improvements. We had about 60 items to fix when we got the car, but the project mushroomed into a full-on transformation of every worn part on the car. Jim (the owner) has been a great partner, inviting us to keep improving every step of the way, and the result is one awesome machine.

Come for a drive with me in the video below!

This car had lacked sure-footedness and stability because of multiple suspension issues front and rear, and now the car is tight and crisp through the turns and over bumps, courtesy of a multitude of improvements. For example, the king pins were worn, the a arm bushings missing, wire wheel splines were worn, wheels were worn too. The car drove fine before we started, and it might have been easy to discount the shortcomings as design flaws for this old short wheel base car, but once all the pieces work in harmony, the Bugeye drives blissfully. We are grateful for our experience driving more than 150 different Bugeyes because each one teaches us what is possible, and allows us to strive to produce the best driving machines.

Once the new tach goes in and new top goes on, we’ll load Jim’s car in an enclosed trailer and send it south to him for the next chapter! The electronic tach by the way is another innovation we have for sale which allows us to do away with the always problematic tach drive, cable and tach drive generator. This old fashioned system is constantly breaking in the field, and our new electronic tach looks just like the original mark one item, with a secret VDO mechanism inside that works much more reliably. Jim’s Bugeye will have one of these, and yours can too. Email if you want more info.

Be kind to your Bugeye Sprite gearbox

I love old British transmissions, and their non-synchro first/reverse gears are just not an issue. But I have noticed from riding with a lot of new classic car owners that they sometimes accidentally catch first while shifting from second to third. Grinding is the result. It’s easy to avoid on a 2/3 shift, you simply keep a tad of pressure to the right as you push the lever forward, and the shifter will jump over slightly so it easily aligns with the synchronized third gear.

People also habitually try to engage first gear while sliding through a stop sign, which also results in grinding. The fix is to come to a full stop and engage first. Alternatively, you can roll through while staying in second.

The other cardinal rule is to be gentle with the shifter, and to use light pressure. With good timing, the gear box will almost draw the shifter into gear, instead of the driver applying excessive force. The goal is to shift quickly but gently. Challenge yourself to be 100% grind free.

If it’s grinding, seek help, you’re doing something wrong, or something is wrong with your driveline. If you keep grinding, your gears will (sadly) come to look like what you see in the video below.

We always have rebuilt smooth and ribbed case transmissions in stock, and we can sell you one or install one in your car, but hopefully this post will help keep your gearbox alive and well for generations to come!

Bugeye Sprite on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee…

Screen Shot 2014-12-07 at 1.28.25 PMClick Here to watch a fun new video of Jerry Seinfeld’s web based car/coffee series!

I spoke to the series producer several times about Jerry using one of the Bugeyes we shipped to the West Coast but it didn’t work out. I don’t know the specific car that was used, but it’s a fun video of a nice Bugeye. Enjoy!