Here’s a Bugeye we sold called “Roz” with her new supercharger installed. The new owner asked for this upgrade and the car is almost ready for delivery. I love this upgrade, because it opens up a new world of high rpm Bugeye fun. Stay tuned for a driving video, to come soon!
“Beans” has more life in the paint than we had thought! Here’s a shot of the nose during cleaning and restoration of the paint. The problem is the paint is very thin, which you can understand since it’s 55 years old. So we’ll have a shiny old paint job when done, with some imperfections, and next we have to figure out what if any restoration we will do to the most weathered spots.
You can see the original beige color coming back to life on the left side of this photo.
We have an interesting challenge with this particular car, now sold (Congratulations Roby!) and that’s to preserve more than it is to restore. The new owner of this amazing barn find doesn’t want an immaculate repaint, but wants to make the car useable again while preserving its patina. And so we set out this week to manage the fine line between “just right” and over-restored. For example, the seats were trashed so we will replace them with new ones, but we will use the original chambered foam pillows which are no longer available, under new vinyl covers that are an excellent reproduction of the original ones. Meanwhile the original seat covers will be framed to travel with the car.
The engine is out to be bored and rebuilt and we’ll check in again soon as this car comes together.
As I shot this video, I felt like I was documenting the destruction of this Bugeye. Salty water got in all the seams during my wet 30 mile drive an hour earlier, during a March snowstorm. While it was the first day of Spring, no antique British car should have been out in this weather, with freshly salted wet roads.
And yet this was one of my best seasons ever for Bugeye driving, and this old friend, “Gumby,” my first Bugeye purchased in 1979, is anything but ruined. Because the car is mid-restoration, I have chosen to use Gumby all winter long, even though we’ve had one of our worst winters ever. As a result, I got more Bugeye miles this winter than many people get in a summer.
The car has performed beautifully for 36 years, and today I was able to deliver our Bugeye barn find’s engine block to the machinist in this car, and enjoy a fun drive, and keep all the systems exercised. So was I destroying the car or honoring the car by taking it out in this weather?
Here’s a stunning car that was beautifully restored by a passionate collector. I knew his work from a Bugeye we purchased that he restored, so I jumped on this one when he called, because he has a true passion for quality. The car was completely stripped and reassembled, and totally restored on a rotisserie, so this classic is now better than new. His body and chassis work is exceptional. [Read more…]
I drove five awesome British cars today, but this car, #47 “Fletch,” (for sale in the next post) was by far my favorite. Fletch reminded me of my first minibike, that I pulled onto the street in front of my house and held at full throttle, waiting to see just how fast I could go. I felt like I was lining up at a start line at every stop sign. This car still feels like a race car. and it calls you to go, and go fast. You should be able to hear the amazing sound as the engine spools-up. This 1098 engine is balanced and has a lightened flywheel so it revs freely. I just wanted to keep on pushing, it sounds better and better as the RPMs climb.
The straight cut gears are a bit whiney, but that sound is quickly drowned out by the screaming exhaust, as the revs build and so does driver joy. Every suburban street corner apex starts calling. Someone is going to have a blast bombing around the neighborhood in this rocket.
We drained the battery hooking up the lights, and I couldn’t wait for a full charge, so you’ll see us push starting in these videos. We’ll fix that for the new owner.
And if you are wondering what I else drove today: I drove to work in a 5 speed Bugeye (testing after our upgrade of the transmission). Next I tested a supercharged Bugeye we just completed for another customer. Then I drove our Austin Healey 3000 (we’ve just finished restoring) to drop off our packages around the corner, and then I drove our right hand drive Morris Minor Traveler home. A great day with great cars! (But this racer gave me the biggest smile…)
I love this car. I have been staring at it periodically wishing I could drive it, and now that we’ve made it street ready, I can drive this racer around town without needing to load it up on a trailer for the sojourn to the race track. It has been civilized for everyday use, but I assure you, jumping in and firing it up you’ll still feel like you’re in an all-out racer!
“Fletch” (AN5L 29594) had a complete street makeover and is now street legal and ready for regular road service. [Read more…]
Someone is going to have a blast winning car shows this summer with this beauty!
This is a special car for anyone who loves a complete and obsessive restoration. AN5L 13208 was lovingly restored on a rotisserie with every inch renewed and re-coated. The car was fit with a rebuilt 948 engine and smoothcase transmission, and is now ready for a new home. Everything is new, with less than 500 miles driven since complete and comprehensive restoration. [Read more…]
Russ the mechanic and I just started the engine on the super special barn Bugeye we have for sale (see current inventory). This car hasn’t run since 1988, but because it was stored in such a wonderful dry California climate, everything is still in good shape. We soaked the rings in marvel mystery oil for a while before we turned over the engine. And we cranked it with no plugs to make sure the oil pressure came up. Then we rigged a temporary fuel supply and you can see what happens next in the video below!
I don’t know the folks who composed this song and video, but I love the way they capture what I call “Life with Bugeye.” And we had a cameo… you can see ten cars for sale in front of our shop in the video!