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How to build a gold level concours Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite

We are proud to announce that we attained a gold award in the concours class at the Austin Healey Enclave in Gettysburg, PA this week! Our 1958 Sprite AN5L 552 scored 965.5 points. Gold is awarded for 950-1000 points. This was a huge achievement for us!

Each car starts with 1000 points. Then four judges pour over every nut and bolt on the car for two full hours, deducting points for any imperfection. Owners get to watch and learn, while hoping that the points don’t come off too quickly!

This is the first of a series of posts I’ll share about the event. It took us a year rebuild this car. It was a wonderful restoration, but we had to undo a lot that was done on this car and redo it with concours standards in mind. That meant taking off a lot of accessories that help drivability, but which were not factory correct. It was an arduous process, and we now have a lot to celebrate. This car is now the oldest Gold level concours Sprite in the world. (make sure to click “read more” below the photo to see a short judging video)

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Barn-Find Bugeye Sprite preservation

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So many old British cars get completely ripped apart, with the intention of blasting, stripping, washing, removing and renewing every last inch. Most people love new, clean, and sterilized… ready for another long run on the open road.

With this particular barn find, however, the owner took a different tack, and hired us to preserve and refresh, without losing the weathered charm. Anyone can strip and paint a car. But to preserve a car’s patina is a different matter.

The mix of old and new is inevitable, and the fine line between the two must be managed carefully. Too mildewed and weathered and no one will want to ride in the car… and too painted and clean means that the car is, like so many other restored cars, perhaps a bit too sterilized.

Meet “Beans,” a 1960 Bugeye we prepared for a discerning collector, who wanted the car faithfully set up just as it was when new– cleaned up, refreshed, renewed, mechanically sorted, but not restored. We started with a remarkably solid car needing only new footwells, which we welded in place. The engine was toast after 40 years of hibernation, so we rebuilt it. We rebuilt the original transmission. Replaced the fuel tank and pump. All the rubber was perished so we replaced it. Shocks and hydraulics were all leaking, and replaced. The original paint was hammered, but we carefully brought it back to life, still weathered, but now with some gloss. Seats were too far gone, so the owner framed them in clear boxes to hang on the wall next to the car, and asked for nice new ones to match the originals.

The result is a great driving and clean one-of-a-kind Bugeye.

Patina perfected.

Our 150th Bugeye Sold!

The Blue Bugeye we called “Marsha” was a milestone, our 150th out the door (now we’re up to 154!). Here’s Cici, the proud new owner of #150, united with her car at home in the Lake Tahoe area.

When I bought my first Bugeye “Gumby” back in 1979, I never would have guessed that one car (and the passion that ensued) would one day result in such a robust Bugeye business. We’ve been at this full time now since 2007, and with each Bugeye we sell, we learn more about how to make the next one even better.

Cici in her bugeye

Restored Bugeye Sprite heads to Canada

IMG_5490This fantastic Bugeye has moved to Canada, and here’s the new owner in the video below, ready for his trip home. This car had an amazing ground up restoration, yet the new owner still used our resources to build a list of accessories into the car, and make it even better before departure! Each of our Bugeyes is unique, and customized to meet the needs of the new owner.

664 miles in his new AH Bugeye Sprite on the first day

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Steve bought “Coleman” from us a week or so ago, and had his wife drop him off at our shop on her way to Vermont. He then drove 664 miles home, non-stop! He left Bugeyeguy at 2pm and arrived at his driveway in West Virginia at about 2AM the next day.

We’ve had several new owners make long maiden voyages in Bugeyes they purchase from us. I’ll admit I am usually a bit anxious because I’m on call in the event of a problem, but as with others before him, Stephen drove pretty much 12 straight hours without issue. He even detoured north to take the Newburgh Bridge across the Hudson, adding more miles to an already long journey.

Cars we’ve prepared have logged thousands of miles with very few issues. Each pilot like Steve helps us to gain valuable information about any vulnerabilities, and each long trip helps us to be our best. To Steve and all the other inspiring long haul Bugeye drivers, we salute you!

“Icarus,” Immaculate 1959 Bugeye Sprite for sale!

Now sold, congratulations, Steve! This excellent car will soon be heading to Ontario!

This is a amazing Bugeye restoration, built with great skill and passion. AN5L 13874 is the product of a multi-year obsessive build to produce a dream bugeye with a few tasteful mods, like a 1275 engine, disk brakes, and Bilstein tube shocks all around. The builder also made a few slick body mods, like a custom rear license plate mount, beautiful aviation style fuel filler and interior bonnet release to unlock the flip forward nose.

If you want a beautiful custom Bugeye, you should check out this car.

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Exceptional 1959 Austin Healey 2-seat 100/6 for sale!

IMG_6588 We sold this gorgeous Healey last year to a great client in Florida, who has now asked us to sell it for him on consignment. It’s a fantastic car so we are happy to offer it to again!

This is BN6L 2795, a wonderful car, fully restored and very useable with the correct original matching engine. It’s available at $59,995! You’ve seen lots of Big Healeys with $75k asking prices and more… this one is a very high level restoration for a very reasonable price.

As you might have seen in prior posts, I am partial to the two-seat big Healeys, like this one. The two seaters are just more elemental, more authentic, more sporting, more clean. This one was extremely well-restored and drives beautifully. NEW! Spend five minutes with this car in the video below… (and click the “read more” text below the video to see the photo album!)


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“Fletch,” a 1960 Race Bugeye made street legal rocket!

Now sold! Thank you Bill!

We sold this Bugeye recently to a great client, who had us completely transform this cool ex-racer for a new life on the street. Now, he’s asked us to sell it for him so here’s a chance to purchase his very cool transformed racer. Bill upgraded everything in the car to make a steetable machine that would turn heads, so the new owner gets a fantastic rust free racer that has had all systems upgraded for a life in “retirement.”

There’s nothing dull about it!

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“Willis,” 100% restored 1960 AH Bugeye Sprite for sale!

This is a special car.

“Willis” is the product of a loving rotisserie ground-up restoration by a passionate collector. He started with a solid car and any rust was completely removed, new patches were welded in place and the entire body was recoated with primer and paint. Over and under, inside and out, everything is better than new. Then the car was fit with all the best mods like a 1275 rebuilt engine and disk brakes.

We bought the car from this restorer about two years ago, and then sold the car to a two-bugeye owner who worked out any remaining kinks and carefully finished the last few details. The result is a totally turn-key Bugeye that looks completely stock, yet hides great and tastefully done improvements. The car is completely sorted and ready to go. Fly in and drive this car anywhere! Take a test drive in the video below!

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Bugeye Sprite film, coming soon!

You might remember the green Bugeye Boyd we sold a few months back, a stunning 1959 Bugeye. Here’s Boyd in a trailer for his new film, coming soon from the family that adopted him. Do I see an Oscar in Boyd’s future?