It’s rare enough to see a single supercharged bugeye but here we have two together in our yard. Both of these Sprites have 1275 motors with blowers on them. Shelby (the blue car) is the third we have supercharged and we love this mod- not easy to fit properly, but a real blast to drive once done. Check out this fun under hood video:
Our new head fairing is almost ready! Here are some pictures of Gumby, my Bugeye since high school, out for testing with the prototype in place. People ask me “what is it?” I say a head rest that makes the car look like a Jaguar D-type, one of the coolest sports cars of all time. Thus our “B-type” head fairing is born, and will be available for sale shortly. I took these pictures on the street in New Haven, Connecticut on a recent trip to the Apple store,
We have another great article in the July, 2014 issue of Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car! (you can see their first article about our cars featuring three different Bugeyes at the top of our homepage) This new one is all about the blown Bugeye we built for a great customer in Vancouver. Click the link below to read the article! Thanks to David Lachance for another great Bugeye Story!
In the top picture, you can see the car as it looked once completed. In the picture beneath, you can see David shooting his detail pictures on his visit. The supercharger is a fantastic upgrade. We have kits in stock if you want us to build a blower Bugeye for you!
It was very hard to part with this amazing modified 1965 Sprite, but we recently sold it to a great new owner in Nashville, where it will certainly have a great home. After the purchase, we were tasked with improving any weakness in the car, and so we further upgraded this already wonderfully upgraded car. Each improvement made the total package that much better, and now the car is TRULY ready for it’s next chapter.
As with most of the cars we purchase, there is an initial punch list of mechanical issues that need to be addressed, so we handled those first. No matter how well restored a car may be advertised to be, there are always issues that the prior owner either didn’t know they had, or couldn’t address with their resources for whatever reason. That’s why we get so many calls from people who have made recent EBAY purchases, because the listing seldom matches the actual car, no matter how good the photos look. We have the luxury of a fully stocked shop and a whole lot of experience knowing what is truly possible for these cars.
So here is the list of what we did before we could let this car go… first, the brakes were not operating at their potential. Even though they worked OK, I could tell from driving a lot of Sprites that they could be better. The rear brakes, it turns out, were assembled with the springs on the wrong side, so the rear brakes weren’t doing much, and the shoes were wearing at an angle. The Ebrake linkages were also installed incorrectly, so the rear brakes were compromised. Add to that a pair of leaking rear wheel cylinders and so there was brake fluid on the rear shoes. In total, the rear brakes needed to be completely redone.
Next the master cylinder had started weeping a bit, and the new owner elected to have us put in an upgraded sleeved master for improved longevity. There was a plug in the slave cylinder with no bleed screw, so we addressed that, bled the whole system, and that took care of the hydraulic system.
We next tuned and synched the carbs, and changed the ram air inlets to K and N lifetime air filters. I couldn’t tell that there was any degradation in performance but we feel a lot better now that the incoming air is filtered. We did notice a flat spot at about 3500 rpms, and a rich pair of needles fixed that, which was not surprising given the upgraded power plant in this car.
Next we moved on to modern drivability, and enhanced all the lighting, with LED lights on all four corners, and LED brake and tail lights. Cibie-style headlight bulbs also improved the look and lighting on the front end. We needed to convert to negative ground for the LEDs to operate, and that meant converting the electronic tach for negative ground. Complete disassembly of the tach is required for this.
We then added an air horn to replace the “road runner” style “meep meep” horn that was in there.
Another issue was a loose baffle that was rattling in the handsome twin tip muffler. The new owner opted to replace that with our slick Sebring Sprite muffler we have developed, with more petite tips that look more to scale on the car, and a deep and serious exhaust note.
Next were three-point retractable shoulder belts, which really help to make the driver feel more secure.
Shifting was difficult, especially when cold, so we added MTL synthetic, which I love in these Datsun five speed transmissions. It is a magic cure for difficult gear engagement in this particular gearbox.
Add to all this complete service of all the other routine items, and the car is ready for it’s new home. You can see me and Bodhi take our final February test drive here before loading the car into an enclosed trailer for (much warmer) Nashville.
I am not sure what you get when you pay for “dealer prep” shown on the window sticker of every new car. But at Bugeyeguy, dealer prep means 20 or 30 hours of careful enhancements for modern roadways and a thorough diagnostic discussion with a new owner to make sure that the car that arrives is exactly as expected. We’ve had customers who want to do it themselves, and customers with great local mechanics who they want to use for any enhancements. But most of our customers want to take advantage of the expertise that comes from now 120 Sprites we’ve shipped to new homes. With every car we learn something new, and we leverage that experience to make the next car even better!
We just completed an awesome transformation of one of our Bugeyes, Lawton, who just left for his new home in New Hampshire.
This is a 948 equipped Bugeye that we hopped-up for the new owner, and now, formally meek Lawton has found a loud and powerful voice.
We started with a stock Bugeye power plant, originally rated to contain just 43 horses, except this particular engine had already been bored 40 over with a hotter cam and a lightened flywheel. Everything had already been balanced when the engine was rebuilt a while back. Original H1 SUs were fit, with their tiny 1 1/8 inch throats. The car had a somewhat petite exhaust center pipe, mated to a lovely Abarth twin tipped muffler, but you could hear the engine was a little choked, as though exhaling through pursed lips.
So we ripped the engine apart, put in a big valve head, stainless exhaust header, larger HS2 1 1/4 carbs, k and n air filters, larger exhaust pipe and free flow muffler. The result is quite impressive and now Lawton has as much power as many of the stock and perhaps middle aged 1275 engines that we see on these cars.
You can see the stock engine “before” in the first picture shown, and underneath a photo of the small yet lovely tail pipes. The next photo shows the larger tail pipes that we fit (note new LED taillights too). In the lower photos, you can see the small valve head we replaced with the fresh big valve head.
This is a very stock car, with all the right concours level work done. Now, the car still looks nearly perfect, but the driving experience is markedly better. Perhaps now we have about 53HP, but the sound of this free-revving engine makes it feel like a whole lot more.
Take a “before” and “after” drive in the videos below. You should be able to see for yourself that Lawton has now grown up, and runs quite nicely with an exceptional exhaust note.
We hope to do more of these conversions, as this is a nice way to optimize a 948 engine and produce ample power for most Bugeye users. 1275s are great, but they are not needed for all applications.
Lawton drive before:
Lawton drive after:
Roxy is a beautiful BRG and tan custom Bugeye, and one of the most powerful Bugeyes we’ve built. She has a new supercharger boosting her 1275 engine from roughly 65 HP up to 90 HP, and the result is just a joy to drive.
This blower unit is nothing like the Judson kits you sometimes see on 948 Bugeyes. This is a modern Moss kit, and while the end result is excellent, there are about six different build challenges where you are “on your own” and fabrication and customization of the kit is required in order to get it all to work in a Bugeye. Russ the Bugeyeguy master technician nailed all the issues, and Roxy’s blower kit is working flawlessly. Thank you Russ!
The supercharger option is one more way we can build a unique Bugeye for our customers who want a Sprite that roars!
We also have a normally aspirated 1380 CC Bugeye that recorded more than 100 HP on the dyno, and perhaps we will do a comparison test… that one might even be quicker… but what I love about Roxy is the steady increase in power right up to the redline, which makes driving Roxy that much more fun.
You can see me gesturing as I drive, moving my hand through the exponentially increasing graph of power and pleasure!
Roxy is a trick car with lots of great accessories. Next week, our custom build-out will be complete, and the Roxy will head to a new home in Vancouver, BC. Congratulations Karlo!
It’s very tempting to consider a supercharger Murphy! That car already has a lot of modifications that would nicely complement this kit.
Come for a drive in the videos below! First, one of our maiden voyages, with the nose off, and then a full blown street drive!