Liz and Bruce came this week to drive their “new’ bugeye (#194, Motor Mike) which they will soon take home to the Rochester area. They have been British car owners for ages, and I was lucky to grab this photo of them getting ready for their ride. If you squint just right, in this photo you can see two happy teenagers on their way to the prom.
Road and Track was my favorite magazine before I got my license. I would canvas the neighborhood on my stingray (bicycle), searching people’s driveways for cars I had learned about in R & T. Peter Egan was my favorite writer, and he taught me that a British car heater was as powerful as a “hamster blowing through a straw,” and this is something I have now spent many winters remembering as I drive around town in a coat, happy that the hamster at least makes it possible for me to remove my gloves.
When I found this article about Bugeyes by Egan in the March of 1996 edition of Road and Track, I thought it needs to be archived here on our site, for all our readers to enjoy, and also for future British car lovers to read so they too can grow up and start businesses to support these wonderful cars.
Of particular interest in this piece is the story of Rob Garofalo’s gold level Concours Sprite which was a 990 point car in the 1992 national Healey club concours, claimed to be to be the first gold Bugeye ever recorded. I have not been able to get a count of the total number of gold badges awarded for Bugeyes since but I now know of just three: our car 552 was gold in 2015. Woody, the green bugeye we sold to Ben Kenion was awarded gold in 2016. If anyone knows of other cars that have received gold level award, please let me know.
Finally, note the original green rubber mat set shown as well as the correct green seats and dash for a leaf green car. It’s a green festival so ugly, it’s beautiful. Rubber mats such as these are no longer available. They were thin and inexpensive and wore out quickly. We have carpet and hardura alternatives in our Bugeyeguyparts catalog.
These bonnet mounted driving lights have been popular with Bugeye Sprites, probably since the first endurance event that lasted into the night. You’ve seen them on Sebring Sprites, and on many other Bugeyes that have raced into the night.
I love how these look and I’m fitting them to my Bugeye “Gumby” during the current restoration. We’ve tried bumper mounted driving lights on other Bugeyes and while it is nice to avoid drilling holes in the body, it’s very difficult to fit the lights symmetrically to the natural depression in the nose of these cars when they are mounted on the bumper. By instead mounting them as shown, you can ensure they will fit perfectly in this recess. In fact, when you buy this lighting kit from us, we include a small template so you can properly pierce your (Bugeye) nose. Just one small hole is required on each side of the grill as shown in the video below.
Wiring is simple-on Gumby, I am using a two position pull switch on the dash to activate the lights (available separately). Since I have fuel injection on that car and no choke, I am mounting that switch in the choke hole on the dash. You can also mount a hidden switch under the dash.
We’re excited to offer these lights for any other owners looking for beautiful accessory that looks great also improves nighttime visibility. They come in a beautiful chrome housing and with a replaceable halogen bulb. Wiring not included.
Bud and Phoebe know how to live! And they sure look like they are having fun, as they provide a great model for what’s possible when a Bugeye Sprite gets into your DNA (they had owned their previous Sprite for the last 35 years).
These are the folks who traded their red Bugeye last week (with front fender damage, see them in “trade in your Bugeye” a few posts down) for a nice red Bugeye from our inventory. Here they are officially welcoming their new child into their lives, with appropriate pomp and ceremony. We received their adoption notice this week, with the car photo on the front of the card and the text on the back as shown. We wish this new family many happy miles!
We have now sold 199 Sprites (theirs was #196). We have more good ones in stock to adopt, and the next lucky customer is #200!
After an exhaustive study of green leather color swatches, we ordered an entire leather hide for Gumby’s custom interior, and our first “cow” arrived today. A fat cow in South Germany has given it’s life for beef products and we are the lucky recipients of its hide, which will provide a new green skin for Gumby’s dashboard, seats and panels.
This hide came from Germany, where, I am told, the cows have no humps (so yield is greater), the fences have no barbed wire (so the leather is not scratched), and the result is the best covering you can get for an auto interior. The car that effectively started Bugeyeguy deserves nothing less.
Above you can see the car’s namesake (who is cable-tied to the rear view mirror) wearing his new leather toga. The shades of green are all over the place in these photos (depending on how much LED light was present) but the “aloe thorn” green we chose looks really cool with the Aston racing green color scheme that is unfolding on this car. We’ll get more pictures posted as the interior comes together. In the bigger picture at left, you can see the entire hide un-rolled and laid-out over my car. Soon, the cutting and sewing begins.
We had our hide custom-dyed to match our green theme on Gumby and also had the leather embossed with a more textured pebble-grain finish, to make this leather interior that much more special. We are very excited to be pushing the Bugeye interior envelope with this car. We are confident that this developmental project will inspire many more new custom interiors that honor the Bugeye’s past while providing the high level of fit and finish often demanded by our clients.
Bugeyes, as you might know, all came from the factory with vinyl seat, dash and panel covers. But for high-end modified projects like Gumby (and others to follow), only the finest hide will do.
The Austin Healey Club of America magazine features celebrity Healeys this month and Caitlyn Jenner’s Bugeye (which we prepared) features prominently.