Another two-seater convertible for the Texans


Fuck Cancer
Feb 9, 2007
Tejas Hill Country
GT3 RS, Cayenne, Bugeye Sprite, Portofino M
Today we took delivery of a 1960 Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite which has been in my family for longer than I have. This was my father's first car which he bought shortly before college in 1964 (I think). Thankfully my dad's still with us, but the car has sat unused and undriven since 2010 or so and I guess he finally decided it was time to sell. I'd always told him I expected right of first refusal and so he shipped it down to me in Texas to start its new life. This little car was a huge part of my childhood. It's the car I learned to drive a manual transmission in. It's certainly the germination of my love of convertibles and the reason I've owned Miatas and Z3s and a parade of two seater sports cars my entire life.

It's definitely in "project car" condition. Engine seems solid enough, but it's got a fair bit of rust, the bonnet is misaligned, and the paint is in rough shape. Engine seems solid and running pretty well, but the brakes are sketchy. We drove it around the neighborhood this afternoon and aside from the ancient rubber on the tires and bouncy suspension it wasn't too terribly scary. We'll spend the rest of this weekend just trying to sort out what we're dealing with and what needs to be done first.

The Miata looks horrifyingly huge next to this guy.




More photos here:
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Fantastic! Should be a brilliant little car when it's all sorted out.
Fantastic! Should be a brilliant little car when it's all sorted out.
The soft top leaks even on the best of days and you basically need a PhD in mechanical engineering just to get it set up. I don't imagine we'll be doing much wet weather driving in it. The PATENTS plate is from my dad who was a patent attorney before he retired.
Yay Frogeye! Well it's a Frogeye over here anyway. :p

Love it, I always think you would feel incredibly small in one of those things in this country but in the US you must feel like an compared to some of the enormous trucks you see. Looking forward to the progress and breakdowns.
YAY! It's so cute.
OK, this is fantastic. I'm digging through all the old receipts and service history that came with the car and I found this note from a 2008 service:

"Adjusted throttle cable. Cable casing should be replaced. If you can't find one on internet, try a bicycle store."
nice car!
Oooh! does this mean you're making a hill climb car?

An old family car, great! I can only imagine how much of hoot to drive that thing will be once it's been gone through and brought up to snuff.

Eventually we need to have a Texas FG old car gettogether.
We need to buy Nugget and equi goggles and scarves for driving this around.
Great progress today...

The broken windshield wipers turned out to be a simple disconnected wire. The wiper switch "W" was only connected on one side, to ground, and this guy was just dangling under the dash. Screwed it back in to the switch and the wipers... move. It's enough to pass inspection and adequate for a car that doesn't even have a roof. I'll take it.


I also ripped out the radio and did a lot of cleanup and tidying of the rats nest of wiring behind the dash. There were a lot of dangling, vestigial wires no longer connected to anything, and plenty of needless mess wrapped in 30 year old electrical tape. I re-routed a lot, tightened every connection I could reach, and made it a lot more livable back there. The amount of copper I tossed out legitimately counts as weight reduction in a car this light!


We put the car up on jack stands so we could haul all the wheels down to Discount Tire for the new tires. I'm sad to lose the whitewall, but I'm glad to have new, sticky tires that are from this decade. The spare tire was comically old, bragging on the side that it's a modern "tubeless" design.



New sticky Kumho rubber:


Finally, the care package from Bugeyeguy Parts arrived late in the afternoon and I was able to install LED turn signal lamps and swap out the old flasher module for a modern, solid-state unit. The car is 25% more flashy now.


I believe this means we're able to pass the safety inspection, which we'll try tomorrow. Assuming that passes I should be able to sort out title and registration on Monday. Woot!
This morning I got the car titled and tagged. Texas has a deal where on antique or classic license plates you can supply vintage plates from the same year the car was manufactured. I found a pair of 1960 plates on eBay, scrubbed off all the rust, repainted them, and used them for the registration. I think it's a great look for the car: