Restored 1960 Austin Healey Sprite “Bugeye” MKI
AACA (Antique Automobile Club of America) Junior, Senior & Grand National First Place Award Winning “Bugeye”
Includes Restored Factory Hardtop & Side Windows, Tonneau Cover, Convertible Top, Spare & Jack
Simply One of the Finest “Bugeyes” Available Today
OVERVIEW—THIS PARTICULAR 1960 AUSTIN-HEALEY BUGEYE SPRITE
This cars recognition by AACA (Antique Automobile Club of America) speaks volumes about the cars level of restoration and overall quality. Not only did the Bugeye receive First Place AACA recognition for the Junior and Senior Judging, but more important, it received the distinction as a Grand National Car one year later (documented by correspondence from AACA, attached). Since the prestigious awards were granted, the car has been used minimally, and owned by enthusiasts who cherished the Bugeye and maintained it to the highest standards. The extensive file of recent repairs supports a cost no object to keep the Bugeye in excellent mechanical condition. While the receipts are too lengthy to summarize in detail, a summary of maintenance/service (supported by receipts) within a reported few thousand miles and the previous ~3 years is as follows:
- Remove cylinder head, install new valve guides, valves, hardened exterior valve seats. Removed distributor to replace points, condenser, rotor, distributor cap, reinstalled and timed. Flushed cooling system & added new 50/50 coolant, installed new heater core, new hoses, clamps. Replaced choke cable and adjusted. Compression check with good results. $3,823.11
- Complete rebuild of both carburetors including SU carburetor certification. New parts used to include throttle shafts, bushings, float valves, gaskets, seals, and all parts cleaned and polished parts as appropriate.
- New front & rear braking system including: new brake drums, brake shoes, master cylinder, wheel cylinders, return springs, bleed brakes and replace other related parts. Replace left and right rear axle hubs, install new bearings, replace dust \seals and gaskets. Replaced clutch slave cylinder and push rods, bleed system. Lubed front suspension & service steering rack and hand brake. Installed new horn and ensured functional horn. $4,874.11
- New Coker tires (P155/80R13”) $450.00 Replaced on 12/12/17
- Replaced tach cable and gear tach drive / complete oil service (<3,000 miles ago) 362.69
- New distributor and adjust timing, adjust carb idle speed and mixture. $527.24
- New valve cover seals, oil pressure relief valve, new washer grommets, other miscellaneous. $149.88
- Replace fuel tank and fuel filter. Install new thermostat housing, in line fuel filter, and brass fitting for fuel tank connection. $574.44
- R&R head gasket due to seepage. Included new gaskets, thermostat, and housing, adjust ignition, points and timing. Change oil in dash pots, synchronize carbs and tune, new fuel pump, new hoses and radiator cap. $1,052.65
- 5/23/19 – New ignition coil, points & condenser, spark plugs and wires, adjust carbs. $350.41
- 3/16/20 – Replace front timing cover, plate gaskets and crankshaft seal. Drill and tap timing cover plate for new 7mm bolts. Tighten steering rack mounts, oil filter stand, install new heat shield. Complete brake system check. $847.11
DETAILS-THIS PARTICULAR 1960 AUSTIN-HEALEY BUGEYE SPRITE MK I
The old adage “A photo is worth a thousand words” could not be more appropriate when it comes to this example. The extensive photos of the Bugeye support the incredible efforts that went into this “nut and bolt” restoration to bring it to AACA Grand National winning standards. We encourage you to review all of the photos that accurately depict the quality of the Sprite including an exceptionally straight body with superb panel fit, correct interior with fully functional electrical system, highly detailed and recently service engine and immaculate engine bay, totally straight, damage free underside showing original panels, detailed suspension, and signs of recent improvements.
At the time of the restoration, it is apparent that the Bugeye was totally disassembled, stripped to bare metal, and restored with a high level of attention to detail to bring it to Concourse level. Floor pans are original, totally straight and 100% rust-free, as is the entire undercarriage. The body has been repainted in factory-correct Cherry Red.
The cockpit edge trim and windshield posts have all been polished. The windshield is free from any damage. New rubber gaskets were used when re-installing the taillights and headlights and new headlight bezels were installed. A new black convertible top has been installed and a new black tonneau cover procured.
The entire front suspension was removed and rebuilt using all new bushings and fasteners. Similarly, the rack-and-pinion steering was removed and rebuilt using all new rubber parts. The entire brake system has been redone using new lines, a new master cylinder, new wheel cylinders. New shoes and all drums were recently replaced.
The factory correct engine was retained to achieve a level of originality and recently received a complete top end within a few thousand miles with the engine having received a complete rebuild at the time of the restoration. This included freshening with many new gaskets and seals and a positive compression test. The engine was painted the proper green color. Proper air cleaners/filters have added to the dual SU carburetors. A proper cloth-braided wiring harness has been installed in the 12-volt electrical system. All fluids have been drained and replaced and the repair receipts document a considerable amount of work between 2017 and present.
The interior has been redone in proper black, which nicely complements the red exterior. Knobs, switches, and gauges are excellent, and the electrical system is fully functional. A complete weather strip kit has been installed on the doors, hood, and windshield.
Anyone who has done a restoration knows it is expensive! The above description does not include all the many details involved to bring the car to a show / AACA level.
- 948 cc engine w/ dual SU carburetors; Austin-Healey green
- 4-speed smooth case synchromesh transmission; Austin-Healey green
- Complete brake overhaul <3 years
- Rear wheel drive
- Proper Sprite steel wheels and hubcaps
- Four like new P155/80/13” tires
- Spare tire and jack in rear compartment
- Completely renewed drum braking system
- Excellent chatter-free clutch
- Completely rebuilt front suspension
- Rebuilt rack-and-pinion steering
- Quiet, leak-free rear end
- New cloth-braided wiring harness
- New battery
- New horn.
- 12-volt negative ground system
- 12-volt generator
- Includes rare factory hardtop
- Excellent body panel fit / gaps.
- Original and rarely found front hood latch/lock and release
- Fitted with correct rear tilting bonnet
- Highest quality paint with virtually no signs of orange peel, damage, or noticeable imperfections
- Like new black convertible top and tonneau cover
- Beautiful side curtains
- Totally restored black upholstery and carpet with no damage or flaws
- Analog gages; all functional including tachometer and speedometer, oil pressure with excellent readings, and temperature, and fuel guage
- Newly installed vintage style chrome buckle seat belts – driver and passenger
MECHANICAL CONDITION – RUNNING / DRIVING
The Sprite starts immediately with the use of the functional choke and warms up quickly. It idles smoothly and does not overheat. It runs and drives incredibly well and offers wonderful performance as designed. The engine is extraordinarily strong with good oil pressure and does not exhibit any issues. There is no smoke, leaking, or unusual noise and this is also true of the transmission and drive-line components. The Sprite has excellent power through all the gears and does not hesitate or exhibit drivability problems. A drive video is posted in the listing.
The transmission shifts smoothly, and the clutch engages and does not chatter or make noise. The car does not pop out of gear and shifts are short and precise. The fully restored brakes stop the car straight and sure. The steering is tight and precise, and the car offers handling that will leave the driver with a smile for miles to come.
PLEASE NOTE: We have numerous additional photos of virtually every part of the Bugeye that we will gladly share with serious prospective buyers.
HISTORY OF THE AUSTIN-HEALEY SPRITE
The Austin-Healey Sprite was produced from 1958 through 1971 with over 130,000 examples of the two-door, low-cost, open roadster being manufactured. The car was designed by the Healey Motor Company, more specifically Donald Healey, and produced in partnership with the British Motor Corporation (BMC). There were three series of the Sprite. The first series (Mark 1) was produced from 1958 through 1961, with approximately 49,000 examples being sent to the USA. In the United States, the cars were called “Bugeyes”, while in the UK they were commonly known as “Frogeyes”.
Each of the names evolved from the headlights mounted on the top of hood that resemble a frog and/or bug. Concealed flip-up headlamps were in the original drawings, but high production costs canceled those plans. The body was smooth and flowing. There were no door handles; to open the door, the inside handle would need to be operated. This meant that the doors could not be locked. The trunk did not open but was accessed through an opening behind the seats. Housed inside the trunk was the spare tire along with the jack and tools. Up front, the entire front hood hinged upwards, allowing easy and convenient access to the engine.
The mechanical components were borrowed, to reduce the cost of production, from several vehicles that were already available in the marketplace. The suspension was from the Austin A-35 while the basic engine was courtesy of the Morris Minor. The 948cc engine was based on the Morris Motor Company A-series but fitted with dual SU carburetors increasing the horsepower from 37 to 43. Coil springs and wishbones were in the front while the rear was a semi-elliptical leaf spring configuration. A rack-and-pinion steering unit controlled the car, drum brakes provided the stopping power, and a four-speed manual gearbox sent power to the rear wheels.
Bugeyes had a plethora of new technology for the era, mainly found in their innovative D-Type Jaguar inspired chassis. As the Bugeye Sprites took to the streets, the racetrack also became a familiar home. The British Motor Company (BMC) competition department took considerable interest in putting the cars to use. The “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday” attitude seemed apparent as they demonstrated their dominance with special Sebring models, still iconic today. John Sprinzel and Will Cave were very responsible for the success of these cars on the track and even won their class in the 1958 Alpine Rally among other significant events, often against larger more powerful race cars.
Later versions of the Sprite, while similar mechanically, no longer had the one-piece front hood, and most people felt they lost some of the charm of the original Bugeye / Frogeye. The 948cc engine continued to power the car until 1964.
The original Sprite was a popular vehicle for many reasons, including its small size, sporty nature, and overall low cost of operation. The original versions cost approximately $2000. The cars were easy to maintain, offered great handling and epitomized the British Sports car experience of the 1950’s / 1960’s. While the cars were certainly not considered high performance, they were geared to have “zippy” performance in the lower ranges and, equipped with the larger, later model engines, the Bugeye was capable of speeds approaching 100 mph.
Today, Bugeye / Frogeyes have become increasingly difficult to locate for a variety of reasons. While large numbers of cars were produced, the cars were prone to significant rust (especially in “rust zones” in the USA), and many cars didn’t survive past the 1970’s. Also, many cars were entered in a variety of motorsports events including road racing, auto crossing and other events where the cars did extremely well and established a number of records.
SPECIFICATIONS FOR THE 1959 AUSTIN-HEALEY SPRITE MARK I
Engine Location: Front
Drive Type: Rear Wheel
Body Material: Steel Uni-body
Production Years: 1958 – 1961
Price New: Approximately $2,000.00
Weight: 1320 lbs. | 598.8 kg
Top Speed: 145.5 km
Engine Configuration: I
Valves: OHV; 8 valves; 2 valves per cylinder
Engine Electronics: 12-volt
Fuel Feed: Dual SU H1 carburetors (stock)
Transmission: Manual 4-speed
PURCHASIING A COLLECTOR VEHICLE – THINGS TO CONSIDER
As always, we recommend that you carefully review the seller’s background for any collector car being sold over the Internet. It is important to ask yourself several questions including, but not limited to:
– How long have they been in business?
– How much experience do they have with collector cars?
– How many positive collector car vehicle sales have they completed (positive eBay feedback)?
– How detailed/complete is the description of the vehicle?
– Do the photos show details of the interior, exterior, top, chrome, etc. or are they simply “glamour shots” taken from a distance?
– Does the seller have a Surety Bond to protect the financial transaction?
– What about insurance, licensing by the state, and a local business license?
– Does the seller (if a business) have any DMV (Motor Vehicle) complaints and/or other history of legal action, grievances?
– Does the seller enjoy a favorable local and national/international reputation?
– Can the seller assist with funding sources, transport and out of state/country sales?
ABOUT CLASSIC CARS LTD.
– Classic Cars Ltd. has been in the same, small, California town for over 28 years. We operate a small “brick & mortar”, indoor showroom, and specialize in the sale, consignment, and purchase of sports, high performance and specialty vehicles of all types. We have a particular interest in sports cars and unique vehicles.
– The majority of our vehicles come from local, private owners and collectors, and many were sold new in California. We appreciate that rust free cars, with excellent documentation and history are especially attractive to our buyers both locally, and around the country. As a result, we do not purchase our collectible cars from “distressed” sales, such as wholesale auctions, salvage sales, or lien sales. We do not sell vehicles with salvage titles, or those that have a history of significant accident damage or repair.
We have sold hundreds of unique, classic, and collectible vehicles and regularly deal with buyers that have not had the experience of purchasing a large (both physically, and monetarily) item on eBay, or through an Internet source. Our eBay feedback is 100% positive on all vehicle sales from customers around the globe and reflects our commitment to accurate, complete, and thorough vehicle descriptions.
– We have been shipping vehicles for years and have established excellent contacts that are not only high quality but very price competitive. We do not use brokers, terminal shipping, or other discount methods. Call us or email for a quote directly to your home or office. We are often able to obtain quality enclosed transportation (the kind of travel this car deserves) for the cost of open shipping.
– Please review our feedback on eBay (user name Never22Many) representing over 1,000 positive transactions to buyers all over the United States / World.
– We are fully insured, bonded, and licensed for collector car sales all over the United States/World.
– Classic Cars Ltd. carries a $50,000 Surety bond to cover financial transactions
– We frequently sell vehicles to out of State / out of country buyers and will be glad to provide references for buyers in your area.
MISCELLANEOUS GENERAL INFORMATION
– As with virtually all collector/specialty vehicles, we find that parts and resources are readily available for this (and most every vehicle), thanks in large part to the Internet.
– In addition to the purchase price of the vehicle, California buyers will be subject to sales tax, a documentation fee, DMV transfer fees and license/registration. Out-of-state buyers will be responsible for the purchase price of the vehicle and any local taxes/fees will be the purchaser’s responsibility to pay in their respective state. IMPORTANT NOTE: If the vehicle is delivered or driven in California and driven on California roads, sales-tax, license/registration, and transfer fees will be assessed per California law.
– While we encourage telephone calls to discuss this vehicle in greater detail including enclosed transport quotations to any location and even out of country shipping.
– We encourage inspections of this Sprite by serious, qualified individuals or professional inspectors. Please call at 925-846-1451 to arrange a convenient time.
– As with any collectible vehicle of this vintage we are unable to provide a warranty or guarantee of condition. However, we make every effort to accurately represent our vehicles, and highlight both positive items as well as areas that require attention. We ask that prospective buyers consider our eBay history/feedback, standing in the community, length of time in business, and other factors when purchasing a collectible vehicle from Classic Cars Ltd.
– Minor cosmetic issues/flaws may be present on every vehicle (regardless of cost) including small chips, nicks, scratches, etc. that can be seen on even the best restoration, or even a relatively new, used “pre-owned” vehicle. Also, ownership of a collectible / specialty vehicle is more enjoyable if the owner is familiar with the “realities” of these unique cars. Unlike more modern-day vehicles, these cars require regular, ongoing care/maintenance and some mechanical knowledge, patience, and understanding can make the experience considerably more pleasant. That said, collector / “specialty” car owners will tell you (emphatically) that they love their cars and would not trade them for anything!!
– The information contained in this description is believed to be accurate but, in some instances, has been provided by the car’s owner / owners or outside sources. As a result, we are unable to guarantee the accuracy of the information. We encourage verification of “numbers” and significant data prior to the purchase of any collector vehicle that you are considering.
Please call us with any questions and good luck with the bidding!
Classic Cars Ltd.