1 2 3
Apexcarver PowerDork
5/17/15 5:47 p.m.

First project purchase for me in a long time. Career just off the ground enough, deal just too good to pass up.

Just took delivery today.

1961 AH Bugeye Sprite, with 1275cc motor.

Needs: Brakes

More to come as time to dig into it comes around.

Apexcarver PowerDork
5/17/15 5:50 p.m.

First question to the hive mind.

Spridget convertible top frames come in one piece and tow piece varieties.

Which one is correct for a '61?

Graefin10 SuperDork
5/17/15 6:52 p.m.

I've owned about 12 bugeyes but don't know the answer to your question.

Looks like you found a good solid car. If it's got the ribcase transmission to go with the 1275 you'll enjoy it more. If you ever decide to sell it I may be interested.

wlkelley3 SuperDork
5/17/15 8:17 p.m.

Can't answer about Bugeyes but my 63 Midget has the two piece bow. MG Experience should have the answer though. SpriteSpot specializes in spridgets.

Supercoupe HalfDork
5/18/15 8:28 a.m.

my 60 has a one piece as did my 62 non-frogeye.

T.J. UltimaDork
5/18/15 9:14 a.m.

Someday I'll own a bugeye. I had a Mk3 Sprite back in the mid 90's, but a bugeye is one of the cars on my list.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/19/15 10:35 a.m.

Very cool.

Woody MegaDork
5/19/15 10:42 a.m.

Do you have the bonnet for it?

tuna55 UltimaDork
5/19/15 10:48 a.m.


T.J. UltimaDork
5/19/15 11:16 a.m.

Just noticed the driver's side windshield wiper. Made me LOL. I only use 2 ply.

nderwater PowerDork
5/19/15 12:17 p.m.

I've always loved the looks of the early Sprites. Are there any well-documented driveline or suspension swap options?

Apexcarver PowerDork
5/19/15 12:52 p.m.

The bonnet is off being painted, I hope to have it back before I get the car running.

Car came with a hard top and side curtains.

I also got a set of American Racing Libre 4 spoke wheels (think they are 13x5's) so that I could put a bit better rubber on it. (not much attractive in the stock width)

I do know that the interior will have to be addressed down the road. The seat foam is coming apart and its just worn and musty.

It has a wood dash in it now, but I did get a stock dash with it to put in the car. Behind the wood dash I see dangling wires and basically, a mess. So, it will need an electrical overhaul.

The car is living in my mother in laws shed. (shed is such a small word for an out building larger than a two car garage though...) Thank living in an apartment and the DC real estate market for that one!

Next time up to the car I intend to investigate what is there and what isnt and take a ton of pictures. This will be my wifes first time involved with a project car aside from helping do some small things on an autocross Miata. She was educated to be a museum curator, so this sucker's gonna be documented.

This isnt going to be an engine/suspension swap project. It's just too nice for that and its almost there to be a great runner.

The basic plan rundown is as follows:
Electrical: dive into the wiring harness and probably replace it with new.
Brakes: see what is needed to make them work and do it. (still has drums F&R).
Motor: wire, plumb, get it to run.
Interior: Seatbelts might be nice, plus foam that isnt falling apart. Slowly return to original?

From there, I might do the following mods.
front tilt bonnet (I am 6'2", too many head clangs as stock)
Front swaybar
Increase springs
Adjustable lever shocks? (hey, they work for the H-prod racers)
Front disc swap

But thats in the future. Money goes towards making it run and drive for now. Then making the car a nice place to be for a drive. I doubt it will see more than weekend drives and the occasional autocross (I have an STS Miata daily, and an ESP Mustang in storage)

Apexcarver PowerDork
5/19/15 12:57 p.m.
nderwater wrote: I've always loved the looks of the early Sprites. Are there any well-documented driveline or suspension swap options?

I have seen some stuff. I saw where someone was putting a Miata rear suspension in one, but it was fabrication intensive.

Motors? IIRC there is an older toyota swap and there is an almost bolt-in rotary swap if I am not mistaken. Hell, I have seen some people put chevy V8's in them, but thats kinda silly to me. You name it, its probably been done.

If I was going to swap it, I would be attracted to figuring out a 1.0L Ecoboost swap. The car weighs something like 1600lbs and you can get 200hp out of the ecoboost (with turbo swap).

NOHOME UltraDork
5/20/15 8:54 a.m.

You are a smarter man than I was. That looks like a great start at any price. If you stole it, so much the better.

This is what I started with and nothing in the picture ended up on the finished car except the back deck.

tuna55 UltimaDork
5/20/15 8:57 a.m.

Man that car looks delicious

Apexcarver PowerDork
5/20/15 9:55 a.m.
NOHOME wrote: You are a smarter man than I was. That looks like a great start at any price. If you stole it, so much the better. This is what I started with and nothing in the picture ended up on the finished car except the back deck.

You should see the other project my friend wanted to sell me.

Austin Healey 3000 with a recent restoration, that is before it was involved in a structure fire He has the replacement panels for the aluminum panels that melted (a wee bit beyond my scope right now)

NOHOME UltraDork
5/20/15 10:48 a.m.

Don't talk to me about Big Healys...They are not so much a car as a collection of parts traveling in close formation. Panel-wise, NOTHING fits on a Healey.

The pictures represent 14 years of Thursday nights in my friend's shop and 1,456 cans of Stella Artois. Figure maybe another two years to go before it is done.

JoeTR6 Reader
5/20/15 6:56 p.m.

That really is a nice car. I was shocked at how little rust it has. The door gaps are really tight and even. It should make a fun project and weekend toy. The seats are pretty beat, but there's not much interior in a Sprite anyway. Get it drivable and bond with the car before you spend a ton of money on interior, then do the interior well. That really makes a classic car a nice place to spend time in.

atm92484 Reader
5/25/15 8:55 a.m.

Nice looking start to the project.

I'll second your choice on replacing the harness if it is that chewed up. They aren't that expensive (>$400 IIRC) for the number of headaches an old/torn up one will cause.

Apexcarver PowerDork
5/26/15 8:23 a.m.

Photo dump of the car at the starting point of work.

Apexcarver PowerDork
5/26/15 8:26 a.m.

I did get some work done on it yesterday, but I forgot my camera, so photos will be forthcoming.

Seats/carpet removed, lots of vacuuming and investigation.

The car is shockingly solid, there is no rust I have found yet that is more than light surface rust.

So I know that the car formerly had a Ford Kent engine installed, and that it lived under a tarp briefly.

The hardware for the seats was a bit rusty, but it did come apart. Underneath the carpet I found that someone had sprayed either a rubberized undercoating or truck bed liner. In places some solvent or something is making it peel up and it could easily retain moisture, so that will have to go. (any ideas on best method of removal? what solvent?)

The trans tunnel was hacked up for the ford Kent to the point that getting new metal will be easier than piecing together what is there. Thankfully my friend who sold me the car may have a line so I can get it. (the tunnel is one part that Moss/VB do not carry)

Dusterbd13 UltraDork
5/26/15 8:35 a.m.

Please document this fully. You are feeding my lust for a lbc.

And if you're reasonably local, ill volunteer to sort out wiring for you.

Apexcarver PowerDork
5/26/15 11:05 a.m.

I intend to document it all, I just forgot my camera yesterday.

Current research topics;
Wiring diagrams (aka, make it RUN)
Hydraulics (AKA make it SHIFT and STOP)

On the hydraulics, the clutch side of the masters will need to be rebuilt (the brakes work, but the clutch side was clamped off and disabled back when the car had a Kent motor in it, they ran a cable clutch), but that being said, the car has drum brakes all around. I am looking into upgrading to Disc front and changing the Masters from 7/8ths to 3/4 to accommodate this. (the 3/4 will also work better with the later drivedrain/clutch setup in the car)

NOHOME UltraDork
5/26/15 11:27 a.m.

How far down the rabbit hole are you going with this project? Is this a case of get it running and drive it, or is it going to go down to a tub and get rebuilt from there?

I see that the car runs an alternator. If you get a new harness, get one for the alternator rather than the generator. I know one of the suppliers is good about doing mods like that while addressing the original needs of the car. They can also add circuits for headlight relays and radios or whatever else you dream up.

The other option is to buy a painless wiring system.

Apexcarver PowerDork
5/26/15 11:56 a.m.

Getting it running, but over time returning some originality and considerate upgrades.

I basically want it to be like an enthusiast owned car from the late 60's to early 70's.

Car has never necessarily run an alternator, the last time this car ran it had a Ford Kent in it. The 1275 has been stabbed in, but never ran in this car. ( I do have a generator or two in the parts boxes if it would be easier to go that way)

The wiring may be serviceable. I am still looking into it, but its not quite as awful as I thought.

I am back and forth regarding upgrading to discs, but if I allready have to rebuild the masters and possibly have non-reproduced internal parts missing (clutch side), then it a question of why not go ahead and get the right parts for a disc upgrade and do it. Every source I see says that the drums are marginal if the engine is upgraded at all.

1 2 3
Our Preferred Partners