The Best of an Era: 1959 A-H Bugeye Sprite
This Healey Bugeye is the nicest we have seen: having had a frame-off restoration by the renowned restorer of British cars—Garland Gentry—in Virginia during 1997-1998. Restored under the stewardship of the current owner, it has been treated to regular maintenance and been garage-kept since its restoration. This is a car that currently would be equally at home on the national show fields, a race track or on a trip across town for ice cream.
The 1959 Bugeye was the initial U.S. model in the Sprite series, introduced in this market after winning its class in the 1959 12-hour race at Sebring, Florida.
A Beautiful Restoration
As noted, this Austin-Healey was the subject of a professional frame-off restoration in 1997/8 and garage-kept ever since. The car looks and runs much like it did when it left the showroom back in 1959 and has the British Motor Heritage Certificate confirming its originality.
The car is refinished in its original Old English White, complimented by a matching black convertible top, and the quality of the paint attains show car standards. An excellent paint job tends to show a car’s every flaw, but there are few flaws to see on this Healey.
The underside of this Healey reflects the quality of the restoration and is, of course, free of rust and corrosion.
The Red interior was replaced as part of the restoration and is in like-new condition from the dash to the back window—and everything in between.
The Black convertible top is in excellent condition and the rear window is clear and free of any discoloration, as are the side curtains.
The car is powered by its original (rebuilt) Healey inline 4 cylinder OHV engine with a displacement of 948 cc with an output just shy of 45hp. The engine is fed through its twin SU carburetors, which were rebuilt during the restoration. The car starts right up and runs the way you would expect.
It also has its original (rebuilt) smooth case 4-speed transmission that operates correctly.
All of the safety equipment works properly (lights, signals, horn, wipers), as do the rebuilt gauges, warning lights and speedometer although the tachometer sometimes choses to stick. NOS Healey seat belts are installed for additional safety.
The car has, in keeping with its Heritage Certificate:
The Bugeye defines British Sports Cars
While the Aston Martins, Jaguars and even the “big” (3000) Healeys may have set the bar for luxury in British sports cars, the Sprite was an affordable car that the average person could drive or race. And the Bugeye (Frogeye in Britain) was very poplar because it had unique styling, exciting performance, and reliability (first three places in its class in the 1959 12-hour race at Sebring). It is, in short, a true British sports car restored to an “as new” level.
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