EXCLUSIVE: 1960 Austin Healey Sprite

Josh MortensenBy Josh Mortensen

Reader David the Bugeyeguy recently found this Bugeye Sprite parked in an old barn. It had been purchased by a father and son back in the ’80s with the plan of restoring it together. Well, they never got to it and it just sat in the barn. When David found it, it was still sitting on the trailer they brought it home on all those years ago. David was going to restore it at his shop but is just too busy to take it on. While it needs a ton of work, it comes with a lot of parts. It is currently in Byron, Ohio and is ready for a new home. If you’d like to take on restoring this Austin, be sure to use the form below to message him.

From David S – In 1982, Ty and his dad bought this 1960 Bugeye (AN5L 18133) from a neighbor, loaded it onto a hay trailer and towed into their barn. They began amassing parts for their planned restoration. Then life happened. And the car sat for the next 35 years, showing 50,345 miles on the clock.

This week, that same trailer that held the car off the ground for all these years was dragged out of the barn with the car still sitting on top, and the whole assembly saw the light of day for the first time since 1982. The project is now ready for a new restorer. We are too busy to take this one on, (we’re particularly engrossed in our facility expansion project) so we are offering this car for sale for anyone looking for a barn-find project. The car is located in Ohio and ready for shipment. We can have it delivered directly to you if you like.

The car will need complete body restoration, with body repair required in the usual places. The floors are better than average but expect to do some floor repairs too. The rear axle and springs were removed in 1982 for spring box repair which was never performed. Dashboard and nicer than normal original seats are also included. 948 engine and smooth case transmission have been sitting since 1982 and you can assume they will need a complete rebuild. Engine appears complete with all needed original parts.

The car was originally Old English White with red interior. Many old and new parts are included as shown, including multiples of certain items. Lots of new parts were purchased back in the ’80s, including a wiring harness. It’s all in a big barrel that comes with the car as shown in the pictures.

A clear Ohio title is included. I have the phone number of the neighbor who owned this car from 1974-1982. He’s a nice guy and very available if the new owner wants to hear more history. We have the contact info for the owner prior to 1974 as well.

If you are looking for a complete restoration project with a great story, give a call, we would love to send this car to you. We have all parts (and body parts) in our catalog to help with the restoration! Contact me if you would like to adopt this project!

Special thanks to David for listing this Bugeye with us! I absolutely love these little sports cars and while this one is going to be a huge project, it actually seems like a good deal. If you’d like to take it on, be sure to message him and make an offer. And if you have a barn fresh project that needs a new home, please consider listing it with us!

Location: Byron, Ohio

Contact The Seller

Sorry, this one has SOLD!

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Comments

  1. Dave Wright

    As fun as they are………overpriced 2X…..they have been selling projects for very reasonable prices the last few years.

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  2. Ben Kline

    If only I had the time. My Midget would like an older sibling.

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    • Kevin Wernick

      I’ll take the Lincoln Mark II. That’s a “real” classic.

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      • Ben Kline

        That’s the big brother for my Midget. It looks great in this picture, but you can’t see the cracks in the frame that made it fail inspection. 🙁 Time to find someone who can weld so I can get it back on the road.

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  3. Howard A Member

    Looks like an old man smiling with no teeth,,,

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    • leiniedude

      LOL Howard! Your slipping, no Grandpa Simpson pic ? Take care, getting flooded out here, Mike.

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    • leiniedude

      Outstanding response ! Still laughing! That is the Howard I have known and enjoyed. Thanks. Not a single seed of corn planted here yet because of all the rain. Not to sure about the British teeth, I think the Page Three girls have good teeth, but I would have to look again. Take care.

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  4. (seller)

    Hi @davewright, we have sold 201 Bugeyes at Bugeyeguy, and we have bought quite a few project cars. What I like about this one is the history, as we can trace ownership back to 1974 and it has paperwork to support that as well as a clear title. Most of the projects we encounter for half the price of this one come no paperwork and badly dented and rusted noses, especially under the grills. With this car, the nose is quite good relative to the norm. There is also a new wiring harness and a bunch of new parts, as well as two sets of original seats, which have become very hard to find. There is no doubt a bunch of rust repair to be done. We will watch together to see what the market will bring for this project car. Looking forward to seeing yet another Bugeye come back to the road!

    2+

    • Dave Wright

      So, you are doubling your money on it……..more power to you. Sounds like a great parts car. A title to me is worth 50.00….what it costs to get one. A nice hood is a good thing but easer to repair a dented nose than rust. I too own a restoration shop and know well that you have to choose your projects carefully. These cars have value added from there great H production racing history but there are fewer of us around that raced or saw them race. For small money they are off course a great project for a beginning restorer with more time than money but with a 3-4000 entrance fee it gets expensive real quick.

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      • TreebeardZZ

        $50? I have a early ’50’s Brit Car which the title has been lost for. I really want to get a the title for the original vin # as it is low serial # and has original engine and trans, although I rescued it from being parted out as some idiot had started butchering it into a “rat-rod” abortion and I have EXTENSIVE restoration to do. I have heard estimates from $300 – $900 for the title work. I do NOT want one of the generic state issued “assembled” new assigned vin titles. I would welcome any advice you could offer to point me in the right direction. Thank you.

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  5. Rabbit

    Wow. What a mess. But it looks like such a happy little car…..

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  6. ROAR

    unfortunately ADD another $1000 for shipping!! for an unknown!

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  7. (seller)

    If no one buys this project as it sits, we will ship it to our shop in Connecticut and get better pictures and post them on our site. Sorry we couldn’t get more photos for this site. I actually thought someone looking for a project in the midwest would enjoy the fact that the car was already in Ohio. Regardless, we can help with shipping of this project anywhere in the USA, we ship cars all the time and I can get you a quote if you send your zip code.

    @ROAR, from seeing lots of these projects, it’s pretty easy to fill in the dots on this car. The springs and rear axle were removed because the spring mounts will need to be repaired. The rockers and A pillars will need patches and the rear fender arches have repairs needed. This is not a small project. I wasn’t able to get a picture of the floors yet, but was told they were pretty good, so I presume that means some floor work is needed, but they are still present (unlike on many Sprite projects). Feel free to email or post more questions!

    David Silberkleit
    Bugeyeguy.com

    3+

    • leiniedude

      Great handle David, best of luck!

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    • Howard A Member

      Hi David, lots of “tire kickers” here, but you never know. One problem I see with these types of projects, is fewer and fewer folks are willing to take on projects like this. Kind of like the “Little Red Hen” syndrome. They’d all love to cruise in it when it’s done, but no one wants, or knows how, to do the work. IIWY, ( and had a shop) I’d restore it, then sell it. Seems people today have better luck with that.

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    • Dave Wright

      This isn’t a car…….it is general unpalleted freight……..will be really expensive to have shipped.

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      • Dave

        Not correct, Dave, it’s on a dolly and we ship inoperable cars all the time. This one will likely travel in a two car enclosed trailer, which we can set up for the new owner. If it comes to our shop, it will cost $700 Ohio to CT for price comparison purposes. In fact, we offer shipping brokerage for all classics, running and non running, anywhere in the usa…

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  8. bcavileer

    Few want to do that kind of repair work these days. I have an extra MK2 that needs a left front fender repair. The floors are great and a small area in the spare well needs a patch. 2 shops have looked at it and do not want to fix it. They make so much more money bolting on sheet metal and plastic , they will not do even simple repairs to sheet metal. Gonna bring it home, and fix it myself when done with the Healy project. Good luck finding one of us oldtimers to fix this.

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  9. Leo

    @Dave Wright. Thanks for clarifying this project for what it is “unpalletized freight. Key to that determination is the statement “the spring boxes need to be repaired”. When i hear that statement the car (in reference to bugeyes) becomes just another parts car. Repairing the frame boxes on a bugeye is not for the faint of heart, nor easily accomplished by a novice. Can it be done? Sure, but its not cheap unless its done half a**ed.

    Ive owned about 30 bugeyes, restored one to concours level

    https://m.flickr.com/#/photos/speichinger/7679251766/

    so im not just popping off at the mouth but speaking from experience. Good bonnets are out there (an NOS ine is out there on the market for 2k) and you will spend more than that to do the spring boxes correctly if paying a shop to perform quality end results.

    Titles… easy cheesy to get a title did on a bugeye or midget

    1+

  10. Alexander

    Leo…what a gallery of great work. Your blue car is remarkable. Thanks for sharing.

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  11. Leo

    Thanks Alexander :). Years of research and gathering of NOS parts from all over the world. Finding the baby seat was a 24 year quest in itself (yes, a baby sear was a factory option). As a side note if anyone is embarking upon a Bugeye restoration i have about 30 books ranging from factory parts manuals, bolt decoder list, original magazines covering the release of the AH Bugeye, workshop manuals and books dedicated to the marque i am interested in selling. My classic car days are being relegated to the past as life moves in another direction. The blue car now resides in a private collection in England. Out of all the cars ive had i miss it the most. I had that car for 30 years. Made a lot of friends all over the world due to it

    1+

  12. (seller)

    Now SOLD to Bill in Michigan, who will build this project just 50 miles away from where this car has lived for the past 45 years! Thanks to all who participated! Anyone still looking can always find cars and parts at Bugeyeguy.com

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  13. Leo

    Best of luck to Bill. His wallet is going to rapidly empty itself and definitly will be upside down on the resale value.

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    • Bmac Bmac Member

      Leo, it’s not always about resale, furthermore there are no banks in heaven and I’m only going around once!
      I’m willing to bet a month’s salary we will do this for less then half you expect. It’s called doing it yourself, not my first rodeo
      No patience for naysayers, sorry

      3+

      • TreebeardZZ

        Fun little cars. I’ve restored worse than this one: ’57 TR3 and ’72 Midget reluctantly for customer’s after they saw some of my own projects, and lost money on both. Now only do it for myself for the enjoyment. I’ve wanted either a Bugeye or a TD since I was a kid reading all the books by Felsen and his contemporaries(been trying to find some of them for my kids to enjoy like I did, but only able to find most of them on collector sites – makes you feel old when you remember reading 1st editions when they were new). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXuvFPAqEqE

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