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Barn Find Bugeye: 1960 Austin Healey Sprite

Sometimes, the listing for a particular car is almost more interesting than the vehicle itself. In the case of this 1960 Austin Healey Sprite, otherwise known as a Bugeye, the background reveals numerous large barn structures, and the photos of the car inside the barn suggest there’s more up for grabs – but don’t ask the seller about those right now. The Sprite is a project in every sense of the word, as it is a roller with no engine or transmission. There’s also no title, but as a California car, rust is said to be minimal. Hopefully, given everything that’s missing, the sweet black plates will be included. Find the Sprite here on Facebook Marketplace for $3,500.

The roll hoop and what looks like larger wheels and tires suggests a history as a weekend track car, which would also line up with the engine and transmission being yanked when this Sprite became less useful as a cone chaser at the local autocross course. The background shows a 1980s BMW 3-Series convertible, not the rarest droptop you’ve ever seen but a car I’d be sorely tempted to make an offer on if I was standing in front of this Sprite. The bodywork has seen better days and it’s hard to say what the original color was, but it seems unlikely it was yellow given what’s poking through underneath. The bumpers have gone missing, and other trim appears to be AWOL.

The backend of the E30 is clearly seen here, but what else can be found in the background? In the full size photos on Facebook, there’s clearly more than one car hidden among stacks of tires. That’s sometimes the best part of going to check out a new potential project is seeing what else is hiding on the property. Obviously, you don’t want to waste a seller’s time by just kicking the tires to get a shot at something else (especially when they explicitly say not to), but anyone with a genuine interest in buying this Sprite should feel comfortable getting to see what else is stored in the barns during their visit. The taillight lenses have gone missing, likely smashed out years ago, but the black plates are a treat.

The seller does reveal at least one other car that’s for sale from the same property, an equally tired MGA. The photos would indicate the seller was able to collect both cars from the same property, and is now selling them for a modest profit – which perhaps explains why he says not to bother with the other cars in the photos. Check out those barns – they are massive! The California coast has gems like these British roadsters hidden everywhere you can’t see, and these two cars are pretty far removed from being the most exotic of the barn find classics still hiding out there. But, you could do far worse than a Bugeye or an MGA for a starter project, so hopefully there’s some wiggle room for the Triumph given the missing drivetrain.


  1. Avatar photo Dan

    Transmission tunnel and firewall removed…likely an attempt at a radical engine swap. Consequently a return to stock would potentially be quite problematic. Also would be concerned about overall structural soundness, as the enclosed transmission tunnel contributes significantly to overall rigidity.

    Like 4
  2. Avatar photo Stephen Coe

    As the owner of several MGA & MGB projects the A is a $ 30,000 investment plus lots of time, a better idea buy a car that is working and save yourself all the headaches

    Like 2
  3. Avatar photo wizzy

    Pricey for a shell with questionable modifications. Very pricey. $1500-2000. max.

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo Dave at OldSchool Restorations Member

      @wizzy I have to disagree with your price analysis.

      With at least 6 of the 9 “see where they rust” areas looking solid on this car, anyone who has actually restored a Bugeye knows cars like this are getting harder to find every day.
      After 60 years of experience with Bugeyes, I would rather replace the missing firewall and tunnel, than try to weld new sheet metal into any rusted out tub that will have surrounding thin metal to weld to. $3500 is not really out of line. The lack of engine doesn’t mean much, most of these cars are getting 1098 or 1275 engines, and the missing smooth case trans is not worth using either, a ribcase or 5 speed are the current choices of most restorers.

      Like 3
  4. Avatar photo steve sammut

    I tend not comment but in this case, I’ll make an exception. WAY too much money for this roller, with all of the cutouts and missing parts. I’ve seen this in Marketplace for a bit now along with other cars from the seller. All overpriced. If I was looking for a Bugeye project, this would not be the one.

    Like 0
  5. Avatar photo Steve Clinton

    If it was WAY less costly, one could put pedals in it and give it to the kids.

    Like 1
  6. Avatar photo Mike

    Looks like lots of cars in that barn/giant shed/warehouse. I spot a Honda Z600 that’s front of the Bugeye.

    Like 1
  7. Avatar photo Steve

    A good photo of how not to strap a car down to the trailer…

    Like 3

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