Budget Bugeye: 1960 Austin Healey Sprite

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It never fails, every time we see a Bugeye Sprite we can’t help but smile. These little sports cars just look so happy and fun, that when we see one we think about how much fun it would be to take it for a spin. Someone started restoring this 1960 Austin Healey Sprite, but never finished. It’s a very solid car and would make for a great project. It’s currently in Alamo, California and can be found here on eBay.

The Sprite’s interior is very simple, but effective. This one has been stripped down and will need to be put back together. The simplicity of the Bugeye makes it a great choice for racing. If the new owner decides to race this car the work of stripping the car out is already done for them, just install new seat covers, add a roll bar, harasses, and possibly a new steering wheel and it would be ready to go.

The small 948 cc straight four that powers the Bugeye only produces 43 hp, but given the size and weight of the car it doesn’t need a lot of power. Because of how affordable these cars were new, they were a very popular choice for motorsports and there is a lot of information on improving their performance. Parts are also very plentiful and easy to get, both for restoration or racing.

This car was obviously repainted red some time ago, but was originally Leaf Green. We actually think it would look better in its original color. It looks alright as is and would work for a driver or track car. Bugeyes in this solid of condition are starting to become hard to find. It would make for a great candidate for either a restoration or a track car, but deciding what to do with it would be tough. One could always just put the interior back together and just enjoy it as is.

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  1. Richard

    looks like Fiesta Red from the 50s

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  2. keith

    remember a friend had 1 & the starter was out & he never fixed it, always parked on a slope in the parking lot so he could get a running push start. was super easy to push start.

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  3. John

    I would restore it preferring to find a rougher one to make a race car. It could be a driver while you do the restoration.

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  4. J. Pickett

    Make it into a racer, or driver. But look out 0-60 stock was about 20 seconds. You could get run over in traffic.

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  5. Dave Stewart

    Always wanted a bugeye. This would be perfect for a driver resto project..in original leaf green.

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  6. Jason R. Elliott

    Man, I would just cover the seats and drive it.

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  7. scot c

    ~ that’s red? need to adjust my tint and hue settings. the car doesn’t appear seriously deteriorated. those i’ve seen with the aluminum 3.5 v8 are absolute rocket ships. i know that is sacrilege but the look on the face of the fart-can Honda kid makes a few Hail Mary’s worth it.

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  8. Horse Radish

    too mundane for the price tag,
    and I wouldn’t buy from a dealer anyway.\
    But this is a solid starting point for a easy restoration

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  9. Catfishphil

    Scot C., don’t change your monitor settings – it’s more of a burnt umber (color calibrated monitor here).

    Mechanically, it looks pretty complete…would be a great LBC!

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  10. Larry

    I must have had at least 6 of these in the mid 60’s. They were so much fun to drive and so easy to work on. I know this next statement will get some purists upset but remember i was only in my teens then, ok here goes, A friend and I put a 260 ford engine and c-4 trans with a narrowed Falcon rear end, it was one wild machine and fast as hell and scary to drive. I sure do miss those little bugeyes. This one looks like a nice one to either restore or make into a vintage racer. Good luck to who ever gets it. Oh yea I do have a 289 engine in the garage, wonder if it would fit!!! Lol

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  11. Earl

    Not sure, but it looks like the windscreen glass might be missing.

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  12. Gary W Lopez

    I had a Bug Eyed Sprite in 1968-1970. I biught it from the Salvation Army it had been given as a donation. Apparently, the previous owner had raced the car. It had a house type light switch for an ignition switch. all the wiring was balled up under the dast plus what appeared to be extra so much so that I cut it all out and wired the thing from scratch without any schematic (pre-internet). I painted it hugger orange and when I got ready to sell after a couple years of fun I was having a hard time selling. So one night I got this bright idea to put a lot of polka dots with black contact paper and two antenna out the light housings. It sold within two days.

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