Save Or Scrap? 1960 Austin Healey Bugeye

1960 Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite

Reader Mike L spotted this 1960 Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite, which is in extremely rough shape. The seller has listed it as being a parts car at best, but Mike was curious whether any of his fellow readers thought this car would be worth saving or if it should just be scrapped. With an asking price of $500, I would think there is more value here than that in parts alone. If the engine and transmission are both good, I’m sure you could make your money back just selling those. But the real question is, is this car worth saving or should it just be parted out and crushed for scrap? Personally, I would say it comes down to how badly you want a Bugeye. If you are motivated and skilled with a welder, you might be able to fix it. Of course, by the time you’re done you will have replaced most of the car. While I would hate to see it scrapped, at least it’s good pieces could go to saving other Bugeyes. You can find this $500 rust bucket here on craigslist in Bernardston, Massachusetts. So what would you say? Save it or scrap it?


WANTED 1966 Pontiac Grand Prix Rust free vehicle. Interior and motor/transmission not important. Need good sheetmetal Contact

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WANTED 1964 Pontiac Grand Prix Looking for reasonable shape rust free car in the Midwest $14,000 to $16,000 Contact

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  1. RayT Member

    My Frogeye cost me all of $75, had no rust, and ran, too! Of course that was in 1972, so doesn’t count….

    Personally, I think this one’s beyond saving, but then I lack the welding and panel-beating skills it so sorely needs. If one had to pay for all that work, the Sprite would end up costing only a little more than a new car. That’s assuming everything attached to the body was in easy-rebuild shape. You’d really have to want it!

    Which I hope someone does. It’s not good to see any classic end up on the scrap heap, no matter how many parts it contributes to other projects. And these are great, great fun to drive, even if not fast (okay, they’re slow).

  2. sunbeamdon

    My ’58 Bugeye cost me $800.00 in 1961! New closed-ratio gear box, Sebring Stage V rebuild later it was a runner, Drove it for 16 months, traded in at $1200.00 plus $600.00 for a ’61 Sunbeam Alpine which I rallied and raced for two years. Then common sense prevailed and I moved from Vancouver to Seattle to become a CPA!

    ’nuff said – this one’s too beat to recover – even a “diy” approach won’t work.

  3. Pete

    Unfortunately too far gone to save economically. But lots of good parts. Worth more than the 500 to someone that works on them…

    Like 1
  4. jim s

    the side curtians and windsheild are worth money. i think i see more then the asking price in parts. you would need to be close to avoid shipping cost and make the seller an offer. bonus if the VIN plates are included. interesting find.

    Like 1
  5. Dave Wright

    Simple car worth 3X the newer models. I raced one in H Production 40 years ago………all parts available, I would strip it, blast it and build a vintage H Production racer. Probably a good thing it is so far away………

    Like 1
    • jim s

      what tracks did you race at? any photos? vintage racer is a great idea. sell off the unused parts to help pay for the build.

      Like 1
      • Dave Wright

        I raced the IMSA tracks in the northwest. Most of my racing was done with my Lotus 11. But we also raced minis and bugeyes. Lots of time at Seattle international raceway, Delta Park in Portland, Deer Park near Spokane. I grew up with the Snevas, they raced oval dirt tracks and the like. I was into sports cars. I was involved with Formula Ford in Europe during the late 70’s. Lots of fun…..and work……learned a lot.

        Like 1
  6. kenzo

    put 15,000 into restoring it if you hired it out and you still would have a max 10,000 $ car. just not worth the economics. More in parts maybe

  7. Bill Wilkman

    The bonnet alone is worth the asking price and I’m sure there are other parts worth salvaging. As others have already said, however, most of the sheet metal for these cars is available from a variety of vendors. I restored a Bugeye a few years ago that was a mess. If Bondo was a precious metal, I’d be rich beyond belief. Assuming the rust is limited to sheet metal, this would be a great project for someone wanting to learn all about car restoration, especially welding.. I certainly honed my welding, fabrication, and body repair skills on the Bugeye I restored! I even took a class at the local community college on auto upholstery and did the entire interior myself!

    • Dave Wright

      You are my kind of guy…….these are simple little cars ideal for a beginner, your bug eye looks great and I love the wires but am not used to seeing them on an early Sprite.

      • Bill Wilkman

        Thanks for the compliment! The wire wheels were installed by a previous owner, likely when disc brakes were installed.

    • jim s

      great looking car. are you running disc brakes and what size motor? i used evening classes at my local vo-tech school to learn vehicle systems.

      • Bill Wilkman

        A former girlfriend bought the car. I advised her not to buy it, but it had wire wheels and she didn’t care about anything else. When bought it had already been modified with wire wheels, disc brakes, and a 1275cc engine. It also had red shag carpeting! ;o/ I installed a Datsun 5-speed. Here is a photo of the car with which I started. At this stage, I’d already stripped the paint off a portion of the left side of the car. Given that the car sported about seven paint jobs and enough Bondo to make it sag, I soon changed my method of removing the paint to a mechanical one.

  8. Mike_E

    The bonnet alone is worth the price of the car, plus Seat pans, windshield, steering wheel, original wheels, and possibly engine and trans plus all the small bits and pieces. These original parts are getting harder to find all the time, and there is money to be made here.

  9. sunbeamdon

    mmm/ in rethinking this wee-beastie, if it was close it could be a great find for a grand-father – grandson project. Shouldn’t break the bank and would be a great teacher and bond (no, not bondo!) for GP and GS.

    By the way, in looking at the wire wheels, I’m reminded of an incident on I-5 here in Seattle – I’m minding my own business in my Tiger, when a wire wheel bounces from the right lane over the front of my car into the ditch. I retrieved it, drove up to the MGB parked on the shoulder. The driver had just retroe’d the wheels; he found the knock-off on the side of the road. In my typically blunt manor, I identified – “you dumb s–t, you got the sides switched. Remount this wheel and crawl off the freeway and get help!” Luck was on his side that day!

    Like 1

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