Supercharged Bugeye: 1959 Austin Healey Sprite

This 1959 Austin Healey recently emerged from a claimed $60,000+ restoration that included a significant upgrade in the engine compartment. The Sprite is typically a fairly affordable sports car that isn’t hard to find in a range of conditions, but the asking price of $28,999 may be justified here considering the extent of the work completed. The seller says he has lowered the price from the last go-round, so check it out here on eBay where it’s listed with the option to submit a best offer.

These are the sorts of restorations you’re always glad someone else spent big on, sort of like enjoying your neighbor’s boat but never having to pay to maintain it. Dropping $60K on a car that struggles to clear the low $30s in mint condition is a clear sign of fanaticism for a brand, but given the fervent following for Bugeyes, it’s not entirely surprising. I’m assuming a full repaint and re-chroming was included in the restoration cost, but it doesn’t say in the listing.

The interior certainly looks like a nice place to spend time, with what have to be reupholstered bucket seats and minty black carpets. The dash could be original, and if it is, it’s certainly survived in outstanding condition. Other interior upgrades include an electronic tach, new steering wheel, three-point seat belts (more on why you might need those in a minute), a fresh black tonneau cover, and more.

Here’s where it gets interesting: the rebuild 1275 engine features a supercharger, which likely means this thing absolutely screws. The radiator and alternator have been upgraded as well, along with a new five-speed manual transmission and carburetor. The details aren’t great on this listing – it feels like a dealer wrote it – as I think the builder would have way more intricate descriptions. Someone in the Bugeye community must know this car, and whether it’s a good buy.


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  1. sir mike

    Like to see how the 3 points were mounted…and why?? Beautiful bug eye

    Like 2
  2. chinga-trailer

    Pattern on the seat upholstery is entirely wrong. Can’t really call it restored, it’s a resto-mod. And in spite of all the $$ spent, the bonnet fit is only so-so.

    Like 5
    • Dave at OldSchool Restorations

      I ordered a new Bugeye in ’59, and put a Judson on it in 1960. Pictures of it are on the Bugeye Forum Gallery.
      Since then, I have owned and restored nearly a doxen Bugeyes.
      @chinga-trailer I have to disagree, both the style and the material grain are correct for the ’59 model… so is the grain correct for the dash and front coaming above it..


      That said, for less than 30k, this Sprite is a really nice looking car, and pushes all my buttons. I’ve bought more expensive cars sight unseen, but I would have to put my eyeballs close to this one, before laying down any cash.

      I don’t see a boost guage, or any reference by the seller as to how much boost it is running, nor any reference to how the engine has been built . Also, the weak point on a blown Sprite is the differentail spider gears and a right axlethat is prone to be twisted at the spline, so it would be nice to get some information regarding the drivetrain.
      The 1275 is a good change, , but besides the questions about the boost and engine build, a single 1.75 SU is not much carburettor if the boost is low. I ran a biiger carb on the blown 948 engine, and this is 1/3 more cc’s …and what is the exhaust system ?? not stock components, I hope.
      Wire conversion is nice… did they also put the disc brakes up front ???
      And lastly, I see the brakes are still single circuit … converting to a split system would be pocket change in a 60k build… and unless this is a trailer queen, a MUST HAVE for driving at speed in todays world.
      So, as nice as the car looks, I have some serious questions

      Like 7
  3. Jose de jesus Lopez

    if you gold plated that bug eye you couldn’t spend 60 k on it

    Like 1
  4. Del

    I am not sure that engine will handle that turbo. And no boost gauge ?

    Scary Count.

    Guess a drive in it first is mandatory and that aint happening

  5. Douglas Smith

    Rechromed? What chrome? Missing the chrome front bumper, not that it matters.

    • Dave at OldSchool Restorations

      @Douglas Smith…….
      What chome ??? …LMAO…..shifter, rear bumperettes, grill, headlight rims, knockoffs, windshield frame, grab handle, tail light bases, directional light rims, license plate light, tail pipe tips, hood latch handle, wiper arms, wiper bases, nuts for bases, e-brake lever, release knob, release rod,door latch knobs, and I’m sure I forgot a few pieces that we have had done. Recently a good grill, cost me $450 to have rechromed, plus 2 way shipping .

      Like 1

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