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HomePick of the DayPick of the Day: 1959 Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite restored award winner

Pick of the Day: 1959 Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite restored award winner

The former owner refurbished the British sports car at his wife’s insistence

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The Pick of the Day is a 1959 Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite restored to “tiptop shape” according to the La Quinta, California private seller advertising the sports car on ClassicCars.com

British sports car maker Austin Healey exported 50,000 Sprites, known as Bugeyes in the US and Frogeyes in the UK, to America between 1959 and 1961. 

“In 1960, as a 22-year-old, I purchase a 1-year-old Bug Eye,” the seller says in ad. “Drove it for three years and then I traded it in for a big car. 

“Fifty-three years later, I spent four months searching the USA for a completely restored Bug Eye. I wanted to relive my youth while I had time to be youthful again, not spending time restoring an old rust bucket.” 

Bugeye, Pick of the Day: 1959 Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite restored award winner, ClassicCars.com Journal

It was this Bugeye finished in white over a red interior that ended his search. The car now has 91,084 miles on it. 

1959 Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite

“The second owner of this car was in Indiana,” the seller says. “He owned and stored the car for 34 years. His wife told him she would do his chores around the house while he was to completely restore the Bug Eye.”

His wife gave him two-and-a-half years to complete the restoration and enter it in an area-wide restoration contest. She wanted him to win first place, which he eventually did.  The current owner says he also won an award, People’s Choice at the La Quinta car show in 2016.

“After purchasing the car, I became long-distance phone friends with Jim, the restorer,” the seller notes.

Updates completed in the restoration include an electronic ignition, temperature-controlled radiator fan with manual control, audible sound for turn signal, a tow-bar hookup and interior heat and sound insulation. The hydraulic system was converted to silicon fluid and an oil filter housing replaced the original unit. 

Included in the purchase of this Bugeye Sprite is a new convertible top that was recently installed on a new frame, a like-new tonneau cover, a photo album documenting before and after the restoration, various books and publications, and all the trophies the car has won in various car shows.  Also, two Bugeye hats, pins and a T-shirt.

This classic British sports car is priced at $27,950. 

To view this vehicle on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

Hagerty
Racheal Colbert
An experienced writer and editor, Racheal brings her enthusiasm for collector cars to her role as the Content Manager of the Collector Car Network. Former Content Writer and Marketing Manager in the tech and publishing industry, Racheal brings a fresh perspective to the Journal and the automotive world.

7 COMMENTS

  1. When I was 7 years old my father took our Morris Minor in for service at the British Motors in Walnut Creek Ca and came home with a white Bugeye, my mother couldn’t complain too much, it turned into her commuter car to Berkeley. As my brother and I got bigger we could no longer squeeze into the passer seat together and bugeye was traded for a Morris Minor woody.

  2. I bought a 1959 Bugeye Sprite for $500 when I was in high school. I kept it for a couple of years and sold it for $300. What I remember most about it was how painfully under-powered it was. It was fun to drive on back roads and around town, but was a pain on the highway. I’d still like to have it back, ☺️

    • We used to have a High School teacher who owned one of these. No top for it, drove it all year round even in minus 30 and a Snow storm. He’s just wear a Snowmobile suit and big boots and gloves along with ski goggles!

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