The Bugeye – 1959 AN5

My name is John Rose and I am the current owner of AN5L11257, engine number 9CUH10910, a 1959 Austin Healey Sprite, popularly known as a “Bugeye” in the States or “Frogeye” if you are from across the pond. This web site is dedicated to documenting the history of my car, the modifications that have been […]

LeMans Sprite

The little Donald Healey Motor Company produced some outstanding cars for motor racing with little money and support. While the Big Healey rally cars tend to get the most press, the modified Sprites were quite successful on major race circuits like LeMans and Sebring. This is a short video with the current owner of one of […]

Tube Shock Conversion

The original Armstrong lever shocks on my Bugeye were completely worn out and due for rebuilding or replacement. The rears were particularly bad making for a very “hard” ride. The questions was, should they be rebuilt or replaced with one of the tube shock conversion kits available from the usual Bugeye vendors. My dad installed […]

Bugeye Maintenance

Maintenance Well I had good intentions, but this is woefully out of date. I will try to catch it up soon! I have not been keeping my maintenance of “The Bugeye” in my website/blog, but I will begin today! June 29, 2013  Removed the K&N air filters, cleaned them both and sprayed with K&N dust […]

Storing the Original 948cc Motor

Engine & Gearbox

My Dad built a new house and he is “downsizing,” so some car parts are needing to go to a storage unit. When we upgraded to a 1275 motor and Datsun 5-speed gearbox, we kept the original 948cc. I will never plan to go back to the 948, but if the car is ever sold […]

New Tires & Fuel Pump

John's Bugeye at Massanutten

I am a little late recording this, but in September 2010 the Bugeye’s shoes were replaced. While the tread on the Wynstar tires looked just fine, they were over eight years old, so for safety sake it was time to replace them. The same tire was no longer available, so the Bugeye now has some […]

2008 Encounter

Ready to Autocross

The Austin-Healey Sports and Touring Club – A Car Club for Healey, Austin-Healey, and Austin-Healey Sprite Owners and Enthusiasts with regions in New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey always puts on a great annual event referred to as “Encounter.” The event is held in August of each year.  A judged Concours, popular vote car […]

A New (And Proper) Master Cylinder

July 2006 Bugeye

Although I had converted the front drum brakes to disc brakes not long after purchasing the Bugeye, I had not been able to find the proper 3/4” piston version that would have been used on the 1098 cars. My dad was able to source one from California during the previous winter, and in early August […]

2006 Gettysburg Car Show

Gettysburg 2006 Show

The regional MG club held a popular show (no judging – just display) in Gettysburg, PA. Tyler, Scott, Dad and I attended. I drove to Gettysburg with Tyler navigating. It took us about 2 hours and 40 minutes. The show was held at a shopping mall but they had a great display area set up […]

A Functioning Horn

Quicksburg Valley View

The Horns The horn had not worked in the Bugeye since we bought it – not very safe since the bugeye is one of the smallest things on the road. It was time to fix it. The horn itself when tested sounded very weak so I ordered a Hella twin tone horn kit. It came […]

Dash Fascia and Gauges

Radiator Fan Switch

When we bought the Bugeye, it came with a working tachometer and a dead speedometer. After thinking about having the original instruments refurbished or buying new ones I decided to buy new Smith’s gauges. Keeping the original tach would have involved installing the guts of an electric tach into the casing of the old gauge […]

Engine Clean-up and Reinstall

Engine Install

One of the things I wanted to accomplish with the engine clean-up was to have the  exhaust header coated to reduce heat in the engine compartment and interior. I used Swain Coatings. The header came back looking great. Time will tell if the coating holds up and is effective in reducing heat. I also did […]

Pulling the Engine for Minor Repairs

July 2006 Bugeye

It is time to fix some of the problems we have lived with for a while and to make a few improvements. The oil leak we caused when we failed to seal the oil sump properly, the gear grinding in 2nd and 3rdin the gearbox, jet coating the headers among other things will improve the […]

Coolant Recovery System

July 2006 Bugeye

Coolant Recovery System To help with water temperature cooling we decided to add a coolant recovery tank. Purchased a tank from Cape International. Installed it on the left front inner fender in the engine compartment. A new clear hose was used to connect the radiator to the coolant tank and the original drain hose was […]

Electric Windscreen Washer Pump

Sniffing each other

Electric windscreen washer My dad read a technical article by Stu Brennan, an owner of a Sunbeam Tiger, who had converted his hand activated pump windscreen washer to an electric washer. He liked the idea because he put the electric switch in the aluminum pump canister thereby eliminating the need to install an additional switch […]

Bugeye Brakes Improvement

Bugeye rear Brakes

We have never been very happy with the brakes on the Bugeye. We installed front disc brakes but the pedal travel was way too much and the master cylinder always seemed to leak slightly. We were going to replace the master cylinder with the correct one for the 1098 car, but others suggested that the […]

Virginia International Raceway, 2005

VIR John on Track

My Dad and I drove to the Virginia International Raceway for the Gold Cup Event. It was a nice day for racing. I was joined by Katherine Lee a friend from UVA.  

A Little Wiper Work

Wiper Work

Planning on attending The British Car Fest in Buckeystown, MD on Sunday the 27th, so we needed to get a few maintenance items taken car of on the Bugeye. We had never reinstalled the wiper motor when we finished restoring the car so that was the first job. We pulled the dash off the car […]

Sprite Spree 2003, Grantville, PA

Sprite Spree Logo

Dad and I attended Rick Mose’s fourth five year anniversary event for the Sprite. He says that the 2008 event, the Sprite’s 50th anniversary, will be his last. The Spree was held at the Holiday Inn in Grantville, right off I-81. The Spree was attended by John Sprinzel, famous Sprite rallyist and racer, Daniel Stapleton, […]

Virginia International Raceway

VIR John on Track

My Dad and I drove to the Virginia International Raceway for the Gold Cup Event. It was a nice day for racing. I got to see a very nice 100S and also got to drive on the track.

The Broken Axle Half-shaft

John Autocross

I was driving in the countryside near Dayton. Coming back into town I shifted to first gear to accelerate from a stop light only to find that while the motor was running like a sewing machine, the car would not move. The car was towed home. After initially expecting to find a problem with the […]

2001 Fall British Car Festival, Waynesboro, VA

VIR John at show

Waynesboro, VA is only about 30 minutes from my home in Harrisonburg. Dad was involved with events at JMU so I drove down to the Festival and spent the day looking at cars and displaying the Bugeye.

Anti-sway Bar Installation

crbn8td & serpentine wall

Anti-sway Bar After waiting for quite a while for delivery of an anti-sway bar, we installed it with minimal effort.  We were somewhat disappointed that the links to the wishbone touched the inner side of wheel when turned to full lock. Called Tom Colby at Speedwell Racing that manufactured the bar to see if we […]

2001 Encounter

John's bugeye & big brother

Dad and I drove the Bugeye to Lancaster, PA for Encounter in 2001. I got to meet Bic Healey, Donald’s youngest son, and he autographed a photo of his Bugeye from a Sports and Classics magazine article for me.