Having made the decision, for at least the time being, to revert to the original Lucas 25D distributor that is being rebuilt by Jeff Schlemmer at Advanced Distributors we went ahead and removed the Crane XR700 Fireball electronic ignition module from the car. The Episode Six video shows the removal of the unit and provides information on the wiring connections from the Crane module to the ignition coil and the distributor.
Trying to use a timing light to set ignition timing is extremely difficult on the Bugeye given that the pointer on the timing cover used for alignment with the notch on the crank pulley is at the bottom of the engine.
Tom Colby at Speedwell Engineering makes a stainless steel pointer that can be used to move the timing process to the top of the pulley. More information about the kit and its installation can be found in this post under the Personalizations posts: https://valvechatter.com/?p=13529
Frustration set in with the engine issues so a diversion was in order. The quick throw shifter kit designed and fabricated by Gerard Chateauvieux (Gerard’s Garage) was installed. The shifter and the installation process are described in this post https://valvechatter.com/?p=13520 which is located in the Personalizations category of the Bugeye site.
Trying to use a timing light to set ignition timing is extremely difficult given that the pointer on the timing cover used for alignment with the notch on the crank pulley is at the bottom of the engine.
Tom Colby at Speedwell Engineering https://www.speedwellengineering.com/ignition-timing-pointer-kit/ makes a stainless steel pointer that can be used to move the timing process to the top of the pulley. This is from the Speedwell website:
A duplicate of the 1968 Works BMC Le Mans timing pointer makes for timing the ignition system much easier by moving it to the top side of the engine. The Polished Stainless Steel Pointer (with a flanged nut installed, eliminating need for washers!) is easily installed by removing a timing cover bolt and installing it in place of the bolt. Once top dead center is achieved, just apply the adhesive backed laser-etched stainless steel timing tape to the crankshaft pulley and you’re ready for precision timing with a timing light. Complete with instruction sheet. 100% Made in the USA
This is a short video showing the installation of the ignition pointer. Installation required draining the coolant and removing the radiator.
We always wanted to use the original cover for the gearbox shifter because it just seems so uniquely Sprite/Midget. However, we installed a Datsun 210 gearbox so we had to use a leather boot since the gear shift fouled against the cover.
We were able to purchase what we believe to be the last quick throw gear shift assembly that Gerard Chateauvieux (Gerard’s Garage) fabricated. This will give us the benefit of the short throw or shifting and we should be able to use the original cover. Gerard’s kit is very nicely machined.
The Episode Four video shows the shifter conversion
It is mid-August 2022 and I am at a loss to explain why the engine ran previously, but doesn’t want to now! There is background on the engine, and its enhancements over the years, in the Bugeye Blog. The following video – Episode Three – shows the steps taken to get the engine to fire.
A “walk around” video was made for the record. The soft top and it’s mounting fasteners are highlighted at about 6:34 into the video. The soft top frame is also shown and discussed. The “stiffener” rails for the front and rear of the top are shown.
The side curtains are also shown in some detail. Episode One is primarily the exterior of the car:
Episode Two focuses on the Interior of the car and at about 4:30 into the video shows the failure of the engine to start.
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 those racing Sprites. Joe Armour, and Australian, is well known in the Healey community.
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 made to it, and the fun I have had with it.
My Dad, Linwood Rose, my younger brother, Scott, and I attended the 1998 Sprite Bash in Carlisle, PA with the idea of finding a Bugeye to purchase as my first car. Of course, I wasn’t old enough to drive yet, but this was to be a “project” car that would require some work prior to putting it on the road. We looked at a few cars that were for sale, but didn’t make any offers in Carlisle.
Later that summer, we were attending the British Car Days Show held in July at Bowie, Maryland on June 28, 1998. Tom Delaney from College Park, MD attended the Show and was walking around the show grounds with a sign taped to the back of his T shirt he was wearing that stated, “1959 Bugeye for sale, enquire within.” I struck up a conversation with Mr. Delaney and we agreed to stop and see his car when we returned from vacation at the end of the week.
On July 2, 1998, after a test drive and some negotiating, I was the proud owner and we were driving MY Bugeye home from Maryland to Harrisonburg, VA.
Mr. Delaney did have some records that he passed along to me with the car. These records provided some insight into previous ownership of my Bugeye. I am not sure when Mr.Delaney purchased AN5L11257, but I do have a receipt for parts indicating he was the owner in February 1983.
Curiously, before Mr. Delaney was the custodian of my Bugeye, it was apparently owned by Captain Charles A. Rose of Gaithersburg, MD. I say “curiously,” because my uncle’s name is Charles Rose, and he lives in Maryland, but they are not one and the same.
Captain Rose purchased my Bugeye in Tennessee according to Tennessee DMV records in September, 1979 from Dean Trathen from Nashville, TN. Mr. Trathen apparently owned the car for only a brief period having purchased it himself in March of 1979 from William L. Easterling from Brentwood, TN. Records show that Mr.Easterling bought the car in September of 1978.
Unfortunately, I don’t have records or any knowledge of ownership of my Bugeye from 1959 to 1978.
Bugeye Blog, 1998 – 2021
My Bugeye Blog chronicles the life and times of AN5L11257 while in my care. I didn’t keep good records at first, so details are a little sketchy until 2000. As the reader of my Bugeye Blog will observe, we have made many “personalizations” to my Bugeye. I have concentrated on making my car fun to drive by increasing performance and handling. The Bugeye Blog runs through 2021.
The Total Restoration of AN511257 Beginning in August 2022
As with most things that age, my Bugeye is now a little “tired” and needs some major attention. The body and interior in particular need to be completely reworked. So, in early August 2022 I took the Bugeye to my father’s home where he plans to undertake a complete restoration of the car.
The plan will be to totally restore/replace all of the major systems of the car such as the rear suspension and axle, the front suspension and steering, the drivetrain, brakes, heating and cooling, the interior, and the body. As each system is attended to it will be reinstalled in the car to ensure fit and proper function. After all of the systems have been restored/replaced/upgraded the car will be dismantled for bodywork and paint. This process may take a little longer than otherwise, but it will ensure that everything fits and operates perfectly before the car is in fresh paint.
Each step along the way will be documented on this website and will include narrative, photographs, and videos. The posts, or entries, will be separated into two sections. The first will be the Restoration Phase and the the second will be the Assembly Phase. We will also create a category with posts for modifications/personalizations organized by topics such as “fuel” or “steering.”
I hope you enjoy the ride!
The site for the Jaguar MK2 restoration was initially divided into three parts:
- Restoration and Fitting, and
However, I have removed all of the posts related to the “disassembly” phase of the project. The “restoration and fitting” or trial assembly of the renewed and new components is detailed. Major sections of work, generally following the Jaguar MK2 Models Service Manual, are journaled. I have assumed that the reader will find this approach more useful than a sequenced chronology.
I have sold this car before completion. My wife and I have downsized and relocated to Florida. Garage space is now more limited and so something had to go! Mike Gassman of Gassman Automotive in Waynesboro, VA now has the car to complete for a future owner.
To be redirected to project entries, or posts, for the Jaguar MK2 Project, just click on the burgundy rectangular navigation box in the upper right corner of this site.
Please click photos once for larger images or twice for even larger detailed images. Images will open in a new window.
I am interested in your comments about the content and presentation, so please email me or comment on any individual entry. I will be happy to respond.