1960 Austin-Healey Bugeye Sprite
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1960 Austin-Healey Mk1 Bugeye
“A charmer with a fun-to-dollar ratio that's off the scale” – Hemmings Motor News
For the particular “Bugeye” Austin-Healey Mk1 offered here, we would add to the end of the glowing Hemmings review with: “…wayoff the scale!” This car started out with everything the Austin and Healey people put into creating a post-War classic, and then, well, takes it up to “eleven.” It's now ready to serve double-duty carving up the track at a vintage-racing series event, or your favorite nearby twisties under a clear fall Saturday afternoon sky.
All the work done to create this beautiful Healey has been completed with care and professional execution. Owned by the same gentleman for the past 45 years, the car upgrades were all carefully conceived to respect its iconic character. The list of work on the Bugeye is long and impressive. Best of all, every upgrade improved the car's performance and reliability, on and off the track.
Here are just some of the upgrades, arranged in four key areas: First, the power: the addition of a professionally built, dyno-tested, later-model Sprite 1275cc motor bored out .030, with new MGB carburetors, intake manifold, exhaust header, and electronic ignition. (The engine has low hours of use.) Second the transmission: a full-synchro 5-speed manual transmission from a Datsun 210 (bolted in without cutting or modifying the structure of the car) connected to a limited-slip differential. (The original 4-speed transmission will be included, if requested.) Third, the chassis: front disc brakes added, suspension lowered overall, original shock absorbers modified with factory racing valves for added stiffness, and quick-ratio steering installed. Fourth, the interior: aluminum racing seats installed with padded cloth covers, seat belts (5-point for the driver, 3-point for the passenger) added, windshield cut down 1.5 inches (stock windshield frame available on request), interior panels re-covered, gas gauge and speedometer cable disconnected. And with all this work, the car's body remains original.
Vintage racing has grown in popularity by leaps and bounds, but so many of the cars involved are extremely expensive and difficult to transport or live with. And too many of the “entry-level” choices are poorly executed, unreliable, or worn out and badly in need of lots of work. This Bugeye Healey is an excellent alternative to all of that. And for the record, its SCCA track history (West Michigan Region) is well documented. Did we mention the car will exceed 100 mph?
Be sure to check out the more than 150 photographs on our main website: Garage Kept Motors. They cover virtually every inch of the car. And no matter what, don't miss the video including a short drive. Just the sound is worth a listen.
Here's a vintage Austin-Healey we think this is… way off the scale.