Eyes On Me: 1961 Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite

Some people aren’t content with buying stuff off the shelf; they need something bespoke to make a statement of how different and unique they are.  For that reason, over 50 years ago, someone in Montana decided there was too much chance of seeing themselves coming the other way in a Little British Sportscar.  Find this modified  1961 Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite for sale in Seattle, WA for $1,950 via craigslist.

We all know the story of the Bugeye (or Frogeye on the other side of the pond) Mk I Sprite.  BMC cost cutters cut costs, and the flip up headlights a la Porsche 928 became fixed and the bugeye got its name.  Funny that BMC’s initial cheapness resulted in the signature feature of the Mk I Sprite.   The ad for this car says it doesn’t run, but doesn’t mention if that is due to the disconnected drive shaft and gear lever or the 948cc engine itself doesn’t run.  It does have a mankey weld on the inner fender and a broomstick holding the bonnet up.  The car was said to have been parked in Butt(e) since it was last registered in 1966.

Here’s where the customizer starts to strut their stuff with lovely shag carpet, what looks to be a wooden dash, color keyed seats, and severely cut down doors.  I’m sure riding in it is exciting, given the lack of seat belts and seat bottoms that are higher than the door cut outs.  At least the driver has the wheel to hang onto.

The best is in the (rear) end. I’m guessing the would-be designer was enamored with the whole Kamm tail movement in the 60’s or maybe they were unhappy with the amount of trunk space in the stock car.  Curious if the rear tire is low or it’s groaning under the weight of many pounds of filler.

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Gianni is Daily Turismo’s Pacific Northwest correspondent.