Monday, September 24, 2012

DT RoadKill/Seller Sub: 1960 Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite w/V8

As we mentioned the other day, DT was able to attend the Coronado Speed Festival (we will do a full writeup with pics after we recover from sunburn and photoshop the lens dirt out of our images) and we found a bit of RoadKill that turned into a Seller Submission.  This DT exclusive 1960 Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite has a Rover 3.5 liter V8 swap, a ton of suspension work, fantastic body and is for sale in San Diego, CA for $24,995 asking...yes, a bit above DT's normal budget limit- but the seller was a nice guy and said he was willing to take offers (see image below for contact details).

Parked right behind the track grandstands was a car corral filled with American muscle cars, Italian sports cars, and one particularly unique British roadster.  The Austin Healey Sprite was known as the 'Bugeye' in the US and the "Frogeye' in the UK...we can only assume that Frogs look like Bugs in dreary overcast Britain...

But it wasn't dreary or overcast in San Diego and this Bugeye looked fantastic in a shade of blue; we are ashamed to say we didn't ask the owner where it came from.  However, it was much deeper than the port-a-potties in the background, so we can surely say that while the front clip on this Healey was made from fiberglass it in no way resembled a port-a-loo.  But the paint was nice - show car quality stuff and it didn't look like it was shot with cans of spray paint in someone's garage.

We did have a nice chat with the owner (Glenn) about the engine and its mechanicals - the stock 0.9 liter inline 4 has been replaced with a Rover 3.5 liter V8 (originally based on a '60s Buick design - and it's all-aluminum!) that has been massaged to make more horsepower and mated to a "World Class" T5 manual transmission.  We would expect somewhere near 300 horsepower with this combo and sunk into a 1500 lb Sprite chassis it should be a fantastic driver!  We especially liked the custom built cold air intake that brings air back into the stock airbox.

Inside is standard Bugeye interior - with the exception of a airplane style joystick replacing the shifter - which was just perfect considering the fact that this car was being shown on a Navy base during the "Fleet Week" celebration.  We don't assume that the buttons/switches are hooked up to any rockets/guns/missiles...but there is an ominous looking wire loom running very close to the joystick.

"When I Grow up I Want to be a Cobra" reads the license plate frame and it really is quite fitting given the small British car with huge American V8.  We'd much rather have this than a Cobra Replicar - that is certain and not just because this 1500 lb roadster has a power/weight advantage, but also because it should handle well with its 4 corner coilover suspension and rack-and-pinion steering.

The seller had a flyer with his car detailing the info, and we have included a copy here. Please contact Glenn via the number provided above if you would like to purchase this car.  If you are reading this in 2016, please don't assume the car is still for sale and do not call Glenn at 2am.

Whoa - why is he racing your future ride against a tubbed Plymouth on track...ok, he isn't racing - he is on-track for a victory lap that the winners of the car show got to participate in.  So - add "show winner" to this Bugeye's resume...lets just hope the asking price didn't go up...  But we think this car could be a competitive contender in a prepared or modified class at your local SCCA autocross event.

Have your own monster creation you'd like to offload?  Email us here:


  1. The front end of this car has a unmistakable happy, no, ecstatic, expression on it.

  2. ~ eeeeyoowwweeee! i'm skeeer'd an excited an confused all at the same time! it's perfect, don't bugger it up no-how.

  3. The owner/builder Glenn, had clear pride of accomplishment in this little Bugeye. He answered tons of questions from all the curious onlookers this car was drawing. His car was very well thought out and exceptionally well executed. Its clear that he spent a lot of time with a pencil and calculator before he putting a wrench or a torch to this conversion.

    He pointed out that he was able to create enough room for the Buick V8 by eliminating the heater box and relocating the battery tray to the trunk. The passenger's footwell was shortened just a tad, but not enough to prevent someone from riding along so they too could wear a silly bug-eyed grin!

    The little BB-Cobra hustled down the straightaway nicely during his parade lap.

    Just remember,if you ever need anything accomplished, just give an engineer a beer and a pencil and wait a few minutes!! This build took several beers to complete, but the results speak for themselves!
    (To clarify..the core of the hood/bonnet is stock, only the flares are fiberglass)

  4. Anonymous...ok, I'll retract the part about the core of the hood, but stand by the rest.

  5. Hi, This is Glenn,If you have any other questions about the BB CBRA, don't hesitate to give me a call. 1) The core of the "Bonnet" is from Austin Healy factory steel. 2) most of the shifter switches are connected, starter, additional horn switch, additional brake light switch, turn signals, passing lights. The trigger is open in case you would like to add nitrous.
    Yes, it is a ball running in E-Mod in Solo2 with the race tires on.

  6. Glenn , I cant belive your selling the Sprite Joe

  7. Joe, sure you can believe. I've only had it 32 years. Glenn

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