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Austin-Healey Sprite Mk1 Restoration

Austin-Healey Sprite Restoration

Sprite, "Bugeye," or "Frogeye," It's a Blast to Drive No Matter What You Call It

The Austin-Healey Sprite Mk1, also affectionately known in the States as the “Bugeye,” and in Europe, the “Frogeye” (for obvious reasons), is a favorite among British sports car enthusiasts. Recently, it was our pleasure to restore one of these fun little cars back to its former glory.

We sold this Sprite to its current owner over twenty years ago. While he got many years of enjoyment out of the car, the car had for some time been rather sadly neglected and sat idle for many years. However, there was always hope that it would one day be restored. Well, that day finally came when he contacted the team at BSC.

Our client wanted a nice-driving car, and wasn’t too concerned with car shows or a shiny engine bay. What he wanted was his old car back so he could get out on the road and enjoy it. We completed most of the mechanical prior to starting on the body work. This way we knew what we have to work with, with hopefully no big surprises down the road. The body work wrapped up and we prepared to go to paint. Things were progressing along quite nicely at this stage.

Austin-Healey Sprite Restoration

When the car came back from the paint-and-body shop, it looked absolutely fantastic. Acme Auto Body right here in San Luis Obispo did the work for us, and really pulled off a great job. The body on this Bugeye was very solid and mostly free of rust, but unfortunately at some point in its life was in a front-end accident—badly damaging the bonnet. We looked for a month trying to locate an original steel bonnet that wasn’t rusty or wrecked, but were unable to find any. Acme was able to make one bonnet, taking parts from the three we had here at the shop. The quality of their work is simply first-class —you can’t even tell any work was done.

Prior to having the paint and body done, we had already made this a driver by going through all of the mechanical. Now that it was back, we needed to assemble it and finish off the upholstery, which was restored in a gorgeous black vinyl.

Austin-Healey Sprite Restoration

As you can see in the before and after photos, this car came a long way since it first rolled through the door. The old-English white paint and the black upholstery look fantastic together. Most importantly, it now runs and drives just as good as it looks. These cars have always been a favorite of ours here at BSC as they’re a blast to drive, have character to spare, and always put a smile on your face.

Our client was very pleased with the finished product and we hope he has many more years of fun behind the wheel of this great little Bugeye.

Austin-Healey Sprite Restoration


Click on any of the following thumbnails for full-size photos. You can navigate through the slides by clicking on the right and left-hand arrows on the photo or using the < and > keys on your keyboard.

If you have any questions about this car or any other classic car restoration projects we have in the shop, we would love to hear from you. Make sure to visit our British Sports Cars Blog to get the most recent updates on what’s going on in and around the shop, and to see all the photos from this project.