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1959 Austin Healey "Bugeye" Sprite

Sale price: $13,983.00 make an offer

Car location: Seattle, Washington, United States
Sale type: Fixed price listing

Technical specifications, photos and description:

Manufacturer: austin healey
Model: Austin Healey
Year: 1959
Type: convertible
Color: Classic old english white
Mileage: 3,400
Transmission: manual
Fuel Type: Gasoline
Trim: 2 Door
Interior Color: Black
Vehicle Title: Clear
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1959 Austin Healey "Bugeye" Sprite for sale

Current customer rating: current rating for this car (2.5) based on 709 votes
1959 Austin Healey
  • 1959 Austin Healey
  • 1959 Austin Healey
  • 1959 Austin Healey
  • 1959 Austin Healey
  • 1959 Austin Healey
  • 1959 Austin Healey
  • 1959 Austin Healey
  • 1959 Austin Healey
  • 1959 Austin Healey
  • 1959 Austin Healey
  • 1959 Austin Healey

My 1959 "BUGEYE" - History

For at least the past 20 years (most likely longer) this Bugeye spent its life in California for all but about the last three years. This vehicle also spent a year prior to my ownership in British Columbia where it was completely rebuilt as a father and son project.   The restorer who completed this car normally does Jaguar's. Big Healy's and other more difficult British cars.   

To describe this Bug Eye is a pleasure:

RUST FREE Body. Chassis & Engine Bay; Paint is Classic Old English White

As stated earlier it has a 1275cc that was professionally rebuilt less the 3000 miles.

 Transmission and clutch rebuilt at the same time as the engine

Rear-end and rear axles completely re-built (axles replaced) less than 2000 miles

Brakes; Front replaced with disk / Rear – Drum

Master cylinder rebuilt less than 3000 miles

Brakes replaced. new pads installed (including hoses. shoes. wheel cylinders. washers. etc. as needed)





Suspension – heavy duty front sway bar. rebuilt shocks front and rear

Replacement. factory style braided wiring harness

Functional Lighting System. Turn Signals. etc.

Includes Side Curtains

Custom Tonneau Cover

Convertible Top (with clear rear window)

Original Convertible Top Bows

Factory original / stock air cleaners

Wire-Wheels – Chrome – less than 3000 miles with Tiger Paw tires

All original gauges and knobs

Rubber matting on front floors

Original "California" chrome bumpers & trim (Excellent)

The paint work. while not perfect (show level) it shows really well. There are a few minor scratches but what car doesn't?

Within the past 500 miles the car has been professionally gone through mechanically to ensure that everything is in top ship

The Bugeye looks great from even 10 feet and presents a much better appearance than many of the 50+ year old sports cars.

The body gaps on the Bugeye are also very good (well. as good as they were for these days!) and do not indicate any damage. The doors fit solidly and close well. Also. the hood is equipped with the front handle (almost always missing on the Bugeye hood) that locks as it should.

While the trim on a Bugeye is relatively minimal. what is there is in good. to excellent condition. Specifically. the interior compartment trim (surrounding the door/dash area) is good. The rear "bumperettes" are in good straight condition. no peeling chrome but showing the patina and minor. fine scratches that come with age. The often times missing front bumper is in place and the chrome is very good. indeed. As with the entire car. there are no signs of rust throughout and the original chrome still shines bright. The chrome "bits" have not lost their luster and become dull as you would expect with cars in other parts of the world and in on the East Coast. or Midwest.

The front grill is in very good condition. and straight having survived all of these years in really nice condition.   The lenses. front (Lucas “Tripod” headlights) and rear. are in excellent condition. free from noticeable cracks and damage.

It is a lovely car that has been well cared for. and one that has seen occasional. fair weather. weekend use and it has never been driven in the rain.


The interior on the Bugeye shows very well. The dash. side door panels (the vinyl is a little "lumpy" but easily fixed). The carpet is black in color and the front and rear sections have rubber mats as would have been correct "in the day. "

The interior has no significant signs of wear although it was re-done with-in the past 5 years. it has held up very well. The seats are firm and the seat frames are also in excellent condition. The same is true with the door panels. dash and other trim areas that have been recovered with the matching fabric.

The dash is also very nice and contains the original. Bugeye gauges along with the original switches and knobs. The car has received the benefit of a new cloth wiring harness that was originally fitted to the Sprite.   The original gauges are in place as are the other toggle switches. The original signal toggle operates the turn signals. and is fully functional for turn signals both front and rear. The light switch (surrounding the ignition) is functional. and turns on the headlights and the bright lights. The tail lights and even the license plate light work. Also. the dash lights work. The choke is also functional and. unlike many of the older British cars. it has the "twist" feature so that it will stay out on its own while the car is warming up.

The speedometer is fully functional and the car retains the original tach drive on the back of a factory (original) generator. The tach works.

The wire wheels are in outstanding condition and the tires have less than 500 miles. The front hood emblem is in place and in very good condition. The spare tire remains in its original location and has not been removed from the car.


For the purist. the strength of this car is that it has escaped the modifications that we see on many of the older Sprites (fender flares. reverse mounted hoods. etc. ) any changes that have been made were done with period correct parts and can be reversed if desired.   The roll bar is bolted in and can be removed. While subtle changes have been made. they have been made with an eye toward performance. and safety.  

Specifically. and most important. the car has received the benefit of improved front brakes (discs from a later Austin Healey) and seat belts. The brakes are a wonderful improvement over the factory. inadequate front drum brakes of the era. While neither of these changes is immediately recognizable (to other than the true Bugeye enthusiast/aficionado). they make the car considerably more drivable. and safe.

The engine on the Bugeye is very strong and does not smoke. or have an unusual engine noise; it shouldn't because it has less than 3000 miles on it. It has 60lbs of oil pressure when warm and runs cool. well within acceptable limits.   The vehicle has an added a electric fan in front of the radiator – just to keep the air moving; this is easily removed if desired.  

The Bugeye starts immediately in the morning and during the day regardless of the temperature. The gauges provide positive readings with very high oil pressure when the engine is warm. or cold. The battery holds a charge over a long period of time and the car has always started. even after sitting for a few weeks/months. This is a reliable. Austin Healey Bugeye. to be sure.

The transmission shifts well and there is no noise in the rear end. or transmission. The clutch engages and does not chatter or make noise.

The braking system (front disc brakes) stops the car straight and sure and the car does not exhibit any unusual handling. or drivability issues. The steering is tight and precise. and the car handles great.

We do recommend that if you obtain this Bugeye that you allocate your time when driving it as “everybody” will ask you about it and in many cases have a story to tell; be prepared to meet a wide variety of new friends and enthusiasts.





There were three series of the Sprite. The first series was produced from 1958 through 1961. with approximately 49. 00 examples being sent overseas. to the USA is the most popular and recognized.

 In the United States. the cars became referred to as "Bugeye's". while in the UK they became commonly know as the "Frogeye. "

Each of the names evolved from the headlights mounted on the top of hood that resembles a frog and/or bug. Concealed flip-up headlamps were in the original drawings. but high production costs canceled those plans. The body was very smooth and flowing. There were no door handles; to open the door. the inside handle would need to be operated. This meant that the doors could not be locked. The trunk did not open but was accessed through an opening behind the seats. Housed inside the trunk was the spare tire along with the jack and tools. Up front. the entire front hood hinged upwards. allowing easy and convenient access to the engine.

The mechanical components were borrowed; in an effort to reduce the cost of production. from a number of vehicles that were already available in the marketplace. The suspension was from the Austin A-35 while the basic engine was courtesy of the Morris Minor. The 948 cc engine was based on the Morris Motor Company A-series but fitted with dual SU carburetors increasing the horsepower from 37 to 43. Coil springs and wishbones were in the front while the rear was a semi-elliptical leaf spring configuration. A rack-and-pinion steering unit controlled the car. drum brakes provided the stopping power. and a four-speed manual gearbox sent power to the rear wheels.

Later versions of the Sprite. while similar mechanically. no longer had the one piece front hood. and most people felt they lost some of the charm of the original Bugeye/Frogeye. The 948 cc engine continued to power the car until 1964.

The original Sprite was a popular vehicle for many reasons. including its small size. sporty nature. and overall low cost of operation. The original versions cost approximately $2000. The cars were easy to maintain. offered great handling and epitomized the British Sports car experience of the 1950's / 1960's. While the cars were certainly not considered high performance. they were geared to have "zippy" performance in the lower ranges and. equipped with the larger. later model engines; the Bugeye was capable of speeds approaching 100 mph.

Today these cars “Bugeye/Frogeye's” have become increasingly difficult to locate for a variety of reasons. While large numbers of cars were produced. the cars were prone to significant rust (especially in "rust zones" throughout the USA). and many cars didn't survive past the 1970's. Also. a large number of cars were entered in a variety of Motorsports events including; road racing. auto crossing and other events where the cars did extremely well and established a number of records.








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Comments and questions to the seller:

from Peter Sebold, dated 20 august 2015
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