Friday, February 10, 2023

A long overdue update on our Bugeye Sprite

It's been a while since I last posted so I thought I would bring you up to date with our Bugeye Sprite project!

The car is now painted and has been wet sanded with 1000 and 2000 grit sandpaper. Next up is polishing and after that installing things like badges, lights, doors etc. The engine, gearbox, rear end and all the suspension are in place. If all goes well it will be on the road this spring!


Before paint

After paint

There were a couple of mishaps along the way, though. While upgrading the lighting in the garage I dropped an electrical box on the front of the car resulting in a fairly deep chip in the new paint. That took a while to fix but we are now back on track.

Engine bay before

Engine bay after

You can see the progress and processes on the Econobox Garage YouTube channel by following this link

Thanks for checking in! I'd love to hear from you so please leave a comment below.

Monday, June 21, 2021

More on the Renault Clio Williams

I recently did a series on European hatches that we didn't get in North America. In the third post in that series I featured the Renault Clio Williams. 

One of my favorite YouTube channels, Tyrrell's Classic Workshop , just did a video on that same car that I thought you might enjoy...

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Ramblings of a car guy.

I've always liked cars.

My dad's 1959 Riley One-Point-Five. My first car photo circa 1966 near Reading, UK.

I can remember almost all of the cars my parents had. I remember as a ten year old watching cars drive by the house and trying to name them all. I remember the first time I drove a car; it was a '64 Dodge station wagon with a push button automatic! 

Dad's '64 Dodge wagon circa 1971. Calgary, AB.

 I remember the car I took my driving lessons in and some of the routes taken. I remember the subscriptions to several car magazines that I would read almost the moment they were retrieved from the mailbox. I remember my first car and all the following purchases, most of them anyway, and fortunately the good ones outnumbered the bad ones. I remember buying my first socket set so I could fix the broken rear end in my first car. I remember the first car I bought brand new, where I bought it and how much I paid for it.

My 1959 Beetle. Calgary AB, circa 1974.

59 Beetle interior shot

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Hagerty's Jason Cammisa "reviews" the Renault R5 Turbo


Renault 5 Turbo (photo from Mecum Auctions)

I know I've posted about the Renault 5 turbo a couple of times already (previous post here) but Hagerty just posted this fun video and I had to share....

Enjoy! Oh, and please let me know of any other hot hatches you'd like to see

Thursday, December 10, 2020

What are we up to now?

When the econoboxes of the late eighties and early nineties came on the scene the aim was to provide an inexpensive and economical alternative to the gas guzzlers of the day. This was not a new phenomenon in the auto industry! In the mid fifties British sports cars were expensive and didn't get very good gas mileage.

In 1956 Donald Healey, of Austin Healey fame, was tasked by Leonard Lord, chairman of the British Motor Corporation, to come up with a small low-cost sports car. This resulted in the development of the Austin Healey Sprite, a small lightweight two seat roadster that Healey described as "something a chap could keep in his cycle shed"!

1960 Austin Healey Sprite. Photo taken Aug '18 in Calgary.

Why am I bringing this up on the Econobox Cafe blog you may ask?

Sunday, July 26, 2020

European hatchbacks: fourth in a series.

Welcome to the fourth and final (for now) post in our series on a number of econoboxes, and their "hot hatch" variants, that were not available in the North American market. In this post we'll journey to Italy and Japan!

First to Italy to have a look at the Fiat Tipo. This subcompact first went on sale in the European market in June of 1988 and in the UK the following month.It was only available as

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Putt Putt: Memories of a first car

I've been involved in the Festiva community for almost twenty years and over that time I've met a lot of other owners, both locally and internationally. I've also had the opportunity to help some owners keep their cars on the road. I recently parted out a Festiva as it was beyond saving with rust having taken its toll. I asked its owner, Sara, to share the story of that car and here it is...

May I introduce Putt Putt!

My younger sister (Jana) purchased the car in July 2013,shortly after she turned 16, from a guy in Calgary named James; she named it “Putt Putt” because of the sounds it made. It was just shy of 118,000 km and from what I heard, it was very lightly used and had just been sitting in a garage mostly

One time when she was driving our cousin home from school, smoke started coming out of the radio and they had to pull over and get picked up. Luckily it turned into nothing worse!