Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Bugeye Sprite update

It's been over a year since I last posted on the Bugeye and a lot has transpired in that time so I thought an update would be in order. 

Since the last post in February of '23 the car's interior was finished, the lights and trim installed on the exterior and the engine, gearbox and rear end were all filled with the appropriate fluids. With petrol in the tank and some adjustments to the carburetors and distributor the engine roared to life and the Bugeye moved under its own power for the first time in almost forty years! All of this was chronicled on the Econobox Garage YouTube channel which you can reach by clicking on this link.

July '23 was a busy month with final preparations to get the car on the road legally. Insurance was procured, it passed its preregistration inspection with flying colors, license plate installed and then it was off to its public debut at the European Classic Car Meet hosted by the Vintage Sports Car Club of Calgary at Stanley Park in southwest Calgary.

Attracting a crowd at the 2024 ECCM

In good company

Looking towards the show grounds 2023 ECCM

I took the car to several shows over the remaining summer and fall where it was very well received.  I made a little model of the car and my daughter made a little frog to ride in it. I have this as a mascot that sits on the rear deck of the car... the younger generation seems to really like that as well as the car itself. One of the pleasures of showing the car is seeing the smiles on the faces of little kids when they get to sit behind the steering wheel.

"Froggy" the mascot in his car!

I was able to put on over 800 miles (1300km) before winter set in and the car tucked away in the garage.

Fast forward to March '24 and the organizers of the Calgary International Auto & Truck Show asked the VSCCC if some members were willing to display their cars in the "classics" section of that show. I jumped at the opportunity and was one of five cars from the club to accept the invitation. The other four were a couple of E-Type Jags, a D-Type replica and a Pantera.


On display at the 2024 Calgary International Auto & Truck Show

A frog among the cats!

I had the car towed to the show as it was very cold and very snowy. However, when the show was over the weather had warmed up considerably and the roads had dried up accordingly so I decided to drive home! I left the roof off, made sure I had the heater turned on and drove out of the BMO Center into a brisk, +5ºC, but sunny day! 

This car always draws waves, smiles and thumbs ups and this twenty minute drive home was no exception with the first one coming before I even left the parking lot!

Just a bit of snow on the ground!

Once I got home I had some errands to run so I thought I may as well use the Bugeye as it was out and warmed up! I'm looking forward to many more miles, smiles and car shows in the coming months.

Thanks for checking in! I'd love to hear from you so please leave a note in the comments section below!


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