Healey Sports Cars

mods & upgrades for Healey (Nash, Austin, or Jensen) cars, including engine swaps

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J Man
jason adkins
NW OH
(194 posts)

Registered:
01/21/2009 08:49PM

Main British Car:
'61 Morris Minor panel, '70 MGB GT, '74 MGB GT MGB 1.8, unsure yet on the GTs

New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: J Man
Date: January 25, 2009 11:32AM

I did my into post the other day but I wanted to wait till I picked up the car to do this post. It is a '59 and it is going to need a lot of work.

http://i339.photobucket.com/albums/n461/JasonandJennifer/1959%20Austin%20Healey%20Bugeye%20Sprite/1900_1.jpg
http://i339.photobucket.com/albums/n461/JasonandJennifer/1959%20Austin%20Healey%20Bugeye%20Sprite/3556_1.jpg

What I would would like to do is put a 215 Buick motor in it with a T5 tranny. I would like to put disc brakes up front and possibly change it to a 5 lug bolt pattern on all 4 corners. I would like to put coilovers on all 4 corners, maybe even try to figure out some sort of air ride set up for it. For the most part I will keep the body stock with the exception of removing emblems and maybe changing some of the lighting. I would also like to run 15" wheels all the way around.

So here are the questions I have to start off with.
1. Can anyone recommend a good manual? I would like something that would show exploded views of the car, especially the chassis.
2. I know I can update to disc brakes using later parts, is there a kit to switch it to a 5 lug pattern? If no kit, has anyone done this that can offer some advice?
3. For putting the 215 in, is there anyone that makes motor mounts to put motor into the car or will I have to fab these up myself? As far as shifter location, what would be the best choice of T5s to use?
4. The body will need repair work and I am sure i will have to replace some mechanical stuff, what is the best source for parts?

Thanks for reading this and I look forward to learning from everyones expertise.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/25/2009 11:33AM by J Man.


Moderator
Curtis Jacobson
Portland Oregon
(4411 posts)

Registered:
10/12/2007 02:16AM

Main British Car:
71 MGBGT, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: Moderator
Date: January 25, 2009 01:02PM

Wow - looks like a great find - and a big project.

I can't answer all your questions... but I'll tell you my first phone call would be to request a FREE catalog from Moss Motors. Their catalog has exploded views of just about every system on the car.

Example:
http://www.mossmotors.com/Graphics/Products/Schematics/SPM-039.gif

I've never bought Sprite parts from Moss, but I've bought a lot of MGB parts there. Full disclosure: they're a sponsor of BritishV8. (Their ad investments keep this site free and growing.)
http://www.britishv8.org/Sponsors/Moss-Motors-MGB.jpg

As for body parts... quite a lot of the original tooling still exists. Look for parts labeled "British Motor Heritage" if you want high quality, original sheet metal.


getagripgreg
Greg Stasko

(33 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2008 12:08AM

Main British Car:


Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: getagripgreg
Date: January 26, 2009 03:07AM

Hey, congrats on the start of your project! It looks almost as rough as mine. :)

I'm early on in exactly the same project, but mine already had the 215 stuffed in about 30 years ago. You are going to have to make mounts. The ones in mine are very crude angle iron brackets, but they work. The sides of the 215 block are almost even with the frame rails (a little narrower) so it's an easy part.

I have a Muncie M20 gearbox. I thought it would be easier to setup the shifter where I want it with the external linkage. I don't think this thing will need 5 speeds, though I will probably look for a taller final drive. (I drove it tonight for the first time!)

Any of the Haynes or Chilton type manuals will be helpful.

I've not seen any 5 lug conversions, and I don't know why you'd want to do it. 15" wheels look too big on a Bugeye for my taste. You'll need to custom machine front hubs for 5 lugs. Expensive. Axles can be made with whatever pattern you like, but again, expensive.

Front disks are a very easy swap. Just buy a complete front suspension from a later car (everything except the springs and upper shocks are required. If you want something more radical, fabrication is required... or money... Huffaker makes a racing brake kit using MGB calipers and Spitfire rotors.

Moss Motors is a great parts source. Ebay is usually pretty good for sprite parts.
Where are you located?

Cheers,
Greg


J Man
jason adkins
NW OH
(194 posts)

Registered:
01/21/2009 08:49PM

Main British Car:
'61 Morris Minor panel, '70 MGB GT, '74 MGB GT MGB 1.8, unsure yet on the GTs

Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: J Man
Date: January 26, 2009 12:14PM

I am in NW Ohio, I found the car in IN. The 5 lug thing is more for a better selection of wheels. I plan to swap out the rear axle as I plan to get as much power out of the 215 as I can. I have found one place that said they can make me a brake kit. I will also be using a smaller tire to make it look right in the wheel well. My reason for the 5 speed is for the fact that they are easy to find being from a S10 and they are small.

I have 2 catalogs on the way, Moss and Victoria British LTD.

I have noticed that a lot of times the sprite is linked up with the Midget, are most of these parts compatible with each other? I have seen that a lot of the advertisers make stuff for the Midgets but there are not a lot for the sprite.


Moderator
Curtis Jacobson
Portland Oregon
(4411 posts)

Registered:
10/12/2007 02:16AM

Main British Car:
71 MGBGT, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: Moderator
Date: January 26, 2009 01:46PM

Quote:
I have noticed that a lot of times the sprite is linked up with the Midget, are most of these parts compatible with each other?

Your bugeye is sometimes referred to as a "Mark 1" Sprite. It was produced in the MG factory at Abingdon. After a couple of years of Sprite production, decisions were made to go to a fixed-fender design with a smaller, flatter and cheaper bonnet (hood), and to add a boot (trunk) lid. At the same time, a decision was made to introduce an MG-badged version of the same basic car. The MG version would sell at a slightly higher price. So, a "Mark 2" Sprite is essentially the same car as a "Mark 1" Midget, a "Mark 3" Sprite is similar to a "Mark 2" Midget (etc. There were five generations of Sprite.) The Sprite-badged version of the "Spridget" ceased production in 1971 (i.e. several years after the Healey 3000, in 1967), but the Midget continued in production through 1980.

Here's a quote from a BritishV8 article about the British Motor Heritage:
Quote:
MGB fans sometimes forget a few facts about the little "Spridget" models, like that the MG factory at Abingdon had already produced over sixty thousand Spridgets before MGB production started in May 1962. That number includes all 48999 of the Mk.I (aka "bugeye" or "frogeye") Sprites. Their production run lasted from March 31, 1958 through January 1961. The Mk.II Sprite and Mk.I Midget were both launched in 1961. In 21 years and 8 months of production, almost as many Spridgets were built as MGB roadsters. Like the MGB, these little cars featured elegant, modern "unitbody" construction instead of frame-on-body construction.

All that said... your car is a bugeye, and thus it's an earlier year-model car. Lots of things changed in later years. For example the brake system is better in later models, as mentioned earlier in this thread.

You might enjoy this article. Lots of Sprite pics! MG Midget Bodyshells - Being Assembled by British Motor Heritage



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/26/2009 04:07PM by Moderator.


J Man
jason adkins
NW OH
(194 posts)

Registered:
01/21/2009 08:49PM

Main British Car:
'61 Morris Minor panel, '70 MGB GT, '74 MGB GT MGB 1.8, unsure yet on the GTs

Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: J Man
Date: January 27, 2009 11:16AM

It is pretty cool that they can make the old bodies like that, too bad I can't find stuff like the for my old model Ts.


J Man
jason adkins
NW OH
(194 posts)

Registered:
01/21/2009 08:49PM

Main British Car:
'61 Morris Minor panel, '70 MGB GT, '74 MGB GT MGB 1.8, unsure yet on the GTs

Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: J Man
Date: January 27, 2009 11:36AM

Yesterday I was outside unloading the car of the trailer, it was 14 degrees/7 with the wind chill. It look way too long as something was locked up. When I loaded it I used the winch on my truck and did not notice the rear wheels would not turn. When I wan to unload it, I went to make sure it was in N and I could not get the shifter to move, the clutch pedal went strait to the floor. I had to use the winch to pull it off my trailer, then over to in front of the garage door. Then I winched it by hand a little till I could get it into position to use my truck to push it in to the garage. The only damage was a broken tail light lens. At leas now I can use my jack to lift up the rear to move it where I want it to go. I am going to disconnect the drive shaft so I can get it to roll easily. I am actually going to be working on it in another building.

I noticed on mine and others that there is a round hole on the rocker, What is that for?



Moderator
Curtis Jacobson
Portland Oregon
(4411 posts)

Registered:
10/12/2007 02:16AM

Main British Car:
71 MGBGT, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: Moderator
Date: January 27, 2009 11:46AM

Quote:
What is that for?

Jacking point for the jack that originally came with the car - but if I were you I wouldn't plan on using it. A "scissors" jack is less likely to slip.


J Man
jason adkins
NW OH
(194 posts)

Registered:
01/21/2009 08:49PM

Main British Car:
'61 Morris Minor panel, '70 MGB GT, '74 MGB GT MGB 1.8, unsure yet on the GTs

Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: J Man
Date: January 27, 2009 12:36PM

Thats good, Basically I wanted to make sure I could fill in the hole when I get around to the body work stage.


Bill Young
Bill Young
Kansas City, MO
(1337 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 09:23AM

Main British Car:
'73 MG Midget V6 , '59 MGA I6 2.8 GM, 4.0 Jeep

authors avatar
Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: Bill Young
Date: January 27, 2009 02:20PM

Hello Jason, welcome to the world of modified Spridgets (Sprites and Midgets sort or run together since they are so much alike)
I'll try a few answers in order, 1. as already mentioned either the Victoria British or Moss catalogs for pretty good exploded views of the car. 2. No 5 lug upgrade that I've ever heard of, most stick with the original 4 on 4" lug pattern if they're not changing the eitire front suspension for something else. 3. Motor mounts, you'll have to fabricate something for yourself, nothing off the shelf. As far as transmission choice, that depends on how far back the motor is installed, but for the V8 my guess is that the S10 T5 shifter location would be better than that of the Camaro type box. 4. Parts, that's really hard to say, depends on what you need. As far as body panels go VB or Moss are about the same as the panels all come from British Motor Heritage anyway. For other items it's worth the time to shop around a bit, you can save some money when things are on sale or from some suppliers. If you have specific needs just post a question and I'm sure one of us will pass on what we know.
As far as the drive line goes, I think that for the money it's hard to beat a narrowed GM 10 bolt differential assembly. Great selection of ratios and posi tracs available at a reasonable price and they aren't too heavy. Most will handle the power of a small V8 quite well and if you want to keep the 4 X4" lug pattern the rear axle from a mid 70s Monza or Vega has the same lug pattern and the brakes clear 13" wheels.


MGBV8
Carl Floyd
Kingsport, TN
(3791 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 11:32PM

Main British Car:
1979 MGB, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: MGBV8
Date: January 31, 2009 10:12AM

Plus sizing pros & cons:

[www.britishmotoring.net]


J Man
jason adkins
NW OH
(194 posts)

Registered:
01/21/2009 08:49PM

Main British Car:
'61 Morris Minor panel, '70 MGB GT, '74 MGB GT MGB 1.8, unsure yet on the GTs

Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: J Man
Date: February 01, 2009 11:53AM

Thanks for the link.

While doing my searching on the net, Coker states that the current proper tire for the MK1 Sprite to be a 145R13 with a 22.30" overall diameter. I have found a 155/60R15 to have a 22.32" overall diameter. The 145R13 has a 5.8" cross section while the 155/60R15 has a 6.10" cross section.

The wheels I would like to use come in a 15x5.5 for one style and 15x4.5 or 15x5.5 for the other style. I just need to check the backspacing/offsets to see how they would fit in the fender.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/01/2009 07:10PM by J Man.


J Man
jason adkins
NW OH
(194 posts)

Registered:
01/21/2009 08:49PM

Main British Car:
'61 Morris Minor panel, '70 MGB GT, '74 MGB GT MGB 1.8, unsure yet on the GTs

Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: J Man
Date: May 25, 2009 11:50PM

I have not had a lot going on car wise (unemployment does not allow for extra money for car stuff). I would like to find the spindles (uprights) to convert to discs, What years do I need to look for? Do I only need the spindles or do I need other parts as well? Thanks


HealeyRick
Rick Neville

(468 posts)

Registered:
12/19/2007 05:01PM

Main British Car:
1963 Austin-Healey 3000 Ford 5.0L

authors avatar
Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: HealeyRick
Date: May 28, 2009 04:07PM

Best thing to do is find a later (1964 +) Spridget at the Pic & Pay and have them torch off the front suspension for you including the A-arms, then buy a major suspension kit from Moss. You're going to want to rebuild the front end, anyway, and A-arms tend to get trashed in the trunnion bushing area. Also grab the master cylinder from the later car and buy a rebuild kit for that as well. The disc brake cars have a larger bore than the Bugeye.


J Man
jason adkins
NW OH
(194 posts)

Registered:
01/21/2009 08:49PM

Main British Car:
'61 Morris Minor panel, '70 MGB GT, '74 MGB GT MGB 1.8, unsure yet on the GTs

Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: J Man
Date: May 28, 2009 06:14PM

Our yards up here do not have old stuff. it is all gone so I am stuck with e bay and maybe a nice person on a site like this. That is why I need to know exactly what I need to do the conversion. I do plan on buyer better brakes so I am more concerned with the stock parts needed and what years.



HealeyRick
Rick Neville

(468 posts)

Registered:
12/19/2007 05:01PM

Main British Car:
1963 Austin-Healey 3000 Ford 5.0L

authors avatar
Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: HealeyRick
Date: May 28, 2009 07:54PM

Go here, this will tell you what you'll need: [books.google.com] By the way, this is a great book, well worth the money if you're into performance improvements



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/28/2009 07:57PM by HealeyRick.


Bill Young
Bill Young
Kansas City, MO
(1337 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 09:23AM

Main British Car:
'73 MG Midget V6 , '59 MGA I6 2.8 GM, 4.0 Jeep

authors avatar
Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: Bill Young
Date: May 29, 2009 08:44AM

Jason, the front discs from any Sprite or Midget from 1962-1979 will work. There should be a British Car or MG club in your area, I'd try contacting them for parts. Most of them will know of someone who has the parts you need for the conversion. I'd say get the complete spindle assembly and the lower A arms. (You should also check Craigslist in your area. Often you'll see listings dealing with MGs or British cars from a local "dealer" in parts and cars there) They will bolt on to your car. The front brake lines will have to be changed because of the different fittings used, but you would probably be replacing those anyway. The later A arms will also have the correct holes and reinforcements for using a front sway bar which you will want to add to the car anyway. As Rick said, while you're at it get the brake and pedal assembly from the donor car if you can. The master cylinder will be better sized for the disc brakes and the entire assembly should bolt in place of your original pedal box. Don't throw any of the old parts away, the are worth some good bucks for the guys restoring Bugeyes. With a good brake pad such as the EBC greenstuff items you should have reasonable brakes for a street car.
You should be able to fit up to a 13X6" wide wheel with up to a 185 series tire in the wheel arches of your car. Hap at Acme Speed shop [www.acmespeedshop.com] has the wheels up to 7" wide but I'd probably stay with a 6" wheel unless you plan to do flares on the car. You'll want to upgrade to 7/16" diameter wheel studs for sure with the V8. Those can be sourced locally or through the Winner's Circle. If you're in doubt about the wheels or offset contact the manufacturer or someone like Hap who has the experience and knows what will work and what won't.
Of course all this is designed to keep the original 4 lug pattern up front and 13" wheels. You can go as wild as you like, but start changing the front suspension bits, hubs, brakes, etc and it gets expensive and time consuming to work out the engineering details. It's been done before, check out the cars in the photo gallery for some of the options already taken.
You will have to change the rear axle for sure, the original axle will not hold up under the torque of a V8 or V6.


Bugeyev8
Brian Marshall
San Leandro CA
(32 posts)

Registered:
12/16/2008 08:53PM

Main British Car:
1960 Bugeye, 1974 MGB,Triumph TR8 1.2 115 Hp 1275 in the Bugeye, Nissan Ka24DE in MG

Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: Bugeyev8
Date: June 12, 2009 05:11PM

sounds to me like this project is way over your head..

To get any engine other than a stock engine or small Jap engine the Bugeye will require Extensive fabrication and engineering, The Bugeye is a unibody car that will require a frame to be made to handle any V6 or V8 engine, If you don't have these skills or know someone who does ..stop now before you end up with a pile of junk in your yard
DVC00479[1].JPG


Moderator
Curtis Jacobson
Portland Oregon
(4411 posts)

Registered:
10/12/2007 02:16AM

Main British Car:
71 MGBGT, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: Moderator
Date: June 13, 2009 11:59PM

Brian wrote: "The Bugeye is a unibody car that will require a frame to be made to handle any V6 or V8 engine"

Strengthening and stiffening the unibody bodyshell is recommended, but IMHO adding a "frame" is an inelegant way to do that. I had a great ride with Bill Young in his V6 Midget just last week in Durham at the BritishV8 meet. That car doesn't have a frame, but it does benefit from a nice roll hoop supplemented with a "Petty bar". A Petty bar goes from the main hoop forward and downward to a mounting plate on the passenger-side floorboard. I think Bill's is great! It doesn't get in the way of either the driver or passenger, yet the bar seems to eliminate beaming and scuttle shaking. I don't know the extent of reinforcements under the floor, but a frame wasn't added.

http://www.britishv8.org/MG/BillYoung/BillYoung-S.jpg

http://www.britishv8.org/MG/BillYoung/BillYoung-T.jpg


Bugeyev8
Brian Marshall
San Leandro CA
(32 posts)

Registered:
12/16/2008 08:53PM

Main British Car:
1960 Bugeye, 1974 MGB,Triumph TR8 1.2 115 Hp 1275 in the Bugeye, Nissan Ka24DE in MG

Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: Bugeyev8
Date: June 19, 2009 05:19PM

Curtis

Take it from someone who has done these type of things to several Bugeyes ,

I agree Bills car is very nice and was done well built.....it is a Midget not a Bugeye, the Bugeye has 1/4 springs and has nothing to support the rear of the springs should you decide to put in full leafs, if you go with a 4 link....you will also need to fab up a mounting stsyem for the coil overs if you go this way, you can't run a Chevy rear end on 1/4 springs and have it work right, not to mention the firewall and frame sections that need to be removed for the engine to even fit are structural and need to be replaced with something

to put a V8 in a Bugeye like Jason is wanting to do...it will require extensive work

I am not saying you could not just stuff a v8 in there and cut all the metal and hack it up and make it run, but I have seen at least 4 of these myself and they were not only ugly and crude they were just unsafe, I had one with an olds 215 in it, they cut the frame and firewall and just welded angle iron for mounts, yes It may have run but...how fun could it have been to drive ?

Everyone wants to use the BOP engine for everything, but it is not right for this application, you will have to cut off a leg in order to drive it, I would think hard about using a 4 cylinder or a V6 and not that old V8

I hate the 215s and will never ever touch one again for anything, it is an antique and was outdated when it was new and more so in the Range Rovers, the Chevy LS is a much much better engine and is actually narrower that the 215, the one in my friends 1973 240z was dynoed at 350hp to the rear wheels, he paid 3k for the engine and trans from a wreckers and threw a cam and headers on it and that was it !! try to get that from a 215 will cost you 2x that

This site is set up so people can decide if they want to do something based on others who have done the same thing, I just want Jason to know the facts here so he can make an informed decision and get his car running how he wants it, I would hate to see it scrapped because he was over his head , we have done V8s, Rotarys, Toyota engines, and more into Bugeyes, we know what we are talking about when it comes to Bugeyes with engine swaps

I look at cars on this site and others with engine swaps...and see things that really really scare me, I owned a GT6 that had a 302 V8 that was on this site, it came with another car I bought and I got to see first hand how crude and unsafe this thing was

Curtis...just because someone has done it ...does not make it correct , I am so sick of reading stuff on the net from people that just sit in front of a computer and read to get their information, so much of the info on this and other sites is 2nd or 3rd hand and is way distorted, knowing part of the truth is not enough


just my 2 cents, if I offended anyone by talking bad about the 215..sorry...it is just how I feel
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