Stan Mason 1960 Sprite

Stan Mason’s “TALE OF TWO BUG EYE SPRITES” (as of 3/22/14)
Beginning Interest in Sports Cars:
My interest in Sports Cars was unusual when I was growing up as a young male in the late 1950s. I occupied my time building plastic car models, enjoying Strombecker Slot Cars and reading Sports Car magazines while my friends were all normal American Kids with interest in Hot Rods.
1st Sports Car Race:
In 1965 @ age 16 I talked my Dad into taking me to Mid-Ohio Road Race Course to see my first Sports Car Race. This was a Professional USSRC race and the warm-up races before the main event were some Production SCCA classes including HP. Watching 12 Bug Eye Sprites racing altogether was so exciting for me and made ownership of one of these cool cars mandatory with the intent of eventually racing.
1st Bug Eye:
When I graduated from High School in the Summer of 1967 (no cars before that point were the rules in my house) within the week I had purchased my first Bug Eye for $500. I was told by my American Car Buying Father that it was a piece of foreign junk and that I needed reliable transportation to get to and from College that fall. I of course countered by saying it would be fine (knowing he was probably right). It just did not matter to me I was into the moment of having independence in a cool top down Sports Car with the end of Summer drawing near. This Bug Eye had been painted black with a paint brush and had a wedged piece of 2 X 4 wood to support the broken rear generator support. My first engine failure (severe oil leak at block to filter tube) occurred a month later requiring an engine rebuild. This car became my main Midwest year around transportation for the next 3 years.
2nd Bugeye (Race Car #4): 
In 1968 working part time at a gas station making $20 a week while attending college fellow gas jockey and college friend (Dave Braun) mentioned seeing an advertisement in the local newspaper for Sprite Racing Parts. An immediate phone call followed with a visit to the owner John Brase’s house. I examined the racing parts all of which were way more expensive than the $20 a week I could afford. He also had a SCCA Race Prepared Metallic Green Bug Eye with Red interior. He asked if I was interested in a ride around the block. I of course gave him an excitable yes! He turned on the ignition switch triggering the sound of dual SU electric fuel pumps, as the clicked slowed after gaining pressure he pulled the starter cable, which resulted in a throbbing sound that only a race engine with headers and a straight exhaust can posses. After returning to his Garage I asked if he would be interested in selling the car (pretty bold for a $20 a week gas jockey). He explained that he was going on military duty in Germany for the next 3 years and would discuss with his wife. He called back after a week and said that it was important for him to sell his car to someone that really appreciated Bug Eyes, so yes he would sell it to me. I gulped deep and awkwardly explaining that I only made $20 a week. He said, “No problem, just provide a $100 down payment and pay his Mom when I could”. I was able to pay off the car in the next 2 years with some of the pay off coming from the sale of extra race parts that were part of the deal (I wish I had those same parts today). 
Present Day:
Thanks to John’s generosity I have owned this car ever since and enjoy Vintage Racing and Showing it at Sports Car Shows. I am proud to say that every part of the car has been restored or rebuilt by me and I am only the 3rd owner. I kept my first August 1965 Mid Ohio Sports Car Program, and after buying the car I was surprised to see my new race car was listed as “Number 14 John Brase Fort Wayne Indiana”. John reunited with the Bug Eye driving on Grattan Raceway during the lunch touring session on August17, 2013. He provided a photo of him and his wife driving the parade lap with the checkered flag after placing first in HP Race taken the day I saw my first Sports Car Race.

Vintage Sports Car Racing:
I have been vintage sports car racing this car since the 1980s and still enjoy the feel and excitement that I experienced in 1969!