Bill Hardie 1961 Austin Healey Sprite

Dad’s Bugeye
My father bought this 1961 Bugeye in the late 1970's in Kansas City, MO. I remember well the ride home to St. Louis, as a kid, with Dad driving, my brother sitting in the front seat and me in the rear boot for 4 hours! Within a couple of years he decided it was time for a full restoration. Everything would be removed, cleaned, rebuilt, polished, repainted, replaced, etc. He wanted to bring this car back to its original showroom condition or better. 

I spent countless nights in the basement helping Dad remove parts from the car, put the pieces in bags and noting what they were for the future reassembly. Many more hours I spent polishing nuts, bolts, screws and washers on the drill press with a wire wheel while Dad was painting something or doing the more interesting work of reassembling the engine after getting it back from the machine shop. 

Finally after so many years of work, Dad had the Bugeye back together, it looked beautiful and ran like a top. The first place it went in public was the annual British Car Show in St. Louis. I remember being at the show with our family and friends and seeing Dad glowing with satisfaction as people looked at the car and especially when he got the 1st Place Plaque in the Sprite Division. 

Years passed and the Bugeye saw less activity. The inactivity lead to problems getting it started let alone driving. We would talk during family gatherings about spending some time fixing it so that we could get it on the road again. When Dad passed away in the spring of 2013, I needed to get the Bugeye running again and set a goal of making it to the same annual British Car Show that fall where it made its debut over two decades prior. After several months of weekend work we were ready for the show. The happiness that it brought my Mom, brother and me to actually see it at the event was worth it. 

Since then it has been back to the show nearly each year with new improvements, winning new plaques to add to the wall alongside Dad’s original one. Last fall we actually won 1st Place in the division again all of these years later. The Bugeye always brings a smile to my face either looking at it or driving it but mostly because of the memories of Dad.