Sunday, September 16, 2012

Dash Plaques, Tech Stickers, and Whirling Tachs

Perhaps within the anatomy of our imagination, we might think once more of the screams coming from those small 948 cc Sprite engines as they round a corner at a long gone Northern California road race circuit. It could have been, "Anywhere, U.S.A."

"H" Production Sprites in a un-published photo hit the track. Image © Steve Chandler

A cult still exist of these "Bug-eye" devotees, and so it should. It seems as many car enthusiast got their automotive baptism pushing these little two seaters as fast as the gas pedals would let them. They were rather primitive, not by today's standards, but by those of yesterday, with a non-synchro first, plexi-glass slider windows that were removable from the doors, and the contortions a humanoid needed to access the rear trunk, by tilting the seat backs forward and diving in head first. However, the perfect race cars they made, it only took four screws to remove the windshield, add a roll bar, belts, a helmet with a bubble visor and off you went.

Fact is, even with their unclothed short comings, they were an education for a brotherhood, a rite of passage so to speak, for many that went on to more sophisticated machinery.

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  1. Al emailed: I remember the call to the grid for "midgets,spridgets and bugeyed sprites".

    Al Schlegel

  2. The Bugeye was my first sports car and the beginning of my love/hate relationship with British Leyland (I actually bought a second Bugeye as a parts car just to keep one running). Lucas electronics, SU carbs, and syncho's so bad that you had to learn to heel/toe and double clutch just to drive to the grocery store and back. Yet when she was running right, it was pure joy to drive. Carl Scragg

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    2. Hey seems everyone had one of these at sometime. Light blue is the color of the one I had.