Classic car entrepreneur brings British sports cars into the 21st century
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The Austin-Healey “Bugeye” Sprite was a British roadster produced between early 1958 and late 1960. It was known for its fixed-headlight design, which formed a smiley face with the grille, and earned the nickname Bugeye in the U.S.
You may not have heard of it, as it wasn’t very popular. In fact, fewer than 50,000 were made.
But the Bugeye Sprite reminds David Silberkleit of his adolescence. It was one of the first cars he owned from what he calls a golden era of automobiles. In fact, he loved the car so much that in 2007, he started selling classic cars, particularly focusing on the Bugeye Sprite.
“That’s what got us into this industry,” he said. “That’s the car I had kept so long, through all the phases in my life.”
Now, Silberkleit’s combining the best of the old with the best of the new. He and his team at Connecticut-based Bugeyeguys are upgrading various aspects of the classic car to make it more modern, like adding LED headlights and three-point seat belts. They recently started electric conversions, putting an electric motor into the chassis and making the 1958 car future-proof.
So far, he’s sold 393 Bugeye Sprites and has no plans to stop.
“This is a business based on passion,” Silberkleit said. “And we tend to attract other people who are very, very passionate about this automotive era and about this moment in history.”
To listen to more of Silberkleit’s story, click the media player above.
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