Saturday, March 5, 2016

Coming Soon; The Little Rat Lives

Twenty five years I have been fucking with this little piece of shit.

I can think of only one bolt on this entire car that I have not had off at least once, one of the two that holds the handbrake lever on.

I have headached with it, spent way too much money on it, bled, cursed at and thrashed on it.

In those twenty five years of owning this fucking thing, I guarantee you that I have put less than three thousand miles on it because it was always broke down for one reason or another and I never had enough money to fix it.

It was pretty close to being done at one point, I had all the body work done and had it painted, all it needed was the interior and the top put on.

The whole time I owned it though, I was drinking.

Right after I had it painted, the little fucker broke down again and it pissed me off to the point that I said fuck it, I don't fucking care anymore.
It sat outside in the weather, the tarp blew off and I didn't care and it got all fucked up all over again. I didn't have a garage to put it in at the time.
Moss ate through the paint on the nose and it got full of water inside.

Then I got married again and quit drinking, had a garage for a few years and started it on it again.

One of the last things I did when we were moving out of the old place was to call a flat bed tow truck to the house and haul the miserable sonofabitch off to the professionals.I know when I am licked and when to let those who do this crap for a living take over.

It's got a brand new engine in it that I couldn't get running to save my life and I was out of time and patience.The twin side draft carburetors were all fucked up.Basically a collection of 50 year old used parts scrounged here and there.

These guys are good.
They do Concourse restoration quality work on old British cars.

They ain't cheap but the results are already worth it.

They got it running and tell me it runs really good.
I am having them redo all the brakes, front wheel bearings, set the toe in on the front end, replace all the radiator hoses and am going to have them bolt the windshield down after they find a skinny little rod that broke off that is a tension strut for the middle of the windshield to body point and also where the rear view mirror mounts.
So far I am into them $800 and it is worth every. single. penny..

I am going to drive that little fucker out of there when they are done.
Then I am going to have a new top put on the bastard to keep the rain out, get the carpets and interior redone and fucking drive it. I don't give a shit if it's pretty anymore.

My buddy nicknamed it Spot.
He said if I ever get hit by a truck that the only thing left will be a messy spot.
I believe him, the thing is basically a Street Legal Go Kart. Compare it to the garage door for scale.


Sarthurk said...

So, what the hell is it?

drjim said...


I gotta it badged a "Midget" or a "Sprite"? I never could tell the difference between the two, and like most people called it a "Spridget".

What engine in it? The 1275? Had a buddy in college who had a bugeye Sprite with a "built" 1275 Cooper S engine, and it was scary fast.

We didn't call his car "Spot", but rather referred to it as his "Tin Coffin" because if he ever got in a really bad accident they'd never get him pried out of it.

They're crude cars, but properly put together are a barrel of fun!

B said...

Midget? Sprite? (and yes, at one time they were 2 different cars, Later, they were the same except for badges).

YOu can do a LOT with that motor to gain HP and Torque. Mostly caburation.

Be sure to buy a can of this:

Anonymous said...

One of my buddies owns a Sunbeam tiger, fully restored. Now that's a sweet ride. He drives it occasionally.
Another buddy is working on an Austin Healy. It's been on the lift in his garage for 10 years or so...

In my various projects I have found it necessary to eventually do a full resto, but I get impatient and cut corners because I want to drive it NOW!
Recent pictures have shown up on some blogs of crated WWII Jeeps which reminded me of this:

I salute this guy.

=T. Wrangler=

drjim said...

Sweet Jeep.

One of the guys who "works" with me on the Iowa has a fully restored WWII Jeep.

Sometimes he drives it down to the ship. I keep bugging him to give me a ride, but we always seem to leave at different times....

Phil said...

1964 Austin Healy Sprite.

Phil said...

Originally a Sprite, now a true "Spridget".
It's got the Midget grille in it plus a bunch of other stuff from a 72 Midget.
The 1275 engine came out of a 68 or 69 as far as I can tell.
There is quite the story behind that by its self.
I had it in a 65 Midget down in San Jose when I lived there. Pulled it, stored it at a buddy's place when I moved back to Portland and then two years later drove all the way down there and back just to get it in a 61 Ford 1/2 ton SW "Unibody" pickup with a 6 and 4 speed. The heater core plugged up on the way down, it was in the middle of Winter and I just about froze my ass off both ways.

I have heard of these little cars being referred to as a collection of cookie pans welded together.
It's actually pretty accurate.

Phil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phil said...

No shit, huh. I once had the entire wiring harness out, cut open and had to replace two wires that had melted from the dash to the drivers tail light because it had shorted out in the trunk and the motherfuckers don't have a fuse for that circuit.

British assholes anyways.

Phil said...

Less than a year?!

Someone had a LOT of time and money on their hands.
Pretty sweet though!

I also had a neighbor who's son had a Tiger.

You could eat off the engine. Damn that thing was nice.

Phil said...

The quickest way to tell the difference between them is the grille. Sprites had a polished aluminum grill that was shiny and Midgets had ones like in mine above.

larryw said...

Nice toy.

Ya' know why women love British sports cars? Because they know where their husbands will be at night.

Electrics by Lucas, Prince of Darkness.

Brakes by Girling, Lord of "oh sh*t". Made the mistake of using standard brake fluid in (what used to be) my Tiger. That didn't go over well...

Phil said...


Total reseal of the brake system I'm sure.

Another oddity, having to check the oil level in your carburetors.WTF?

larryw said...

Yeah, it wasn't pretty. At the time I was working as a night mechanic at the old Wards Autommotive in Westgate (remember that?); foreman heard what I did and said, "hey dumbass, you know your seals are going to swell up like a nun's c*nt, right?" Total reseal, flush with alcohol, etc. Luckily there used to be a place called Sunbeam Specialties in Los Gatos that stocked the parts. Had a 260 Ford V8, only part of the car that I could count on (provided it got spark).

Phil said...

Los Gatos huh?
I worked under the table for a guy back in the early 80's who restored old MG's in San Jose.
Old TC's, TD's and TF's.
Had to go to some rich guys house in The Cats to tighten up a loose battery cable on a TD once.
Small world man.

larryw said...

Same time, similar circles, we probably crossed paths back then.

Still in the SJ area, will be leaving CA as soon as our youngest heads off to college.

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