Rebuilding an Heirloom Austin

Hi My name is Ashley Byblow, and I am restoring a 1959 Austin Healey bugeye Sprite.

I've set up a "build site" to document the progress of my restoration.    You can check out the restoration journey at  Heirloom Austin.

Thank you,

Ashley Byblow


OCT 12 Update

Let me give you a few quick updates, kind of as a synopsis of what's coming.


I've got the car stripped down to a roller now.  No point in taking the wheels and suspension off yet, as I still need to move the car to access my Christmas decorations and put them away, plus primer does not cure properly in a Canadian winter in an unheated garage, so I don't want to start stripping metal just yet.


I have finished building my database, and currently have over 1300 original Austin part numbers entered in it. As I inventory my parts, I will be able to track what I have, what I need, what I bought, and what I paid for it.  It also has a 0.55 multiplier on cost option so I can show that part to my wife.


The rear deck (shroud?) behind the seats was cut away when my brother got the car.  The support was cut, too. I picked up a replacement panel, complete with support, for $100!  I know, right? That will be welded in the spring.


I also saw a guy selling new British Heritage floors and sills. I was going to fab them up myself, but the price couldn't be beat, so I called him.  He also had a Mk 2 front end (cut at the firewall). I was thinking about a disc brake conversion, and this car had the brakes, axles, hubs.. the whole front end including steering rack. Everything but the master cylinder.  I drove 10 hours each way to pick it all up for $300... floors, sills and front end.


This brings up my first technical questions...

One guy (Gerard's Garage) apparently can re-sleeve and bore my master cylinder to 3/4" and provide pistons and shorter rods.  He says it lasts better than a new one.  Thoughts on that?  I also question some other aspects where things I have read and been told conflict, so it would be good to hear from someone who actually knows.

  1. 1. Can/should I use the stock 948 clutch slave cylinder with the 3/4" master? Or do I need a different slave cylinder. Smooth case gearbox and stock engine.
  2. 2. Do I need to replace the rear wheel cylinders with the mk 2 dual piston units, and therefore also replace the rear brake backing plates? Or can I get a rear wheel cylinder set that is compatible with the ¾ master cylinder and still bolts to the stock backing plates? (and use stock handbrake?)
  3. 3. Do I need to change my inner tie-rod ends? Steering rack? I have both, but I know the old steering rack fits and aligns.
  4. 4. Obviously I intend to re-do my whole front end. Do you have major rebuild kits? Is there an advantage to the poly bushings? Costs?


Anyway, I also need the bottom apron from the bonnet.  Again, was planning to fab one on the English wheel.  But when I was visiting this guy, he had a whole spare bonnet which he sold to me for an additional $70.




So now, I need to go through and inventory my parts, and catalog what needs to be replaced, what is missing, and what can be just cleaned up and used.  Currently all parts are labeled and in ziploc bags for organization.  This will be my winter project.


So that's where I am.


Future plans include a negative ground conversion, so I can do led taillights (for safety and the lower draw should help the generator), an electric fuel pump, and I'm debating whether to rebuild the original 948 with a bit of internal mods or just buy a 1275.  Not sure which is cheaper!


Throwing in some pics.  Oh, and some car artwork I've done.  Maybe that's something you could offer through your business. I dunno. Think  on it.







Since Ash first asked us to promote his restoration, he's written, photographed and videotaped a lot!  Below are some of his post headings.


Delivery Day!

Initial Cleanup and Assessment

Starting the ground work

Engine check

Engine removal

Some History…


Parts disappointment

British Heritage certificate

Parts Database

More used parts

Engine / gearbox separation

Measuring sheet metal

Disassembly and found shroud

My mother died yesterday

Disassembly continues

Rear shroud arrives

New Front End

Calendars and the plague

Some research revealed...