Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
8/5/21 7:39 a.m.

I got these tips from a long time reader that I thought might be valuable. We are using most of them on our Sprite and will look the others over a bit more.


Thought after 30 years of Bugeye race cars I thought I'd stick my nose into your guru's territory and toss in a couple hints to build your car with. Have been building street/ autocross cars almost my whole life (15 on), I have built up a knowledge bank that scares even me. All of it is in our files for reference as remembering what we did to our race cars in the mid '90s just doesn't work. Now the important stuff. 


Your front suspension plans sound good. While good for racing, huge sway bars may or may not work for autocrossing. We found that our autocross car (yellow 49) worked well with 500 pound springs in the front along with a 7/8" sway bar and none in the rear. The hardened spindles are well worth it but I'd recommend not using tapered bearings. We found that they ran much hotter than the ball bearings on the race track. Both the tapered and ball bearings tighten up when hot so leave a little play when setting up the center spacer, which you need to use on both types of bearings to support the spindle.


We used the lever shocks with 5 wt fork oil in the unadjustable fronts and factory oil in the rears with 1 - 10 adjusting capability. We ran 3 most of the time. Panhard a must even for the street.


Our rear setups used the 10 leaf quarter eliptics from Moss straightened out to get them lower. They measure out at about 230 lbs spring rate and minor adjustments are made with aluminum tapered shims wide enough to run the U-bolt through. we also put the end of the left spring about 3/4" lower than the right to balance the car out with only the driver in it.


Rear axle setup the most important thing for autocrossing. First, don't forget a 4 degree angle between the driveshaft and pinion shaft. Adjustable upper links do that for you. If you are running a 1.1 high gear transmission the original 4.22 rear gear ratio will work  with the 1275 up front. For street cruising only the 3.9 is the best ratio. For our autocross only car we ran a 4.55. See where we're going with this? If you want to drive it to Denver find a 3.7.


The best thing you can do to any Sprite is put dual rear bearings on the rear axles. We have gotten most of our dual bearing kits from Winners Circle. Hoping the new owners have got their inventory back up to have all you need. Heard a lot of folks say you have to have 7/16 studs. Our primary road racing car has run 3/8s since 1974 and not one has broken. We get longer studs from 7 Enterprises or Summit depending on the size or length. We also drill our wheels to take the shanked lug nuts and run them as far into the stud mounts as possible to get maximum support for the stud. Usually have to put more threads in them to do that. The acorn nut piece on the wheels winds up with a fair amount of steel left which  makes a real tough, strong place to keep your wheels on. Another thing we found useful was using the original set screws to hold the axle flange to the hub. Takes any chance of flexing out of the picture. If you have problems with them leaking let me know. Got solutions for that too.


Axles, the best for last. Obviously don't run the original axles. Over the years we've run competition axles from Winners Circle but have the best luck running the late model Midget BTS 806s. The 806s in our Blue 13 road race car were put in it in 1996 and are still there. Carry spares but haven't moved them out of the trailer rack since we put them there in '03. Only axles that have failed on us were two Winners Circle.  


Quitting while I'm behind. Have fun with the Bugeye. We have with all 5 of ours over the years.


Bob Hess

Bib Pine Key

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