The Bugeye – 1959 AN5

My name is John Rose and I am the current owner of AN5L11257, engine number 9CUH10910, a 1959 Austin Healey Sprite, popularly known as a “Bugeye” in the States or “Frogeye” if you are from across the pond.

This web site is dedicated to documenting the history of my car, the modifications that have been made to it, and the fun I have had with it.

My Dad, Linwood Rose, my younger brother, Scott, and I attended the 1998 Sprite Bash in Carlisle, PA with the idea of finding a Bugeye to purchase as my first car. Of course, I wasn’t old enough to drive yet, but this was to be a “project” car that would require some work prior to putting it on the road. We looked at a few cars that were for sale, but didn’t make any offers in Carlisle.

Previous Ownership

Later that summer, we were attending the British Car Days Show held in July at Bowie, Maryland on June 28, 1998. Tom Delaney from College Park, MD attended the Show and was walking around the show grounds with a sign taped to the back of his T shirt he was wearing that stated, “1959 Bugeye for sale, enquire within.” I struck up a conversation with Mr. Delaney and we agreed to stop and see his car when we returned from vacation at the end of the week.

Negotiating with Tom Delaney, British Car Day, Bowie, MD June 28, 1998

On July 2, 1998, after a test drive and some negotiating, I was the proud owner and we were driving MY Bugeye home from Maryland to Harrisonburg, VA.

Mr. Delaney did have some records that he passed along to me with the car. These records provided some insight into previous ownership of my Bugeye. I am not sure when Mr.Delaney purchased AN5L11257, but I do have a receipt for parts indicating he was the owner in February 1983.

Curiously, before Mr. Delaney was the custodian of my Bugeye, it was apparently owned by Captain Charles A. Rose of Gaithersburg, MD. I say “curiously,” because my uncle’s name is Charles Rose, and he lives in Maryland, but they are not one and the same.

Captain  Rose purchased my Bugeye in Tennessee according to Tennessee DMV records in September, 1979 from Dean Trathen from Nashville, TN. Mr. Trathen apparently owned the car for only a brief period having purchased it himself in March of 1979 from William L. Easterling from Brentwood, TN. Records show that Mr.Easterling bought the car in September of 1978.

Unfortunately, I don’t have records or any knowledge of ownership of my Bugeye from 1959 to 1978.

Bugeye Blog

My Bugeye Blog chronicles the life and times of AN5L11257 while in my care. I didn’t keep good records at first, so details are a little sketchy until 2000. As the reader of my Bugeye Blog will observe, we have made many “personalizations” to my Bugeye. I have concentrated on making my car fun to drive by increasing performance and handling.

I hope you enjoy my Bugeye Blog and invite your questions or comments.

John Rose

7 Responses to “The Bugeye – 1959 AN5”

  1. Joseph Viola says:

    Hello John, Well I guess we are sort of cousins in the respect I am working on “Bugeye” AN5L 11,269. Many years ago I bought my 1st Bugeye (1960) It was my 1st love affair as well. I joke as I tell folks I spent more time under the car then in it! My buddy introduced me to his “Bugeye” and the rest is history as they say. He had a friend that had a 1962 AH Sprite which was totaled. Luckily the driver was not seriously hurt.So for a few bucks I bought the car and pulled the engine and transmission out.We used a 2X4 to lift it out and put it in my car. Amazing what two determined adolescents can accomplish in a Summer. Well I never got that car back on the road as college and the draft interrupted my quest. However, being retired now has given the time to recaptured and relive my youthful enthusiasm. Stay tuned as I continue the journey.

  2. valv8988 says:

    Wow! Numbers are close. Born on the same day I expect. Keep me posted on your progress please.
    John

  3. Joseph Viola says:

    Hello John. I will keep you posted. Right now I’m trying to sort out the electrical issues. According to the book “Original Sprite and Midget by Terry Horler on page 48 (Production Changes) February 1959 starting with Vin # 11126
    Front suspension wishbone inner fulcrum bolts now secured with Nyloc nuts to replace castellated nuts with split pins. So who knows maybe our cars were started on Valentine’s Day :)I treated myself to this book from Amazon. I had looked into submitting my Vin# to the Heritage Foundation but it would cost me 33 British pounds or $66USA. So February 1959 is close enough for me! regards, joseph viola sk,sk

  4. valv8988 says:

    My Dad has Heritage Certificates for his Big Healey and his Jaguar, but we never got one for the Bugeye.
    John

  5. Ray Donovan says:

    Hello John,
    Congratulations on your purchase! Just curious, you mention Sprite Bash in Carlisle but the photograph includes the Encounter 2008 Magnet of The Austin-Healey Sports & Touring Club. Is the photo of your car? Have you attended Encounters in the past? This year our Club’s Encounter will be held in New Castle Delaware! Hope to meet you there. You can get additional information on the Club’s website: http://www.ahstc.org.
    Ray

    • valv8988 says:

      Hello Ray,
      Thanks for the comment. Please click on”Bugeye” in the horizontal bars where the cars are listed to see the chronological blog of activities from the time we bought my car when I was 15 up through today. I am 32 now. I did attend several of the Sprite events held every five years as well as the 2008 Encounter. My dad was there too with his Big Healey. His car won the best roadster (side Curtain) 3000 class. I currently live in Fort Lauderdale which makes attending Encounter a challenge, but thanks for the invitation!
      John

  6. Scott Rose says:

    Hey John,
    Was searching pics of dads cars on google to show to my coworker today and came across this picture of you and Tom. Nostalgic picture indeed and happy for you to own your car. Anyway, just wanted to leave a hello to you on here. Love you lots,
    Scott

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