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The Short List

I'm a happy Bugeye owner now, but the quest was long and involved. This list represents the state of my short list of candidates while I was on the hunt. It was constantly evolving, with cars moving on and off the list and between categories as the mood suited. It was a fun search.

This list is in 4 categories: Yes have been tested and are ones I would purchase for sure if one came up in my price range. Maybe have been tested, but I haven't really made up my mind. No have been tested and removed from the list. Untested are untested but of some interest.

Yes

1958-61 Austin Healy Bugeye (Frogeye) Sprite
My first LBC (Little British Car) test drive. So much personality. Remarkably roomy for such a teeny car. Maybe the best lines of any car, so pure in design. I now own a 1959 Bugeye, known as the Tunebug.

Maybe

1956-1962 Triumph TR3
I always thought these would be too expensive, so I really didn't spend much time looking at them. I've realized lately, however, that these are in the same ballpark as a Bugeye, so I'm looking more closely at them. Very pretty cars, and more power than a Bugeye.
1960-1967 Austin/Morris Mini
I've driven a right-hand-drive 1966 model, and even around the parking lot it was fun. If I could find one of the pickup models (yes, an itty-bitty pickup), I'd buy it.
1962-66 Triumph Spitfire Mark I - II
Had a chance to see a couple of these up close recently, and one very nice fellow let me sit in his. I liked it quite a bit. Factory flip up hood, disc brakes, available overdrive (though rare), beautiful design. One of the least expensive on the list as well.

No

1961-67 Triumph TR-4
I sold my 1962 TR4 after about 6 months of ownership. My first LBC, and I learned a lot. Mostly that I realy don't want a big project right now. My car was a good sound start, but it needed more work and time than I really wanted to spend. In the end, it I liked it, but didn't love it enough to make it a keeper.
1962-73 MG Midget/Austin Healey Sprite
Looked at a 1962 model. Nice, very similar to the Bugeye (most parts, including interior, are the same). The look was okay. At the right price, this would be fun. All else being equal, I'd rather have a Bugeye.
1962-67 MGB
Though the one I drove was a little funky in a bad 70s way, I could see the potential. Factory overdrive, more power, and a little more space were quite nice as well. These years still have the old style dash, and lots of charm, though they are a bit more modern in style.
1965-66 Mustang
I was sure surprised at this after many years of wanting one, but after looking at a couple that fell in my price range, I've come to the conclusion that these are just not what I am looking for right now. The one I drove, while in good shape, was really floaty compared to the Brit cars, and the convertible I looked at in my price range was junk. No excitement, no passion. So off the list it goes.
1967-70 Triumph Spitfire Mark III
This is essentially the same as the Mark I - II car, lost too much of its character with the higher bumpers and later dashboard changes.

Untested Possibilities

1961-68 Land Rover Series IIA
Interesting, with a touch of England in the Jeep category. Top isn't as easily removable on the trail as a Jeep or Land Cruiser, and parts are more expensive.
1970-80 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40
A little nostalga here, as I owned a 1976 version in the mid 1990s.
1966-71 Jeep CJ-5
Cheaper than Land Rovers and Land Cruisers, fun in Southern Utah.