View single post by Jensenman
 Posted: 11-28-2005 12:00 am
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Joined: 04-14-2005
Location: Columbia, South Carolina USA
Posts: 156
Why did I buy a J-H? It's a long story; I apologize in advance if I bore you.

When I was in high school in Columbia, SC, I was into Little British Cars when all my buddies wanted Chevelles and Mustangs. I couldn't afford a sports car while I was still in school, so I bought a pretty clapped out 1965 Ford Falcon. I managed to drive a couple of MGs and Triumphs, and wanted a MGB really bad, so after I graduated in 1976 I went to a local used car lot that specialized in British stuff.

When I drove onto that lot, among all the usual Triumph and MG stuff I saw something that IMMEDIATELY got my attention; a 'mustard' 1973 Jensen Healey. All the MGs and Triumphs were immediately forgotten. The styling, the interior... and then I raised the bonnet and saw that piece of automotive art that is the 907. I was hooked right then and there.

I managed to wangle a test drive (the sales guy was understandably apprehensive about turning a 17 year old loose in that car), and I absolutely fell in love. Unfortunately, it was way above my means; they wanted $3800 and about the most I could come up with was $1500. I swore then and there I'd own one. They aren't exactly thick on the ground in Columbia, though. It was years before I saw my second one.

I still had the LBC bug, so I ran through a succession of Spitfires and MGBs, a GT6+, a TR6, and even a Triumph Herald I rescued because it was so ugly. I made a side trip into Italian stuff: a 124 Fiat and 2 X1/9's. None of them were a Jensen Healey, though.

I started a small business repairing LBC's, and one guy had a 1973 J-H, black with gold wheels (the only time I have ever seen that on a J-H). It had a burnt valve, and when I put together an estimate, he said it was way too much. I was cheaper than anyone else in town, but he still didn't want to fix it. I then offered to buy it, and he refused. He towed it to the florist shop he managed, and it sat out back for at least 5 years, getting shabbier and shabbier. He still refused to sell. It finally disappeared.

In 1996, the J-H bug resurrected itself and bit me again, hard. I had moved to Charleston SC in the meantime, and I found a yellow 1973 for sale. The car wasn't running, and the woman who owned it wanted a bit much, so I waited a couple of days and dang if it didn't get sold. I bought another MGB on the rebound.

 In 1999, I made up my mind I WOULD have one, by golly. I now had the Internet to help, so I started searching. I found 19015 in Concord, NC, needing quite a bit of bodywork. The 907 sang sweetly and the car ran great, so I bit off a big ol' restoration project. And I haven't regretted it for a second.

The J-H is great; I was a service manager at a Mazda dealer and I can say unequivocally that a JH5 is the acceleration equivalent of a Miata, and is much more unusual. I have to admit that, in stock form, the Miata handles in, say, autocross situations much better. But so what? The Miata is a wonderful car, but it just doesn't have the soul the J-H does. Or the presence; if twenty Miatas show up and my J-H, guess where everyone gathers?

People ask me why I have a J-H instead of a Miata or MR2 or etc and I tell them this: anybody with good, mediocre, or even terrible credit can buy a Miata etc, but not everyone has the cojones to own a true British sports car.

Last edited on 11-28-2005 12:10 am by Jensenman