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"Why did you buy a JH... When you could have bought a New sports Car?"  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: 10-11-2005 02:09 pm
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jcrc1
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I get the above question quite a bit.  I got the above question just yesterday from workers in the office. Why would I settle for something 30 years old, which needs fixing, when I could of bought a NEW Pontiac Soltice ( Spelling ?) which is faster, has airconditioning and has a lot more creature comforts than an old JH. My answer is usually the same.

1) I always wanted a JH when I was much younger... but Couldn't afford it.

2) I love old british cars.... it has heritage.

3) The engine is a work of art..... and doesn't look like a Big Plastic battery cover

4) The word airconditioning and " Sports car" does not mix well  with me.

5) The JH is FUN..... Just drive it. 

OK.... Those are my reasons...... Just for fun I'd like to Poll the group to see what your reasons for owning a JH when you could have owned s "new or Modern sports car..... Any bites?

 

 

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 Posted: 10-11-2005 05:54 pm
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SportsRodder
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OK here goes.  I bought my JH when I saw it in a salvage yard in 1983 and fell in love with its looks and the amount of room it has for the driver.  Anyone who has sat in a Cobra will appreciate the amount of room.   Also the twin cam engine tweaked my interest.   

There was hood damage from an engine fire and the floorboards were rusted almost though.  No problem mate, as working on cars was my hobby and escape when everything else went wrong.  It took 20 years to be able to drive it and was worth every minute.  For fun there is no substitute for top down driving at speed close to the road.

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 Posted: 10-11-2005 06:02 pm
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Mark Rosenbaum
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A few points come to mind:

1.  Since the end of World War II, not once has a major US auto manufacturer been able to come close to producing a proper sports car.  At best, they've created a few sporty designs.

2.  My JH cost me less than US$7K including purchase price, floor replacement, and catching up on decades of deferred maintenance.  I am personally acquainted with many of its parts, and have a very good idea of the condition of all the remaining ones.  When I lift the hood, I can see the engine without having to remove a score of ducts and a half-dozen plastic covers.  I can diagnose and repair almost anything that might go wrong with a bit of logic, inexpensive test equipment, and simple hand tools.  How much does that Pontiac Whatsis sell for?  How long is its warranty?  And what's the hourly labor rate at the dealership?

3.  A sports car must be agile.  Heavy cars are almost invariably less agile than light ones.  The JH weighs about 2200 pounds.  I have no idea what a Whatsis weighs but doubtless it's at least a half-ton heavier.

4.  In the JH, I don't have to worry about an air bag going off accidentally and killing one of my grandkids.

5.  In large parking lots, I know which car is mine, without ever having to glance at the license plate.

6.  The JH engine is derived from a real racing engine whose heritage is everywhere apparent.

7.  A stock JH readily manages 70 hp per liter of engine displacement.  When I was growing up, that sort of power was considered not merely high performance, but exotic

8.  The local boy racers can see that a JH has a level of elegance and style that their mobile boom boxes can never aspire to.  This reduces their general smugness, which is a Good Thing.  A few of the wisest might be prompted to bestir themselves, discover real sports cars, and thus achieve enlightenment.

9.  I can pick up loose change on the roadway without strain, by merely opening the door and reaching out for it.  This does help somewhat with out-of-pocket expenses.

10.  Women riding on Harleys seem to think the JH is cute (certainly it's not me they smile at!).  This may be of particular utility to younger, single, male, owners.

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 Posted: 10-11-2005 07:28 pm
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John Kimbrough
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When I bought 15375 in 1974, people used to stop and ask "what is that!".  In 2005, I get the same question.  It's unique - I like that.....  John.

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 Posted: 10-12-2005 12:41 am
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Dan Collier
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It was the summer of 1979 when I was looking for a convertible sports car that wasn't a TR6, MG, Fiat, Spitfire, 914 or Bugeye. And that's when during a lunch hour a beautiful long blonde hair girl drove by me in a bright red Jensen-Healey. I had to go back to work and ask what kind of car it was. After hearing it had a factory Lotus engine, stainless steel trim and plenty of leg room, I was hooked on finding one. Ten days later I found the blue/tan interior baby I was looking for. Best statement I always hear, "What is it"?

Last weekend my wife and I stay the weekend in Laguna Beach and after watching how many Ferrari's, Porches, 350Z, and SC430 we seen over two days, I made me even more proud to own a classis british. 

Dan Collier
JH74 14381 2.2L
Jensen-Healey Preservation Photo Gallery

Last edited on 10-12-2005 12:43 am by Dan Collier

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 Posted: 10-12-2005 01:25 am
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Jim Sohl
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Roughly in order, I've had: an Opel GT (too slow); a '69 Fiat 124 spider (fun in the sun, fell apart); a 73 Fiat 124 spider (fun in the sun, not well suited to racing, fell apart); '73 240Z (after the twin cam Fiats, the Nissan L-head just didn't make it). So I set out to find a 'real' sports car (that was cheap). 'Figured I'd buy a restoreable condition Europa, Elan Sprint, Fiat Dino or J-H, just whichever turned up first at a price I could afford. That effort became sn 11210 in 1981. These many years later, the only one of the group that is fast, relatively inexpensive to keep up, and well suited as a daily driver and weekend warrior is, you guessed it, the J-H.

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 Posted: 10-12-2005 03:11 am
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John Finch
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Hello fellow JH owners. I aquired 1111-18309 mfg Oct 8th 1974 about 4 months ago. Just got it started on Sunday and it roars. Unable to drive yet as I am missing throttle linkage for the Dellorto upgrade. In 1974 in Great Falls Montana my wife and I saw a JH for sale for about 6k. That was about what I was earning annually. No sale! But got a Saab Sonnett III. Had fun but then had kids. Fast forward to this spring. I was thinking of a motor cycle. She said you'll kill yourself. I thought shes making sense.  Went on line and found a JH on the JHPS site from Phoenix. No rust but sitting for the past 15 years. You guys know the drill from here. I did all the rubber etc, etc, etc, and  found a local Lotus club with a Lotus 907 guru willing to help. 40 hours of his time later it fired up with a roar. Can't wait to get the linkage and get it on the road before the snow flies and it gets parked until next spring. It idled for over two hours today and never got above 170 degrees. Rodded orig radiator, 74 deg thermostadt, radiator shroud, rebuilt water pump and 65 degree outside temp. Needle stays in the center of C-H. Anyway I feel the addiction you guys do with this little beast of a 4 banger. Safe and reliable travels to all. John

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 Posted: 10-13-2005 09:37 am
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DanHolmes
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I dont know about you guys in the states but even over here in the UK people just look and stare when driving or parked at the supermarket.

Also I got fed up with losing loads of cash through depreciation and expensive dealer charges!

The fact that at 29yrs old my car can still keep up with most modern vehicles and can leave them in the dust when going around corners has nothing to do with it!

BTW if you are having trouble convincing anyone about the merits of a JH, just take them for a spin and take the engine up to the red line and work through the gears - after a year of driving mine everyday to work it still does it for me!!

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 Posted: 10-13-2005 10:46 am
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Harkes
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that is why i bought my blue JH!

a friend of mine has a red JH and we used to drive to University twice a week with it. Pulling up from a dead stop with his recon 2.2L engine was just a blast and he used to say "100KM/hr" out loud when we got there in just a few seconds whilst the engine was roaring.... it just puts a huge smile on your face, i can't hide!!

We drive through tunnels and take her up to 4000rpm when the roar starts to become overwhelming ;-) boys will be boys

cherry on the cake for me is the fact that in Holland for this car i don't pay road tax! Considering i have put in all new shocks/springs/bushings/ball joints/engine etc for a price i can't buy a new Mazda for... my JH is basically a new car and still no road tax

i can pretty much maintain it myself and saves a lot of money too and it is oooooh so much more fun to drive than anything i have driven and with my engine i will be able to keep up with cars that you cost at least 40.000 euro or much more!!

happy motoring guys and girls

erik

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 Posted: 10-13-2005 02:09 pm
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StabnSteer
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Pontiac??? Sports car??? Compared to a JH?

Feh! Philistines...

Some people just will never "get" the idea of classic cars. I've had the bug since I've been a kid. I saw my first JH when I was about 10 and immediately decided I wanted one - despite all the negative press I turned up on it in my enamored youth. It just added zest to the mix. So that's really as simple as it gets - I've always wanted one.

I also have a drive to own vehicles that are outside of the norm. The JH certainly meets that criteria since even the folks at my vintage racing club have been stumped by what kind of car it is.

But now that I have a JH, the things I didn't know about it make it that much more wonderful. For instance, I figured a 2 liter 4 cylinder is a 2 liter 4 cylinder...however, the Lotus 907 completely destroys the Alfa Romeo 2 liter I have. Its a night and day difference in performance. Granted, the Alfa is a much more refined car, IMHO, and ten years newer. But that just adds to the mystique of owning a classic British car - and likewise, is much of the allure of a classic Italian car as well. I recently test drove a Miata out of curiosity and found the experience quite dull by comparison to either my Jensen or Alfa. The passion just wasn't there.

Face it, you'll never be able to really explain to anyone who thinks a Pontiac is a great sports car why you want to drive a 30 year old British car that probably leaks when it rains, likely requires constant TLC and (gasp!) doesn't have AC.

But we understand. I say leave the Pontiacs to the philistines - it leaves more JH's for us!

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 Posted: 10-13-2005 05:29 pm
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Ed Dias
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I saw my first JH in a used car lot in Santa Barbara, CA in the summer of 1975. It was a beautiful mustard 73 model and I bought it on the spot.  Keep in mind that, in those days, living on the beach, being young and single and driving an exotic sports car was very fruitful. I loved fast cars and fast women. Unfortunately, I totaled that great little car within one year.

After a full recovery and a couple of years growing up, I had the urge to own another JH. A friend of mine knew a young lady that was trying to sell her JH, so I called to make an appointment to see and drive the car. It was a black 74 with metal bumpers and was in real good shape. When she told me what she wanted for the car I was less impressed. I was, however, very impressed with her.

Fast forward 21 years and two children and I still have that car and the girl. So you see, I could never drive another sports car.

Oh, you may be curious as to what she wanted for the car. That's simple, I COST ME THE REST OF MY LIFE.

Ed Dias

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 Posted: 10-13-2005 07:26 pm
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Mark Rosenbaum
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Ed,
Good cars, and good people, are worth maintaining.  Looks like you've been fortunate enough to have both!

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 Posted: 10-15-2005 04:47 pm
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jcrc1
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Ed,

I think we would all agree that given your JH experience, you have invested the most money over the years. :)

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 Posted: 10-15-2005 11:51 pm
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Gary Martin JH 15371
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New cars are nice, but there is just something about those old classics that a new car can't match. They're stylish, pristigous, tempramental, rare, examples of a time gone by. I'm a car nut and have owned many cars over the years. My current collection is at eight. I know it's not practicle, but I like cars for each occasion. One for work, one for camping, one for hauling stuff, one for racing, and several for pleasure.  In 1986 I was at an auto salvage sale with my dad and we came upon this yellow sports car that had an engine fire. I was not sure what it was except that it was British, but I knew after looking at it that it was cool and I wanted it to fix it up. Well time fly's and restoration did not begin until 2003. Currently engine and engine bay is totally restored, and I fired up the engine for the first time in 19 years in August. Before it is on the road I need to paint front fenders and hood, and finish repairing some minor rust in the trunk. Even thought I have never driven it yet, I know I'm going to love this car. The Lotus engine intrigues me, 4 valves per cyl, cross flow head, twin carbs, header, pretty cool for 1974. One look at the engine and you know this is no common power plant. The car would not be nearly as interesting with a standard 4 banger.  I plan to have it on the road by Spring. I will then be crusing the back roads of Oregon with my brother following behind in his MGB. And I plan to have it at the All British Field Meet next Labor Day at PIR. Can't wait for that first person to walk up and say "what is it ?"

Gary. JH 15371.

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 Posted: 10-17-2005 01:55 pm
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Mitch Ware
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"I will then be crusing the back roads of Oregon with my brother following behind in his MGB. "

Be sure to let your brother know where you will stop and wait for him to catch up to you.

Mitch Ware
1974 JH-5 #111119670
1971 TR-6 #CC66950LO

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 Posted: 11-02-2005 02:55 am
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Mike Aubuchon
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I bought my JH-5 in the spring of 2000. I had never heard of or seen one untill I came across this one. After checking it out mechanically and driving it for an hour or so I knew I had found my new toy. The car is in great shape and has been well maintained. Every winter I do whatever repairs are needed along with a few upgrade projects. It's nice to have a car I can work on without having to deal with  computers and sensors.

I get a lot of questions about and compliments on my car. People want to know what kind of car it is, how and where I get parts for it, how much is it worth and how fast will it run. While talking with them I always mention the JHPS and how helpful this tech board is.

As far as owning a JH over something new like a Miata or a Solstice, anyone can go out and buy a new car. Owning a JH or any older car  requires a commitment of your time and money. I think we all enjoy the satisfaction of the effort we put in every time we take off down the road and turn a few heads as we pass by.

Mike Aubuchon        JH-5     #19032

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 Posted: 11-28-2005 01:00 am
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Jensenman
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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 01:10 am by Jensenman

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 Posted: 12-05-2005 06:40 pm
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luke
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 Why did I buy a Jensen Healey?, good question, it was November 1973,right at the peak of the gas shortage. If you wanted to get gas you had to get up early and get in line, all the station attendants wore side arms and everyone seemed to be in a foul mood. I needed something that got good milege, and I always prefered good handling over raw speed, I found #12793 at Overseas Motors in Dallas and picked it up right after the Thanksgiving holidays.

 I know a lot of people had major problems with their Healeys, but mine was very reliable, I put tens of thousands of miles on it here in Texas,drove it out to California twice and in '75, I put it on a Matson cargo ship from Oakland  to Hawaii for a year. Never had any problem with it, except that when I shipped it back to California some bozo on the ship ripped the exhaust off unloading it,but it was ok, Matson put me up in the Hyatt until they got it repaired and then I drove it back to Texas with no problems.

 It's had a couple of accidents over the years, nothing major, just fender benders. When a friend of mine slid it into curb,we rebuilt the suspension with stiffer springs,konis and sway bars. Once I spun it out on a sharp cuve and hit the curb backwards, the rear left wheel snapped off and the car slid on it to a stop,we had it back on the road the next day,I still use the broken spindle as a door stop.

 We upgraded over the years,the usual; cams,dellortos,larger radiator w/ electric fan,remote oil filter,electronic ignition, steel braided hoses,ect. It has 40,000 miles since the last rebuild. I really don't know the exact milege,the odometer is at 199,900 miles and I went for a long time without one in the 70's so it's somewhere between 250-300K.

The car looks great now, it's white with the factory hardtop,which I had sanded down and painted to match the car. Theres no rust and the interior is basically new; seats, door panels,carpet, fully upholstered top with new seals. There is not a dent on the car, both bumpers are perfect and the hood is not creased ( I drove it one night without latching the hood,at about 40mph it folded back against the windshield,that was fun,but not as fun as when I forgot the hardtop was not bolted down and it came off at about 60 just like the roof panel on Bond's DB )

Of course,the wiper-flasher-light switch is toast,all those plastic pieces just disintegrated.

The car was running fine but unfortunately I was not,so it has been in the garage for about three years now,but we may get it on the road again, needs a clutch and a tune up; but I have just been having way too much fun on my ST1300.

Fortunately, my good friend and mechanic for the last 30 years runs a Lotus repair shop, we have all the tools and spare parts; so we can get it going if we decide to do it, but it has become a low priority for now. If I don't get it back on the road ,or even if I do; I may go ahead and list it for sale here; hey 32 years and 300,000 miles is a good run, it's become painfully obvious that I will wear out before the Healey does and I would really like it to go to someone who appreciates fine old Brish cars.

 

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 Posted: 12-05-2005 06:41 pm
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luke
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 Why did I buy a Jensen Healey?, good question, it was November 1973,right at the peak of the gas shortage. If you wanted to get gas you had to get up early and get in line, all the station attendants wore side arms and everyone seemed to be in a foul mood. I needed something that got good milege, and I always prefered good handling over raw speed, I found #12793 at Overseas Motors in Dallas and picked it up right after the Thanksgiving holidays.

 I know a lot of people had major problems with their Healeys, but mine was very reliable, I put tens of thousands of miles on it here in Texas,drove it out to California twice and in '75, I put it on a Matson cargo ship from Oakland  to Hawaii for a year. Never had any problem with it, except that when I shipped it back to California some bozo on the ship ripped the exhaust off unloading it,but it was ok, Matson put me up in the Hyatt until they got it repaired and then I drove it back to Texas with no problems.

 It's had a couple of accidents over the years, nothing major, just fender benders. When a friend of mine slid it into curb,we rebuilt the suspension with stiffer springs,konis and sway bars. Once I spun it out on a sharp cuve and hit the curb backwards, the rear left wheel snapped off and the car slid on it to a stop,we had it back on the road the next day,I still use the broken spindle as a door stop.

 We upgraded over the years,the usual; cams,dellortos,larger radiator w/ electric fan,remote oil filter,electronic ignition, steel braided hoses,ect. It has 40,000 miles since the last rebuild. I really don't know the exact milege,the odometer is at 199,900 miles and I went for a long time without one in the 70's so it's somewhere between 250-300K.

The car looks great now, it's white with the factory hardtop,which I had sanded down and painted to match the car. Theres no rust and the interior is basically new; seats, door panels,carpet, fully upholstered top with new seals. There is not a dent on the car, both bumpers are perfect and the hood is not creased ( I drove it one night without latching the hood,at about 40mph it folded back against the windshield,that was fun,but not as fun as when I forgot the hardtop was not bolted down and it came off at about 60 just like the roof panel on Bond's DB )

Of course,the wiper-flasher-light switch is toast,all those plastic pieces just disintegrated.

The car was running fine but unfortunately I was not,so it has been in the garage for about three years now,but we may get it on the road again, needs a clutch and a tune up; but I have just been having way too much fun on my ST1300.

Fortunately, my good friend and mechanic for the last 30 years runs a Lotus repair shop, we have all the tools and spare parts; so we can get it going if we decide to do it, but it has become a low priority for now. If I don't get it back on the road ,or even if I do; I may go ahead and list it for sale here; hey 32 years and 300,000 miles is a good run, it's become painfully obvious that I will wear out before the Healey does and I would really like it to go to someone who appreciates fine old Brish cars.

 

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 Posted: 01-05-2006 02:41 am
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John J
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Why did I  buy a JH. I didn't. My brother about five years ago. Sent me a polariod of him seated in this red sport car. That he had just aquired. Said it was a Jensen Healey. Also that it was about 80% restored. Although it didn't run. Two years later, Iget a letter from him, "I have owned the car for a couple of years now and find with my business and other projects that I probibly will never finish the Jensen- So my friend would you accept a present from me of this car. If so-come and get it!!!"          So a couple of months later. I took a weeks vacation, borrowed a trailer. Gave the guy a half gallon of Jack Daniel'sfor it's use.  Talked my son into taking a ride with me. Headed out for Long Beach, Calif.  In tying it down to the trailer, I started getting grease all over my hands. Than when I got home St. Charles, Mo. The nightmare really started. Somebody had sprayed painted the interior BLACK. Carpet, seats door panels , kick panels back behind the seats. Also engine compartment, just the top half, bottom half left road dirt , and oil.  I found later the fuel pump was broken, pickup tube in the tank was clogged solid, sending is heavily rusted. The connectors on the wiring harness want to break off corrision. All of them. Dash switches are broken, bottom of dash and glove missing. turn signal mount is broken. about 3/4 of chrome is missing. Passenger floor is heavily rusted out. Driver side floorhad some brown powder sticking to a thick undercoating. Under the dash I did find some nice Tangerine paint. Someone did install a dash cap over the dash board. Started working on the engine, to see if she would run. Lower radiator hose, full of a WHITE PASTE. Unbolted the radiator, it came out in three pieces. There was this piece of hard clear plastic fish tank hose sticking up behind the carb's. Pull on it, the distributor came out of the engine, base is broken. Can't find the piece that is broken out. About half of the other vaccum lines are gone as well.  The convertible top is out of sight, gone, took a hike. Paint is a real nice red by Macco, over a Tangerine body, blue hood, and blue left front fender. But all body panels are really straight, and nice. The rest of the car, I haven'ttouch yet. Leaves me to the best part of the hole car, is this message board. Somebody has already had the same problem, and found an answer to it. So I am not alone with this thing. This summer I hope to start reassembly of the car, and find out what else doesn't work. Still she's a nice car easy to work on, nice lines, and comfortable. Think I'll call her, nightmare. Should be a sound, and sturdy car, when she's back running again.     ser.# 16562

Last edited on 01-05-2006 02:44 am by John J

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