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Possible new JH owner needs advice  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: 03-03-2006 06:50 pm
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Turboswede
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Hi all, I have been checking out Jensen Healy links on the web because I am considering buying a Jensen Healy but I am a little afraid and would appreciate some advice.  After years of living in homes without garages, I finally have a garage of my own.  While I sold my wife on the idea of keeping her SUV in a warm comfy garage, the true purpose of my new garage is to store a (and restore) a classic roadster.

 

This begs the question, what classic sportster should I provide a new home for.  I am running down the typical $5,000 “car I don’t really need” list and all the usual suspects have surfaced, 70’s Fiat spider, X1/9, Alfa spider, Porsche 914, Rubber Bumper MGB or Midget, Triumph spitfire or TR-7.  Unfortunately, what I would prefer to house would be something a little more unique like a Fiat Dino, Lotus éclat/élan 2+2, Porsche 911, Alfa GTV, etc.

 

I have an aversion to pushrods and a budget of $5,000, I am also looking for something with multiple carburetors and a convertible top, what to do?

 

Given my criteria, the Jensen Healy seams like an Ideal solution, it has the equivalent power to weight ratio of a corvette roadster of the same year, will come with dual ZS carbs (which can be replaced) and has that Lotus 907 motor…mmmm, a real 7000 rpm racing engine.  On paper this looks like the Ideal $5,000 project, however I am a little concerned about parts pricing/availability.  I have been on the JHPS site and have seen the prices for clutch components and other parts, all the prices seem reasonable from a Porsche 911 (Not MGB) perspective.  However, I cannot seem to locate anyone who sells a rebuild kit or even a head gasket for the 907 engine. 

 

My question is how much do 907 engine parts run and are they available.  Additionally are the any things I should specifically look for when hunting for a JH?  Finally, what are some of the benefits/liabilities of the JH when compared to Alfas, Fiats, MGs and Triumphs?  There must be something that makes a TR-6 cost twice what a JH costs in the same condition, is it just parts costs?

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 Posted: 03-03-2006 07:43 pm
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Greg Fletcher
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The Jensen Healey is a splendid car. I've owned my share of vintage tin and it's all the others that have been shown the door while the Jensen Healey remains. I will admit I was once looking for a TR-6 before I found a J-H, and those things are pretty nice and very vintage looking these days, but who wants a truck engine in a sports car? The 907 Lotus motor is fairly unique and owners can suffer from sticker shock if they are used to VW bug prices, however I find most parts are not out of line compared to many pedestrian cars. I've owned two Alfa Spiders and both had to leave for the same reason- sure they good great, but they literally don't pull their weight like a J-H does. Looks alone are not enough in my book.

On availabilty: I have waited many a moon to get vintage Rover parts delivered, and for loads of others so-called classic cars. I have always found what I needed for the J-H immediately. Some parts are NLA, but even today I've experienced that if you have patience you can locate almost any part, no matter how odd.

On prices: they are not cheap compared to a lawn mover or an MG and that's really the big drawback to the J-H (it's not a lawnmover, so why would anyone expect lawnmover prices?). The Jensen Healey was built by a very small company that never made it big. Many have been neglected and run down by owners, so it pays to spend more on a better car. A compression check on the engine is a must. Underbody rust is not always a bit deal if it's minimal.

Pro: Looks good, drives well, can even draw attention, zippy, easy on gas, lots of potential for go-fast upgrades that actually do something instead of just burn gasoline and give the owner a bad idle & pounding headache. Cheap to insure- I just found out I can get 1 year premium as a "hobby" type car with agreed value for $124 through Hagerty insurance.

Con: Head gasket is $125, mechanics are few and far between (if that's important to you), thrashed examples can get expensive to restore (typical of any old car), not well known (I like that myself), new timing belt needed at the factory recommended intervals- 18,000 miles!

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 Posted: 03-03-2006 08:00 pm
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Turboswede
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I am planning on doing any mechanical work the car requires I, I have some experience working on cars and have changed the suspension, transmission, floors and induction on a BMW 2002 so I am looking forward to trying something different.  Especially now that I don’t need to work in my driveway.

 

Now it seams that even with all the early 70’s emissions gear and the stock ZS carbs the 907 produced 140 NET horsepower, is that correct?  If that is the case then there was little in 74’ that could touch the JH in performance for twice the price.  It’s just hard to believe that the little Jensen will beat a stock 75’ Corvette convertible in the quarter mile.  That’s what American cars are made for, right?

 

I don’t know a lot about the Dellorto carbs but I have experience with the Weber DCOE’s on my old 2002, is there a Weber kit for the 907 motor that will allow one to run 45 DCOEs?  Just that sound……

 

In general are the Dellortos similar to Weber side drafts?  I know they were the stock parts on the Lotus motors in the home market.

 

BTW, what support is available here in the PNW?  I must admit I see quite a few Jensen Healys around (usualy parked)

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 Posted: 03-03-2006 09:08 pm
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Greg Fletcher
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140 is the original stated horsepower. I think technically that the test was done with Dellortos on home market cars, but the Strombergs are only off by a very small margin. A well running, tuned 907 engine is a great thing to behold. I can't say about the quarter mile, but the JH probably isn't best as a drag car.

Not many kits these days that I know of other than the new Dellortos we have in the Club Store, but if you're handy you can piece together all the various used bits without much trouble, there's always used stuff bouncing around somewhere.

I don't recommend Webers on the 907. The Dellortos are an improved version of the Weber and offer a much better progression that the 907 needs. I ran Webers for a few years way back when and it is impossible to complete rid yourself of mid-range popping. That may not bother you, but I found it annoying.

The members of the club are probably one of the best resources you're likely to find. The wealth of information is considerable and I've always found that owners are quick to help out with whatever they can offer.

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 Posted: 03-04-2006 12:10 am
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Jensen Healey
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The stock JH is indeed very quick between 4k and 6k but has no grunt at low revs. The 7.8 0 to 60 time is obtained by dumping the clutch at 4000 rpm. A similar manuver cost me a transmission.

You had better buy the green one listed in the Marketplace. It has several desired performance upgrades and is ready for 104 cams and flow work.

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 Posted: 03-06-2006 02:17 pm
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jcdean
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Green one is sold.  I tried to buy it and was a couple of days late.

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 Posted: 03-07-2006 01:03 pm
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Harkes
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It all depends on your taste and (life)style.

Personally i like the fact that the Jensen Healey is relatively unknown when compared to MG's, Triumph's, Alpha's and the like. In the netherlands where i live you find hundreds of these on the roards, yet there are only like 8 Jensen Healey's to be found in this country! UNIQUE

The Lotus 907 is even its best kept secret! Listen to the aaahh and ooohh when they find out and see it is a Lotus.

My JH MkII 1973 (15175) was original in pretty good condition. I had my 2.0L engine rebuild into 2.2L  and now have 210 BHP with lots more torque also in the lower RPM where the JH usually lacked torque. It is now a wolf in sheeps clothing.

for parts: JHPS, Delta Motorsports, Dave Bean Engineering in the US and Rejen Sales UK.  (also check out http://www.jhppg.com)

Good luck in your choices

Erik Harkes, netherlands

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 Posted: 04-06-2006 05:27 pm
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jcdean
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Since car insurance was mentioned, I'll continue this thread instead of starting a new one.

I called Hagerty's for a quote and was told $206.00 annually for an agreed upon price.  The problem is, they won't let you dirvie it.  No Saturday folliage tours, no run to Sonic for a cherry-limeade, and never ever drive it to work.  I finally had the guy admit that if your not going to or from a club event that they could exclude about anything.  With my very good driving history, limiting myself and my wife as the only drivers, and promising less than 6k miles a year I can't get a quote under $600.00 every 6 months.  I have a $30k mini-van in the drive that is only $500.00 every 6 months.

GEICO says no, Progressive is almost $700.00/6months, and I am out of ideas.  Anyone else have any.  If that is the going rate I'll do it.  But, sheesh....

 

Joey

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 Posted: 04-06-2006 05:53 pm
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Greg Fletcher
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I just signed up with Hagerty for a classic car type policy (all that they offer) and mine says 2500 miles a year, weekday or weekend, fun type driving (as long as it's limited to the maximum yearly), with no general schlepping for business or commuter driving. Agreed value ($10K) at $124 a year (where I live in California, that's as cheap as it gets), I'll limit my driving for a while. My regular insurance company wanted an additional $365 for 6 mos for some undetermined "limited" mileage and I would have needed a professional classic car appraisal (at my cost) to start with. As far as I've seen, at least around here, there is no in between for the insurance companies- its either a "classic" car under 2500 miles a year or it's not, in which case you pay regular rates.

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 Posted: 04-06-2006 06:55 pm
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Mitch Ware
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hmm, my Hagerty policy has no use or mileage limitations. The only two requirements were that it not be my main driver, and it be stored in a locked garage at night.

I've put over 8k miles on it in two years of seasonal driving.

 

Mitch Ware

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 Posted: 04-06-2006 06:58 pm
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jcdean
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After I got through whining, I called a local JH owner (Oklahoma City) and asked him what he had done.  He gave me a few topics to throw at the agent and then I called the one he uses:

Insured as Antique, Limited Production, and Limited Use.  $7k agreed upon value with a $500.00 deductible.  $69.35 every 6 months.  I asked what limited use was according to them.  They said you don't use it all the time.  I could have saved an additinal $18.00 a year if I had upped the deductible to $1k, but this time I just threw caution to the wind and went nuts with the lower amount.

 

Thanks to Rory Clark for the great help.  I love this board.

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 Posted: 04-07-2006 01:37 pm
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Brett Gibson JH5 20497
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I have to agree with Mitch, I have Hagerty 12K agreed value, no limitations and no deductable for collision / comprehensive, $154 for the year, just not to be used as a daily.

And just to let you know how good they treat people, I talked my father into using them for his E-Type, 2 weeks after signing up he kissed it into somebody for 6K worth of damage, check was sent the next day, even follow-up checks for stuff that was missed in the first go around.

I hope I dont have to use them, but after seeing that, it sure give's me peace of mind.

Brett.

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