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 Posted: 04-21-2005 02:42 am
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SportsRodder
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I know most of you are purists who disdain those with the temerity to tamper with the most excellent engineering of Jensen Healeys, however some of us less pure of heart do it any way for various reasons.  Some race, some can't find original parts and some change things because they believe they can do what the factory should have done.  I fall in the last category.

In any case I believe we should have a place to discuss and just plain cuss our cars; so this will be that place if the Jensen Gods allow.

JHC #19147, my sportsrod, began its second life in a salvage yard in San Pedro.  I saw it there and didn't know what it was but fell in love with it anyway.  That was in 1983.  Since then I found that Lotus Twin Cam engines are rather expensive to repair and decided to go with an engine I could afford and knew how to work on.  Said engine is a small block Chevy, a 327 of1969 vintage.  It has been a long and frustrating journey justified completely by a vicious exhaust note and long black stripes behind.

HTL"Pat" Connor

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 Posted: 04-21-2005 06:03 am
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Mark Rosenbaum
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Fortunately, the world of JH ownership is not divided into just the 'purist' and 'sports rodder' camps.  If it were, there'd be very few of the things on the road.

Personally, I like the 907 engine.  It's quaint, quirky, and quite possibly the most exotic piece of machinery I'll ever own.  A lot of its features were commonly found only on Formula cars when I was growing up, and I guess I was an impressionable sort back then.  Quite frankly, my first look at the engine is what convinced me to buy a JH instead of something more conventional such as an Austin Healey, Cobra replica, or kit car.

Does my fondness for the 907 mean that I think people who stick big hulking V8s into tiny little cars should be frowned at?  Certainly not, if the job was done safely and soundly.  If there weren't a place for that sort of thing, people wouldn't have been doing it for the past several generations.  I've done it myself.  But it's not something I'd be inclined to do again, for I've learned that I value brute acceleration less than balance, handling, and free space in the engine bay.

So -- when you replace the 907 engine with a Chevy V8 you gain in some areas, and lose in others.  Is the car better as a result?  Worse?  It's your car, you tell me.

 

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 Posted: 04-21-2005 02:55 pm
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SportsRodder
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It is neither better nor worse just different.  My first intention was to restore the Jensen until until I found the engine was in need of serious attention.  Upon removal and dissasembly  I found the pistons frozen in the liners and one exhaust vavle seriuosly burned.  At that time I was computer illiterate and unaware of Delta Motor Sports.  Finding parts hard to find and expensive I chose to replace the twincam with a small block I had sitting in the corner of my garage.  Would I do it again?  I don't know I found the change challenging and it satisfied my need for creativity.

I appreciate  the persistance and attention to detail of those who restore their cars. At the various events I have attended I find I like the results.  So far as my need for horsepower goes many years ago I raced  a RCA Formula Vee and despite its lack of horspower and speed, it topped out at about 110 mph, it was an esperience I would not trade for anything.  As a young hotrodder I did some drag racing and found I enjoyed the turn around at speed at the end of the strip more fun than the speed itself.  I know my Jensen will never have the kind of precise handling that my formula vee had and I suspect twincam Jensens have.

Enough of my revery I hope some of you will find this Topic interesting.

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 Posted: 04-21-2005 03:20 pm
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Judson Manning
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Pat,

I guess I can place myself in the 'sportrod' camp because I adapted a Later Lotus Excel Engine and Transmission to my JH.  I consider it more of an 'evolution' towards what Jensen would have done had the company survived past 1976.

Whether your 'Carol Shelby' approach is better than my 'evolution' approach will have to be determined by the court of public opinion.

Most people consider a swap for exactly the same reason you did:  Expensive and hard to find parts and people knowledgable about it.  The good news is that with this message board, finding those people is MUCH easier than what it was 13 years ago when I got started.

The parts cost and availability is a matter of opinion.  Personally I can find what I need very easily....but again, I've been doing this a while and have had a lot of help along the way.

Judson

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 Posted: 04-21-2005 10:51 pm
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Ricardo
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Remindme of......ME!!!!  My high school was (or maybe still is, I don't know) called Brooklyn H.S. of Automotive Trades, better known as Automotive H.S. in Brooklyn N.Y. since then I've been envolved with engines, transmissions and overall car tinkering.

 I've worked in Conrad Racing Porsches, Masseratti Boras, Lamborguini Espadas all the way to giant Diesels like EMDs (20 cyl. electricity generating powerplants).

 I've fitted small and big blocks in Chev Vegas, Falcons, etc, as a matter of fact there is a 5.7 block (Chev.) in the bed of my pickup truck, the pistons, etc in boxes next to it, the heads, recently done at a machine shop are sitting in the passenger side floor and right now I don't have anything to put it in !!!,   Now I own a J.H.

 I fell in love with this little car as soon as I lay my eyes on it; I've owned cars like the Hemy GTX, 340"Cuda, Boss 302, SS Nova, (Wish I have them now !!!!)

 The JH have a subtle attraction, but in my book and in my mind it needs improvement; without doing away with the 907, I think I can twick it a little (is going to be expensive !!!) with an Electromotive System of digital multiport fuel injection and crank triggered ignition, oversize pistons, bigger valves and 107/104 cams (the JH store) and see what comes out of it; also the convertion to the Toyota 5 speed, bigger brakes and getting the wheel adaptors to be made in a different bolt pattern like 4 x 100 to install 15, 16 or 17"s wheel;s and tires,  poly bushings, etc (the JH store again !!!)

  Will I be critical of whomever changes an engine, tranmission, electrical system or  the one that adheres to the utmost in originality?   NO, we all have our own indosincracies, likes, dislikes, dreams and points of view.

  The only thing I will not like at all is if we start to disuade people that want to do this changes just because some of us are purists or not; lets learn from every one, most probably we'll find ways of doing things, methods and new ideas that we could use that other wise we would never know.

  As for me, I enjoy everyones projects, their ideas, the incredible amount of expertise that lives in our members and the knowledge that comes from extensive experience, I learn how to do this and that, what not to do, what works and what doesn't and if I'm able to give also from my own experience and help someone I'm happy too.

 That's what makes this message board unique, lets keep it that way.

        Ricardo

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 Posted: 04-22-2005 02:15 am
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Gary Martin JH 15371
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I would aggree with Judson. I like the "evolution" idea. Nothing is wrong with a very original restoration at all, but  I like the idea of modifying the car as perhaps Jensen would have done had they made it a few more years. Staying with a Lotus engine to me is preferable. The Lotus engine is one of the things that draws me to this car. If I had the money I would update the 907 to 2.2 spec, 107-104 cams, Delorto's, higher compression ratio, etc. The 907-910 Lotus combo also looks interesting, or just using the 910 or 912 engine out of a newer (80's) Lotus Esprit. I like the idea of taking a small engine and tweaking it for more power. Heck, you can get 500 HP from a Honda 4 cyl, and BMW used to have a 318 race car that had over 1000 HP back in the 80's. A small block V8 is fine, looks good and sounds great, but you will ruin the handling. I would think a V6 would be better if you must use a non Lotus engine, or your budget prohibits repairing the 907. 

There is just something about this little car that people like. It has great body lines, a cool engine, nice interior, and it's a British two seat convertable similar to an MG or Triumph, but is quite rare. I find people have heard of the JH, but most have never seen one. I found mine in a salvage yard in 1986 (engine fire). I was not even sure what it was at first, I just knew I liked it, burnt and all. I did not get around to restoring it untill last year (long story), but now have the engine back in and just about to fire it up for the first time in 19 years ! I plan to eventually update the engine to 2.2, find some really nice wheels, bigger brakes, sway bars, and perhaps experiment with some tastfull small hood scoops, something I would like to think Jensen would have done (the car has no grill and could use some small scoops for more air in front of radiator). But I digress. Stock or Street Rod, both are fine. I'd rather see someone put these old cars to use, than have them rust away in a junk yard. By the way I know where several JH cars are sitting rusting away up here in Oregon. I might buy a second one and make a SCCA production class race car out of it. Yet another project.

Gary 

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 Posted: 04-22-2005 03:19 pm
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SportsRodder
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Thanks to all who have replied to Sports Rod.  I knew there must be kindred spirits out there.  I agree that for handling the lighter Lotus engine is peferable and has a much better CG location.  It was rumored back when that Lotus was goiing to use the  4 cyl twin cam as the basis for a V8, now wouldnt that make for a nice Jensen Healey. There are now many small 4 cyl engines that put out incredible horsepower that could be used as replacements and maintain a favorable front weight .

Just remember the joy is in the journey the goal is the reward!

Pat

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 Posted: 11-20-2005 04:09 am
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TurboJH
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I met a fellow today and we ended up talking about sports cars.  I always liked the Sunbeam Tiger with the Ford 289.  He told me that I would love the car he has.  He told me he has a 1974 JH he wants to give away.  Thats right "Give" away.  He is retired and does not have the tinkering bug anymore and none of his kids want it.  He said that the running gear has been modified and it is turn key after a broken spring shackle has been replaced/repaired and the throttle cable assembly fixed.

I asked him what it had for running gear and he told me that it is outfitted with a Buick V-6 turbo grand national motor with a turbo 350 auto .  The rear end hads been upgraded but I did not ask the details.  He said it has a newer top and overall is in decent shape.  He liked telling the story about smoking a kid in his Honda ricer car with a coffee can muffler.

I didn't really need another project but I am going to go look at it anyway.

A turbo V6 should scoot and sounds like fun.  I'll keep you posted.

 

 

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 Posted: 11-20-2005 07:05 pm
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SportsRodder
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It sounds like whoever did the conversion used a rear axel with leaf springs.  Otherwise why a broken shackle?  The Jensen Healey used a four link rear suspension with coil springs no shackles. Look carefully at how the suspension conversion was accomplished

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 Posted: 11-23-2005 01:19 am
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TurboJH
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I went by the guys house tonight but he wasn't home.  The car was buried between what looked like two other nonrunners(not JH's).  From what I could see it looked like a parts car at best.  It was primer black with surface rust coming through.  Hole in the hood with some sort of fabricated scoop.  Maybe to accomodate the turbo Buick motor.  The right front wheel was a JH one black with alum fins, tire flat.  Bent front bumper and a small dent on the right front fender.  A tarp covered the rest of the car and since he was not home I did not look any further.  Steep driveway and may be trouble for a full size car hauler.

Like I said it looked like a parts car from what I could see.  I doubt he would part it out since it sounded like he wanted to rid himself of the whole car.

Too much work for me.  Anyone in Western Washington want to take a look?  Maybe I could give him your number? email me @ tgman@DIESPAMMERSsinclair.net take out the DIESPAMMERS.

I took my camera but with him not being home I was not going to intrude other than a slow walk by and most of it was covered up.

Troy

 

 

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