The Big Healey Ten-Year Renewal Blog – last update 10/10/2020

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If you scroll down to the October 2018 entry to this Blog you can read about the motivation for what I then called the Ten-Year Renewal Project for my 1960 Austin-Healey BT7. True to my history with this car, everything takes longer than expected! While the care and maintenance of a classic car never ends, now in October 2020 I am going to proclaim that the Renewal Project has come to its conclusion.

The good news is that I have accomplished quite a lot and I am pleased to say that the Bloody Beast is running better than it has ever run while in my ownership, and that covers forty-nine years!

This website has a separate entry for all of the major renewal efforts, so one does not have to read through everything in order to obtain more information about a particular project. However, in no particular order, the following is a summary of all that has been accomplished in the past two years:

  • Greased all suspension, steering and handbrake grease zerks.
  • Installed a fresh smear of white lithium grease on door locks, bonnet catch and boot lock.
  • Checked the ground strap in the boot for tightness.
  • Checked tightness of engine mount and shock damper bolts.
  • Checked rubber boots on on suspension ball joints.
  • Checked king pin wear.
  • Replaced fluids in gearbox, engine, hydraulic system, cooling system, rear differential. Replaced the Penrite oil in the steering box and idler with John Deere Corn Head grease to help prevent leaks.
  • Checked all dash lights for functionality.
  • Checked tightness of prop shaft bolts/nuts at both ends of the shaft.
  • Replaced the oil sump gasket with a neoprene gasket from Tom’s Imports and ceramic coated the aluminum sump.
  • Removed the PCV system components and installed an oil catch can system.
  • Replaced my intake manifold, which had two broken mounting ears due to improper installation, with another good, but used unit, sourced from Michael Salter. Jet-Hot coated the manifold before installation.
  • Cleaned and repainted the carburetor heat shield and refreshed the insulation.
  • Replaced the chromed “Austin-Healey” front shroud badge with a new component as the paint had chipped away on mine.
  • Replaced a leaking RH front Armstrong damper with a newly rebuilt unit from World Wide Auto Imports.
  • Replaced ill-fitting rear rally bumper irons with proper irons sourced from AH Spares. The first set had the bumperettes sitting too far from the rear shroud.
  • Had the HD8 SU carburetors rebuilt with delrin bushings installed by Thomas Bryant. Replaced both fuel bowl floats with nitrophyl floats. Added fuel bowl “Kouzies” from Joe Curto to insulate fuel bowls from exhaust heat and prevent vapor lock.
  • Sealed a persistent oil leak at the rear differential drain plug.
  • Adjusted valve clearances to spec. and sealed the cylinder head stud holes to prevent oil leaks.
  • Replaced the plastic (nylon?) breather fitting on the rear axle with a brass unit sold by Land Rover.
  • Replaced the clutch and brake master cylinders. Inspected the clutch slave cylinder and left it in place. Replace fluid and bled the system.
  • Installed a remote clutch slave cylinder bleeder hose from Ol Phartz Parts.
  • Replaced the original fuse panel with a seven fuse/fourteen terminal unit sourced from Charlie Hart.
  • Fabricated and installed a rear main drip tray below the engine backplate/gearbox to catch oil leaks.
  • Replaced the front cylinder block cover gasket to eliminate an oil leak.
  • Replaced the alternator with a “new” rebuilt unit.
  • Replace the Halogen sealed beam headlights with aftermarket Lucas PL 700 headlights.
  • Replaced the original fuel hose delivery system from the hard fuel line to the carbs with a new design and fittings.
  • Added carburetor ram pipes and ITG air filtration socks.
  • Added an electric pusher fan in front of the radiator.
  • Modified the design of the throttle cable routing to the carburetors from the accelerator pedal.
  • New vinyl for the RH door shut face finisher panel side. Will replace the LH side at a later date.
  • Installed new ignition wires, rotor, and distributor cap and checked the ignition timing.
  • Added a bell housing drain hole for oil leaks from the rear main bearing.
  • Replaced the water pump, mounting studs and gasket, fan belt, and upper and lower radiator hoses. Replaced the stainless steel flex fan with an asymmetric yellow plastic (nylon) fan sourced from AH Spares to reduce noise.
  • Replaced the 195 degree thermostat (for Virginia) with a 160 degree sleeved thermostat (for Florida) sourced from British Car Specialists.
  • Washed, clayed, compounded, polished and waxed the car.

A few things yet to do:

  • Replace rubber in wiper arms.
  • Replace bristle flex draught excluders (door seal) – will complete when hardtop is off the car.

October 2018

It has been approximately ten years since I wrapped up (if you ever really complete a restoration of a Healey) the restoration of the Bloody Beast. He has weathered the ten years quite well – better than me, that is for sure! I have taken good care of the Beast and completed periodic maintenance as one should. There have been a few things along the way that have required attention, such as the failure of the brake master cylinder that led to the replacement of both masters and the clutch slave cylinder while I was at it. However, for the most part, it has simply been fluid changes, tire replacements and etc.

I am sad to report that I have not driven the Healey as much as I should have during the time since I finished the restoration. About a month after I completed the restoration work I drove the Bloody Beast 8,000 miles in a cross-country trip from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware to California, up the coast to Victoria, BC and then back to Harrisonburg, VA. Between helping my son with his Bugeye, restoring a 1964 Jaguar MK2, and maintaining the 1987 Alfa, a 1969 MB 280SL and the Porsche in addition to the daily drivers there just wasn’t much time to drive! I am ashamed to say that I only put an additional 2,878 miles on the Healey in the ensuing nine-plus years. Driving, however, is the whole point of having a sports car and that is certainly true for an Austin Healey roadster. My son has now taken the Bugeye to his home. I have sold the Jaguar and the Mercedes. I now intend to spend more time driving the Bloody Beast!

After almost ten years I thought it might be healthy to go over the car carefully and examine the condition of components, check tolerances, and replace items that typically wear – even though they might be in operable condition at the moment. I will be making myself a list of items, that will probably not be in any particular order, and I will undertake some of the work as the list is added too over time. I will gradually need to accumulate parts for the work to be done.

For those who read this post, I hope you will contribute through your comments and make suggestions about anything, but particularly about items that should be added to my ten year renewal list. To be clear, an item on the list, an oil change for example, doesn’t mean that it is only to be done every ten years. I will make entries on this post chronologically as items are accomplished. I will keep a ten year renewal checklist as a separate post and add to it as I think about items to address. I will organize this list based on the categories of the Workshop Manual.

So, lets start this project! The most recent actions are listed first: Ten Year Renewal Blog

The Find and The Purchase

November 11, 2017 – The Find

Almost every Saturday morning David Silberkleist, owner of BugeyeGuy.com sends out an email newsletter to his subscribers. As you would expect, it is usually full of information about Austin Healey Bugeyes including a few advertisements for cars for sale. On this particular day there was an unusual posting for David. His newsletter included a brief article on a 2005 Porsche 911 Carrera S with under 7,200 miles on the odometer that he had for sale. This is a pdf file from his website that describes the car:2005 Porsche 911 Bugeyeguy.com advertisement

I emailed him that afternoon and that started a conversation that by the following Monday morning ended up with an agreement between us with a purchase price of $46,000. We had a conversation about the possible need to change out the Intermediate Shaft (IMS) bearing as this was a problem on this series of Porsche 911s. I sent David a $500 deposit.

November 16, 2017 – The Purchase

I pulled my featherlight trailer to Branford, CT to pick up the Porsche. Turned out to be a pretty easy drive and took about 7 hours. I left early and arrived about 1:00 pm, grabbed some lunch and then dropped in on David and his business. David gave me tour of his shop, introduced me to his staff, and showed me some of the Bugeyes they were working on at the time. 

We then drove a short distance to a storage building David rents to see the Porsche as well as the cars in David’s private collection including a couple of big healeys, two MGA’s a Lotus, another 911 Targa, a Morris Minor Wagon among others.

David gave me a “go around” on the car and pointed out that he had installed a new battery. After checking things out, he drove the car over to his primary shop and we loaded the 911 onto the trailer. This required raising the trailer at the front and placing some lumber at the loading ramps so that the front lip would not hit the trailer as it was driven up. We then got her strapped down (not easy to do in the rear!) and I was ready for the trip home.

David mentioned that he had purchased some Pirelli tires for the car but had not yet installed them and he was intending to send them back.To save mailing expenses later when I would order tires, I decided that since I had room in my MB GL450 I would go ahead and purchase the tires ($1,150). The car still had its original Michelin tires that were too old to be safe.With everything buttoned up, I drove over to the Branford Holiday Inn Express and checked in for the evening. I got tucked in for the night and ready for the trip back to Virginia the next morning.

 

Parked for the evening

Looks Fast, Even on a Trailer

There was a great pizza restaurant next to the Holiday Inn so I settled in for a while with my Porsche Owner’s Manual, a few beers and a great pizza! I discovered the original window sticker in the Owner’s Manual:

Porsche 997.1 Window Sticker Spec Sheet

 

 

Navigating The Jaguar MK2 Project Site

Site Organization and Navigation

The site for the Jaguar MK2 restoration was initially divided into three parts:

  1. Disassembly,
  2. Restoration and Fitting, and
  3. Reassembly.

However, I have removed all of the posts related to the “disassembly” phase of the project. The “restoration and fitting” or trial assembly of the renewed and new components is detailed. Major sections of work, generally following the Jaguar MK2 Models Service Manual, are journaled. I have assumed that the reader will find this approach more useful than a sequenced chronology.

I have sold this car before completion. My wife and I have downsized and relocated to Florida. Garage space is now more limited and so something had to go! Mike Gassman of Gassman Automotive in Waynesboro, VA now has the car to complete for a future owner.

To be redirected to project entries, or posts, for the Jaguar MK2 Project, just click on the burgundy rectangular navigation box in the upper right corner of this site. 

Please click photos once for larger images or twice for even larger detailed images. Images will open in a new window.

I am interested in your comments about the content and presentation, so please email me or comment on any individual entry. I will be happy to respond.

Lin

The Bugeye – 1959 AN5

My name is John Rose and I am the current owner of AN5L11257, engine number 9CUH10910, a 1959 Austin Healey Sprite, popularly known as a “Bugeye” in the States or “Frogeye” if you are from across the pond.

This web site is dedicated to documenting the history of my car, the modifications that have been made to it, and the fun I have had with it.

My Dad, Linwood Rose, my younger brother, Scott, and I attended the 1998 Sprite Bash in Carlisle, PA with the idea of finding a Bugeye to purchase as my first car. Of course, I wasn’t old enough to drive yet, but this was to be a “project” car that would require some work prior to putting it on the road. We looked at a few cars that were for sale, but didn’t make any offers in Carlisle.

Previous Ownership

Later that summer, we were attending the British Car Days Show held in July at Bowie, Maryland on June 28, 1998. Tom Delaney from College Park, MD attended the Show and was walking around the show grounds with a sign taped to the back of his T shirt he was wearing that stated, “1959 Bugeye for sale, enquire within.” I struck up a conversation with Mr. Delaney and we agreed to stop and see his car when we returned from vacation at the end of the week.

Negotiating with Tom Delaney, British Car Day, Bowie, MD June 28, 1998

On July 2, 1998, after a test drive and some negotiating, I was the proud owner and we were driving MY Bugeye home from Maryland to Harrisonburg, VA.

Mr. Delaney did have some records that he passed along to me with the car. These records provided some insight into previous ownership of my Bugeye. I am not sure when Mr.Delaney purchased AN5L11257, but I do have a receipt for parts indicating he was the owner in February 1983.

Curiously, before Mr. Delaney was the custodian of my Bugeye, it was apparently owned by Captain Charles A. Rose of Gaithersburg, MD. I say “curiously,” because my uncle’s name is Charles Rose, and he lives in Maryland, but they are not one and the same.

Captain  Rose purchased my Bugeye in Tennessee according to Tennessee DMV records in September, 1979 from Dean Trathen from Nashville, TN. Mr. Trathen apparently owned the car for only a brief period having purchased it himself in March of 1979 from William L. Easterling from Brentwood, TN. Records show that Mr.Easterling bought the car in September of 1978.

Unfortunately, I don’t have records or any knowledge of ownership of my Bugeye from 1959 to 1978.

Bugeye Blog

My Bugeye Blog chronicles the life and times of AN5L11257 while in my care. I didn’t keep good records at first, so details are a little sketchy until 2000. As the reader of my Bugeye Blog will observe, we have made many “personalizations” to my Bugeye. I have concentrated on making my car fun to drive by increasing performance and handling.

I hope you enjoy my Bugeye Blog and invite your questions or comments.

John Rose

Alfa Oil Vapor Separator (OVS)

The OVS on the Alfa has been a well discussed topic on the ALFA Bulletin Board. Apparently it is a component that is subject to failure, although in fairness, I don’t expect that Alfa engineers ever expected this part to last over thirty years! The part is susceptible  to corrosion – often suffering pin hole leaks, rotted out internals and clogged lines. 

Richard Lesniewicz aka “divotandtralee” a contributor to the Bulletin Board, studied the problem and designed and partially manufactured a replacement for the original unit. The new OVS is entirely brass and Richard machined the individual components of the assembly and sold them as a kit to be assembled by the purchaser. “Assembly” in this case is primarily soldering. The new OVS is almost identical in size to the original and once painted black will be almost indistinguishable once mounted in the engine bay.

Richard sketched the OVS to first demonstrate how it functions and then to show what happens to it after extended use:

OVS Diagram

Problems with Used OVS

This is a link to his instructions for assembly and use:OVS Construction Instructions 

It is important to align the tubes off of the primary canister in the same fashion as the original OVS. Since that is still on the car, I will wait until I remove it to complete the “construction” of the brass OVS. The following image shows my progress to date:

Rose OVS

 

 

Alfa Maintenance

July 10, 2017

70,800 miles on the Odometer

Ignition Update

I am experiencing some starting problems that seem to be due to a partial discharge of the battery after the car has been sitting. Not knowing the car and what others may have changed/updated/disconnected or connected, I thought I would begin by replacing components in the ignition system including the distributor cap, ignition wires, rotor and coil. I ordered these components from Centerline International.https://www.centerlinealfa.com/store

Centerline International Invoice

Old Coil to be Replaced

New Bosch Coil to be Installed

New Bosch Coil to be Installed

 

I began the task by removing the old coil. There are a total of six wires connected to the coil terminals. The (-) terminal has four wires secured to the mounting post with an 8mm nut: a larger cream-colored wire, a white wire with a black tracer, a yellow wire, and a white wire. The (+) terminal has two wires and both of them are light green with black tracers.

Wiring to the Old Coil

Wiring to the Old Coil

To access the mounting bracket nuts for the coil, I found it easier to first remove the coolant recovery tank. This was accomplished by loosening the screw in the bracket connection and then lifting the tank temporarily out of the way.

Coolant Overflow Tank Mounting Bracket

I was then able to remove the old coil and install the new one:

New Bosch Coil Installed

I then carefully marked each ignition wire with a number to designate its location for replacement, and after also marking the old distributor cap for location purposes, I snapped the top off of the black plastic loom to free the wires.

Ignition Wiring Loom Harness

I then disconnected each wire at the spark plugs and popped free the two securing clips on the distributor cap. I could then lift away the old cap and wiring. I had previously disconnected the coil wire while replacing the coil.

The new wiring came with numbers on each wire. After properly locating the wires in the appropriate place on the new distributor cap, I pushed the wires into their seats. This is a tight fit and they were somewhat difficult to fully seat. The coil wire included a rubber cap to press fit over the top of the coil.

New Bosch Distributor Cap

Alfa Spider Ignition Wiring Kit

I then removed the old rotor and installed a new Bosch rotor on the distributor shaft.

New Bosch Rotor

New Bosch Rotor Installed

The new distributor cap and ignition wiring assembly was then reinstalled to the distributor and to each of the spark plugs and to the coil. The coolant recovery bracket was replaced, the coolant tank was restored to its mounted position and the bracket was screwed back together. 

The task was then  completed with a successful test drive.

However, I discovered the next morning that the battery discharge issue remains and I will now begin my sleuthing to try to discover the source of the problem.

Battery Clamp Set

My battery bracket/clamp was pretty rusty and partially consumed by battery acid. I could have replaced it with a universal clamp for considerably less expense, but I chose to purchase and install the proper clamp set from Alfaholics in the UK. https://www.alfaholics.com/parts/105-series/electrical/battery-clamp-set/

Battery Clamp Invoice from Alfaholics

This is an image of the battery clamp set as it was received:

Alfa Battery Bracket

Alfa Introduction

IMG_4571

My 1987 Alfa Romeo Spider Quadrifoglio was acquired by gift! My father decided to pass along his “Alfie” to the next generation. So in July, 2016 I traveled from Virginia to his home in North Carolina and trailered home the newest member of my modest collection of classic cars! I certainly could have driven it, as it is in wonderful condition, but not being really familiar with the car I thought it best to trailer it home. It is nice to now have an Italian joining its British and German stablemates.

Dad with Alfie

Dad with Alfie

Alfie Trailering to Virginia

Alfie Trailering to Virginia

Previous Ownership

It seems that Victoria Hicks purchased Alfie as a new car with 35 miles on the odometer on March 7, 1987 from Robert Rueman, Inc. in Toluca Lake, CA . The cash price (including taxes) of the purchase was $23,451.

Ms. Hicks apparently moved to Connecticut sometime between 1987 and July of 1989. A Bill of Sale confirms the sale of Alfie to Margaret W. and Alfred H. Lupton, IV of Brookfield, CT on June 29, 1989 for $15,000. The car still had a California license plate at the time and the odometer reading was 19,856 miles. An extended warranty from Alfa Romeo, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ was transferred to the Luptons at the time of the sale. Alfie was then registered in Connecticut on August 3, 1989 by the Luptons with 20,456 miles on the odometer. The Connecticut Title is dated August 17, 1989.The Luptons may have been coveting the idea of purchasing a Spider because this ad was found in the folder of materials acquired with the car, dated four days before the Bill of Sale from Ms. Hicks:

NY Times Magazine Alfa Spider ad from 1989

NY Times Magazine Alfa Spider ad from 1989

The Lupton’s also had this New York Times article in the file folder of maintenance records that came with the car. Just an interesting little piece of automotive history!

New York Times article Alfa's 1995 demise in U.S. market

New York Times article Alfa’s 1995 demise in U.S. market

Without more records research, one can only guess when the Lupton’s sold Alfie to the next owner. I have no sales/purchase information about the transfer of ownership, but apparently John Painter acquired the car in around 2010. Service records indicate that Mr. Painter had service completed on Alfie beginning in October 2010 and I have a record of a parts order from him in February 2011.

My father, James R. Rose, III of Banner Elk, NC purchased Alfie from Aurio (Al) Lorenzo in November, 2012. At the time, the car had approximately 69,300 miles on the odometer. I do not know when Mr. Lorenzo purchased the car, but it was shipped from Performance Imports in Danbury, CT by RAD Transport to his address in Gibsonville, NC. Unfortunately, there is no date on the shipping manifest. The earliest receipt for parts/service that I have in his name is dated May 1, 2012. The last service/parts purchase by Mr. Lorenzo for which I have a record is dated from September, 2012.

My dad enjoyed Alfie until the summer of 2016, when in July he passed him along to me. There were 70,404 miles showing on the odometer at the time of the transfer.

Oh, don’t be worried about my father. He may be ninety, but he still has a 12 cylinder, 1990 Jaguar XJS and a beautiful little VW Beetle to keep him occupied:

1990 Jaguar XJS

1990 Jaguar XJS

1969 VW

1969 VW

Update as of January 1, 2021

Because of my all-consuming restoration of the Jaguar MK2, Alfie received very little attention. He was stored in nice garage space and was started and driven around from time to time, but that was about it. My wife and I relocated from Virginia to Florida in May, 2018 and the car remained in Virginia. I am now ready to give Alfie the attention she deserves and will transport her to our home in Florida within the next few weeks. My Dad is now 94 and the VW has been adopted by a younger brother and the Jag has been sold.

Maintenance Records

Fortunately, Alfie came with a pretty thick file folder of maintenance records dating from the original owner. It is always nice to have these records to have an idea of the degree to which a car has been properly maintained throughout its life. A chronological summary of the service invoices through my father’s ownership is provided here: 1987 Alfa Romeo Spider Maintenance History – Sheet1

I will now maintain service records and parts and maintenance invoices in a separate file to document activity during my ownership.

The Bloody Beast – 1960 Austin-Healey 3000 MKI BT7

Welcome to my website covering the history, restoration and “personalizations” to my 1960 Austin Healey 3000 Mk I affectionately known as “The Bloody Beast.” Feel free to email me with questions, suggestions  and/or comments.

As I progress, I would love to have your feedback so please offer comments.

Cheers,

Lin

Bradenton, FL