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

Assorted Interior Modifications

Original Interior

The original interior was medium red with black piping using leather and matching “leathercloth” vinyl. Carpet was also red and black armacord finished the boot interior. An adjustable plastic 16 1/2” steering wheel was standard.

Interior Modifications

Upholstery and Carpet

The interior finish materials were supplied by Heritage Trim. http://www.heritagetrim.com/. While somewhat expensive and not particularly fast on delivery, they provide a premium product with top grade materials. As the images show, I decided on black leather upholstery with red piping. Although I would have preferred a brighter red material for the piping, I was quite pleased with Heritage Trim.

Heritage also supplied the carpet, and while a material very close to the original is available, I decided to go with Wilton Wool which is a softer cut pile and to my view a more elegant look.

Heritage Interior

Heritage Interior

 Steering Wheel

The Steering Wheel was replaced with a Moto-Lita wheel made of mahogany wood. It is ordered with a complimentary hub so that the original control head (trafficator) and horn button may be used.

Moto Lita Wheel

Moto Lita Wheel

 Fiberglass Gearbox Cover

Using a Toyota five speed gearbox required relocating the hole for the shifter in the gearbox cover from the original side mount to a center location. A fiberglass cover is available from http://www.britishcarspecialists.com/. The fiberglass cover is lighter, cooler as it does not conduct the heat like the original metal cover, and was easy to modify. I covered the gearbox cover with Dynamat Extreme and an additional layer of aluminum duct insulation to keep things cool.

Fiberglass Gearbox Cover

Fiberglass Gearbox Cover

Interior Insulation

Anyone who has ever driven a stock Healey knows that the interior, particularly in the footwells, can get quite toasty but the combination of sealing firewall holes and installing modern insulation materials can virtually do away with the cockpit heat. I used Dynamat Extreme in the Bloody Beast and then installed a layer of aluminum backed foam duct insulation used in home HVAC systems on top of the Dynamat. All gaps between the pieces of insulation were covered with aluminum tape.

Dynamat Extreme

Dynamat Extreme

Interior Insulation

Aluminum Interior Insulation

Tilted Driver’s Seat

Big Healeys have reasonable legroom for those of us who are over six feet tall, but the designed seating arrangement places the driver very close to the steering wheel. One way to improve on the situation is to add spacers of varying lengths to the studs on the seat rails. The effect is to create a slight rearward tilt to the seat that then permits a little more arm extension for driving. I just picked up the extensions at the local hardware store.

Tilt Seat

Tilted Seat

Cup Holder

While I do not permit any beverages in the Bloody Beast other than water, the good ol’ American cup holder is a convenient accessory to the Healey interior. I borrowed the idea from Roger Conte – Ausmhly rfc_2002@sbcglobal.net. I used a Volkswagen Jetta cup holder #1J0 858 601D and mounted it under the parcel tray. Works like a charm and virtually hidden when not in use. This link will navigate you to the detail page on the cup holder: https://valvechatter.com/?p=3487

Cup Holder Empty

Cup Holder Empty

Alloy Pedal Covers

Just to dress up the pedals a bit and to provide an improved pedal surface, I installed alloy covers on the original pedals. My brake and clutch pedal covers were custom made and a gift from buddy Mick Nordquist, while the accelerator pedal came from Denis Welch Motorsport http://www.bighealey.co.uk/content/wider-accelerator-pedal.

Alloy Pedal Covers

Alloy Pedal Covers

Arm Rest/ Console

The padded arm rest provided as original equipment in the MK1 interior, while attractive in appearance, was pretty useless in that it was too low for one to actually rest an arm on the pad while driving. I decided to use the cushion as supplied by Heritage Trim to fabricate the top of a box or console to be installed on the gearbox/propshaft tunnel.

I began to form my idea for the console by fitting a cardboard shoebox to what I considered to be ideal dimensions, and then built a wooden box to provide some storage along with a fully functional arm rest. I encountered the need for lots of weird angles, but eventually got it all worked out and was very pleased with the outcome. After hinging the top, I covered the box in the wilton wool carpet and created something that appears original to the untrained eye. I could have permanently mounted the box to the tunnel but chose not to do so. This allows me to reposition the arm rest as desired.

Console Installed

Console Installed

Console Box

Console Box

Console Box

Console Box

Console Interior

Console Interior

Console Box

Console Box

Console Lid

Console Lid

Console Installed

Console Installed

Rear Luggage/Parcel Shelf

MKIII owners have a nice luggage shelf behind the front seats if they need more storage space, but MKI owners didn’t have that convenience. Inspired by my upcoming cross-country trip, I decided to bold my own. The shelf is completely removable, but alas, unlike the BJ8 owner, I cannot just fold my up and out of the way. In my case, I either travel with it, or without it. This is the link to assembly directions and more images: https://valvechatter.com/?p=3508

Luggage Shelf

Luggage Shelf

Luggage Shelf

Luggage Shelf

Luggage Shelf

Luggage Shelf

Luggage Shelf

Luggage Shelf

Luggage/Parcel Shelf Image 6

Luggage/Parcel Shelf Image 6

Spare Tire Cover

While not technically the “interior,” I wanted to dress up the boot for appearance purposes nut also to protect clothes or other objects place in the boot that would have been exposed to a spare tire. I had a local upholstery shop sew a cover for me. I then cut a slot in the rear for the hold-down strap and I was in business. It makes for a much cleaner look in the boot.

Spare Tire Cover

Spare Tire Cover

Assorted Ignition Modifications

The Original Ignition System

Distributor: Lucas DM6A

Coil: Lucas HA 12 volt

Spark Plugs: Champion UN12Y

Modified Ignition System

Distributor

Having converted the Bugeye to electronic ignition with a Crane system, I knew that I wanted to use electronic ignition with the Bloody Beast, but unlike the Crane system, I wanted to use a system that would be housed in the distributor such as a Pertronix. After doing some research I decided to replace the entire distributor with a newly introduced Dutch product, the 123 Distributor. The United States distributer is https://123ignitionusa.com

More information about the installation is provided in this website post: https://valvechatter.com/?p=12431

One appealing aspect of the 123 is that the advance curve is determined by simply adjusting the settings by turning an adjustment on the outside of the distributor and “clicking” it into place. Sixteen curves are available from which to select. Since my purchase the vendor has introduced a programmable bluetooth distributor that can be managed with a laptop. The model number of the unit I used is 123/GB-6-R-V.

For initial set-up, I chose the recommended “B” setting. While the distributor is a “drop-in” in for the BJ8 with an electronic tach, a kit is supplied to adapt it for the mechanical tach drive of the BT7. The shaft did need to be drilled and the drive dog from the original Lucas unit installed with a few spacing washers. My unit was supplied by a German vendor Brits’N’Pieces.

123 Distributor

123 Distributor

Coil

Rather than the original Lucas Coil, or Lucas Sports coil, I decided to go with the Pertronix Flame Thrower Coil in the Bloody Beast. The coil was originally mounted on top of the generator, but since I am using an alternator, that mounting position was not available. I mounted the coil on the vertical upright shroud support post.

Pertronix Flame Thrower Coil

Pertronix Flame Thrower Coil

 Ignition Wiring

To complement the Pertronix Flame Thrower Coil, is used Pertronix ignition wiring as well.

Ignition wiring

Ignition wiring

 

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Assorted Fuel System Modifications

Fuel Pump and Fuel Lines

Fuel Pump and Fuel Lines

The Original Fuel System

The fuel system consists of the fuel tank, the fuel pump, the carburetters and the air cleaners. The original fuel system included the following: Fuel tank: 14.4 U.S. gallon steel tank Fuel pump: SU electric Carburetters: Twin 1 3/4” semi-downdraft HD6 Air Cleaners: Coopers “pancake” type.

 Modified Fuel System

Aluminum Fuel Tank

I replaced the steel tank with an aluminum version sourced from Hemphill’s Healey Haven in Maryland.

Fuel tank aluminum

Aluminum Fule Tank

Solid State SU Fuel Pump

I used the original mounting bracket, but replaced the pump with a solid state version of the original fuel pump. The pump was supplied by Burlen in the U.K.

Solid State Fuel Pump

Solid State Fuel Pump

 Redundant Fuel Pump

I expected the solid state unit to perform better than the original with its “points,” but I still remember problems with the original pump while I was driving the car in college. I would give it a few good “whacks,” and it would start pumping again. I had read about installing a redundant pump either parallel or in-line to avoid dead fuel pump problems. I mounted the auxiliary pump on the rear boot wall and ran it in-line with the SU. The restoration blog explains the installation. I used a Master E8016S electric pump available from Autozone. I installed a toggle switch on a small switch panel under the wiper motor that controls the fuel pumps. At center, neither pump is activated (a great anti-theft device); a throw upward activates the SU pump, and a throw downward activates the Master Pump. The pumps can be switched on the fly.

Master Fuel Pump

Master Fuel Pump

 

Aux fuel pump

Auxiliary Fuel Pump Installed

Toggle Switch Panel

Toggle Switch Panel

Fuel Gauge Dampener

Every Healey owner experiences the erratic swings of the fuel gauge needle. Zims Autotechnik, www.allzim.com , 1804 Reliance Parkway, Bedford, TX 76021, 800-356-2964, sells a little electronic device (see image to the right) that mitigates the needle swing. I believe it was originally conceived for the Porsche 356. Steve Gerow shared this little tip. I ordered one, installed it in a few minutes and sure enough it works! $19.95 for the part. Fuel Gauge Dampener instructions.JPG are provided, but Steve’s photo tells the whole story!

Fuel Gauge Dampener

Fuel Gauge Dampener

 

Carburetters

I replaced the original HD6 SU carbs with 2″ HD8s to boost HP a bit. I purchased these from someone on the Healey list and had them rebuilt by Joe Curto. I was pleased with his results. The older used units polished nicely. Using the HD8s did require switching to a later intake manifold from a BJ8 as well, to take advantage of the 2″ diameter carbs.

HD8 Carbs

HD8 Carbs

Carburetter Choke

The choke mechanism for the BJ8 carbs is a dual line system as opposed to the single cable used with the original HD6 carbs. So, I ordered the HD8 choke bracket and cabling and installed it in the Bloody Beast.

Choke Firewall Bracket

Choke Firewall Bracket

Air Cleaners

In 2008 when I restored my car, I decided to replace the original pancake Cooper air cleaners and use the “itg” competition foam air cleaner available from Denis Welch. The air cleaner is a single unit working with both carburetors. For appearances, I painted the red plastic body of the air cleaner a gloss black.

However, recently, as part of my “ten-year renewal” process I have moved away from the ITG filter and now use twin ram pipes with individual trumpet filters. This change is explained in this post: https://valvechatter.com/?p=12574

ITG Air Cleaner

ITG Air Cleaner

Aston Quick Release Fuel Filler Cap

I like the looks of the racing heritage Aston cap that also has its practical ease of use advantage. To install, it is necessary to cut off the original fuel filler pipe and solder a threaded ring onto the pipe. The cap then screws onto the collar. It gives a very nice finish to the fuel system!

Aston threaded collar

Aston threaded collar

Aston Fuel Filler Cap

Aston Fuel Filler Cap

 

Hardtop

Introduction

I took my Universal Laminations hardtop apart in 1977 and, of course, intended to completely restore it to original standard at the time. This did not happen and it sat disassembled until I began to undertake the complete restoration of my car in 2001. We all know that it is best to take things apart, document the process, photograph the components, and reassemble as soon as possible. C’est la vie!

While I did not have the benefit of disassembly notes and photos, I did have the article published by Roger Moment Healey Hardtop Repair comp in the Healey Chatter in June 1998, page 22-35, Bill Bolton’s kit instructions comp (I believe from Moss Motors, Inc, 1994?) that were provided with his hardtop restoration kit, and some very helpful notes and photos from John Homonek who restored his hardtop to a beautiful standard.  These documents and images provided helpful guidance as I progressed through my hardtop assembly. Click Restoring a Healey hardtop for a pdf file of this web site.

I would have to say that restoring the hardtop was one of my least favorite tasks in my restoration of the Bloody Beast. Until you get the top together it really is a very delicate job. This summary has sixty-eight photos, all of which are good size, as I have intended this write-up to benefit others undertaking this job. I hope it proves helpful!

Conditioning the Parts for Assembly

The fiberglass shell is very flimsy without the supporting aluminum hardware that serves as an external skeleton for the top. It had developed some cracks and blemishes over the years. These were patched first:

Hardtop Repair

Hardtop Repair

Hardtop Repair

Hardtop Repair

 Then it was on to sanding and priming:

Sanding and Priming

Sanding and Priming

Followed by the application of Rosso Corsa Ferrari paint, and more sanding and polishing:

Hardtop painted

Hardtop painted

I cleaned up the aluminum frameworkas best I could including removing as much of the original clay/caulk/sealer that was possible from the mounting channels of the trim. The identification number for the hardtop and the assembly date is available on the right window cant rail.

Hardtop Serial Number

Hardtop Serial Number

I then sent the aluminum off to Ano-brite ( I believe it is now named something else) in California for further cleaning and anodizing. Everything came back sparkling and looking almost new. In the meantime, I ordered Bill Bolton’s restoration kit that includes, headliner and trim fabric, rubber seals, foam pads, windlace, a new rear backlight and instructions. All high quality! Thanks, Bill.

Cleaning up and refinishing several of the hardtop components was next on my list. The vertical rear aluminum braces and the front corner brackets were sanded and painted a dull aluminum that closely matched the original color.

Hardtop Braces

Hardtop Braces

Hardtop Front Brackets

Hardtop Front Brackets

The rear mounting hook/plate/wing nut assembly was also in good shape but I did decide to replace the hooks and again sourced them from Cape International. I ordered new mounting plates, but like the shape of the originals so I will stick with them.

Hardtop J Hooks

Hardtop J Hooks

The steel locating spigots just needed some cleaning up and painting. They were painted black and new truss head stainless screws were purchased for assembly.

Locating Spigots

Locating Spigots

The headliner was torn and dirty and needed to be replaced. The headliner frame needed attention, too. It was a little rusty and the felt was in bad shape. The frame was painted black and new felt was glued in place.

Headliner old - on frame

Headliner old – on frame

 

Headliner-old-on-frame

Headliner-old-on-frame

 

Headliner-old-on-frame

Headliner-old-on-frame

 

Headliner Frame Restored

Headliner Frame Restored

Headliner frame new felt

Headliner frame new felt

I was surprised to find the foam of the front pad in excellent condition after removing the headliner fabric. I don’t know Italian, but it appears that the Dunlop foam rubber was manufactured (or at least the pad was) in Italy.

Headliner Front Pad

Headliner Front Pad

Headliner Front Pad

Headliner Front Pad

 

Hardtop Assembly

After getting all components in good shape or purchasing new bits, it was time to begin assembly. The first task was to glue the fabric to the bottom cant rail.

Fabric on Cant Rail

Fabric on Cant Rail

The I glued the fabric to the inside corners of the top shell.

Hardtop Corner Fabric

Hardtop Corner Fabric

Followed by glueing the carpet felt to four locations on the underside of the hardtop shell. This buffers the headliner metal frame from the fiberglass shell.

hardtop carpet cushion for headliner rails

Hardtop Carpet Cushion for Headliner Rails

Then applied 3M Body caulk (dum-dum) to the channel in the front rail and pushed it onto the front lip of top shell.

Installing Front Trim

Installing Front Trim

Applied 3M caulk to the channels of the side cant rails and pushed the rails onto the top shell. Temporarily screwing in the corner braces and the small aluminum plates helped pull the side rails into place.

Front Joiner Plate

Front Joiner Plate

The original wood braces that mount on the side cant rails were rotten. I had new braces made to original specifications. These were screwed to the side rails with two truss head stainless screws.

Wood Side Rail

Wood Side Rail

With the top upside down, the locating spigot pins were dropped into place, but not secured until after the bottom cant rail was pushed onto the top shell.

Steel Spigot Installed

Steel Spigot Installed

Applied 3M caulk to the channels in the bottom cant rail and positioned the rail on the top shell. This job requires two people! After properly aligning the rail, six stainless truss head screws can be screwed into place through the side and bottom cant rails into the steel spigot pin.

Applied a thin coating of the 3M caulk to the channel in the aluminum trim for the top of the backlight and pressed it onto the top shell. Again, two people really help with this task.

I then used a block of wood on each side of the top to spread the top toward the outside of the bottom cant rail and inserted two #10 stainless truss head machine screws with washers and nuts to link the bottom cant rail to the backlight top aluminum trim. After tightening the fasteners the wood spacer blocks were removed.

Spacer Block

Spacer Block

 

Mounting Plate

Mounting Plate

I had saved the five small original rubber seal pieces that were used as spacers/cushions between the headliner and the upper backlight aluminum trim. These were glued in place at the same locations on the inside of the top shell.

Bill Bolton’s kit included 4 small blocks of foam padding (two on each side) that I glued to the interior sides of the top shell. These pads are used to force the upholstered quarter panels against the side and bottom cant rails. The original part number for theses pads is 27H9592. Again, I could see where these pads were glued to the shell originally and they were cemented to the same locations.

Backlight Rails in Place

Backlight Rails in Place

Foam Quarterpanel Cushions

Foam Quarterpanel Cushions

The headliner frame with new fabric supplied by Bill Bolton and sewn to the frame by a local shop, Classic Upholstery, was then inserted through the backlight opening and pushed into place. The metal clips at the front of the headliner were pushed under the front aluminum rail, and the rear edge of the headliner was pushed in place between the backlight upper aluminum trim and the rubber cushions that had been glued to the the shell.

Inserting Headliner

Inserting Headliner

Inserting Headliner

Inserting Headliner

The aluminum backlight braces were then installed. I stuck 3M body caulk under the heads of the two chrome machine screws that went through the backlight upper aluminum trim and into the braces to help seal out water.

Backlight Support Braces

Backlight Support Braces

Front Pad in Place

Front Pad in Place

I was then able to flip the top over and install the front pad. The screws that fasten the front side braces needed to be withdrawn so that the triangular clip on the side of the front pad could be pushed into place between the two screw locations. The screws were then replaced. The front rail header seal, part number 27H9597, was then cut to fit and glued onto the rear edge of the front aluminum rail.

The rubber seals for the side rails were also trimmed and lightly glued in place. The windlace supplied by Bill Bolton was then pushed over the rubber seals and onto the side and front cant rail lips to create a nice finished look. One continuous piece of windlace was used to cover the rails. It is somewhat difficult to push it into place in the 90 degree corners. The front clasps were then screwed into the front corner brackets. I have these set as they were originally, but I expect the “J” hooks will need some adjustment when the top is put in place.

Windlace

Windlace

Hold Down Tab Bracket

Hold Down Tab Bracket

The hold down brackets that, along with large “J” hooks, clamp the hardtop to the cockpit were then inserted through the slots in the bottom cant rail and secured with two #10 truss head machine screws. I used the original quarter panel boards and recovered them with the headliner material. They were pushed into place and wrinkles were “massaged” out as much as possible.

Hold Down Tab Bracket

Hold Down Tab Bracket

Plexiglass Backlight Installation

I may have been able to install the backlight myself, but after studying it a while, I decided to take the job to a local glass installation shop that had previously assembled my windscreen. I was glad that I did, because the plexiglass needed trimming to fit and the shop got the job done much more quickly than I would have fumbling along in my trial-and-error manner. The images below might help others who decide to undertake the task themselves.

I managed to get the top to the glass shop without damaging it! The owner reviewed the plexiglass, the seals and proclaimed himself ready for the task.

At The Glass Shop

At The Glass Shop

To get a feel for how the top and bottom seals would ultimately join together the installer slid the pieces together on the rails. The upper backlight glazing rubber was part number 27H9594. The lower glazing seal was part number 27H9595.

Fitting the Corner

Fitting the Corner

The iterative process of trimming both pieces began until he was eventually satisfied that the fit was as good as it was going to be. Of course, the second side, in this case the LH side was more difficult to fit. The key is to trim only a little at a time. You can always trim more, but if you go to far there is no recovering!

Fitting the Corner

Fitting the Corner

The installer used a silicon spray to temporarily soften and lubricate the rubber to make it easier to fit the plexiglass and the locking seal. Unfortunately, we discovered that my glass was not shaped properly.

Silicone Spray

Silicone Spray

I was able to compare it to my “foggy” original and one could see that trimming was required. As with the rubber, the rule was “a little at a time.” We taped the glass to mark the material to be removed and to avoid scratching it and then used a belt sander to gradually remove material. We repeated this process three times until satisfied with the fit.

Trimming the Backlight

Trimming the Backlight

Trimming the Backlight

Trimming the Backlight

Protecting the Backlight

Protecting the Backlight

Trimming the Backlight

Trimming the Backlight

We experienced a little problem with the lower locking strip – it just did not want to “lock” on the bottom edge of the strip. The shop had another, slightly larger, strip that worked, but it had a chrome finish. I will paint the chrome a matte black to look just like the rubber. The plastic tool in John’s hand is known as a “bone.”

Fitting Backlight

Fitting Backlight

These are a few images of the locking strip being “run in” to the larger seal. As always, the right tool for the job is key. John’s assistant trimmed the locking strip to the proper length.

Installing Locking Strip

Installing Locking Strip

Installing Locking Strip

Installing Locking Strip

After installing the locking strips and cleaning up the silicone spray residue, the backlight installation was complete. Now, it is back home to put the seals on the bottom cant rail.

Finished Job

Finished Job

Finished Job

Finished Job

I believe the original spigot pin pad was 5” x 1/2” x 1 1/8” (27H9599). I did not have a replacement pad that met original specs, but I used 2 pieces of weatherstripping on each side that were 5” x 1/4” x 1 1/4”. These pads were punched for the spigot pin and then glued together to make a pad similar to the original.

Spigot Pin Pad

Spigot Pin Pad

The narrow (3/4”) packing strip for the bottom cant rail (27H9686), was then glued into place.   The piece in the image below was cut off to butt against the spigot pin pad.

Small Rubber Packing Strip

Small Rubber Packing Strip

Small Rubber Packing Strip

Small Rubber Packing Strip

The wide (1 1/8”) packing strip, to the left in the image below, was glued over the narrow packing strip and it also was run to the back of the spigot pin pad. Then the header rail seal (27H9597) was lightly glued over the edge of the bottom rail and the windlace was pressed over it and the rail to give a finished appearance.

Seals and windlace

Seals and windlace

The finished job is seen in the images below. There were several things that could have been done a bit better, but isn’t that always the case with the first time you do something? I was generally pleased with the results.

Lower Windlace

Lower Windlace

Lower Windlace

Lower Windlace

Headliner & Windlace

Headliner & Windlace

Headliner & Windlace

Headliner & Windlace

These are some images of the top on my car. It took some time to get the top to fit well with the cockpit molding. I still have a slightly larger gap at the top quarter panels than I want so I will continue to try to refine my fitting.

Hardtop

Hardtop

Hardtop with Sidecurtain

Hardtop

Hardtop

 

Hardtop

Hardtop

 Storing The Hardtop

While I love my hardtop, Healeys were meant to be driven with the top down or off. That means storing the hardtop out of the way and where it will not be damaged. I am sorry that I don’t recall the source of these images, but they illustrate a homemade wall mount that would appear to be very effective. I may build this mount, but have not done so yet. I did order a cover and rolling stand for my hardtop from California Car Cover. Both are working quite well for the moment.

Hardtop Wall Mount Image 1

Hardtop Wall Mount Image 1

Hardtop Wall Mount Image 1

Hardtop Wall Mount Image 2

Hardtop Cover pdf:

Hardtop Cover PDF

Hardtop Cover PDF

http://www.calcarcover.com/product.aspx?id=1037

John Spaur at jmsdarch@sbcglobal.net built an overhead hoist for his top for about $50.00.

hardtophoist

This is another hoist plan that was put together for Jeep Hardtops. It includes a list of materials needed:

http://www.jk-forum.com/forums/jk-write-ups-39/hardtop-hoist-storage-write-up-5559/

and a pdf file of the same:

Hardtop hoist:storage write-up

And, this is yet another overhead hoist that can be purchased for installation in one’s garage:

http://www.top-hoist.com/index.html

and a pdf file of the same:

Top-Hoist.com — manual and electric hoist lifts for your convertible hardtop

 

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The Donald M Healey Story

Donald Healey and His Cars

Reprinted from motoring@ridedrive.co.uk – Photos and commentary on the BJ7 added by LH Rose.

Donald Mitchell Healey, son of a Cornish shopkeeper, was born in Perranporth, Cornwall, in 1898. From an early age he displayed a great deal of potential and understanding for mechanical objects and upon leaving school he served an apprenticeship at Sopwith, the aircraft manufacturer where he learned his trade in using machine tools.     

After the outbreak of the First World War Healey served in the Royal Flying Corps as a pilot until 1916, when he was injured following an air crash, after which he was discharged as an invalid. Healey returned to his home in Cornwall where he took up a correspondence course in automotive engineering. Sponsored by his father he opened a garage in his home town where he repaired and service cars, and ran a local taxi service. The business prospered until one day, in 1922, he had sufficient funds to buy a competition car and began dabbling in motor sport, including the Lands End to John O’Groats rally.   Having entered into competition driving, Healey started to rub shoulders with some accomplished names, such as the Riley Brothers and Cecil Kimber, the man that was involved with the foundation of MG. 

Over a period of time Healey began to meet with some success and in 1929 he entered, for the first time, the Monte Carlo Rally in a Triumph Super Seven family saloon car, but was disqualified for being late to the finish. The following year he again entered the race, but this time came seventh overall.   By now Healey was starting to get noticed for his driving ability and was approached by a man called Noel Macklin, who asked him to drive an Invicta in the Monte Carlo Rally to give the marque some public exposure. The partnership was successful and in 1930, despite the car only braking on three wheels, Donald Healey came home in first place. During this period, Healey met and befriended Ian Fleming, who later went on to create the James Bond stories, and Fleming actually rode along with Healey as his navigator in an event on the Alpine Trial. Healey again found some success in the Alpine rally, but this time in a Riley Brooklands, a car that he had borrowed from the Riley brothers, afterwards working for a while with Riley preparing their competition cars.   

In the years between the two World Wars, the importance for a motor manufacturer to have their car succeed in a major competition was of paramount importance and would make a very large difference in the success rate in selling cars to the motoring public. The Triumph Motor Company were looking for someone with sound technical knowledge and driving ability to fill a position as Technical Manager their plant in Warwickshire. Having already sold his garage business in Cornwall, Healey accepted the position willingly and competed in many rallies driving for Triumph, with whom he enjoyed much success. However, Healey had always wanted to design his own racing car to take on the fierce competition put up by teams such as Alfa Romeo with their Monza 2.3 litre supercharged eight-cylinder car. What Triumph and Healey did was to get hold of a Monza engine, strip it down and then set about copying it. The engine they produced was almost identical and was fitted in the 1934 Triumph Dolomite, a two-seater model with some very impressive chrome exhausts that ran along the outside of the body.   

In 1934 the car was entered in the Monte Carlo Rally to prove the design and its robustness. However, Healey’s race was prematurely ended when he was involved in a collision with a train on a railway crossing – a collision that totally wrecked the car but did not injure the occupants. Priced higher than the 3-litre Bentley, only three Dolomites were ever built. Healey remained with Triumph until the outbreak of War in 1939 when the company went into liquidation.   

During the Second World War, Healey was a part-time officer in the Air Training Corps, and also worked for Humber, a company making military vehicles for the British Army. In 1945 he wrote an article entitled, “The Enthusiasts Car, “ in which he outlined a dream he had to build a high performance car of his own. In the piece he spoke of many technical matters, such as power-to-weight ratios, engine design and aerodynamics, further motivating him to realise his ambition. When the war finished, Healey and his colleagues from Humber, worked at bringing Healey’s dream car to reality. In his autobiography, he says of the pre-war BMW 328 as being, “The best small sports car of all time,” and it was cars such as these that inspired and drove his ambition. He wanted the BMW engine, but in those early post-war years materials and supplies were difficult to obtain, putting the engine out of his grasp. However, by calling in favours and using the contacts he had built up over his racing years, he spoke to Victor Riley, who agreed to supply Healey with a new and advanced 2.4-litre four-cylinder 100bhp engine, together with gearboxes and axles, that was developed from the engine used to power a competition car driven with some success by Raymond Mays.   

Healey’s first car had a body and chassis of his own design, with most mechanical parts coming from Riley, but others being supplied by the Alvis and Nash companies. Persevering against a shortage of materials he produced a chassis with an unusual and advanced suspension unit, incorporating trailing links, upon which he mounted a sports body panelled by Westland Engineering of Hereford. Alongside this car he produced another, a closed body design, that was finished a firm of shop fitters from Reading in Berkshire called Elliots. In January 1946 the new car was shown to an enthusiastic press and many orders were taken, financing the acquisition of some business premises in Warwick, the heart of motor manufacture in England, to become The Donald Healey Motor Corporation.   

Healey used mechanical parts, mostly coming from Riley, with others being supplied by companies such as Alvis and Nash. His mechanics were people he managed to poach from other car manufacturers and between 1946 and 1950 the company produced the Westland Roadster and the Elliot Saloon.

Healey Westland

Healey Elliot

These cars were not cheap and were competing with the likes of Armstrong Siddeley and Aston Martin, but in 1949 The Donald Healey Motor Corporation produced something quite spectacular, the Healey Silverstone. This sports car sold for less than £1,000 (before tax), and soon became a popular choice among the sporting drivers of the day due to their superb handling qualities. This was a thoroughbred sports car powered by the twin camshaft version of the Riley 2.4-litre engine, in which a driver by the name of Tommy Wisdom broke the World Hour Speed record at Monthléry in 1952. 

Healey Silverstone

After that the name Healey became known for quality sporting saloons and roadsters, the chassis’ of which would often be supplied to customers for coachwork, as was common with Bentley and Rolls-Royce, for coachwork by Abbot of Farnham, Tickford, and Duncan Industries of North Walsham amongst others. 

The business was going well, but Donald Healey had set his sights on volume manufacture and in December 1949 he went on a sales mission across the Atlantic to the USA to promote his cars and hopefully return with orders. Whilst en route to the States he had a chance meeting aboard the Queen Mary with Nash, the president of the Nash Kelvinator corporation. This resulted in a commission, funded by Nash, to develop a car for the US market that would be based on Healey’s chassis and with the 3.8-litre Nash engine paving the way for the Healey-Nash.

Nash Healey

Nash Healey

This was the turning point for The Donald Healey Motor Corporation, an event which supplied sufficient revenue for him to set about developing a new model, a car that he would make him a legend in car manufacture and design. 

Healey made many visits to the USA and identified a market opportunity for a sports car that would fit between the Jaguar XK series and the MG. Upon his return he set about developing a prototype sports model, secretly building it at his home so as to conceal it from Nash, who although were working with him at the time on the Healey-Nash project, Healey was planning to compete against him and Morris, the company that were supplying the Riley engines, with the new project. The new car, he decided, would have a different engine and after discussions with Leonard Lord, head of The British Motor Corporation (BMC), Lord agreed to supply Austin A90 power units.   

The four-cylinder 2.6 litre Austin unit was ideal, but Healey disliked the gearbox ratios. To solve this perceived problem he blanked off the very low first gear, making it into a 3-speed gearbox and then fitted an overdrive unit that operated on second and third, which had the effect of turning three gears into five. The result of Healey’s efforts was the Healey 100 (the 100 standing for both 100mph and 100 horsepower), a stunning two-seat sports car that he introduced at the 1952 London Motor Show at Earls Court.   

Before the show opened, Leonard Lord had a look at the car and was smitten with it. The Austin Motor Company desperately needed a sports car to compete with MG, the new Triumph TR2 and the Jaguar XK 120, and this car appeared to be have the potential to do just that. Legend suggests that prior to the show, Leonard Lord had set a task for three manufactures to each produce a sports model for this exhibition where he would make a judgment as to which manufacturer he would award a production contract to. The two other ‘competitors’ apart from Donald Healey were Jensen and Fraser-Nash, but the Jensen car was not finished and so was not shown.

The Healey Hundred – DMH and Leonard Lord

When the show opened the Healey 100 took the crowd by storm and won rave reviews from the press. Leonard Lord decided there and then that this was the car he wanted and to be produced under the Austin name, no doubt inspired by the reception the car received. All the ingredients were there. Healey wanted the production capacity of an established car manufacturer to produce his design and Lord wanted to produce the car because he believed it would sell in large numbers. What resulted was a partnership between BMC and The Donald Healey Motor Corporation to form the name of Austin-Healey, and was the start of a relationship that would last for sixteen years. However, the construction of the car did not just involve Austin and Donald Healey.

The Austin-Healey 100

The first 20 pre-production Healey 100’s were assembled at Healey’s small plant in Warwickshire and then, in 1953, production assembly moved to the Austin factory at Longbridge. Whilst the engine and transmission was manufactured by Austin, the chassis was constructed by a company called John Thompson Motor Pressings and the bodies supplied, assembled and trimmed by the Jensen Motor Company. Jensen had the capacity to produce these in the numbers required, whereas Austin could not, but could at least assemble the car at its Longbridge plant. Also in that year The Austin Healey 100 won the Grand Premium Award at Miami’s World Fair in the United States and was voted the International Motor Show Car of 1953 at New York. As a publicity stunt a standard production car is taken to Utah Salt Flats and recorded an average 103.94 mph over a 5,000km endurance run. By the summer of 1954 the production of the Healey 100 at the Longbridge production plant was producing in excess of 100 cars per week for the first time, in fact over the first three years since its launch, 14,600 of them were made, 3.5% only of which remained in the UK.

Bonneville Streamliner

Donald Healey couldn’t seem to let go of his racing past and motor sport was still very much in his blood. In 1956, to further publicise the car, Donald Healey achieved almost 193 mph over a flying kilometre in a 224bhp supercharged and streamlined version of his car, while Carroll Shelby, who would later build and produce the AC Cobra, went on to break sixteen U.S. and international speed records with it, where he averaged approximately 160 mph.   

These record-breaking achievements and motor racing successes resulted in further development of the car, which produced the famous Austin Healey 100S, the `S’ standing for ‘Sebring.’

100S

Such was Healey’s confidence in the strength of his car the Austin-Healey 100S was entered in many competitions, including the prestigious Le Mans 24-hour endurance race, where it enjoyed substantial success. In fact, at the 1955 Le Mans meeting, it was a Healey 100 ‘Sebring’ model, raced by Stirling Moss and Lance Macklin, that was involved in the terrible accident when a Mercedes catapulted over the rear of the Healey and flew into the crowd killing 50 spectators and injuring many more. The 100 Sebring was constructed from Aluminium body panels and had a heavily modified engine. Only 55 of them were ever built.   

The Austin-Healey 100 went through several technical development changes until in August 1956 the four-cylinder 2.4 litre Austin engine was discontinued to be replaced by a six-cylinder unit of the same cubic capacity from the Austin Westminster. Donald Healey thought he had identified a market for a sports car that could carry four people instead of just two and so the updated car was given a new 2+2 body. The name of this model was the Austin-Healey 100/6, but it proved not to be so popular as the previous two-seater model on account of its comparatively inadequate power output of only 104bhp from what should have been an awesome engine. The problem with it was that the cylinder head had an integral two-port inlet manifold, which meant it was not able to get an adequate amount of fuel and air into the combustion chambers. Being made of cast-iron the engine was also very heavy, the combination of which made the performance of this new car worse then the old one it replaced.

AH 100-6

Due to the dimensions of the new six-cylinder unit, extra space had to be found in the engine compartment and a bulge with an air scoop were put into the bonnet panel to provide sufficient clearance at the top and front of the engine. The familiar shield-shaped radiator grille was now replaced by a new oval one and which was reminiscent of the 100S, having wavy horizontal bars, a feature on all the Austin model of that period. Other alterations included modifications to the chassis, which saw the removal of the front cross-bracing so that the radiator, this being taken from a Healey saloon, could be fitted beneath the front of the bonnet with only the top header being exposed when the panel was raised. Additional engine mountings were welded in behind the original four-cylinder mounts and the passenger side bulkhead ceiling was lowered to allow space for the carburettors. The transmission tunnel was also enlarged at the front to make space for the engine, to the extent that there was 4 inches less width to the foot wells, making them very narrow indeed.   In addition to the new six-cylinder engine, the length of the chassis was increased by two inches between the axles to allow room for the new rear seats. To accommodate these the rear panel behind the cockpit was made smaller to make more room in the car, but with a loss of a large proportion of the boot space. The twin 6-volt batteries, that had been positioned within the engine compartment on the 100/4 were replaced by a single 12-volt unit, now housed in the boot, with the spare wheel being stored on the boot floor. 

Unfortunately, the rear seats did not work well with the car, on account of there being very limited leg-room, and those that did manage to squeeze into the back found that their heads were placed directly in the slip stream of air coming off the top and around the sides of the windscreen making their travelling experience most uncomfortable. Since there was very little room in the downsized boot for luggage, this now having to be carried on the newly fitted rear seats, the car was only really ever used as a two-seater anyway. It was in the form of this Four-Seater Sports Tourer that the 100/6 made its debut at the beginning of 1957 to a very lukewarm reception. The press were unusually kind to the car, trying to look at the positive aspects of the new design, suggesting it to be more practical and smoother than the model it replaced, rather than slating it as a bad idea.  

Late in 1957, so as to counter customer complaints concerning the meagre performance of the 100/6 engine, the cylinder head was revised and improved, but it had taken a year to do it. The new head, however, made a big difference, and now had a separate six-port manifold, which increased the power output to 117bhp and with a very useful increase in torque. After the introduction of the 100/6, the older four-cylinder cars were dubbed as the 100/4, an unofficial title and one that was never used by the factory. This was also the year in which production of Austin Healey cars moved from Longbridge to the MG factory in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, where it was built along side the MGA and Riley saloons, and from where the two seater version was re-introduced to run along side the 2+2.   

1958 saw the introduction of another Austin-Healey car. The new model was also an open-top sports car, but much smaller in size than its big brother, the 100/6. Having apparently identified a gap in the sports car market, Donald Healey and Leonard Lord set about producing a small ‘budget’ sports car built largely from the components of the Austin A35 saloon.

This resulted in the launch of the Austin-Healey Sprite, or the ‘Frog-Eye’ Sprite, as it became affectionately known on account of the positioning of the headlights above the mouth-shaped grille.

Bugeye Sprite

In 1959 the Austin Healey 3000 was launched, a car that was quickly christened the  ‘Big Healey’ by the public and the press alike. The car was a sensation, as not only did it look fantastic, it sounded good and performed very well on the road. The engine was a development of the 100/6 2.6-litre unit and now had a capacity of 2912cc, which produced 124bhp.

AH 3000 MKI BT7

The front brakes were up rated to discs, a relatively new idea at the time, and the body was offered in both a two-seater and as a revised 2+2. The introduction of the 4-seater, which had been modified in its design to give the occupants and their luggage more space, was much more acceptable to the buying public and eventually it was outselling the two-seater version that was being produced at the same time. 

In 1961 the Mk11 was launched featuring a triple carburettor set up on the engine, which significantly increased the engine power output to 132bhp, as well as its thirst for fuel!

AH 3000 MK2 Tri-Carb

AH 3000 MK2 Tri-Carb

 

However, in January 1962 the Mk 11 emerged with two large carburettors replacing the triple carburettor design, and for the first time the car received windup side windows. This model became known as the BJ7.

AH 3000 BJ7

In 1963, in the Austin-Healey 3000 MkIII, the 3-litre engine received a new design in camshaft, coil springs for the valves, bigger twin HD-8 carburettors increasing the power output to 148bhp.

AH 3000 BJ8 One-Light

The car received a whole new interior, including a new dash panel layout. Another innovation was that the car was no longer started up by use of a button, but by use of the ignition key. In May 1964 the car was again modified with alterations being made to the chassis to give the rear axle more vertical travel, to improve the ride quality of the car, and the leaf-spring suspension increased to six-leaves. On the outside of the car the auxiliary ‘flasher’ lamps at the front were enlarged in size to match the headlights.

AH 3000 BJ8 Two Light

1967 was the last full year in which the Big Healey was built, with 3051 models leaving the factory and with the last examples, manufactured during November and December of that year, being finished in gold paint and black interior – a car that has become known as ‘The Golden Healey.’

Beige Gold metallic BJ8

Due to the total breakdown in relations between Donald Healey and the new owners of BMC, British Leyland Motor Corporation, in March 1968 only one Austin-Healey 3000 was built in right hand drive form after which all production of the car ceased. 

This was not the end of Donald Healey’s involvement in car production. In the closing years of the 1960s, the Jensen Motor Company was in deep financial difficulty. The Austin-Healey 3000 had been discontinued and with no other model to replace it the contract they had with Donald Healey, together British Leyland Motor Corporation, had come to an end. Compounded with that there were build quality problems with the Interceptor, a factor that was putting off many potential buyers for the car. To get away from this heavy financial burden, the Norcross Group sold the company to merchant bankers, William Brandt. Sons & Company limited, and through careful management the production of the Interceptor was increased to try and improve sales – and then decreased later to improve build quality. However all of this was futile and the Jensen Motor Company looked like it was going nowhere, seemingly destined for collapse. However, having been severely battered by his experience with the new British Leyland Motor Corporation, who had pulled out of the production of Austin-Healey sports cars, Donald Healey once again formed an association with Jensen and went on to build a new sports car together with a San Fransisco businessman, Mr, Kjell Qvale.

Qvale operated a very successful company selling Jaguar, Rolls-Royce and other British cars in the United States. He too was dismayed at the discontinuance of the Austin-Healey 3000 and learning of the role played by Jensen in the construction of the big Healey, he was interested in Donald Healey’s plans to build a new sports car. Before long Qvale became a majority shareholder within the Jensen Motor Company and took control, appointing Donald Healey as Chairman, with Geoff Healey as one of the directors, an event that completely and finally severed all involvement between Donald Healey and British Leyland. 

From the newly formed relationship there came a new car with a new brand name, the Jensen-Healey. This was a whole new vehicle that promised much, but turned out to be very disappointing.

Jensen-Healey

Right from the outset there were problems with the build quality and with engine reliability. First the car had a Vauxhall engine, and then one from BMW was considered, before an untested and under developed Lotus unit was used. This engine seemed a wise choice as not only did it satisfy the new US exhaust emission regulations, but it was designed to be fitted at an angle of 45 degrees, which meant it was not very tall providing the opportunity to use a low profile body. However, Qvale was impatient and insisted upon the engines being delivered early, way before they had been fully developed, and the finished car made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1972 to the initial approval of the press. 

It wasn’t long though before the faults became apparent, something that cost the Jensen Motor Company a considerable amount of money, money they could not afford to spend. In August 1972 the Mk11 version was released. This was a vastly improved car and was shortly improved again in November 1974 with the fitting of the German Getrag five-speed gearbox. However, Donald Healey had become totally disillusioned with the whole Jensen organisation and left the Jensen Board, refusing to allow his name associated with the fixed-head, hatch-back GT version of the Jensen car introduced in July 1975. 

With the connection between Jensen and Austin, as well as the relationship between Donald Healey and Austin, being a distant memory, Jensen lurched from one problem to the next, but it was the energy crisis of 1974 that carried Jensen to the brink of total collapse. A plea to the serving Labour Government at the time was rebuffed and in May 1976, Jensen Motors Ltd ceased trading forever.

Following the demise of Jensen, Kjell Qvale purchased the company assets from the Receiver and went on to form another company that specialised in servicing and renovating Jensen cars, a project supplemented by the importation and distribution of Subaru and Hyundai cars. 

After the demise of the Austin Healey 3000 in 1968 it transpired that The Donald Healey Motor Corporation had been secretly dabbling with a new model to succeed it – a car that never made it to production. It appears that three of them were built, and although it may have looked familiar from a distance, upon close inspection it really was quite a different animal. 

What Donald Healey had done was to take the body from an Austin Healey 3000, cut is in half longwise and weld it back together with a six-inch fillet inserted between the two halves. Rumours  have suggested that there had been a fourth car, but so far these are found to be untrue. Under the bonnet was a Rolls Royce engine, complete with Rolls Royce markings, an engine the same as that fitted to the Austin Princess R.

Healey 4000 Prototype

It makes sense for this to have been the choice of the factory because of the association between Healey and Austin at that time, and for its availability. The power unit was made from alloy, making it somewhat lighter than the cast iron example of the Healey 3000. This would mean that the weight distribution would be better, and with the widened track, would undoubtedly have better handling properties. The gearbox appears to have been from Jaguar, as fitted to the E-Type, and the rear axle was either a normal Healey 3000 item, or the one from the MGC. Two of the three cars were fitted with automatic gearboxes, the third being a manual with an overdrive unit fitted, but acting only on fourth gear. 

This story of the secret building of these three cars by the old Donald Healey company is indeed a magical one and of a kind that fairytales and dreams are usually made of, except that this one is a real one. 

No doubt, if the car ever had been taken into production, this Rolls Royce powered model would have gone down very well, especially in the USA.

The ‘Big’ Healey is regarded as perhaps the epitome of British sports car manufacture and is undoubtedly one of the most sought after classic cars of today – an observation supported by the huge sums of money they fetch when they occasionally appear at auction. As long as there are those that are enthusiastic enough to look after the remaining cars they will always continue to invite awe and admiration as one of the greatest sports cars of the twentieth century. 

As for Donald Healey, on 15th January 1988, in his native village of Perranporth in Cornwall, he passed away a few months before his 90th birthday. A legend to motoring enthusiasts the world over his cortege fittingly included many representatives of the cars that bear his name.

Storing the Original 948cc Motor

Engine & GearboxMy Dad built a new house and he is “downsizing,” so some car parts are needing to go to a storage unit. When we upgraded to a 1275 motor and Datsun 5-speed gearbox, we kept the original 948cc. I will never plan to go back to the 948, but if the car is ever sold it will be nice to have the original numbers-matching engine. Apparently, the original gearbox was replaced with the ribcase box somewhere in its history..He has a climate controlled unit, but the motor and gearbox needed to be put away properly so he built a nice plywood box for the storage unit.

Fluids were drained, and Marvel Mystery Oil squirted into each cylinder. Desiccant plugs were purchased from Moss Motors and installed in place of the Champions. Holes were plugged and the top of the box was screwed in place. Who knows when this motor and gearbox will see the light of day again!

Desiccant Plugs

Desiccant Plugs

Backplate Brace

Backplate Brace

Tucked in for the Night

Tucked in for the Night

Engine Storage Box

Engine Storage Box

New Tires & Fuel Pump

John's Bugeye at MassanuttenI am a little late recording this, but in September 2010 the Bugeye’s shoes were replaced. While the tread on the Wynstar tires looked just fine, they were over eight years old, so for safety sake it was time to replace them. The same tire was no longer available, so the Bugeye now has some P185/60R13 80 H Sumit HTR 200. These tires are not the same low profile as the Wynstars, but the ride is superior and the grip firmer than before. Details are available on the maintenance page of this site.

The Sprite was neglected a bit over this winter, so when a warm day came round near the end of February, it was time to start her up and give her a good run. Alas, no joy! Either the SU fuel pump was not sucking fuel or there was a clog in the line. After a few diagnostics, it became clear the fuel pump was the culprit. A negative ground electronic SU was ordered from Moss Motors and installed. While messing with the pump, it seemed the ideal time to switch out the old rubber fuel hose for a new hose that is no susceptible to deterioration from ethanol. That done, the Bugeye is now happy and running once again!

Fuel Pump Installed

Fuel Pump Installed

Fuel Pump Installed

Fuel Pump Installed

SU Fuel Pump Part Number

SU Fuel Pump Part Number

2008 Encounter

Ready to AutocrossThe Austin-Healey Sports and Touring Club – A Car Club for Healey, Austin-Healey, and Austin-Healey Sprite Owners and Enthusiasts with regions in New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey always puts on a great annual event referred to as “Encounter.” The event is held in August of each year.  A judged Concours, popular vote car show, a rallye, tech sessions, a gymkhana, funkhana, valve cover races and a flea market are just a few of the usual events. Click the image to the left to view a slide show of the 2008 event held in Carlisle, PA.

My dad and I attended this year. I drove the Bugeye and he drove the “Bloody Beast,” his recently restored 1960 Austin Healey 3000 BT7, from Harrisonburg. We couldn’t attend when the event got started, but we headed up to Carlisle at about 5:30 am Friday morning, attended activities on Friday and Saturday and headed home Sunday morning. We enjoyed the great weather, and had a wonderful time. I had fun at Del Border’s gymkhana course and the “Bloody Beast” took home first place in the MK I category for the popular car show.

Just Arriving

Just Arriving

Ready To Run

Ready To Run

This is a little video of one of my Gymkhana exploits. I missed a gate, but what the heck. I had a lot of fun and that is what it is all about.

The Hotel Carlisle also hosted the owners of a number of modified trucks the weekend of Encounter, as they were having a show of their own at the Carlisle Fair Grounds. This photo shows one “Encounter” between a Healey 100 and one of the trucks.

Monster Truck

Monster Truck

The famous female race car driver, Janet Guthrie, was the featured speaker of Encounter 2008. One of the topics of her remarks was the Sebring Sprite. This is a photo of one of those Sebring Sprites.

Guthrie Sprite

Guthrie Sprite


A New (And Proper) Master Cylinder

July 2006 BugeyeAlthough I had converted the front drum brakes to disc brakes not long after purchasing the Bugeye, I had not been able to find the proper 3/4” piston version that would have been used on the 1098 cars. My dad was able to source one from California during the previous winter, and in early August he installed it. He ordered the new master cylinder from Gerard Chateauvieux at Gerard’s Garage http://www.gerardsgarage.com Both the clutch and the brake master bores are 3/4″. The push rods are also shorter than the originals. More information is available from theses two pdf files:

Disc Brake Upgrade

BrakeCylinder.com– Midget Sprite Spridget Master Cylinders Disc Brake Upgrade

After bleeding the brakes and clutch we did end up with improved brake pedal feel and stopping power. He removed the entire pedal box, installed the new master and then re-installed the pedal box.

Master Cylinder

Master Cylinder