HealeyMakeover

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Work Log:

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Healey owners find it hard deciding just how deep they can get into their cars. Is it going to be a “Full Restoration” or or just a “Makeover”. Years ago I owned a 1947 Taylorcraft airplane. I purchased it in 1975 when she was 28-years old. Amoung many of the things I loved about the plane was it’s smell, a fragrance created from age blended sitka-spruce, cotton, chipped lacquer, and sun bleached upholstery. I purchased my 1963 Austin Healey 3000 Mark II in 1982 from two guys who drove it up from California. It was 19-years old and had a similar smell as the Taylorcraft, but with added hints of oil, grease and mildew. I loved the smell, collective patina only age can impart to an antique. The Healey went into storage in 1988, a much needed, but reluctant move. She became a distant friend, not entirely forgotten, but one with a promise of a future “Makeover”. Its been 25-years since the Healey moved out, and now time to bring it back to life. Ours is not going to be a full- restoration, but  a “Makeover”, just enough work to get the Healey back on the road and looking good. The web site is intended to be a blog, a place to record what we did and how. We’d like it to be a short, meaning we hope it goes well, costs do not get out-of-hand and we end up with a car that retains most of the lovely smells and character she had in 1988. She needs new upholstery, repairs to the top, a re-painted engine compartment, and possibly other mysteries that remain unseen. It will loose some of the old patina - flaked paint, rust, 1/2” of dirt and grease that has protected the frame for 50-years. However, we’ll retain as much as possible.


An important reason for the web site is helping like-minded people get on with their own cars. The reason the Healey sat as long as it did was lack of knowledge on how best to move on to the next step. Perhaps something you see or find here will help you overcome that hurdle and your car will not sit for 25-years. The site is also about acknowledging people who helped us get the Healey on the road. Without them this car would still be in storage.


WORK OBJECTIVES:

SHORT-TERM: enough work to put our stored Healy of 25-years back on the road

LONG-TERM: meet requirements for a “Collector” vehicle as defined by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia while retaining as much original patina as possible


STARTING CONDITION

PAINT: original paint Colorado red. Bits of blue suggest the car was repainted blue at one time followed by the current third colour that closely resembles Tartan Red #2. Body paint with several minor chips and small cracks, but overall in very good condition. Engine compartment needs painting to match the body colour

BODY: very good condition but bondo used to repair rusting in the lower dog-legs behind doors. A common problem caused by dirt that unknowingly builds-up in the body cavity just forward of the rear wheels. Panels will be replaced to meet long-term objective. Trunk compartment with some acid corrosion from battery leakage

FRAME: rock solid, straight, only minor surface rust

WHEELS: 60-spoke wires all around, a 48-spoke wheel in boot serves as spare, possibly an original wheel

ENGINE/SUSPENSION: all stock. Valves re-done in 1987

UPHOLSTERY: disaster, no rear seats, front seats black vinyl with white piping chewed by Tess. Seat foam 50% dried-hard, disintegrating. Would like to keep original vinyl but not likely possible. Carpets only partially present, a must replacement

TOP: original, tears above the window, several small 1” tears on back sides, frame sound, good condition

CHROME: fair throughout, but with tiny pits that allow rust stain to through




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car was stored in a dry, underground Strata unit, not always covered as evidenced by the heavy layer of dust. Once towed out and delivered to its new location the car was washed-down, placed on dollys and wheeled into the shop. Chrome was lightly polished and other loose bits tidied up to begin the “Makeover”. Lower two images show engine compartment with parts removed in 1995. These included carbs, distributor, generator, heater hoses, radiator, brake master, clutch and slave cylinders. Spark plugs were removed and each cylinder given a shot of storage-fogging oil