Nothing serious about this website: I did it just for fun... It's true that the Big Healey is a very good looking car, and my aim was to rebuild a "different" car. I got enough with "British Racing Green", 100% original renovation, show room cars and so on. All these cars are wonderful, testimonials of the past, joy for the eyes, but I wanted to break the rules. This car is a driver, it has seen rain, snow, ice cold weather, millions of moskitoes and hates, as I do, traffic jams. Sadly it's a common situation in here, around lake Geneva...

Since I could not find the Healey I wished, I built it with my own taste. The main idea was to keep most original parts, but slightly (and slightly only) modified. People who don't really now about Healeys don't even notice that this example is not a full standard model.

For example, the flared wings are very softly widened, and they absolutely perfectly fit the ZZ Avons. Well, in fact, I built the body "around" the wheels, and not vice versa. I lowered the car as much I as could, and I set up the wheels outwards as much as possible, just before the car becomes vulgar.  I custom built lower inner ajustable trunnions, (combined with the common adjustable shock absorber plates) wich allows a perfect camber and castor angle and avoids stress on the front shock arms. The paint is not a BMC color, it's a 356 Porsche (shame on me). You'll see some pics of the car before I made the paint look flat. I love this patina ! All aluminium parts have been surface treated to look old, thus matching  the body. The aluminium radiator is a faithful aluminium repro of the original one (thank you Ahead4Healeys), painted black. However I re-brased the original copper and steel tags to it. I have tried to keep the engine bay as "vintage" as possible, avoiding all modern bits and pieces. You may notice that all usuallly red and blue (and ugly) Goodrige unions are black anodised. I have used no modern tricks, as suspension, gearbox, brakes, steering: all is genuine but much improved ! And it works damn good ! I had to build up new ultra low seats and in order to have a good seating position, I had to move the panel behind the seats backwards (on the BN7 there is no space available as in the 4 seater models). Space is now just ok for the twin batteries). Since the car was a wreck, it was not so heart-braking to operate the grinder... (well, not so much!). I did a huge job in the field of heat-proofing. All firewalls are doubled, including footwells, with sandwich thermal barrier, hidden with body color aluminium panels. First time ever I may drive a Healey in sumer (even barefoot). And it's a LHD car !

A big deal was the windscreen and the soft top. Most BN & BT Healeys look ugly when top is raised: flat vertical windscreen and proeminent hood: this kills the sex-appeal of the open car, to my humble opinion. So I cast new pillars,  exact faithful copies of the originals, but with an extra 15% rake. I cut a new hood, with extra length to the rear, a bit in the idea of the BJ cars. I had to change most of the technique around the frame and the attaching points, this was not simple, especially considering that I wanted a kind of "top chop" profile, even being 187cm tall (me, not the car). Finally it works well, even if, on sharp bumps, my head hits the front segment of the frame. The engine is a pure joy. It revs very high (8000 RPM) but is very loud. Sideways Engineering in Sweden have top quality products.

 

It was great fun to detail things like the gauges (dozens of Illustrator hours !): see the dual oil / oil gauge, the clock or the fuel gauge that I had to modify with matching ATI fuel level sensor, one modern item that I could not avoid. Sadly. The two large gauges have been made by Andy's Healey Team in Zweisimmen (unbeatable swiss quality). I also loved to work on the special brass tag on the rocker cover, the front page logo, etc. Hunting ebay was useful to source old bits like the bakelite knobs (no plastic in here), vintage relays and fuse box, original Lucas parts and loom, period fuel and oil taps, mechanic parts, etc. Sorry to say that some remanufactured parts are authentic bullshit: right into the bin ! But good partners exist... 

The car was not cheap to renovate, even doing the job myself (except body pannelling and paint). But it was worth the effort. However, I do not forget that all this story is only metal and materialism...

Questions and remarks welcome. Cheers. Chris  Another chapter

   

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