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Anyone Interested in Jensen Healeys???

sebringjxisebringjxi Member Posts: 140
We own a 1973 Jensen Healey. Purchased it in
1997, it was the first one I had ever laid eyes on
in real life. It has a 2 liter dohc Lotus engine
and is probably the most comfortable British sports
car ever produced. A very low production number
car. Jensen went belly-up about 500 units into
1976! I have done considerable research on this
vehicle and been pleasantly surprised at my
findings. For a history and pictorial review of
the car see my site I think
you'll find the information and pictures
informative and entertaining.

Contact me here or at the web site for additional

Thanks for your response.....



  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Very interesting site, Hal, I'm going to bookmark it.

    I think what really hurt the J-H was that it could not compete with the TR6 in terms of cost, styling, and fit and finish--about the only thing it had over the TR6 was good performance. And, as you say, those early J-Hreliability problems were quite discouraging.

    But you know, someday, after all the "other" British sports car of that era are either restored or destroyed, the "orphans" are going to come up, like the J-H, GT6 and Spitfire & Midget (pre-rubber bumper cars).

    For those interested, a little careful shopping should find you a very nice J-H in the $5,000-$6,000 range.
  • sebringjxisebringjxi Member Posts: 140
    Thanks for the compliment on the site. I've got some new pics of our car that I need to get on it.

    Regarding your other comments: Some sources indicate that the fit and finish of the car was acceptable for it's day, but the price and early engine problems were hard to overcome. For what Jensen was charging for the JH, you could buy a fully loaded Mach 1 Mustang! The car reminds me of the Mustang in the respect that it was built out of the parts bins of some other very plentiful cars. In the case of the Mustang, it was the Falcon. In the JH's case, a variety of cars donated suspension, brakes, transmissions, electrical components, and other parts. The exterior mirrors are the same as the 1969--72 MGB, tail lights are the same as an Aston Martin DB-4, and the list goes on and on, my point is, while there were never many of these cars made and fewer existing today, there is surprisingly good owner support and parts are not *too* difficult to find. Like all limited number cars, trim is the most difficult to obtain.

    As far a fun goes--140 hp in a 2100lb body! What more could you ask for? Most current owners describe their experience like this--if properly sorted out, the 907 Lotus engine requires much less constant attention of, say an MGB or Triumph of the same vintage. Having driven MGs for 13 years, I have found this little car amazingly easy to maintain and keep up on a daily basis. My 16 year-old son drives it daily to high school! He loves it and I do too!

    Thanks again,

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Thank you Hal, for those interesting bits of info, some things I didn't know there. Well, perhaps someday the car will be better appreciated. I think the rather plain looks still hurt the car's image, but as time goes on those looks will appear unusual enough to work in the car's favor again. I can't say I agree with you about them being easier to maintain than an MGB, though, but then I have never owned a J-H--but since the MGBs I owned were such a breeze to work on, it's just hard to imagine that twin cam being easier or parts being more plentiful than a B...a Triumph, yes, they can be a pain to keep running well, I think.
  • bcathcartbcathcart Member Posts: 54
    Jensen Healey. A UK View.Another parts bin special.The engine, a lotus hash up on a vauxhall block was poorly regarded here due to the low power output of 70 bhp per litre, when the benchmark at the time was 100 bhp per l.Quality control was practically non existant.This car was aimed at the less knowledgable end of the sports car market where the lack of any real merit was of less importance than the image presented by the blatant use of two famous names to add some lustre to a dull product.The peripheral involvement of jaguar in this car was a major embarrasment to us at coventry at that time.The real market for sports cars was met by the likes of TR6,Marcos,TVR,Jaguar,AC cars.Try a well sorted lightweight e-type or AC Cobra to see the real thing.All the elans, europas,migets JH ,Etc. were just boys toys.Sorry to add a note of dissent to this topic but I feel that the home market view of these cars may add a different perspective which I hope is of interest to readers.I realise that a lot of effort and hard work goes into these projects and I would not detract from that.I simply cringe at some of the products imposed on the export market ,when for a few dollars more something worthwhile could have been produced.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well, bcath, those are just the facts and they were never pretty so there's no point in dressing them up. The Jensen-Healey was rather ignored in this country, too, but at least it's a more interesting car than those chosen by people restoring Morris Minor 4-doors, for goodness sake.

    It looks like Hal made a much better car out of it than it ever was leaving the factory, so he may get to have the pleasure most of us missed.
  • sebringjxisebringjxi Member Posts: 140
    Uh, ok, Cath, so let me get this straight, you, uh, *don't* think the JH was one of the all time greats? Or did I miss something in your dissertation? Interesting. Well, opinions are like, uh, noses, everybody's got one and you obviously don't mind leading with yours. I hesitate to disagree with you because I'm on the other side of the pond and was not there when the JH was introduced. I was 16 in 1972 when the JH hit the market as the "next great British sports car" according to most auto journalists. And, I do have copies of comparisons to the then-current Alfa and the Austin Healey 3000 it was *supposed* to replace. Strange, but the journalists seem to give higher marks in almost every category to the JH, except for the archaic top design. When the new kid on the block can outperform an AH3000 in acceleration, top end, skidpad and braking, wow, not bad for a parts bin special. Oh, by the way where did you get the 100 hp/liter standard? It certainly wasn't from any of the current cars the UK was producing at the time. TVR? Let's see I don't think I've ever actually seen one of those running. Marcos? Yeah, well, there's something you really look for every day, huh! XKE, yeah, now that's a real sports car. I had a friend in college with a 1969 RHD E. Stayed covered up with a quilt most of the time, but on the days it ran, it ran well! AC? Well, I guess so if you consider it too was a parts bin special. If you remember, that 289 and the later 427 didn't come from AC. If it wasn't for Carroll Shelby, the AC would simply be another pretty British face that couldn't survive, like MG, Triumph, etc.

    "Try a well sorted e-type or AC" Get real! We're talking about cars REAL people can drive on a daily basis and not worry about catching a bug in the grill. Don't give me this tripe about the real thing. The MGs, Triumphs (talk about poor quality!), and AHs are what kept your auto industry afloat until the Japanese showed us what a "real" sports car should be like in the original 240Z. I'm surprised you didn't kick the Aston Martin, Ferrari and Porsche in there just for a little more snob appeal! BTW, my 16 year old son drives the JH to high school daily. Try that with a TVR or even a TR6! I've seen more good running JH in the last 2 years than I have TR6's. They don't age well!

    While I can't argue with your quality issue in the early models, the latter cars were very good. I just can't agree with your summation of a dull and unsophisticated car and less knowledgeable market. It sounds to me like there was some personal involvement "us in coventry" and some bitterness. Well, I guess I might feel the same way if all the *good* cars were either so limited in production that most people never see them or they don't run long enough at a time to be see (TVR, Marcos, AC, Morgan) or were taken over by American and other nations's manufacturers to save them from the debtors court (Jaguar, Aston Martin, RR, Bentley) or just died because of they failed either financially or to keep pace with the market in quality or technology or performance (MG, Triumph, Austin Healey).

    Gee, I was having a good morning 'till I read your post. I never got mad enough at anyone to flame them but you got real close. I converse with Jensen and Jensen Healey folks all around the world on almost a daily basis through the Jensen mail list. Given the number of cars existing, I think you'd find folks on that list some of the most loyal and dedicated to the marque you'll find. I suspect I could name some folks on that list (and in your locale) that would like to have this conversation with you face to face!

    Wow, I never met such caustic arrogance on-line before!

    Bet you didn't care much for my other favorite British car--the MGC!

    Happy Motoring, and may the bird of paradise drop a gift from heaven on your shiney forehead!

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    But, Hal, I wasn't very kind to the J-H either and you're not mad at me....or are you....gulp!

    Anyway, enjoy what you have, that's the real payoff in old cars. People are not their cars, these criticisms are not personal.
  • sebringjxisebringjxi Member Posts: 140
    Mr. Shiftright, no problem. You were more, um, diplomatic and echoed what others have pointed out are legitimate criticisms of the marque. Here again is an example of not what you say buy how you say it.....know what I mean?

    Too, I just flat thought the comments about the "less knowledgeable market" and "the real thing" were less than appropriate. And calling the JH a parts bin creation and championing an AC Cobra in the same paragraph? Get real!

    Maybe I over-reacted? Maybe not! I'm just not used to the arrogance that I found in Cath's post. Most folks can trade good natured barbs about vehicles and still retain an air of mutual respect. I can't say that about Cath's post.

    Still playing with my boy toys,

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Okay, understood. But you should forgive him, I don't think there was any malice in it, and he does say some interesting things from across the pond. I'm sure we'll catch him some day championing some car we can torment him with.
  • bcathcartbcathcart Member Posts: 54
    buzz-buzz is this a hornets nest or what!you guys sure are touchy.Read my last paragraph again.I can see that the state of the UK car industry in the period is unknown to you. Do you know what a lightwieght e-type or an SAH TR6 is?The sports car buyer used the standard car as a base to tune and modify his car to personal requirements.Many of the specialist workshops produced really good cars for a knowlegeable market.(like Don Yenko your side).These shops supported a racing and competiton programme to develop their cars and improve their product.This race shop image was spotted by the marketing boys desperate to turn the tide of losses facing their companies.The result was a series of patsiche cars ,(sell the sizzle not the steak),of no real merit.I A agree fully with most of what sebring says , our cars were junk and yes the japanese really scared us,yes american ownership has improved quality.and yes the MGC was awfull.It has been apparent to me that many of the owners of old cars in general are new owners not having been there first time round and often unaware of the true background to the cars.As I stated in my opening line to my last post a UK view.How about a new topic -all cars are junk. Has that bird of paradise not heard of good old Smith and Wesson?How about your views on a 56 Corvette Coupe or a 67 pontiac GP.We are really seperated by a common language.Best wishes from haggis land.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    What IS haggis anyway....wait, I'm not sure I want to know...

    Didn't know you boys liked 1967 Pontiac GPs...could we set up an export business...I'd be glad to ship you containers-full of them for truly exorbitant prices (they aren't worth much here, frankly.)

    Ah yes, the truly rare 1956 Corvette Coupe...but did you mean 1963 or are you being cheeky?

    Thanks for your comments from the UK point of view. Having lived through the best and worst of the British car industry, I think I have a fairly good understanding of what came down and why. I think I gave up on the Brit cars when they abandoned the MGB and gave us the TR7...the final insult to the faithful overseas.

    I'm a big MGB fan (pre-1975 cars)and have a lot of respect for them, given their price and availability especially....I never liked the MGC myself, I thought it was an ill-conceived car and a lost opportunity to have done something wonderful...a big disappointment, but not really a bad car...just much below expectation and potential.

    I guess one fair way to judge these older cars is on the basis if whether they met a) the manufacturer's expectations and b) mine. The MGB succeeded (to me) in both categories, but the MGC in neither.
  • bcathcartbcathcart Member Posts: 54
    Mr Shiftright.I did mean the 56 corvette coupe .Ihave located a 4.3 265 cui 3 speed, black and silver,red interior,both tops,perfect condition,and all correct.Price is $45000,here, what do you think? Haggis is a nasty creature , lives in spagetti trees and spits at passers by.however lightly grilled in castrol R tastes good.We are wandering off the topic slightly!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    sorry, no such car as a '56 Corvette coupe unless it's an artistic creation by someone. I'm sure you'll tell us the real story bit by bit!

    Could I get a Haggis pelt for my fireplace or are they protected now?
  • bcathcartbcathcart Member Posts: 54
    MR.SHIFTRIGHT. Thanks for your reply, this car had me stumped,I thought that the corvette started in 63 with the Stingray.I will find out more and keep you posted.Why not start a corvette topic.Haggis pelts are useless as the feathers fall out.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Perhaps they'd make good dusters?

    Possibly what you're looking at is a Corvette roadster with a detachable hardtop installed--that's really all it could be, unless it was some type of rare showcar that was saved from destruction, which I doubt as it would be worth a gazillion dollars.
  • bcathcartbcathcart Member Posts: 54
    Info here lists corvette from 1953 on , can you help with clarifcation.Checking Euro regs on exportation of haggis skin.Cheers.
  • bcathcartbcathcart Member Posts: 54
    PS,is Hal still mad?
  • sebringjxisebringjxi Member Posts: 140
    No, not mad, just out of town for a few days! BTW, the MGC I drove for 9 years was a magnificent car in the respect that it only left me stranded on the side of the road 1 time in all 9 years! I bought it in 1975 mainly for the same reason I bought the Jensen Healey, I had never seen one up close and personal (should have been a hint) and it was decidely different from all the other MGs and Triumphs running around my college town. I used to love to surprise TR6's and 914's with it!
    At first glance it looked like a regular ol' MGB, but when you opened that big six up, she would pull like a freight train! Electric overdrive made great passing gears, but she was too nose heavy to handle good and I usually got my licks in on the other guys and disappeared before they caught me in a weak spot!

    Don't suppose a haggis is anything like a snipe?

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Ah, well said Hal--however, my sincere apologies, but you'll never sell me on an MGC...I think it's a misconceived amd undeveloped car. That extra 340 pounds of weight over the MGB both killed the low end performance (my well-tuned 1971 MGB could beat an MGC 0-60 every time) and the understeer on the C can be really vicious. Given the way I like to drive, I find the car unpleasant. But I will grant you that at higher speeds, the performance certainly excels the MGB (120 mph top speed versus 105 for the B).

    If my opinion matters, though, I'd put more money and effort into the MGC than the Jensen, if investment return and appreciating value is a concern to you. The C has, and will continue to have, a limited but enthusiastic interest for collectors and British car lovers.
  • bcathcartbcathcart Member Posts: 54
    Some perspective on MG cars.Consider this,1087cc 120bhp, 6 cylinder engine,120 mph,0-70 14 secs,2seater sports car,nice?Yes sure was,when?................1933 MG K3.Why did we go backwards to horrors like the MGC? 100bhp per litre in 1933 no bother at all!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Oh, I love the K3...wouldn't like to have to pay for one, though.

    The Brits always amazed me, they could get a lot of power out of small and not terribly complicated engines.

    Given their stunning successes in the 30s,40s and 50s, that's why it pains me to see some of their products in the late 60s and especially the 70s...all the great marques went downhill, motorbikes included.

    But the 90s shows them in a resurgence with the new Jags, new Lotus, a much improved Rolls & Bentley...well, we'll forget about the Range Rover for now...;)
  • bcathcartbcathcart Member Posts: 54
    Dead right Mr S,the entire show was hijacked by guys in suits with no knowledge at all of engineering,the results were predictable as you know lots of rubbish.The range rover is an industrial by product,I cannot believe that sane people actually pay good cash for this waste of space.The engineers are still taking their revenge,the best joke is that the germans actually bought this load of garbage,talk about taking revenge for the war,Bentley and Rolls too,what a load of patsys.Rover is in deep [non-permissible content removed] at present and it looks likley to go under ,what a shame !However looking on the bright side the Armani suited tosspots might learn something.
  • sebringjxisebringjxi Member Posts: 140
    OK, ok, I'll get on the defensive again ;) Regarding your comments about the MGC, nose heavy and not cornering well.....didn't they say the same thing about the 427 AC Cobra while it was outrunning them down the straight away?

    Well, it's not much of a leap in logic!

    Carry on!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well, I don't know...I have about as little affection for the 427 Cobra as i do for the MGC, so maybe the logic is good!

    I do recall though, how Corvettes in the 1960s were easily beaten on a tight track by 500 cc (!) Formula 3 cars...
  • bcathcartbcathcart Member Posts: 54
    Cobra needed some serious sorting and a considerable dose of nerve to extract its best performance.horses for courses against a F3.The real problem with cars like the MGc was simply that much better stuff was available but the problems with labour unions prevented progress on new cars,Many exellent prototypes were produced from existing types in small shops,often with the tacit support of the factories who could however deny all knowledge if it suited them.When the MGC was proposed the shouts of protest fell on deaf comittee ears and it was a serious flop from the start.At the same time an improved MGB was running on test by a small engineering group in Coventry,a then top secret project it was basically a B with an all alloy 2 litre 16v engine (triumph ,although Alfa was also tried),5 speed cr gearbox, independant suspension all round,low unsprung weight,low polar moment of inertia,disk brakes,rack and pinion steering,this was not even looked at by the MGC guys.Another project that was buried was a small Sprite workover,Powered by a Coventry Climax 1100cc all alloy engine ,5 speed.ind. suspension all round.Roller spline rear shafts, alloy panels, with 110 bhp and light, this went like a sparrow through a thornbush.These and many others simply were paid for and dissapeared,possibly still lying in a backyard somewhere.And as for the 4 cam 500bhp V12 Jag project,thats a story to painfull to tell.Basically the market gets the cars it deserves after all someone buys them.Prince Charles bought one of the first MGC's,now theres a thing....Cool dude cool car.
This discussion has been closed.