View Full Version : Intro and Inquiry

07-31-2004, 02:30 AM
Greetings. Have been an infrequent poster (mostly lurker) on the Big Healey forum as I have been a long time owner of a BN4. A month ago I purchased a beautiful little '66 Sprite MkIII with a seized motor. Intended to be a father/son project to repair and have the LBC as my son's first vehicle in two and a half years when he reaches driving age. His name is Austin; I guess you can figure it out. We have repaired the thrown rod and all is good with the LBC. My experience with A-Series motors was with a series of Morris Minors as my first few cars. Boy, what a difference; same motor but not the same space.

The problem ... at 13 years of age he is nearly six foot two, offensive lineman width with no signs of slowing down any time soon. Even today he is a tight squeeze in the driver's seat. Pediatrician's best guess is six foot five. The Sprite may end up NOT being his first car. I think I may need to look for a good used Towncar.

Has anyone had any experience in creating greater length in one of these diminutive little cars? The seat is, of course, all the way back. Any way of modifying the sheet metal aft of the seats with reiforcements of some kind to allow for the seat to be repositioned further back?

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.


07-31-2004, 10:51 AM
Welcome to the *Other* side /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/jester.gif. It always nice when one of the big Healy folks wanders over here.

sounds like you boy is going to be big man. even my size (6' and 160) feel at times a little cramped in my midget. i have never done what your asking about. but i suppose anything is possible. Somone will be along shortly with some better info i am sure.

Mark /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/driving.gif

Trevor Jessie
07-31-2004, 11:13 AM
The steering column can be shortened, and you can use some bugeye seats that have a thinner back. I bought my midget from a fellow that is about 6'3" and at least 250 lbs. He could drive the cars once he got in it, but not something he did for an everyday driver. That's about all I can offer. HTH

07-31-2004, 02:19 PM
Welcome aboard. Sounds like a great plan for a father/son project. I agree that shortening the steering column is a good idea. Also, replacing the steering wheel with a smaller diameter unit one is helpful - one with less depth in the dish (a more flat profile). Also, try looking at alternative seats as suggested. Check out the fiberglass seats at www.pape-ent.com (https://www.pape-ent.com) These are low profile seats with thin backs. You can simply cover them, or add a little padding as required. Of course you will be giving up a little comfort, but I've never heard of a kid complaining about comfort as long as he has something that looks cool, runs, and impresses the girls! Good luck.


08-02-2004, 04:19 PM
Folks, thanks for the ideas.

The steering column mod would only provide for "arm distance" and perhaps more knee room when entering/exiting the car, I guess. How much can be gained by modifying the column ? What's entailed ?

But, moving the seat further back, or a thinner seat as suggested, would provide both arm and leg distance. Its a shame to consider seat replacement though, the interior quality was one of the things that drove my purchase decision. Gotta love that black leather with white piping.

Well I have a few years to sort it out. Thanks again,

Trevor Jessie
08-02-2004, 06:08 PM
I'm 5'10" and find that I have ample leg room, but not much head room. I quick fix would be to eliminate the seat runners and bolt the seat to the floor. That would gain about an inch of head room. I have heard of people "easing" a recess into the rear bulkhead. I think it was a "hack" job and I am not aware of anyone doing it properly.

08-03-2004, 10:25 AM
It sounds like "easing" entails the use of a BFH. I am more inclined to come up with a way to cut and reinforce than simply move metal around.

I have some time (two and half years) before it becomes a crisis. At least I'll have some fun with it before his size forces the sale of the little car. Unfortuntaley, his size is his argument for me turning over my BN4 to him as his first car. Yeah right !!


08-03-2004, 11:41 AM

I'm with you - rather than do a chop-job on that little car I'd explore other avenues -

One possible solution is to discuss it with the jolly green giant and decide on a reasonable selling price for the auto - You give him that amount, keep the car and let him buy whatever he likes with the downpayment.

Not really an all around equitable solution but you sure come out on the winning end of it - Like you said - Gotta love that black leather w/white piping....

08-10-2004, 08:51 PM
FWIW, I added about 3/4" of legroom in my '71 by fabricating my own floorpan with 1 1/2" of depression instead of the stock 3/4". I'm 6'4" and maybe it's all in my head, but it feels like an improvement.

tony barnhill
08-10-2004, 10:47 PM

09-13-2004, 06:22 AM
now, i may be a little crooked with my thinking (don't have my car here to look at it) but couldn't you cut out the front of the footwell and extend it, then drop the pedal box down X amount of inches, building a little spacer to keep them from hitting the floorpan? coupled with the column mod and steering wheel, that could work right? an inch here, an inch there. . . hey it all adds up. lol

hope that helps