Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: A little "Stay-at-Home" Healey Nostalgia

Forum to discuss Austin Healey Sports Cars

  1. #1
    Jedi Knight Lin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Bradenton, FL
    Posts
    984
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    5
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    17
    Thanked in
    10 Posts

    A little "Stay-at-Home" Healey Nostalgia

    Hello All,
    Like everyone else, I am stuck at home (but fortunate to be well!) with not a lot to do. I was sitting at my desk and eyed an old photo I have on a bookcase of a red AH100. I took the photo in August, 1977. It got me to thinking about the time when I took the photo and I thought I might share my memory with you. I apologize if boring. Perhaps others of you have some DMH stories to tell?

    First here is the photo that inspired this post - a little bleached out over time:

    1977 Healey Gathering in New Market, VA.jpg

    In 1977, I was 25 years old and living in Harrisonburg, VA. I had purchased my 1960 BT7 in 1971 while in college. I was a subscriber to Healey Highlights, the “Official Publication of the Austin-Healey Club, Pacific Centre, San Jose, CA.” Through the publication, I learned that the Club’s East Coast meet would be held in little New Market, VA at the Shenvalee Lodge and Golf Resort nestled next to the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Shenandoah Valley. The Club had an East Coast event and a West Coast event each year back then. Today we have Conclave and Rendezvous.

    I was eager to see some great examples of the Marque, and I understood that the man himself, Donald M. Healey, was going to be there. I needed no more reasons to attend. I don’t recall why, but I did not participate in the entire event and I do not know how long the event ran. I do know that it was held over the last weekend in August and that is was plenty hot at the Car Show field!

    Was anyone on this Forum at this event? I know Mike Salter was because he won the driving award for the longest distance from the North award!

    I was able to meet Donald Healey. He graciously autographed my BT7 Virginia DMV Title, my Driver’s Handbook, and my copy of “The Works Cars…Comin’ Home.” This was a special commemorative publication that was distributed to those with subscriptions just before the annual meets.

    The Christmas (not December?) issue of the Healey Highlights had an account of the annual events. The article from the magazine is provided below:

    SCAN0120.jpg

    SCAN0122 2.jpg


    Austin-Healeys East, 3rd Annual Meet

    By Jim and Bill Clark, Roanoke, Virginia

    On the last weekend in August 1977 approximately 120 Healeys gathered in New Market, Virginia located in the Shenandoah Valley between the Blue Ridge and the Appalachian mountains for what we feel was the best Austin-Healey Club Pacific Center East Coast Meet.

    In order for the cars to arrive in the excellent shape they were in, we are sure there must have been a tremendous amount of work done in the weeks before. We can properly attest to three such cases. Of course, most of the major work was done before the final hectic week, but the last minute detailing required many late night hours.

    The unfortunate first car of our trio, owned by Bill, was undergoing painting and reassembly following a complete restoration, but due to the untimely crushing of the new rear fenders by a truck driver, the restoration was suddenly halted and emphasis was directed to the preparations of the remaining two cars.

    In the case of Jim Hayes’ 1959 100-6, the paint was scarcely dry 6 days before the Meet, much less having any interior or carpeting in place. All of the detailing, interior and new floor boards required about 100 hours to prepare. Jim Clark’s brown 1962 tri-carb was in fairly good order at the outset and just required a mechanical inspection and polishing of the chrome wires. Good order, that is, until 10 hours before the scheduled departure when the fuel pump decided to leak on the garage floor. Fear not though as the team of Hayes, Clark and Clark had the situation in hand shortly.

    By Friday morning with the cars packed and fingers crossed, the switches were on and the starter buttons pressed. We were off and running, the work paying off as the Healeys roared to life and performed flawlessly for the next 300 miles.

    Shortly after reaching New Market and unpacking, much to our pleasant surprise we were in the position to greet Donald Healey as he was arriving at the motel. After a brief welcome and chat, we adjourned to the bar to wet our whistle and indulge in conversation with “the man.” Shortly thereafter we left for registration and the beer party at the Quality Inn. While the registration was in process, Donald was in the spotlight with everyone and quite enthusiastic about the party and the questions. Following the end of this first social gathering, Donald requested a change of location due to the lack of good dancing music on which he seems to thrive.

    At this point, Jim Clark invited Mr. Healey to ride with him back to the Shenvalee Lodge. Jim said to Mr. Healey, "I hope you don’t mind, but the hood is off my car," to which Donald responded, ”What, with the motor showing?” This brought instant laughter to all around who have often been confused by this point. What a nice memory though to have Donald Healey ride in your car, eh?

    Once we arrived at the Shenvalee Lodge, we headed for the pub and ordered a round of drinks. We soon found the music to Donald’s liking and he proceeded to dance the life out of all the ladies present, including the barmaid! After another round or two and endless conversation it was nearly 2 A.M. Since Donald had every intention of making his 7 A.M. swim, we all decided to retire for the evening.

    The next morning bright and early, we understand Donald did make it to the pool to do what he likes only second best to dancing. Later in the morning after breakfast the cars began to line up on the grass in front of the Shenvalee Lodge for spectator judging. By noon about 100 of the 120 cars present were in place. It was a beautiful sight to see the cars lined up according to series classification. This procedure gave the people a first-hand opportunity to view the models from the BN–1 to the BJ-8. At this point the Meet resembled a beehive as Healey enthusiasts swapped information, parts, stories, and friendship.

    Soon Donald arrived, after a quick refreshing dip in the pool to minimize the 90+ heat, to inspect the cars. It was during this time that we learned of Donald’s great love for the “Frogeye” as he personally inspected and posed next to Bill Gladen’s immaculate Sprite from North Carolina.

    Late in the afternoon, after the car display and picnic lunch awards were presented by Mr. Healey for the best cars in class as well as miscellaneous hard luck awards (see listing elsewhere – ed.). With that over, it was time for a small caravan of Healeys to drive over to the famous Luray Caverns deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains. That view of Healeys extending into the distance winding their way up the mountain-side and that unmistakable sound was an enthusiast’s dream come true.

    Our return to the Quality Inn, our other headquarters for the weekend, found us gathered around the now familiar keg for more conversation with Donald and friends. The beer party was a great get-together idea and everyone who attended seemed to have a good time.

    That night we concluded an already perfect day by sharing a table with Donald Healey and his close friend, Fred Horner, who had just recently retired from British Leyland. The conversation naturally included cars, mostly of Healey origin, but Fred Horner also informed us of “the shape of things to come”. With late evening already well behind us and a sleepy-eyed Carolyn Thompson – our amazing hostess for the weekend – the party appeared to be winding down. Windinq down until the arrival of Gary Hemphill and the group from Hemphill’s Healey Haven which sparked new life into the party. With the prospects of more dancing partners (and maybe just one more Scotch), Donald shifted into overdrive and the entire party came to life again. Finally, Donald suggested that with sunrise soon to arrive we all retire as he sensed that the “young folks” could handle no more excitement.

    As we stumbled back to our room, we looked upon the brown Healey exposed by the still-bright moon and could not resist the temptation of a quick drive back across the mountain. Jim Clark drove his Healey at an undisclosed rate over the mountain and into the long flats awaiting us on the other side. On the return trip I (Bill) drove Jim’s car pressing it to its limits (almost beyond, on one curve, or maybe it was my limit). We both agreed the car had never performed better perhaps it knew its creator was near!

    The following morning we reluctantly said our good-byes to new and old friends and final picture requests with Donald. The weekend was a fantastic success due to the presence of Donald Healey and the people themselves. Of course, a tremendous amount of credit is due to Carolyn Thompson, too, for her many hours of effort before the Meet to help bring that success about. To Mr. Healey, we extend you our thanks for all the memories, and we hope that you can return toshare new ones with us next year.

    This photo of DMH is one of my favorites, taken at one of the national meets probably in 1976:


    DMH 1976 2.jpg
    Last edited by Lin; 03-30-2020 at 07:30 PM.
    1959 AN5 Bugeye - now with my son 😀
    1960 BT7 3000 MKI
    1987 Alfa Romeo Spider Quadrifoglio

  2. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Lin For This Useful Post:

    BJ8Healeys (04-05-2020), John Turney  (03-30-2020), Randy Forbes (04-03-2020), RDKeysor  (03-31-2020)

  3. #2
    Luke Skywalker vette's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Pa.
    Posts
    1,888
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    1
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    18
    Thanked in
    16 Posts

    Re: A little "Stay-at-Home" Healey Nostalgia

    A wonderful adventure. Thanks for sharing.
    About TV Shows-
    "...you really can't restore a car in 10 days. I don't want to watch a race where people have to restore it in a week. It's not going to drive, and those cars never work. In real life, it takes years to get it right. " Jay Leno.

  4. #3
    Great Pumpkin Keoke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    LosAngeles Calif.
    Posts
    12,658
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    11
    Thanked in
    11 Posts

    Re: A little "Stay-at-Home" Healey Nostalgia

    Hey Fhat was great Lin , thanks much for posting it.
    1966 Daimler V8 Saloon; Safely Fast, Built to Last & and; Smooth as Glass.
    1966 BJ8 [ 2 ] Lil Red & Miss bLU
    1985 XJ6 Saloon
    1948 & 70 Lincoln continentals
    1973 Volvo P1800ES

  5. #4
    Obi Wan Patrick67BJ8's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Holly Lake Ranch, (East) Texas
    Posts
    2,332
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    91
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    6
    Thanked in
    6 Posts

    Re: A little "Stay-at-Home" Healey Nostalgia

    I made the New Market Meeting, driving up from Florida.
    Patrick
    '67 Metallic Golden Beige/Red
    Owned since '72

  6. #5
    Jedi Knight nevets's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Western MA
    Posts
    1,113
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    7
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    3
    Thanked in
    3 Posts

    Re: A little "Stay-at-Home" Healey Nostalgia

    Terrific! thanks!

  7. #6
    Yoda HealeyRick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    5,977
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    17
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    53
    Thanked in
    45 Posts

    Re: A little "Stay-at-Home" Healey Nostalgia

    Great story, Lin. They say never meet your heroes. Donald was the exception to that rule.
    Rick

  8. #7
    Freshman Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Boardman,Ohio
    Posts
    9
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    1
    Thanked in
    1 Post

    Re: A little "Stay-at-Home" Healey Nostalgia

    Thanks for the memories.........I was there!

    WD 67 BJ8

  9. #8
    Jedi Knight Lin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Bradenton, FL
    Posts
    984
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    5
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    17
    Thanked in
    10 Posts

    Re: A little "Stay-at-Home" Healey Nostalgia

    Hey Patrick,
    That must explain why I have always felt that I knew you from an earlier time.
    1959 AN5 Bugeye - now with my son 😀
    1960 BT7 3000 MKI
    1987 Alfa Romeo Spider Quadrifoglio

  10. The Following User Says Thank You to Lin For This Useful Post:

    Patrick67BJ8  (04-01-2020)

  11. #9
    Obi Wan Patrick67BJ8's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Holly Lake Ranch, (East) Texas
    Posts
    2,332
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    91
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    6
    Thanked in
    6 Posts

    Re: A little "Stay-at-Home" Healey Nostalgia

    Quote Originally Posted by Lin View Post
    Hey Patrick,
    That must explain why I have always felt that I knew you from an earlier time.
    Same here! I went by my first name Allan, for many years although my family used my middle name, Patrick. Itís complicated, lol.

    A friend of mine from Tampa, Roy Rogers, drove to the event. I was selling lots of parts off of the Healeys tonneau cover. A Washington Post Reporter did a column about the event and even mentioned me by name. I lost the copy of the column sent to me.

    Dash Plaque from the Event.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Patrick67BJ8; 04-01-2020 at 03:41 PM.
    Patrick
    '67 Metallic Golden Beige/Red
    Owned since '72

  12. #10
    Luke Skywalker DerekJ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Cotswolds, UK
    Posts
    1,515
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    5
    Thanked in
    5 Posts

    Re: A little "Stay-at-Home" Healey Nostalgia

    Great photos and a great turnout of 120 cars. Look at the driver demographic, all young, those were the days, although I only had a Triumph Spitfire.

  13. #11
    Yoda glemon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Nebraska, USA
    Posts
    3,548
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    15
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    21
    Thanked in
    21 Posts

    Re: A little "Stay-at-Home" Healey Nostalgia

    A great story, thanks for sharing, any BJ8 was a few years younger than my current daily driver then. I regret not having a chance to meet him, I was still in high school in 1977, and a year away from buying my first Sprite. The event must have been a great adventure at 25.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •