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Big Healey Restoration Do's & Don'ts

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I wanted to start a thread were people can give tips on restoring/working on Big Healeys.

Besides the common restoration tips of taking pictures, labeling everything, not getting rid of anything until the build is over, doing your research and of course the big one of budgeting more money then you calculate you will need.

I'd like to focus more on specific Big healey tips.

Thanks everyone.
 

Healey Nut

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Simple .
1-Do it right the first time .
2-Dont cheap out you will always regret it .
3-Have deep pockets , and the patience of a saint .
 

glemon

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1. Do panel fettling and fit with the drivetrain in place, as the chassis can flex with the weight of the motor
2. Carefully shop for reproduction panels and or repair existing if possible, as not all new stuff is made correctly or fits correctly
3. Get the Anderson/Moment book and the Clausager (sp?) book on originality and restoration.
4. Join this forum as an invaluable resource for all things Healey
5. Join the Healey listserv as an invaluable resource for all things Healey https://autox.team.net/mailman/listinfo/healeys
 

HealeyRick

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The best advice I can give every new Healey restorer is to join the Austin-Healey Club USA www.healey.org to get online access to Roger Moment's 37 part series on restoring a Healey. Although Roger's focus is geared to concours, he covers all the basics of Healey restoration and he is a true expert on Healeys. The other advice is to search the archives here before you do a task as it's probably already been covered. If not, just ask a question, there's an awful lot of expertise here and on the team.net list. And even if you're going to modify your Healey, ask first. Most of the modifications you can think of have probably been tried before and someone will be around to tell you the pros and cons.
 

Healey_Z

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Have an end purpose in mind and have that guide the hundreds of decisions you will need to make, most involve $ vs. originality. Driver? Show car? How important are original parts? Keeping resell in mind?
 

RAC68

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From my perspective, a few considerations I should have made before starting my 6 year restoration in 1984 and completed in 1990 but seems to still continue:


  1. Decide whether you want to own a nice Healey or create/own a nice Healey.
  2. Be patient, I put off my restoration for 15 years before having the space and time to consider it. Then spent 6 years in the effort.
  3. A restoration is an unpredictable long term project composed of a multitude of smaller projects so expect many starts and stops for it to properly fit into your overall life. Keep in mind that there are no 5 minute jobs. There are jobs that should have taken 5 minutes and those that happen to take 5 minutes.
  4. There are no small jobs, so consider each task/rebuild as its own restoration and enjoy each achievement during the long process.
  5. Consider doing “IT” yourself (the Total restoration and/or most of its subtasks). Although the final body paint job may not be within your purview, painting the frame and substructure should be considered and will save restoration $$$.
  6. If at all possible, fix what you have and replace only as a last resort. Since NOS parts are costly and rare, new replacement units will often cause additional issues and work.
  7. Collect some reasonable equipment (i.e. compressor, MIG welder, hand tools, etc.) and learn to use them properly before you begin (I designed and built a rotisserie specific to my Healey’s restoration and learned to use my MIG welder during its build).
  8. Build LOCAL connections to others doing the same or interested in helping.

Although the above list is probably known and experienced by all on the Forum, enthusiasm usually overwhelms these considerations and, without these considerations, puts the restoration at risk.

Good luck to those considering or involved in a restoration,
Ray (64BJ8P1 since new)
 

Editor_Reid

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Several resources will likely come into play in such a project, including reading things on the Internet, subscribing to the Healeys Mail List, and participating here on the Austin-Healey Forum, but one that I would say is probably the single most important one hasn't yet been mentioned, and that is join a local chapter of the club. The expertise, first-hand experience, knowledge of sources for this and that, and quite often even hands-on assistance are available in no other way.

The AHCA has nearly 50 chapters across the USA and Canada, so if you live in North America there is a good chance that there will be a chapter near you.

I have heard from many people over the years who are looking for a Healey and I encourage them to join the club and learn, meet people, find cars that way. Often they reply that they'll join the club after they get a car. Then quite often after buying a car and joining the club - in that order - they admit that they sure wish they'd joined the club before they bought a Healey.

Yes, Internet resources are a wonderful and important addition to the list of resources available for those who wish to acquire or restore a car, but I would propose that an even more important resource is people, and the chapter network of the AHCA is where you will likely find those who have been where you're going.
 

jcsb

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Be prepared when someone asks "how long till it's finished"? It's finished when it's finished. I have a couple of rebuilds in progress and have endured the questioning forever. When I was working full time I worked on them when I could, but now that I'm retired I hope to devote a lot more time.
 

RAC68

Darth Vader
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Although I very much agree with HealeyRick and Editor_Reid in the value provided by both AHCUSA and AHCA organizations, there are many other local British car clubs whose members have Healey related expertise to share. For example, since the closest AH marquee clubs are inconveniently located in Northern NJ or Philadelphia, we created a multi-marquee club (Positive Earth Drivers Club) for close to 100 Jersey Shore British car enthusiasts.

Since many of the technologies to be addressed in a Healey restoration have also been incorporated in multiple period cars (i.e. Lucas components, OD, etc.), don’t limit your view to Healey sites and organizations. There will be a necessity to validate component information and rebuild approaches to the specifics of your Healey but this task is relatively easy and a major contribution provided by the Healey BC Forum.

Ray (64BJ8P1)
 
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