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Long time Spridget poster looking at BT7

Whitephrog

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Been involved with Bugeye Sprites for may years. Age and size (6 foot 3; 235 lbs) have me looking at a big Healey. 1959 BT7 Primrose RHD. Last on the road in 1982. Car appears solid upon initial inspection.

Need advice from this group. Where are the gotchas? What should I be looking for?
 

HealeyRick

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Rust, rust, rust. Check the frame very carefully for rust repair and basically everywhere along the bottom 1/3 of the car. Then check the shrouds for bondo. Engines are pretty solid, just losing oil pressure until they eventually give up. Remove the valve cover and see if it oil squirts up from the rockers, showing a bad rocker shaft. Transmission weakness is usually worn synchros or noisy gears. Give it a good test drive and be prepared for a very different experience from the bugeye. It's nowhere near as nimble.
 
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Turn ignition to 'run' position; if car has good battery--probably not--you should hear the fuel pump clicking (rapidly if the tank is near/empty). If not, the points in the pump will need to be cleaned (at the least). Check coolant, if rusty in color reconsider this car. Every rubber component will need to be replaced (starting with tires).

Oh, and rust.
 

DerekJ

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The biggest problem with all old Healeys is rust. However don't assume just because the wings and shrouds look reasonable that the rest of the car is probably OK. The key parts that must be good are the chassis, which can be inspected on a lift, the rear and front substructures which together with the chassis give the car its solidity (or lack thereof). The wings and shrouds just hang on the structures and do not really add structural strength. The centre body pieces (shrouds) front and back are aluminium so are generally Ok but look for electrolytic corrosion where they meat the wings. The inner sills may be rusted out as well. The aforementioned is where the major problems and costs are found. The mechanicals are generally robust, simple to work on and all parts are available.

Good luck.
 
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The rear 'doglegs'--the bottom front of the rear wings--will either be rusty or will have been replaced at some time. Often, the dogleg is not correctly situated, causing a 'spur' to protrude and spoil the slight upward and inward curve along the bottom. You see this on a some otherwise nicely-restored cars.

Run your fingers along the edge of the fender wells; there is a rolled bead along the edge and if repairs have been made it might have been cut and damaged.
 

glemon

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Make sure you fit, of course if you are used to Sprites it will feel relatively spacious. I fit in my 100 pretty well at 6' 0" 200 lbs, but it was very snug with the top up, of course I never drove it with the top up, and the sixes might have a little more leg and or head room.

Others gave good advice on rust, I bought a BMW 2002 a couple years ago, I know a different car, but the story relates, I knew it had rust, but the rockers and lower fenders were pretty good, so how bad could it be? Of course someone had done a superficial fix to the exterior, and the inner chassis was rotten to the core. Same can hold true for big healeys, or pretty much any car for that matter. If the engine turns over that would be a good sign, they are pretty robust.
 
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