Over the last few weekends I've put in some good hours on restoring some more components for my BN1. On Friday I stopped into our local 'Blast-It' center to sandblast a bunch of steel components and prepare them for re-painting.
Here's what I got done:
The fresh air duct valve, and all the pedals...
The under dash supports and bumper brackets...
The front lower spring pans,
I stripped and painted all the interior metal pieces including the tunnel sections, seat frames, parcel tray and battery box lid. The main tunnel section I had to strip by hand as it's made from aluminum that would distort if exposed to sandblasting.
All the interior pieces were primed and re-painted dark brown as original...
I also cleaned up a few cables for the hand brake, and speedometer...
and cleaned and polished all the Bakelite dash switches, and voltage regulator - many of which are also date coded and original to the car. I will need a new overdrive switch, air vent cable repair and new knobs for the wiper and headlight switches...
Today I focused on restoring the heater. I took it all apart and thoroughly cleaned and refurbished everything, carefully stripping and re-painting as needed. I even managed to mask and save the factory labels and date stamps I found on the blower motor...
and I carefully took apart and cleaned/restored the rheostat switch for the blower fan..
Finally I re-painted the main body in black wrinkle finish as original..
All that's left for the heater is to solder up a crack found near the end of one of the water lines and then source some accurate reproductions of the demister vent hoses...
Until next time...
Well now that the car is down to the bare chassis, I have several shelves and bags full of all the delicious parts to keep me very busy for quite a while. On Saturday I went in and randomly selected a few pieces and set to work cleaning and refurbishing them.
I started with the original Lucas ignition coil. I'm really hoping that this one is still in good working order! I cleaned the body using the bench grinder with a soft brass wire wheel. I used some simple green and a tooth brush to clean the Bakelite top, and some small brass wire wheel bits in my Dremel tool to clean all the contacts. I finished it off by masking the Bakelite top and spraying a coat of some satin black paint.
Next I tackled some of the firewall components like the fuse block and the throttle pedal/overdrive relay...
Again I cleaned the plastic with Simple Green and some elbow grease. I cleaned all the metal components and contacts with my little Dremel tool. I used a bit of metal polish on the aluminum relay box, and repainted the black linkage arm. Unfortunately I found a tiny broken return spring inside the relay box which I'll have to either find/or make a replacement for.
Next I tackled the flasher relay box - I cleaned and polished the aluminum body, cleaned all the contacts and screws individually and used some q tips and a toothbrush to clean around the rest...
Here's a before and after of the Smiths heater tap - it will eventually be painted light metallic green with the rest of the engine...
Last but not least, I also cleaned and polished the headlight dimmer switch...
Not bad for 5hrs on a Saturday! - I love taking my time and enjoying the restoration of each part like this, it allows me to learn about each piece intimately and it's hugely satisfying!
I'm also able to take notes on fastener hardware as I go so I know what I have and what might be missing for future reassembly to the car.
When I send all the fastener hardware out for plating later, these will be valuable notes to have when I have to sort everything out again!
Until next time -
The title says it all, this week I got the remaining parts and components off of the chassis. Now it's bare and ready for sandblasting and metal repairs..
I then finished off by removing all the remaining blanking plates on the firewall - note, the steering column plates seem to have been painted body colour on my car, but seem to have been installed after the body was first painted. I looked this up in the concours guidelines and sure enough, these plates and their screws were often hand painted body colour after installation. Check out the unexposed Healey blue under them, you can even see some of the faint metallic in the right light.
There were also a row of 4 flat head screws used to blank off the holes for mounting the solenoids on the R/H firewall if it had been RHD. These screws were black phosphate on my car and appear to be original...
Now the chassis is down to her bare bones and ready to send out for sandblasting in the next few months. In the meantime I'll start hand stripping all the aluminum shrouds, bonnet and boot lids.
Obviously the car has been re-sprayed red at some point in its life, mostly just the outer body and the main floor pans, engine and some of the firewall. They seem to have sprayed a white primer over the blue so the red would show in these areas.
It must have looked pretty bad in the engine bay because they were very messy and haphazard with it.
It's clear to see all the original Healey blue shining through everywhere though. Compared to many other original cars I've seen, mine seems to have been very thoroughly sprayed after the outer body panels were installed. The original black and in some cases red oxide primers are evident only in the areas Healey blue couldn't reach...
Yesterday I received my Heritage Certificate in the mail. As I thought, the car was built in December of 1953 - on the 28th to be exact.
Until next time...
Another work week has come and gone, and this past Saturday showed some more great progress on my BN1 Healey.
I had my good friend and fellow Healey owner Trevor Parker over in the afternoon to help me out with a few things. Trevor has a very original BN1 that's been in his family since the 70's and also owns a beautifully restored BN2/M, so he's been a great friend to help lend a hand, answer questions and generally 'talk Healey's with' - something I find myself doing a lot these days!
Trevor recently found a copy of the book "Healey 100 Profile" by John Wheatley. - A book
I distinctly remember looking through as a kid when my Dad owned it. In it, I was reviewing the Evolution pages of the Healey 100, where it actually lists dates and car numbers with the various subsequent changes.
I noticed that it would appear my car (chassis #150244, body 1221) was actually built in December of 1953 - not '54 like it's registered!
Also, if you notice the many changes happening at that time, it all makes sense!
- I have the earlier flat floor in the rear over the leaf springs
-one of my leaf springs is still the earlier and very thin/flimsy style!
-I have the unique 2 piece dash, but it's After they had made the change to a non-adjustable steering wheel, so the slot for the steering column was made narrower when they removed the adjustable column. In fact my style of dash would have only been seen on a few hundred cars between Dec '53- early spring '54 - when they introduced the single piece dash.
-my car would have been one of the first to get the revised hand brake lever assembly too.
-and was also of the first to have the redesigned (style 2) side curtains with the hand signalling flaps.
Neat stuff! It's so fun to research and notice these details on earlier cars as the marque evolved through the years!
I have yet to send away for my Heritage certificate from the UK to verify some of these dates, but I did get this bit of info through Randy Hicks - the Healey 100 registrar, (who took over from my Dad, Richard Chrysler when he passed away.):
It's nice to know Dad at least knew of this car at one point!
Getting back to the work we got done on Saturday, I removed the "revised" emergency brake handle and cable assembly. Interesting to find big flat head screws holding the handle in place..
I also removed all the brake and fuel lines that were left along the chassis, saving all the little clips that hold them in place..
Next, with Trevor's help and the use of some of his Whitworth tools, I unbolted the pan hard rod, the U bolts, and removed the rear axle assembly...
With the axle out, it's clear to see the inner frame work and the noticeable undercoating on the rear boot bulkhead and boot floor..
Finally I removed the rear leaf springs, as you can see I still had an early original one on the right side. It's no wonder the factory beefed them up soon after...
here you can see the earlier flat floor above the spring hanger. Later cars had a small step in the floor here to provide better clearance...
While I was busy working on the rear of the car, Trevor helped out with removing the front coil springs. He used a series of long threaded rods through the spring pan mounting holes with nuts and washers. He'd simply replace each original bolt one by one with a threaded rod and 2 nuts done up tight. Then just backed the nuts off evenly to extract the spring safely.
We finished the day by hoisting my engine up onto a proper rotisserie engine stand that Trevor let me borrow. Thanks again Trevor!
- If there's one thing I'm Thankful for, it's the friends I'm finding in the Healey community. It feels much like a family, full of good friends who genuinely seem to want to help each other out with these old cars. It's nice to be a part of, and I'm very grateful!
A few more steps were taken this week on my Healey BN1 #1221.
Firstly, I found some good used tunnel sections that I was needing through my friend Jason Stoch - these early BN1 tunnels can be hard to come by, so I'm glad to have found a good one that is correct in being the early (second) style of BN1 tunnel without the bulge near the back that was added to later BN1's.
I've continued on with careful disassembly and documentation of the car. I removed the drive shaft, noting the locking tabs for the bolts and marking the orientation of the driveshaft itself with the axle and gearbox.
Then I removed the rest of the pedals, starting with the mechanical clutch linkage:
Then the brake master cylinder, shaft, return spring and both brake and clutch pedals...
It's clear why there are little 'V' cutouts in the bottoms of the outer sills and fenders, I've noted this on another all original BN1 #1267 (only 46 numbers apart from mine) - it's to allow clearance for removal of the pivot shaft the pedals both pivot on. My car has this cut out on both sides!
On Saturday I spent the day at the shop continuing work on the car and got a lot of big steps done.
My shop has a huge steel i-beam running right over the the 2 garage bays where the cars park. It had been my intent to tie into that with a chain lift of some sort to lift anything I might want to.
So I purchased a great little 1 ton trolley for attaching to the i-beam, it has wheels in it so I can move it along the beam easily. Then I borrowed a simple ratcheting chain hoist from my friend and fellow Healey owner Trevor Parker and hooked it onto the trolley.
All set! - thanks Trevor!
I decided to remove the starter and gearbox first with the engine still in place, so I put a support jack under the rear of the engine and first pulled out the starter motor - which seems in pretty good shape..
I removed the gearbox stay rod from underneath..
Then I unbolted the gearbox, pulled it straight back to disengage the input shaft, and lifted the whole unit out of the cockpit by hand.. Here are some detail pics of the gearbox, supports and overdrive unit..
With the gearbox out I got to work on removing the engine itself.
I hooked up some chains and brackets to some opposing head studs, brought the chain hoist in, and out she came!
I was lucky I'd pulled the gearbox out first because I only had about 10" clearance to roll the car out from under the engine while it was in the air as high as it would go. If the gearbox had been on it would have hung a lot lower and on an angle.
With the engine out I jacked the car up high on some axle stands and took some good pics of the state of the metal on the chassis and frame...
As I thought, it looks like the chassis will need outer sills, lower rear door posts, a front cross member and some very minor patches here and there - not bad at all for an un-restored BN1!
The next steps will be removing all the front and rear suspension.
I've borrowed some custom made Healey brackets with heavy castor wheels on them from Jason at Jetstream. These 4 brackets will mount to the front bumper mounts at the front and the rear shock mounts on the rear frame and allow the chassis frame to remain elevated at a comfortable work height and easy to roll around - thanks again Jason!
I took some overall pics of the suspension components before dismantling...
There will be much more to come as I remove the suspension and get the bare chassis sent out for sandblasting.
Until next time -
It's been a productive couple of weeks on my Healey #1221. I've been carefully documenting with 100's of photos as I take her apart piece by piece.
With each piece I remove, I bag and tag the part and it's fastener hardware and take detailed photos of the piece and how it fit with the rest of the car. These are just a few of the hundreds of pics I've been taking...
With the interior trim already removed, I focused on removing the outer body panels next.
Here are the original aluminum door casing panels with the early narrow style of door latch and thin piping to finish the outer edge of the B pillar panel. This small bead of thin piping was usually colour coded to match with the exterior body colour of the car - in this case it was originally a light blue/grey.
These original door casings have tiny ovals in the aluminum pattern, unlike the repro's that have tiny circles instead.
With the door trims removed I was then able to remove the doors themselves and the front fenders. The big Phillips door hinge screws were a bit of a nightmare trying to get out, I managed to save most of them after many hours of penetrating oil & reasoning with an impact driver, heat & curse words. Unfortunately I had to drill out the last few of the more stubborn ones.
Here you can see a door check strap assembly & spacer.
Surprisingly both of the seem to be almost perfect! - in that they are rot and dent free. They both have small cracks where the door cord actuates the latch assembly - but these cracks can be easily welded.
The left front fender was actually only being held on by a few screws and wire, however the rest of the screws that had been previously removed were found in a pile on the parcel shelf so nothing seems to be missing. Once removed, the left fender proved to be in just about perfect condition! - no holes, no dents or distortion - a beautiful front fender!
The inner chassis structure under the fender also looks far better than I had expected which was another pleasant surprise!
I took careful notes as to the routing of the wiring and clips along the inner front fender/shroud seams...
Next I turned my attention to removing the rear fenders. I removed all the inner screws affixing it to the shroud/chassis, and the screws along the outer edge of the 'B' post.
I took note of the little rectangular clamp plates that are held in place by a countersunk machine screw along the inner rear cockpit rim on both sides.
With the rear fenders off I was pleased to find them both very intact, with only the front lower dog leg areas needing repair on both fenders. Most original cars are typically rotten here as it's a trap for water and road grime.
The inner chassis under the rear fenders reveals the extent of rot on the rear outer sill sections and the bottom parts of the rear door posts. Other than these areas though, the rest of the chassis seems very intact and structurally sound.
The front shroud is removed! she's had a bit of damage where she fastens to the lower frame members along the bottom front edge. But thankfully no metal is actually rotten or missing, it just needs some careful mending by an aluminum expert!
With the front shroud off, I turned my attention to the rear shroud removal - again lots of rivets to drill out all around and a few little screws along the upper edge of the boot opening..
And the rear shroud is off! I spent a bit of time carefully tapping out the dents and creases found in the rear where she probably backed into something.
Going back and forth working on the frame and the rear shroud itself, with the undamaged boot lid as a guide, I actually got it back about 90% of the way for it to be perfect again. The lid wouldn't even close when I first got it, now it closes with even gaps, it just needs a bit more fettling around the bottom right corner which I'll get more into later down the road.
With the body panels now removed, I got into removing the dash, heater, and inner firewall components - note, the steering column/dash support was painted body colour, as were the steering column blanking plates on the firewall.
As it turns out, the larger tachometer and speedometer gauges are ones from a BN2. I'll find a good set from a BN1 and swap them back again someday.
With the inner firewall all clear, I moved onto removing the radiator. It had some non-original Allen screws used to hold it in place, so clearly it's been out before, but it does seem to be the original rad, dated Jan, 1953.
In the boot, I noted the wiring having a noticeable fleck in the loom pattern, as compared to the totally black loom seen all over the front of the car, and it had been wrapped in electrical tape where it went along the floor area beside the gas tank and through the bulkhead - is this original tape??
I finished the week by removing the carburetors, manifolds and exhaust. Noting the throttle linkage arrangement, exhaust supports etc. It was nice to find the carburetors still lubricated and not seized inside.
I believe this could be the original exhaust too - though I cant find any Burgess logo's on it - in any case it will need replacement! When I tipped it up a large pile of nut shells came out from years of squirrels hiding and forgetting their stash!
The original Lucas coil - would have been black with a golden label around the bottom. Also the original distributor...
Lots of parts and bags of hardware to go through and restore piece by piece. Should keep me busy over the next few years at least... Good organization, documentation and labeling are absolutely crucial at this stage!
Well she's going up up for sale! Anyone who has followed my blog over the past few years will know - this early MGB is the BEST one out there. She's a concours example, sporting all the original, hard to find early MGB parts and details.
Such early original parts and details like:
-all the original Lucas lighting including the early clear marker lights and headlamps
-her original early riveted grill
-the early style oil cooler with rounded corners
-original style brake and clutch master cylinders which are not available new
-the early 3 main bearing engine
-the early pull type door handles
-all the original early decals and tags like the early Tudor washer bottle lettering and early heater lettering which are not available
-all her original type of carpet which is not available
-all the original interior vinyl has been maintained throughout
-all the original rubber floor mats
-early style door capping rails
-original tonneau and boot covers in their original stowage bags
-original jack, knock-off hammer in the original bag
-original manuals and sales brochures included
The list goes on and on - I was careful to maintain as much original parts as possible because the original quality is so much better than the repro's available today.
She's as original and pristine as they come. Featuring body and paintwork by Coachwerks. She's won awards, she runs and handles beautifully. She even has a full new set of Blockley vintage style tires. She's going to make her next owner very happy!
Check out this video:
I need to get $40K Canadian for her, which is roughly $31K US, you can contact me directly if interested.
Until next time -
On Wednesday this week I got together with friends and fellow Healey owners Jason Stoch (of Jetstream Auto) and Trevor Parker. Together we borrowed Jason's truck and trailer and took the morning ferry over to the mainland and drove down to Blaine Washington to pick up my newest acquisition to the family - a 1954 Austin Healey 100, BN1 #1221.
She's now in my home shop and as you can see - she's a fairly solid and complete car!
This blog entry marks the beginning of many posts chronicling the documentation and restoration of this car. I'm mostly showing the overall condition and state of the car in these pics, so without further ado, let's begin with the engine compartment:
The front fenders are very solid and so too are the inner wheel arches and frame structure. Note the early multi sectioned inner wheel arches,.
Her original radiator complete with date and - batch numbers?
original distributor, starter, oil filter and even coil! - though the generator is from a later model. The foot wells on the firewall have both been hacked open and then re-sealed with a bunch of little screws - perhaps someone wanted to fit a larger engine and then changed their mind?
In the front behind the grill - lots of Healey blue paint everywhere! - she's missing some inner shrouding panels though that would normally block the view across here...
the lower front fenders still very intact with the curious "v"cutouts on the lower flanges near the pedal mounts on both sides - we've seen this on some other cars...
All the cockpit rails are intact, as is the original 2 piece dash with Healey blue showing through on the gauge cluster..
Both doors are very solid!
All the cockpit floors, frame and inner sills are intact and solid. The gearbox is complete, as is the heater....
In the rear cockpit, lots of her original dark blue trim...
The boot is also very solid - some minor holes in the floor, but overall very good!
The rear shroud has been hit in the rear center/right. The damage seems minimal and has been mostly pulled out already. You can see the right rear frame member is a bit distorted. The rear fenders don't seem to have been affected, but she has a replacement boot lid from car #4068 - still aluminum as it should be though.
And there you have it! lots of work and detailed progress reports to come -
Until next time, I'll leave you with some pics of my Dads last BN1 that was in the exact colours this one will be once it's all done...
Well I have big news! My beautiful 1964 MGB that I have worked so hard on restoring to concours spec... is going up for sale!
Over the next few weeks I'll be working with Richard Owen of Owen Automotive, to get the car properly documented and photographed to highlight just how correct, original and beautiful this car really is.
Obviously if you've been following my blog over the past few yrs, you already know. She's in tip top shape, and runs and drives like a dream. It's going to be hard to say goodbye to her.
If you would be interested in buying this beauty, you can contact me directly for more info.
The one and only reason I could ever have to sell this beauty, is that I have found my life long dream car, and I can only afford to keep one...
The dream car I've recently acquired is a 1954 Austin Healey 100-4 BN1.
Growing up, my late father (Richard Chrysler) became somewhat of an international authority on Healey's, especially the earlier 100-4's.
He was one of the founders of the National Concours comittee, and was the the 100/4 registrar for years - collecting information from the various cars still in existence around the globe and starting to really document various production changes in detail.
I grew up around these Healey's, and for me, it's always been in my blood to finally own and restore one for myself.
The car that I've found is an early (January)1954 car, It's fairly complete and looks to be in fair condition as far as "project car" goes. I think she'll be a good candidate for restoration.
It will be several years of passionate work - and blog posts - to get her all done to concours spec. I'm looking forward to every step and doing as much as I can myself.
Being a January '54 car, it should still have all the "early" BN1 features such as an aluminum bonnet and trunk lid, 2 piece dash, early BN1 interior trim, style 2 side screens, "Austin of England" badge on the trunk lid, etc, etc, etc....
- and wouldn't you know it, the cars body number 1221 happens to be my Birthday! haha
As you can see in some of the pics, she was originally painted Healey Blue with a dark blue interior. I'll certainly be restoring her back to that.
Lots of metal repair and parts will be needed, but over all the frame looks solid, the car is fairly complete, and as far as project cars go - this looks to be in much better shape than some of the cars I remember Dad restoring over the years!
Well, I'll leave it at that for now. Stay tuned for many future articles covering the detailed photo doucumentation, and disassembly of the car, as I get into her journey of meticulous restoration. I am very honoured and excited to bring this car back to life!
Until next time -
The car is an early Austin Healey BN1 #793, it's one of a small hand full of BN1's that were originally painted "Coronet Cream" - a colour the factory introduced in 1953 in honour of the new Queen's Coronation. It was the colour of her dress
during her Coronation ceremony. www.cbsnews.com/pictures/queen-elizabeth-iis-coronation-regalia-on-display/
It was originally offered with either a persimmon red or, a dark blue interior colour - of which we chose the latter.
The owner of this car wanted the high standards of a concours restoration and so gave the task of restoring the car to Michael Salter (formerly of Precision Sportscar Specialists). Mike is an old friend of my late Father (Richard Chrysler) and knows all the details of the Healey 100's very well. In fact, he is the new concours guidelines editor for the Healey 100's in the national Healey club.
He won Gold for his own early 100 #174 just a few years ago - a car that I did the interior on in Ontario, just before moving my new business to Victoria:
So, several months ago I got the call from Michael wondering if I'd be interested in doing all the interior trim for this Coronet cream car, and if I'd be willing to fly to his beautiful cottage home in Ontario to do the installation. All I can say is, it's cars like this that got me interested in auto upholstery in the first place, and it's jobs like this that keep me super keen!
So back in the spring I set to work producing all the interior trim components for this early 100 at my home shop in Victoria. I made everything up as kits ready to install, and then shipped it all out to Mike's place in Ontario. Then I flew out with all my tools the following week and Mike set me up in his beautiful lake front cottage where I got to work trimming and installing all of the interior components on the car.
I started with seats - I made my own new plywood seat bases and my own new seat foams, as well as the leather covers with grey piping I made as original...
It was enjoyable and rewarding to work on a Healey 100 again that has clearly been done right. I enjoyed talking shop and discussing details with Michael while I worked on this project. A pic of the engine bay shows his meticulous attention to detail and originality:
With the seats finished, I started on the floor coverings. I first put in some black tar paper on the main floor pans and then installed all the jute under felt, Karvel carpets, and Armacord.. You'll notice on these earliest cars, the under-seat Armacord did not have cutouts for the seat tracks, as these earlier cars had adjustable steering wheels, the seats were bolted directly to the floor without any seat tracks..
Then came the rear bulkhead area with the rear wheel arches, Armacord coverings, spare wheel bag, and battery box lid...
Then I finished these areas with the addition of the armrest and finished seats
Next I turned my attention to the boot and installed all the boot Armacord, complete with a full new set of accessory bags for the side curtains, jack and tools. Notice the early style of boot mat and boot seal...
Then came the doors, I trimmed these while they were still off the car and then together we hung them to the car after they were trimmed...
With the interior done, I turned my attention to the top and top frame. I cleaned and painted the frame and then installed it to the car with a new wood header rail Michael had made. I also went around and installed all the necessary Tenax snap/fastener hardware to the body of the car...
Finally I fit the new Robbins Everflex top...
And there you have it, another beautiful Healey 100 on it's way to achieving Gold!
I thoroughly enjoyed working on this car, capturing all the early details and visiting with Michael Salter and his family at their lovely home in Northern Ontario to install the interior.
I look forward to seeing this car finished and on the road in the coming months!
Until next time -
Classic auto enthusiast, upholsterer, coach trimmer, and fine scale modeler.