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Jensen-Healey roadster powered by Lotus twin-cam engine

Jensen-Healey roadster powered by Lotus twin-cam engine

The Pick of the Day is a surviving example of an ill-fated British sports car

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The Jensen-Healey roadster, an ill-fated attempt to bring back the glory of the Austin Healey sports car, is most notable today as the first production car powered by the advanced Lotus 907 twin-cam aluminum inline-4 engine, even before it was installed in a showroom Lotus.

The new 2.0-liter engine was strong and high-revving, but also the source of trouble, with reliability and maintenance issues that doomed the Jensen-Healey to a short existence, 1972-76.  But there are those survivors that, with proper care and patience, have succeeded in living on as enjoyable and distinctive two-seat convertibles.

Jensen-Healey

The roadster wears a fitted hard top

The Pick of the Day is one of those, a 1974 Jensen-Healey roadster advertised on ClassicCars.com by a private seller in Farmingdale, New York, who says there’s nothing wrong with the British car other than being too low-slung for the seller’s taste.

“Unfortunately for me, I found that I didn’t enjoy driving a small car,” the seller says in the ad.  “There is more than enough legroom, and the car is very comfortable, but I like being higher from the ground.  So, the car is stored indoors, with only an occasional drive to keep it fresh.”

Mileage in on the high side at 98,000, but that says something about the reliability of this particular car, which is equipped with the original 144-horsepower Lotus engine fed by dual Stromberg carbs and hooked up with a 5-speed Getrag manual transmission.

Jensen-Healey

The Jensen’s body looks to be in decent shape

The Jensen is described as having been “partially restored” with a new alternator, brake system (master cylinder, brake lines, etc.), battery, tires (that are now old and should be replaced), K&N air filters, timing belt replaced, and the clutch was rebuilt.”

“The interior had been redone very nicely by the previous owner, and is in excellent condition,” the seller notes.  “The original dash and wood panels were not replaced, and show cracks, and crazing on the wood, from age.  All the gauges work.  The clock and radio no longer work.

“The hardtop was put on before it left California, and it removes with a lever and two bolts.  The convertible frame is folded down, beneath it.  The original convertible top is still attached to the frame, but I believe it is dried-out.”

Jensen-Healey

The interior has been refurbished but the wood needs to be replaced

The bargain-basement price of $7,999 leaves some room for repairs and upgrades, hopefully by someone who better appreciates the qualities of a classic British sports car.

“This car runs and drives with excellent power, and handles tight,” the seller says. “It just needs a new owner who enjoys a hot, little sports car.”

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

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6 Comments

  • Carmine Bonanni
    November 13, 2018, 5:35 AM

    The Brits made some wonderfully designed, fun sports cars. Why couldn’t they ever make a reliable one? MG, TR6, Jaguar…… And those shoddy Lucas electronics.

    REPLY
  • Mat Thomas
    November 14, 2018, 11:40 AM

    Not sure where those specs on the engine came from, but my ’73 had a 19xx cc motor with 140 hp, and 4 speed trans.

    REPLY
    • John Fisher@Mat Thomas
      November 14, 2018, 11:00 PM

      The Lotus 907 in the Jensen Healey was a 2 liter twin cam. The bore was almost 4 inches, with a very short stroke.

      REPLY
    • Chris Y@Mat Thomas
      November 15, 2018, 8:21 AM

      Bob, you should correct your article as Matt is correct. The engine capacity is 1973cc, not 1.6 liter. I have owned one Healey and two Jensen GTs and none every had a 1.6 liter block. The Lotus 907 twin cam cylinder head was originally developed on a Vauxhall 2.3 liter slanted block.

      REPLY
      • Bob Golfen@Chris Y
        November 15, 2018, 8:51 AM

        Thanks, guys. My mistake. I was suffering under the delusion that it was the 1.6 Lotus engine. I fixed it in the story.

        REPLY
    • John Fisher@Mat Thomas
      November 15, 2018, 5:27 PM

      The Lotus 907 engine in the Jensen Healey and Esprit was a 2 liter twin cam.

      REPLY

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