What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

Healeys All in a rowThis is my garage. These are my cars- Thing One and Thing Two. Actually, that’s mean. I’d like you to meet my 1961 Austin Healey Sprite and 1975 Jensen Healey, or as the missus calls them, the money pits. Old cars are like black holes- they ravenously suck up all available resources, allowing nothing to escape with the exception of all their fluids, the occasional irreplaceable part, and the smoke that makes the electrical system work.
This is not to say that I don’t love working on my cars, and I am actively doing so on both – at the same time – which can make you crazy when you’re pulling parts and tools off of one in order to work on the other.
I’m not going to go into detail about them here, but will save that for another post where I can dedicate more time to each, but here’s a quick overview-

BMC 948
BMC 948

Vroom, vroom. . .
This is the Sprite’s motor- it’s currently the original 948-cc BMC A-series. This engine is having its carbs rebuilt, as well as some cooling system overhauls. Next up- brakes. The 948 was also found under the bonnets of Frogeyes, but for the MkII the twin SUs were bumped to 1 1/4s. The MkI Midget was introduced this same year, and in October of ’62 they both received the 1098.
Stromberg-carb'd Lotus 907
Stromberg-carb'd Lotus 907

The Jensen is powered by a two-litre Lotus 907 twin-cam. Dubbed the “Torque-less Wonder” by those unfamiliar with anything over 4,000 RPM, it put out 141-bhp when new, but lots less now as it has a cylinder that’s a bit down on compression. Also, I have yet to get it to run, but have discovered the potential culprit in a worn-out low-tension lead within the Lucas 25D distributor. New points, condenser and lead have been ordered. For those of you knitting your brow over what I just said, we’ll deal with that shortly.
Parts is parts
Boxes!

Parts is parts.
If you’re going to have even one project car, you’re going to amass parts. There’ll be people giving you parts, selling you parts, leaving them in front of your garage in order to be rid of them. That’s good, because eventually you will need them, and even if you don’t, drinking beer with your buds in the garage is a lot more cool when you’re all surrounded by a bunch of boxes full of nearly unidentifiable bits of steel, rubber and cast iron.
Oh, and that block on the stand? That’s the 1275 for the Sprite. More on that to come.
Room to Work
Boyz in the Hood


Room to spread out.
Having one car in the garage – and I have a larger than average garage – meant there was plenty of room in which to work. Having two in there means that space is getting tight, and I still haven’t found a place to put the Jensen’s bonnet. That being said, it’s good to have enough room to move around. There’s nothing worse than trying to work on a car in the yard, under a jerry-rigged tarpaulin – in the pouring rain. Having someplace dry and warm to work means that you’ll be more likely to go out there and start turning a wrench. It’s also good to have such a place for when you and that certain someone don’t quite see eye to eye and you need a cheap place to go hang out.
Long and the Short of it.
So, that’s an intro into my projects. As I make progress, I’ll keep you all up to speed, documenting the major milestones. It’s sometimes nice for those without the means to live vicariously through those of us too stupid to realize we don’t have the means.
But that’s not all. I’ve shared my projects, and now we want you all to do the same. If you have a particularly interesting car that you are working on, send us a couple of pictures and a quick description and we’ll put your pride and joy up on Hooniverse for all to enjoy. Just send them to tips@hooniverse and we’ll do the rest.

0 Comments

  1. Mmmmm…Sprite. I want a Sprite. Or a Midget. Or a Jag. Or any of a million other project cars I picture myself working on. Which is why I’m probably going to forego the Harvest Beer Fest I’ve been wanting to attend for years.
    Plus, Mrs. engineerd will be really happy when the house is done.

  2. Nice garage: I’m jealous. Mine is a shed that’s 20×8. It is full of tools (including a metal cutting lathe) and model steam engines…
    Could you hang the bonnet from the ceiling? It looks like it won’t be needed for a while…

  3. This situation is very familiar except it was a hand-full of Karmann Ghias in two garages and a spare room full with parts in boxes. I was able to restore and sell two of them until I had a falling out with my parents, years ago, and also moved across the country. Pretty much had to write it all off, tools and all, as a 100% loss. Including a ’64 International B1100 pickup.
    Still recovering to this day. I will be back to playing with cars once I get a house with a space to work on them.

  4. Since we’re sharing… this tidy space is my latest project. For ten years, only the Spider lived here, inoperable and surrounded by junk, while my old jeep and pickup lived outside. With the acquisition of the GT, I found the motivation to put the Alfa and the garage right. I’m not normally prone to bragging but it is amazing how much my quality of life has improved with a tidy garage space.
    I will be replacing the Alfa’s motor mounts with the engine in situ this winter, as well as rehabbing the interior and having a space to do it in makes all the difference.

  5. I’d love to have the time, money, and space for a toy, but right now it’s just not a possibility. My little 2 car garage is just big enough for our 2 cars, and if I want to expand I’m going to have to lose my ass on the house to do it, so no beans. Not to mention that money these days is a bit tighter than it has been in years past, so it just doesn’t seem like the smart thing to do. Really it’s a shame, because many of the cars I’d love to pick up have plummeted in value and now would be a perfect time to scoop one up. Oh well, maybe some day. In the meantime, as Dearthair has been doing, I will live vicariously through all of your projects. Now will somebody please get out there and start working on a ’70 1/2 455 HD Trans Am? Preferrably in white.

  6. I feel your pain. I need more space like crazy.
    Up to 5 cars in need of constant storage. The two car garage and extra shop space is filled up forcing my brother to rent space across the street for his toys.
    Nice cars by the way.

  7. Love the cars! My project is located about 200 miles from me and completely upstarted. Someday it will be bombed a single color and the layer upon layer of bondo will be removed.

  8. My project car is in Tim’s garage and is a piece of shit BMW… also, Tim does most of the work on it.

        1. I learned a long time ago at the old place not to read comments with food or beverage in my mouth. My IT guy is appreciative that I learned that lesson.

  9. My project car is a 1962 Sunbeam Alpine. It’s 47 years old, has crappy paint, overheats in hot weather, had 80 gross horsepower when new and takes up space in my parents’ garage that my mother would prefer be allotted to her ’07 Mercedes wagon. Supposedly, it would do 100 miles per hour when new, but mine was pretty scary when I took it to about 85, and since it doesn’t have overdrive, any freeway travel means at least 4000 RPM to keep up with traffic. Alpines handled well and won lots of races, but mine has skinny tires and a worn-out suspension, so it’s not spectacular in the twisties either. It’s been two years since I bought it, and about twenty-one months since I got it running, but every now and then a dead spider will fall out of the dash and remind me that the car had spent a decade without moving before I bought it. There is nothing it can do that an early Miata couldn’t do better for cheaper.
    I adore it. Right now, I can’t imagine life without it. Someday, I’ll tweak the engine and suspension a little bit to make it faster. Until then, I’ll have a good time driving slowly.

      1. Your wish is my command. This is an artsy shot from a few months ago on the California Melee. The bumper guards have been removed, and one on each bumper has been replaced by a rally plate.
        And I don’t have any pictures of it, but my friend has offered me a Peugeot 403 (and plenty of spare parts) for a song. More importantly, he’ll let me keep it at his place. This would make me a fourth-generation Peugeot owner… and insane. I keep hoping I’ll come to my senses, but that seems less and less likely every day.

  10. What is a garage? I park in the damn street while the girl parks her ’95 Olds Eighty eight in our driveway. I have a utility room with tools in it and I do all my part work on the Dryer.
    Man… I need a job.

    1. I have a field for a backyard at the end of a crumbled half-gravel driveway. And a workbench in a basement with no exterior access. I feel your pain! /apparently has a shitty job

      1. The funny part is, we were looking for a house together my requirements were garage or basement. One of the two. I got shafted and she got a closet. Where did I go wrong?

        1. Nowhere. You went wrong NO WHERE. These things happen. And by “things” I mean “Women hijacking your soul”. And by “hijacking” I mean “we let them”. And by “let them” I mean… ah screw it. Oh, wait…
          Plus, I think it will be fun to rectify that “no exterior entrance” deal by just rebuilding the damn car down there. You have to take it apart first to do it properly anyway, right?

          1. Field for a backyard means plenty of room for a large steel shed. You’re far enough south that a propane heater, properly ventilated, should be fine… right?

  11. We used to have a LARGE garage, but we moved to the farm and now have to cram the kids in the barn. We lost a LOT of workspace but still have one bay we put a cement floor in to work on the restos. The ’69 vert was completed in 2008. GORGEOUS!!! Currently IP is a lovely little 51 split beetle which we’ve had to move to the top of the barn (3 of us carried the body, it’s an off pan resto) so the Elise has a place to hibernate for the winter.
    Once the ’51 is complete it’s on to the ’69 Ghia. If I can talk him into it, we’ll have a heated pole barn up by mid summer next year, complete with lift. I’m sure I don’t have to talk too much, he wants it as bad as me.
    /I have no children. Cars are my children. And cats. Soul stealing cats (‘neerd.)

    1. Cats do steal your soul. Not kittens. They’re cute and fluffy. Cats, though, are the spawn of Satan and will steal your soul.
      On the other hand, having so many cars you have to *cram* them into a barn helps to counteract the soul-stealing powers of the cats.

  12. If I ever move back to my family’s farm (or at least back to South Dakota), I’d like to bring my Cougar back to life. It ran (barely) when parked. Yeah it’s a early-malaise, vinyl hardtop, super-sized Mustang… but I don’t care.

  13. I’m lacking a project (lacking space for now, our garage is filled with 20 years worth of non-automotive detritus) right now. If the Cavalier goes unsold, I’ll slowly LeMonize it (re. strip the interior). Like Jeremy, I’ve got the sticker.

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