1974 Jensen Healey

Here’s another oddball car I’d one day like to have – a Jensen Healey. One of my father’s colleague/friends had one of these in white with 1970s-style black Jensen-Healey lettering above the rockers (his other car was an International Scout… cool). While that was not my first sportscar experience (that “honor” went to a dark blue C3 Corvette one of my parents’ friends owned), I think it was my first ride in a European open-top car. At the time, I had no idea what the engine was about in these cars, but it’s now one of the reasons I’m fascinated with this – the Lotus 907 16 valve twincam four with 140hp, also used in the Esprit, Elite, and Eclat. Apparently most of the early reliability woes have been overcome with this engine, and if you’re feeling spendy, you can also do several upgrades that will give you another 40-50hp without spoiling driveability.

Anyway, stepping back from the lottery-winning fantasies, you’re not going to find much on the market without losing sight of affordability. I would recommend staying away from cars that have been off the road for years, 2-into-1 project cars, and the like since you’ll wind up putting more into getting it going than you would buying a decent runner in the first place. So in LaPine, OR for $3000, we have the subject of this post:

1974 Jensen Healey side

Red is sort of an obvious color for sports cars, so I generally shy away from it. However, the car does look good in this color. To be honest, I don’t understand what people’s objections are to the styling of this car – it looks arguably as good as or better than its near-contemporaries… think back to the rubber-bumper MGB, the Triumph TR7, a big-bumper Fiat or Alfa Spider.

1974 Jensen Healey rear

Panel fit looks pretty decent in this rear shot. Okay, who am I kidding – you can’t expect any perfection from a car built in the labor-strife-ridden Britain of the 1970s. According to a recent article in Hemmings Sports & Exotic, Jensen hired extra people for the anticipated demand, not realizing they were hiring the most activist, unmotivated members of the labor force.

1974 Jensen Healey interior

Here we have the interior. Unfortunately, this shot doesn’t show too much except the passenger seat, and it appears the car has a wood dash kit. The ad mentions new door panels, carpeting, insulation, and seat covers. Again, people have criticized the dash design on this car, but it seems pretty modern compared to some of its contemporaries (see most of the above-referenced sports cars). It’s a bit basic, but we’re more about the drivetrain and open-top experience here.

1974 Jensen Healey engine

Not a bad looking engine – maybe a bit of detailing would make this part of the car look nicer, but it’s functional as is. The owner has mentioned that lots of effort has been put into this car by the previous owner, and he himself has done some work to improve reliability and comfort. I would feel reasonably comfortable going on an adventure to pick this thing up and drive it home.


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One Response to “1974 Jensen Healey”

  1. Jeff B. Says:

    Hi Chris – nice site – just catching up with it!
    Looks like we have more similar tastes – always loved the JH and I’m not big on British cars or convertibles. Don’t know why exactly I’m drawn to it, other than I like the styling (and the Lotus heart).

    See you around.

    Jeff (Alfetta/Fulvia)

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