Rare Alternative – 1974 Jensen Healey

The Jensen Healey roadster was one of those ideas that sounds great in theory, but falls apart in the execution. Take a Lotus engine, combine with some mechanical bits from cars like the Vauxhall Viva and Chrysler’s fine UK model range, a tidy if not very creative body style, and 1970s British labor strife, and presto! Snark aside, though, most of the surviving cars have to be the best of the bunch, and many have had fixes applied to overcome the weak points that made them less-than-ideal daily drivers. One such survivor is this 1974 Jensen Healey, available for $4000 in San Francisco, CA.

1974 Jensen Healey right front

So yes, the styling is maybe not the most original, aping some of the styling cues of its British competitors, but at the same time, you can hardly say it’s unattractive or bland. This particular car has a new top, and the original black has been painted over in red. The seller does not say when the color change happened, but judging by that sweet contrasting black striping down the lower body, and the pinstriping on the fender tops, it’s been red for a while. That said, the seller is a body shop, or an employee there, so it bears asking why it’s there. Perhaps it’s a lien sale against unpaid repairs?

1974 Jensen Healey rear

The tail looks pretty clean too, and the blue plates suggest the car’s been in California all its life. The luggage rack clutters the look and needs to go – what is up with the trend of adding these to every roadster in the US? Do people really need to pack more than a weekend’s worth of luggage in a car this size?

1974 Jensen Healey interior

Pretty tidy interior, and the design is quite modern compared to its competitors. The only other roadsters around that time that were truly modern were the Triumph TR7 and Fiat X1/9 – everything else was based on designs from the 1960s. Unfortunately, there is no shot of the Lotus 907 twincam engine, or mention of recent work, but the car is said to only have 86,000 miles. Assuming the engine and 5-speed transmission are in good condition, this car looks like a decent buy!

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