A cracker for Christmas

A real Christmas cracker of a Jensen-Healey
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A cracker for Christmas

Post by zacmarshall »

This is Tim Giddy's Jensen-Healey VEA 223M


According to Colin Woolman’s production line diary VEA 223M was born in August 1973 when she was lifted onto the assembly track at Kelvin Way.

She was built up there and then lifted off of the track before the end and was finished under close supervision in the Experimental Department.

Woolman describes her as the first Mk2. She was registered on 22nd August and given to Marketing Manager Tony Marshall, presumably as a demonstrator.

She was sold by the factory in April ’74, and went through various owners during the intervening period, from some of the photos and receipts Tim has she had her first rust repairs done at less than 10 years old and underwent a significant rebuild sometime in the 90’s. During this time she changed colour from Tangerine to Lotus Essex Blue.

The car eventually came to Tim in July 2015, seemingly serviceable but a little tired in places.

Tim ran the car until spring 2016 when the cam belt slipped with predictable consequences.

She languished in Tim's garage until October 2017 when he took the plunge, He sent the engine off to Martin Shirley for him to rebuild it as a 2.2, carry out his magic on the head, fit high compression rods & pistons, L14 cams etc.

Tim had never been happy with the paint and the floors were a patchwork quilt, so while it was away he sent the rest of the car off for new floors and a coat of paint. Once the paint was off the true awfulness of the situation revealed itself. The sills needed replacing as did the bottoms of the A&B posts, the footwells needed extensive repairs as did the subframe mounting points.

Tim isn't quite sure when the project metamorphisised into a full nut and bolt rebuild, in fact he doesn't think it was ever a conscious decision, the car made the decision for him.

While the car was getting radical surgery in the bodyshop he took the running gear and started work on that, the front crossmember had a very poorly repaired crack in it, luckily he managed to source a very good replacement, while Tim was there the seller also had some other parts that he sold Tim at very reasonable prices.

Tim rebuilt all of the suspension with upgraded lowered springs and Gas shocks, again from Martin Shirley.

One day Tim received a message from Martin that his engine build was complete and that they dyno results were in. He reported a very healthy 219bhp bhp @ 6800 rpm with 178lbs of torque @5200 rpm. Tim was expecting around 200 so was more than happy with this result.

By now after 900 hours of work the body was ready. After much soul searching Tim had gone with the existing Essex Blue as he knew he liked that.

Tim put the engine and gearbox on the front crossmember and built up the rear axle, then trailered them both to the body shop for them to turn the shell into a rolling shell.

Just before Christmas 2018 Tim collected her from the body shop. Tim then severely underestimated just how much work there was left to rebuild the rest of the car, he seemed to spend hours doing wiring, running pipes etc etc.

Tim was concerned about cooling with the power output of the engine so fitted twin electric fans. He found an MGB GT V8 kit worked very will with just a minor changes to some of the brackets.
Finally on 16th May 2020 it was time to fire her up for the first time in 4 years.
He had a bit of a false start, she would fire but wouldn’t run. After some head scratching he bypassed the rev counter and she fired first hit of the button, to say he was very happy indeed was an understatement.

The only thing Tim really needed now was his interior, he had taken that to a trimmer a month or so earlier, Tim went there with the firm intention of black on black for the interior…. and came out having chosen a light tan leather and fawn carpets. The interior took an age to do, probably because the guy doing it was very reasonable and very good.

Tim had vowed that he wouldn’t drive the car until it was complete. Eventually he had the seats back, and could resist no more so took her for a spin up the road and back on 21st March 2021. Oh wow, the performance was just astounding, she was just so eager to go. Tim eventually finished her for the July Healey gathering at Gaydon, where it rained …. a lot! Since then he has been out enjoying her, taking her to shows and meetings where she attracts a lot of attention, mainly people trying to work out what she is. Tim thinks what he has now is the car that it always should have been.
The performance is electrifying, every time he takes her out he smile. She is tucked away for winter now but he's already making plans for next summer.

So what is next on the list? At some point he wants to get a better exhaust manifold made to fit her new custom built exhaust, the medium term shopping list also includes a gearbox change to a Toyota or something similar as the Getrag she has in her now is a little tired.

But at the moment, Tim is just enjoying the fruits of his labour.

Off to the body shop

Work in progress

Front Subframe mount open up. This was an “advisory” on the MOT!!

Looking better in primer

Running gear off to be re-united

Martin Shirley rebuilt the engine to a 2.2 producing a very healthy 219bhp bhp @ 6800 rpm with 178lbs of torque @5200 rpm.

New leather interior


The finished job
C-V8 II 104/2146 CHJ 948B
ex FF II, Interceptor I, II and III, SP, GTs and Healeys. You might say I got the bug....
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Re: A cracker for Christmas

Post by RockyUSA »

Beautiful car, and wonderful story!

Truly deserving of the CotM!!

‘71 TVR Vixen 2500 - (M Series Tribute)
'72 Interceptor III - 133/5597
'73 DeTomaso Pantera
'74 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-40
'95 Jaguar XJS Convertible
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Re: A cracker for Christmas

Post by TJG »

Thanks for selecting it Zac. I’m very proud of her. I’ve just told my Wife the car is the Christmas No1 !!!
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Martin R
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Re: A cracker for Christmas

Post by Martin R »

Terrific 8)
FF MK1 119/100
Interceptor MK3 136/8514
JOC Member 8905
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