Coyote's Classic Cars
I first saw an Austin Healey BN1 in 1953. Salivated like a dog catching a whiff of bacon. A recent high school grad, I couldn’t afford a Healey. I’d been into hot rods and drag racing my ’34 Ford five window coupe, but the lines of that BN1 changed my mind about what an automobile should look like. Yep. I was Hooked.
After college, I drove a delivery truck to earn enough scratch for grad school. During a route, as I passed La Jolla British Motors, a white roadster on the showroom floor—parked between two Jags—sent me back for a closer look. It was an Old English White 1958 MGA. Not a Healey, but I had enough bucks in the bank to drive it home that afternoon. That's right. I didn’t go to grad school that year.
Dad took one look. “What’s that?”
“It's a MGA.”
He scratched his head and frowned. “It only has two seats.”
“Pretty nice, huh?”
I told him.
“You’re nuts.” he said. “You could-a bought a Chevy.” End of conversation.
I sold the MGA in ‘61 to pay off college expenses. Big mistake. However, I had a job and bought a '61 3000 Mk II BN7 the next year—same OEW with a red interior. Sold it in 1965. It was a fine driver with the sound you all know and love. Bought and sold my next set of wheels—a '66 MGB—after just two years of ownership. Okay, but not what I wanted.
November 29, 2001, I bought a beautiful Iris Blue ’60 MGA. Won’t part with it.
I swore I’d find a BN1 and kept looking—and did—May 21, 2003. Has an excellent frame and body even though there were some mechanicals to make her a better road car. I've installed a Denis Welch aluminum head, a DW1 street cam and a Smitty 5 speed modification for a '75 Toyota five-speed transmission. The project included a Mike Lempert 3:54 ring and pinion into a 3000 rear end. I made a new fiberglass transmission tunnel and insulated the entire firewall and floors. I've installed an alternator, a Pretronix ignition, and changed from positive to negative ground. All positive changes.
There must be a gene in my DNA that insists I get in my fifty-six year old Austin Healey and drive hundreds of miles at night to attend annual Rendezvous. Universe willing, I’ll probably do it every year. I’m not complaining. I’m confessing a pleasure not achieved by just going to club meetings, car shows or rallies. I’m addicted to driving adventures. I know that some of you understand; that you share the same addiction. It’s not so bad.
Words can’t put you in the seat of a Healey, or take you down country roads, through serious curves, can’t put the melodic sounds of a Healey exhaust, or the song of tires kissing blacktop in your ears. Words can’t take the place of the taste of your favorite foods or satisfy your thirst. Words don’t take the place of smiles and knowing glances when you and friends share libations and a meal. You gotta be there.
Get in your Healey and see for yourself why I’m in love with driving adventures.
Okay, folks - see you somewhere on the roads of life.
And before you leave the site check-out MGA Gallery 3!
NOTE: There are four Power Point Shows in the Events section - photos of Healeys and people who attended San Diego Healey Conclave 2008. Because I couldn't be everywhere at once, I missed taking photos of everyone. Have a look. You and your Healey might be in one or more of the shows. Let me know if you'd like to have a large .jpg (free) of your picture if you see one. Hope there is at least one of you there.
Now, let’s be on to new events, new adventures and new journeys.
Austin Healey Club of San Diego
Austin Healey Club of America
San Diego MG Club