1968 Austin Healey

From the Owner's Personal Collection

Bob purchased this one for $800 in 1985 from a friend in Modesto CA. Unfortunately, on the ride home the engine seized and the car went into storage.

A year later, the engine was torn down and completely rebuilt. Following the rebuild, Bob drove it around for about a year to sort out the cause of various problems (and for fun) before deciding to give it a "quickie" paint job.

That "quickie" paint job wound up being a complete bare-metal strip and restoration of the entire car (Click here to see pictures of the First Round Restoration). Every surface was stripped. 90+% of the fasteners were replaced. The restoration continued with a completely rebuilt suspension (including performance springs and tube shock conversion), overhauled transmission and a new interior (except for seats). Total cost for the restoration is estimated at $8,000. The result was a fun, but underpowered, difficult to shift (no syncromesh in 1st gear) car that required constant tweaking to keep it running decently. But it looked great and handled great. Four-wheel drifts through corners were a thoroughly controllable pleasure.

Thirteen months later, the transmission (which had a 12-month warranty) locked up tight (on the way to a smog check). Given the fact that a transmission replacement requires removal of the entire front clip to remove the engine and tranny as a unit, Bob just didn't have the heart to tear it all apart again just to put in another wimpy 4-speed crashbox that nobody seems to be able to rebuild reliably.

The car was parked - and then towed through two moves. After 10 years, Bob discovered a company in Tennessee (Rivergate) that had developed a conversion kit for a Datsun 5-speed transmission. This spawned "Restoration Round Two".

The second round was no less expensive (another $8,000+) Fortunately this time it required only four months to complete. Since the Datsun transmission ruined the true originality of the car and with the relaxing of the smog-check requirements, A decision was made to improve the quality and perfomace of the powertrain to make the car more reliable and exciting.

So, Bob added an aluminum head (cast with larger intake and exhaust ports), stainless steel valves (oversized intake), a street-performance cam, sidedraft DCOE40 Weber carb and a header. He also tossed the canister oil filter and installed a spin-on filter adapter.

To finish it off, Bob installed a performance front anti-sway bar and aluminum wheels with low-profile tires. He also had a custom top cover made and had the seats professionally recovered.

The result is a reliable, strong-running and solid handling British sports car that turns heads (complete with ear-to-ear grins) and is a blast to drive. You wouldn't believe how fast 60 mph can feel!


MILEAGE: 6,500 (+ approx 35K prior to first restoration)


  • Model: British Leyland 1275cc "A" Series
  • Type: Inline 4-Cylinder, OHV, Solid Lifters
  • Serial #: xx
  • Horsepower: 90 (estimated)
  • Overhauled/Rebuilt: 135,000 mi (November, 2001)
  • Block Casting #: xx
  • Block Casting Date: xx
  • Heads Casting #: xx
  • Heads Casting Date: xx
  • Pistons: .010" Overbore
  • Compression Ratio: 8:1
  • Camshaft: Model 266
  • Carburetor: Weber DCOE40
  • Features:
    • Street Performance Camshaft
    • Aluminum Head
    • Side-Draft Weber Carburetor Conversion
    • Stainless Steel Valves (oversized intake)
    • Hardened Valve Seats
    • Chromed 4-into-1 Exhaust Header
    • "Rivergate" 5-Speed Datsun Transmission Conversion
    • Electronic Ignition
    • Spin-On Oil Filter Adapter
    • "Rivergate" 5-Speed Datsun Transmission Conversion


  • Manufacture Date: 1968
  • VIN: xx
  • Paint Color: Red (1979 Chrysler LeBaron)
  • Top Color: Black
  • Condition: Excellent
  • Features:
    • Tube Shock Conversion - Front and Rear
    • Rebuilt Front & Rear Suspension
    • New Front Springs (sport - 1" lowered)
    • New Rear Springs
    • Drilled/Slotted Front Disk Brakes
    • Stainless Steel Brake Lines
    • 5/8" Front Anti-Sway Bar
    • 13" x 5.5" "Performance" Aluminum Spoke Wheels
    • Falken ZE-502 175/60 x 13" Tires
    • Custom Lined and Lighted Trunk
    • "Raydot" Sport Mirror


  • Color: "Sand"
  • Material: Vinyl
  • Features:
    • Padded Side Panels (originally unpadded)
    • Matching Convertible Top Cover (Tonneau)
    • Footwell Lighting - With Doorjamb Switches
    • Accessory Power Switch
    • AM/FM Stereo Cassette w/40W Power Amp
    • Console Mounted Ammeter
    • Console/Armrest w/Storage and Cup Holder
    • Grant GT Steering Wheel


  • E V E R Y T H I N G ! ! ! (see description)


  • Repair minor damage to left front fender (door ding with paint crack)