1973 Jensen Healey Restoration - Part 4

1973 Jensen Healey Restoration - Part 4

The air cleaner is ready, the air cleaner is ready!

Costs For The Last Month: $2,250
By Greg Fletcher

The Jensen is back from the body shop and I must say it is fairly spectacular, really much better than I had hoped for. I highly recommend Granger's Classic Auto Body in Reseda to anyone in the LA area (sorry, now out of business).

The total came out to be a bit more than I'd anticipated. I figured no news was good news, and being that the car seemed to be in good shape- what could go wrong? When I arrived to pick the car up on a recent Saturday, Jim Granger, the body shop owner, told me they had 103 hours into my car! That's $3,502 before materials. He said the total should have been at least $4,000+, but since he neglected to call me along the way and mention that, he'd split the difference and charge me a total of $3,000 even. "We got in too deep before I realized it". Well, what could I say? I'm sure he wasn't exaggerating and I did tell him I wanted him to take care of anything that needed doing. So I felt like I made out really well in the end (it would much more today). Good body & paint work is not cheap and I was lucky that the condition of this car was as nice as it was. All paint & primer was removed to metal, the bonnet was stripped on both sides, dents pounded out and reshaped where needed.

The doors where removed, stripped and resprayed all around. The bonnet had some funny bends and waves here and there and turned out to be a considerable amount of work. Jim mentioned that the original British paint was very and that he'd seen that on older British cars before but wasn't really sure why they did that. He said the paint was very flexible and as a consequence not fun to remove. They steam cleaned the suspension and underbody and sprayed black paint on the complete underbody, wheel wells and lower portion of the engine compartment. The headlight surrounds where fixed up (they had cracks and chips) and repainted. They even detailed the trunk and sprayed the fuel tank which I'd only left in as I lost the trunk key before getting the car over there. I originally asked Jim to take special care of my stock air cleaner box. I can't remember ever seeing one that looked perfect, until now! Jim said it turned out to be "A Special Project" and he personally spent much time taking out dents, massaging, matching paint and basically completely restoring this complex and amusing device to better than new condition. It's extremely fun to look at now and will be quite the cat's meow when it eventually gets installed back in the engine compartment.

I thanked Jim for all his good work and forked over another $2,000, less my deposit equaled $3,000 for everything. I checked into renting an auto trailer to hook up to the trusty Land Rover but with all the stuff I needed it was going to be over a $100! What a waste of time. A flatbed tow truck to my place (70 miles) was $250 which I figured was money well spent considering the damage I could have inflicted had I tried to tow it on a derelict trailer myself. This month’s foray into auto restoration wiped out most of my previous JH proceeds from the sale of the old car, so I need to regroup and be thinking about my engine project that’s coming up. My plan was to have more cash left to put toward the engine, but the biggest hurdle, the major paint and body, has been overcome so I think I’m in a good position to get started on the many other jobs I need to deal with. Did I mention the air cleaner looks really cool?