What do you get when you cross a rotary airplane engine with an MR2?

For anyone in the mood for an old school airplane radial engine purring loudly in a Toyota MR2 look no further.

It is still getting “tuned” – but it’s ~150 horsepower should be plenty to motivate the MR2 on the road. This would be a tough conversion with the engine mounted in the front of the car, so it’s nice to see an MR2 get some crazy engine love. Check out the article for the oily details!

Will be neat to see how this project continues…

The future of human interface is digital?

With touchscreens/tablets changing the typical interface expectations – I like seeing new ways to interact with mechanical systems.

Jaguar has definitely taken an interesting step to automotive instrumentation with the concept of a “digital” dashboard and run with it. I think it’s interesting that you can have a single dashboard that can emulate a futuristic digital readout, but can also be turned into a vintage set of Smith gauges.

Of course this all depends on the data source on the back end – so who knows if IPv6 will find a home there as well in your Automotive Area Network…

Edmunds.com with a great article on Jaguar’s project…

A little trip down the MG memory lane

Just some light reading on MG and the craziness that was the 60s. This fiasco set the stage for the Jensen-Healey to be developed. That can be considered good or bad depending on the audience!

Check out the great article by Aaron Severson at www.ateupwithmotor.com

Jensen Healey – Dashboard redux

The original Jensen Healey dashboard was long gone. It had not aged gracefully – the “cracks” were now full on gouges. I had debated putting on a plastic dash cap – but figured that it would make sense to get it done right and make sure it looks nice.

Matched the vinyl grain pattern to the door panels and the dashboard just came back from it’s day at the shop. Also took the chance to redo the gauge cluster. I was lucky in that all of the Smith gauges were working wonderfully.

Of course – that will probably not be the case once the dash is put back in. Sigh.

Jensen-Healey Restoration – Seat Rails baby!

Tearing out the floor pans gave me the chance to see how we could improve on the seat mounting. The stock Jensen Healey seats had a front seat rail that had completely rusted through (see below). Since I was replacing the floor, it made sense to look at a different seat mounting option that could accommodate some more current seat designs. Found some cheap seats on eBay from a 95 Mazda Miata for test fitting and found they would work quite nicely with some mount point modifications.

But this uncovered another spacing issue. How to keep the right angle for driving position and mount the seat slightly higher than the floor. Found some MGB seat rail adapters from Eclectic Motorworks for Miata seats! These are VERY sturdy brackets that you can either bolt down or weld – but they are all bored out specifically for the Mazda Miata seat mounting pattern. Perfect!

Props to Eclectic for the brackets – they are a nice fit for the Jensen Healey and provide just enough lift off the floor. Definitely a non-standard use, but it works and they are built very well.

Jensen Healey floor and subframe update!

One of several rust prone areas in the Jensen Healey is the floor area – the whole area. After I got the floors out, I wasn’t to keen on the subframe. The pieces were in okay shape – but I could see that the metal had been “stressed” by someone attempting to jack up the car (no doubt a very common occurrence in this car’s history).

Decided to redo the subframe components with thicker gauge steel and call it a day. Since the pieces were simple hat bends – it was worth having a stronger subframe to weld the floor pans to.

The rear of the car also has a subframe area that articulates, so the floor pans will be modified to fit – but should look pretty close to stock and then be ready to accept the new seat rails. I also went with some new metal on the mount bracket to keep everything sturdy. A weak chassis mounting point can ruin your day!

New Ford “Start” Concept – bringing back 3-cylinders?

Ok – The Beijing Auto Show is bringing out some very cool vehicles.

Cue the Ford Start Concept car (article at insideline.com)

At first glance a ridiculously cute car – but then a 120HP 3-cylinder 1.0 Liter turbocharged engine is in the mix! Looks like Ford will be using this engine across a variety of platforms (including a possible replacement for the 1.6L Fiesta engine). Should see some decent mileage and the turbo should keep the “fun to drive” level high.

Sounds like the Geo Metro turbo conversions from 10 years ago will have some competition!

For plenty of pics check out the full article on Edmunds Insideline.

Jensen-Healey Restoration – It’s All in the Prep

The car is in its temporary housing and the paint is curing nicely. Have been busy cataloging the interior parts I have managed to acquire and now prioritizing how to best get everything installed.

Decided to start with the electrical and make sure everything is cleaned up and working. Want to avoid having to tear up carpet/panels to double check wiring issues.

Coupled with this phase – getting the interior tub ready for sound deadening (liquid and mat) and most importantly – seat rails! Snagged some Miata seats from a junkyard so have to see how the seat rails will mount up and weld those in.

Next up is finishing the interior tear down, getting the seat rails in there and then sound deadening. Am going to try out Fatmat and see how it works. They have a liquid version as well as a mat (similar to Dynamat Xtreme). Figure two layers will help control heat and noise in this beast.

Jensen-Healey Restoration – All Painted Up

With the Jensen in the body shop getting  a fresh coat of paint, time to look at the parts I still needed to track down. The passenger floor pan was from JHPS.com Рbut the trunk floor was from Martin Robey in the U.K. Рpricey, but worth getting the right form to minimize trying to weld the piece into the trunk area.

Took the time to group orders as much as possible to maximize shipping costs. Snagged a new convertible top and get the various interior carpet/vinyl pieces. The doors were simple fiberboard with the vinyl attached to it. The arm rest is wooden with padding and vinyl on top.

Got pictures of the completed paint job! Went with a dark gray base and an offset racing stripe in a lighter gray. Seemed like a nice color combination on the Jensen-Healey, but we’ll see for sure when it comes home in person.

Next Steps: Time for reassembly and putting the interior together. I like to call this phase “Hope I got the right parts”…may also tackle the wheels/rims since the car is up on stands….hmmm

Jensen-Healey Restoration – Getting dirty

So I have a rusty hunk of metal in my driveway – now what!

I started simple Рcleaned it out, drained the standing water Рit ran rough, but the Strombergs were solid and the timing belt in good shape. Starting leaking oil within hours and found that the oil pressure tube was busted. Luckily that is a $15 part Рwoohoo!

Of course – props to Delta Motorsports, Martin-Robey and JHPS.com as they are amazing resources for Jensen-Healey parts and information.

After the basics, focused on:

– Gutting the car and cataloging every relevant part. It took patience, a healthy group of ziploc bags and some floor space to lay everything out.Also started taking the time to get the pieces together

– Assessing the condition of the car – i.e. engine, body, (rust especially), etc.. Good news? Not that bad. Bad news? You could see the driveway through the floorboards. Other major trouble spots were the trunk floor (the boot) and the rear fender rocker panels. And the hood had a crease… Engine was in pretty good shape. Replaced the timing belt, rebuilt the carburetors and updated the air cleaner. Also took advantage of having the car up and replaced the engine mounts and suspension bushings (old ones were long gone).

Next Steps – prep for paint and off to the body shop!

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