I got my car in 1977, kind of a College Graduation Present to myself. After-all, I had worked part-time through-out college & had banked a whopping $3000 by graduation.
Starting to work full time directly after College; I had never seen or heard of an Austin-Healey, but I knew I was going to have a weekly paycheque.
Coming from Windsor Ont., (once the Automotive Capital of Canada) virtually everyone in my family worked for one of the Big-3 automakers. Taking a different path, I worked for a local Engineering Firm, but we did plenty of work for the Big-3 in their production plants … so naturally, cars were in my DNA. On coffee breaks we would mill about, talking cars, reading the latest auto magazines & dreaming what car should be coming home with us.
Well; the break room also had stacks of older magazines, & this is where I found “that” June issue of Road & Track, circa 1976. It had a feature article “Austin-Healey Used Car Classic”. One look at that car & I was bitten. Sure we loved our Mustangs, Camaro’s, Barracuda’s etc… & with my parents being “off-the-boat” from the UK, I also appreciated the Morgan’s, Lotus’, Triumph’s, etc. But that Healey!!! I had either never seen one before or noticed one before; Of course it wasn’t the traditional Detroit iron we were used to seeing, but now I needed to have one.
Driver’s Profile - Andy Jones
Austin-Healey 3000, MK II BJ7 Sports Convertible
But wait; being the fiscally responsible kid that I was, I checked-in with the family Financial Advisor to see what I could afford. After getting information on financial planning for my future with my life savings of $3000… all he could say was “how old are you” - “Isn’t there anything you would prefer to do with your money before you settle-in for a life time of saving plans” - “Like travel or buying sometime?” Wwwell; I didn’t waste any time telling him about the Austin-Healey I had seen in that magazine. I probably filled an hour of his day telling him in great detail about the car. And then after all that He could only say “you better go find one”.
And I did actually that. In fact I found a couple of them. I went to see them all, test drove a few, and then finally this 1964 A-H, MKII appeared in the local paper. It was a car that came to Windsor via Toronto via Timmins Ont. …and it was under budget… remember that $3000? Well with $2800 for the car & $200 for insurance, the deal was done.
The Heritage Certificate notes the car was originally Florida Green, with grey interior & trim. A radio along with the 60 spoke painted wire wheels were the only options chosen. The brake booster & seat belts were not checked off as options and thankfully neither were the whitewall tires.
When I got the car, it was metallic-silver with red carpeting, black seats & interior. It still had the original Dunlop cross-ply Road Speed tyres. Today the car is a pleasant silver-blue with dark blue carpet & leather, complete with new vinyl top & custom fit boot cover & tonneau. And; 72 spoke chrome wire wheels.
The car & I have driven in more than 20 states and 3 provinces; from Windsor Ont. to Wash. D.C. … from Michigan to the State of Wash… to B.C., Alberta, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Col., Nev., Utah, Calif. & Oregon… etc. etc. The longer trips have been 1600, 2900 & 4000 miles at a time... fun, fun, fun, you have got to love it.
Some were just quiet, single road trips but many more have been drives to Car Meets where you are getting to meet dozens of Healey People along the way. I never realized when I first got into this same Austin-Healey, all those 40 years ago what kind of a social network of friends I was driving into.
How, when, why & where by Andy Jones. A.H.O.A.B.C.