1967 BJ8 BRG Brian and Carole Drab
My first contact with Austin Healeys occurred about 1960 when all of my friends had sports cars and I was looking for one. I found a nice BN6 at a local car dealer and bought it. There was really a mixed bag of cars in my circle. MGA's, TD MG, Mini Cooper, Sprite, AC Bristol, TR3 - they had them all. Mine was the only Healey and as far as I was concerned it was the Cadillac of the sport car set. In those days we really drove the cars. In what would now be considered as 4X4 ing or Off Roading, we went everywhere in our cars, even going so far as to rebuild an old logging road bridge to get across a creek and up to the Grouse Mountain Chalet (the old one). But domestic bliss came along and, when Carole was 8 months pregnant and no longer able to get up and out of the car, I sold my beloved car. I took possession of a very plain Ford Falcon 4 door and lived the next 37 years remembering what was and not what is.
That all changed on my birthday in 2000 when my parents, at my daughters urging, bought me a 59 BN4 that they had seen for sale locally A more beautiful birthday present one could not have. And the love affair started again.
I immediately set to work cleaning up the car. The previous owner had said that there was "some bondo" in the car. That turned out to be a huge understatement. There were places on the front shroud that the bondo was over an 1" thick. I located another shroud and began swapping. About that time I bought a second car that was a much better candidate for my level of restoration. Then we sold our house and the cars had to go into storage. For the next couple of years all of my energies were devoted to building a new house.
I had joined the AHOABC in 2000 and longingly looked at some of the club member's beautiful cars. We went on outings with the club but always in our BJ9. I had started to work on the cars that I had when Carole asked me how long it would be before one was on the road. When I replied "at least a couple of years" she hit me with "Maybe we should go out and buy one that we can drive now. If we wait until you finish one, we ll probably be too old to enjoy it." This had a real ring of truth. That set me of on the next quest
I searched for about 6 months with no luck until I put an appeal on the Healey List saying I was looking for reasonable priced driver. I got several replies but the one that really piqued my interest was from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The chap there had a BJ8. He sent photos and a history of the car. It looked beautiful! We flew to Pittsburgh and looked at and drove the car. It had been lovingly looked after and well kept. There was no dickering. It was an immediate done deal! It had 43215 original miles and most of the car was original including the top. It also came with spares, books and receipts. I had the car shipped to Seattle and drove it home from there. Since that time we have put about 10000 miles on it and now thoroughly enjoy the outings that we are able to go on.
I have had to do very little work on the car. I have changed the rear-end to a 3.54, installed new carpeting, steering wheel, aluminum valve cover, Furflex, Lucas TriPod headlights, CB radio, electronic ignition a, tube shocks and driving lights. and I performed some other typical Healey maintenance items. I also changed it to negative ground which allowed me to use my CB and GPS. Other than that the car has run beautifully.
We have had many excellent club drives to meets and events. The friendships we have made at these events, and in fact around the world, have made owning a Healey all that more wonderful.