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Flood Survivor: 1973 Jensen Healey

1973 Jensen Healey

The Jensen Healey was a great idea on paper. You had a simple and clean roadster body, a luxurious interior and best of all, a Lotus build twin cam engine. While it went on to be Jensen’s best selling car, they really haven’t ever gained traction as a collector’s car. That’s in part because of their history of unreliability, but mostly because of rust issues and the lack of parts supply. It seems that just the mere thought of moisture caused Jensen Healeys to rust and suffer from electrical issues. This example, which is currently up on blocks, looks to be exceptionally rust free. That’s a rare sight in and of itself, but more incredibly it has survived being flooded without completely rusting away. This Jensen really has quite the story! You can find it listed here on eBay in Gainesville, Georgia with bidding already over $1,600.

1973 Jensen Healey Engine

The seller claims early on in this car’s life, it was treated with a wax coating (Waxoyl?), which has kept it from rusting. The previous owner had the then pristine Jensen parked in their basement garage. For some reason or another, the basement flooded, leaving the car parked in water up to its dash. While the wax coating saved it from rusting underneath, it didn’t protect the engine or wiring. The seller purchased it and started going through it. They replaced all the fluids and the ignition system, which allowed them to get the engine running. They were then able to take it for a spin, during which time they discovered the clutch throw-out bearing needs to be replaced. They also quickly discovered that the wiring harness was in need of replacing.

1973 Jensen Healey INterior

Now that it’s been parked the wiring is shot and there is rust starting to show. Hopefully, the next owner can get all the rust treated before it gets any worse. As for the electrical issues, the seller already has a new replacement harness ready to go. The next owner will have the wonder task of pulling the old wiring and running the new, but having the replacement is a nice bonus! They also have a number of other replacement parts that they are including with the car. It looks like you would have just about everything you’ll need to make this a nice driver again. The big question is though, will you be able to stop the rust before it grows? I know there are a lot of ways to stop rust, but there are a lot of nooks and crannies where water could have gone that will be hard to without dipping the whole car. So what do you think?


  1. Tom Hall

    “they really haven’t ever gained traction as a collector’s car. That’s in part because of their history of unreliability, but mostly because of rust issues and the lack of parts supply”

    And here all along I’ve been thinking that unreliability, rust, and lack of parts was to collectability as tire chains are to traction :)

    Great work guys! the best thing that ever happened to my Inbox!

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  2. John Coffey

    Lucas ” The Lords of Darkness” you will need to replace all switchs, contacts, and guages.

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  3. Marty Member

    A car that has been submerged under water, even partially, is an excellent example of a car to never own.

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  4. Dave Wright

    These were never a good car…….they actually bankrupted many unsuspecting dealers with warranty claims. Lotus is a chassis builder, I have never studied the real story about the engines in them, were they built in Coventry?

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    • Josh Staff

      The Lotus 907 twin cam engine is actually a marvelous 4 cylinder, but like you say, Lotus was a chassis builder first and foremost. They did have a lot of experience tuning engines though, so I’m guessing they thought it made sense to cut out Ford and just build their own engines. The early versions of the 907 had a lot of issues, but by the time Lotus started sticking them in their own cars, they had worked all the bugs out. Essentially, Jensen became the test bed for Lotus. It worked out great for Lotus, not so much for Jensen.

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      • Dave Wright

        I had a Lotus with that engine a few years ago……….felt lucky to get 1000.00 for it. It was not a good car either.

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  5. brakeservo

    The Lotus engine looked good on paper and unfortunately they went straight from paper to production and left it to the customers and dealers to deal with the unforseen problems. I worked for one of the largest Jensen/Jensen Healey/Lotus dealers when these were new. It was our service department that fixed the oil supply problem to the cam towers, a fix eventually adopted by the factory. As the 19 year old “lot boy” at this dealership I developed a fix for a trim problem that afflicted every Jensen Interceptor, again this was eventually adopted by the factory. By the time I was 20 I developed a fix for a problem with the rear windshield wiper on that ugly and worthless Lotus Elite introduced about 1974 or was it 1975.

    But another reason these cars aren’t really collected today is simple – they are UGLY! They don’t have the grace or style of an Austin Healey or even a Fiat X/19! Heck they’re so plain they make even a TR7 look good!

    Yes, they were awful cars, right off the boat. If there was any rain while being trucked to the dealer, we’d open the door and find an inch or two of water on the floor. My fix was to remove all the rubber plugs under the floor mats in the floor pans to allow the water to drain out, hopefully as fast as the ill fitting tops let it in! So that became part of our PDI procedure too!

    Speaking of terrible reliability, the late actor Robert Conrad and his son came in to look at these. After the salesman and son had been gone for over 45 minutes (this was decades before cell-phones) Conrad asked me in that famous deep booming voice “Is it normal for a test drive to last this long?” To which I replied (as a smart-ass 19 year old kid) “Well, usually if they’re gone that long, we can expect to see them pushing the car back about now” and within five minutes, there they were on Van Nuys Blvd in Sherman Oaks, pushing that little roadster back to the dealership!

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    • Jack

      I was going to make a comment about not buying flood cars, then I read brakeservo’s comment and started laughing so hard about “pushing the car back to the dealership” I forgot what I was going to say.

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  6. Bill

    I came close to buying the GT version (neat little wagon) of one of these when they first came out. Beautiful little car. I wanted to take it for a test drive on a dreary, damp day. It refused to start. I went across the street to the Datsun dealership and bought a Z instead.

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  7. Tundra/BMW Guy

    If anybody is actually entertaining the thought of buying this, I happen to be close by. I would be more than happy to help someone out with looking it over. With that being said, Insurance companies consider a car that has had water up to lower door seal, totaled. In this case water was up to the dash, that’s a whole lot of real-estate, critical real-estate at that, that has been under water. Think about that and then if you are still interested, reply to this post, with a contact for you and we will proceed from there. (in this case, I genuinely hope to NOT hear from anybody, normally I would look forward to a touch up)

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  8. Daytona


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