Sport Wagon: 1976 Jensen Healey GT

1976 Jensen Healey GT

Wednesday might have come and passed, but when we spotted this 1976 Jensen Healey GT, we just had to feature it. Seeing as it’s more a shooting brake and less the typical “wagon” we figured you guys wouldn’t mind. Plus we know many of you are like us and appreciate oddballs! We have always been fascinated by the Jensen Healey and the GT just ups the oddball factor that much more. How can you get much more unique than a Healey designed Jensen shooting brake with a Lotus motor? It is the trifecta of fun, practicality and rarity. This one has spent the better part of 30 years parked and is in need of work. If you’ve been on the hunt for a Jensen project or want a British sports car that can also serve double duty as a junk hauler, have a look at this Jensen here on eBay, where it is being offered with an $8.5k BIN.

Jensen-Healey Lotus 907 Motor

While we would love to have one of these cars, this one makes us a bit nervous. Our main concern is with the engine, and not because it is a Lotus twin cam. The Lotus 907 was a great little motor, but is notoriously finicky to keep in tune and can be difficult to get parts for. Parts supply isn’t what we are worried about, although it is an issue to think about. You see this motor isn’t the original one, but a replacement. A previous owner had the original motor pulled out and a Ford drivetrain installed in its place, which isn’t an uncommon swap. We assume that this motor was recently installed by the seller, but they don’t offer much information about what happened to the Ford motor or the story of how this Lotus motor ended up in it. They do provide the identification information for the motor, which appears to checkout as a correct Jensen Healey motor. The seller claims the motor runs smoothly, but never states whether the car drives. They just say that it will need some work to be a great ride, so we assume that means there are still a few issues to be worked out. This is one of those times when being clear would be extremely helpful, but perhaps they will get on and clear up any confusion or concerns.

Jensen Healey GT interior

It seems that Jensen had hoped that the GT would help with the financial issues they were facing going into 1976. The oil crisis, labor strikes, and parts shortages were beginning to take their toll on the company. The roadster was for the most part a success, at least here in the States, but the company needed another car in their lineup to keep them from closing. They decided to strap a roof to the roadster, add a nicer interior, and bolt a GT badge on it in an attempt to capture more of the coveted GT market. The car turned out to be a great GT for the price, but came out too late to save the company. As you can see, the interior was of much finer build quality than the droptop, with a lovely Walnut dash and nicer upholstery. This car came with cloth seats, but leather was optional. This one’s interior is going to need some work, but looks complete and should cleanup nicely.

Jensen Healey GT

We hate when sellers are vague about a car’s condition, but given how rare this shooting brake is, we have no doubt they will eventually find a buyer. Without knowing more about the condition of its mechanical systems it’s hard to justify their asking price, but hopefully their reserve is set significantly lower than their BIN. It could make for a great project and in the end you would be left with a rare and practical Lotus powered sports car.

WANT ADS

WANTED 1978-1982 Volvo 262 or 780 with a V-8 swap NY area Contact

WANTED 1969-1970 Mercury Cougar XR7 Coupe Looking for a rolling chassis with good sheetmetal in the North East Bub. Any parts considered. thx Contact

WANTED 1970-1972 Honda N600 or Z600 Rough cars that need restoring or for parts Contact

WANTED 1945-50’s Ford Pickups Has engine and transmission Contact

WANTED 67-69 Chevrolet Camaro Looking for an affordable Camaro in need of resto. Something with a solid frame and cowl. Thanks. Contact

Submit Your Want Ad

Comments

  1. Dave

    After reading this article I’m still left wondering. Is it Ford powered or Lotus? You have me confused.

    • Josh Staff

      Hey Dave, sorry for the confusion. This currently has a Lotus engine in it, but it isn’t the original motor. At some point a Ford V6 was installed, but then removed and a correct Lotus engine was installed. The way I stated that in the post was a bit confusing, so sorry about that.

  2. Ric Parrish

    I too am confused about what motor is in it. What ever it is, it looks like an abomination. I would sure hate to have to try to work on it. That’s my problem, I always seem to have to work on this stuff and there is no access.

  3. St. Ramone de V8

    Seems that the original Lotus engine was pulled, and the car was to receive the Ford drive train. Didn’t happen, I guess, and a Lotus set was sourced. Yes, it’s rare, and yes, I like it, but….unless you know these things well it would likely be a much longer, and costlier job to bring it back. Not for just anyone, which narrows the market for it. Those huge rubber bumpers kill the look for me. Could it be fitted with euro-sourced chromies?

  4. ConservativesDefeated

    Last time I saw one was on a hillside in Northern California outside a ,,,,,,,um………….garden. That was in 1978. The bumpers are still hideous. As I read the ad the original owner put in the present Lotus engine and the Ford engine never made it. I think. Pretty car nonetheless after you lose the bumpers

  5. Robert J

    My Jensen Healey blew it’s Lotus engine long ago. It now has a Ford V6 and a four speed manual transmission. It looks to have been a pretty simple swap really. I would definitely pull the lotus engine and put something far more modern (and probably Japanese) in this GT if it were priced right. It isn’t. They are rare, but you can get them for less money than this.

    That being said, I drive my Ford powered Jensen Healey every day when the weather is nice. It’s a blast to drive now that it has been sorted. Mind you I spent all of last Summer getting here.

  6. Henrie

    From the back ( last photo ) it looks like a Triumph Stag ” Coupe “. I know it is not but it just looks like it could be .

  7. RickyM

    Love it. Shame about the US 70s safety bumpers though……a rare good looking GT.

  8. paul

    I like these I don’t think Ive ever seen a real GT except on BF sort of the Volvo ES1800. The 1970’s was a tough time for the designers with these horrible mandated bumpers tacked on & to add insult they had to be a certain height. European cars mostly, had to raise the ride height, so they didn’t handle as well. This add could benefit from some current pictures the bottom picture from the rear, shows the car without the rear wiper, no engine, no hood, the current pictures some grainy, some not, my guess here is the owner doesn’t want you to see or know to much, that being said I would pass on this one. I would bet if the spring were the proper height, source some euro bumpers that I have never seen & sorted the engine problems/ drive line that this would be a fun & practical car.

  9. krash

    ….bumpers that a tugboat would envy….

    (It may be my computer screen but) is that moss (or worse, mold) flourishing in the footwells…

  10. San Jose Scot

    I love the look of these. I also love the 1800ES. They are quite different to drive. The Jensen is much more comfortable and refined. The Volvo will outlive the Jensen.

    The GT was claimed to be a replacement for the Interceptor. For me there was no comparison. The JH was an upmarket TR6 and the GT was an enclosed JH. The Interceptor was a Grand Touring car.

  11. Tim

    Disappointment is a function of expectations, and the Jensen GT is more of a gentleman’s touring car than a boy-racer’s sports car. Drive it accordingly, and it’s a nice Britcar of the period.

    The big rubber bumpers were a 1970’s Britcar solution to Federal requirements, and similar solutions can be seen on other cars, like the rubber bumper MGB, TR6 and Spitfire. They’re not pretty, but if that’s what is holding you back, then the more subtle bumpers from an earlier Jensen-Healey roadster can be installed in their place.

    All Jensen-Healeys and Jensen GTs used the Lotus 907 engine, and that is what is shown in the engine bay photo. Whether the engine is from a J-H or Lotus car is unclear. The alternator and the direction in which the thermostat housing’s outlet pipe points indicates it’s from a Lotus, but those are bold-on parts that could easily be installed on any 907. The cam covers, however, are Jensen-Healey, not Lotus.

    Parts for the Lotus 907 are not a problem. If your measure of ‘available’ means you can get everything at PepBoys or Home Depot, then there’s a problem. But there are a few Jensen-Healey specialists around (Robey in the UK and Delta in the USA come to mind), and a selection of good Lotus specialists, as well as a network of Lotus dealers. Well, okay, most Lotus dealers aren’t as old as the Jensen and only know the current Lotus models, so you’re better off going to an independent J-H or Lotus parts specialist. But the point is, there’s no reason for a Lotus 907 to not be running due to lack of parts. People who know what to do with those parts are more scarce. The consumables, like the oil filter, V-belts, timing belt and tune-up bits (Lucas/ MGB) are generally available locally… if you know what to ask for (join a Marque forum).

    The timing belt is the only point of concern. The 907 is an interference engine (pistons and valves can collide), and the timing belt requires routine maintenance. Not difficult maintenance, just regularly scheduled routine maintenance. Most Americans consider washing the windscreen, filling-up with gas and turning the key to be ‘maintenance’… maybe checking the oil once in a great while. If that’s you, don’t buy a Lotus powered car.

    The seller is unclear about the engine or it’s state of readiness, but this site’s reaction to the engine is a little over done… bordering on Henny Penny. It’s not as bad as all that. I have three 907 powered cars, and the engines are not problematic or difficult to care for. But then, I know how to use a wrench and don’t have to rely on a for-hire mechanic to work on it.

  12. Tim

    The OEM two-piece shaft’s rubber coupling is known to fail, and the one-piece shaft (while not concours original) is considered a strength/ reliability upgrade.

    The 907 is not a clearance engine. That means if the timing belt jumps a few teeth, or breaks, the pistons will wipe out the valves. “FIRST” on the To-Do list should be to replace the timing belt, which is supposed to be replaced every 24,000 miles or 2 years, whichever comes first. The seller makes no mention of the timing belt, and if it has not been replaced, then at 27 years it’s w-a-a-y over due. Sitting under tension in one position is harder on the belt than running in normal service for the same time period. If it were mine, I’d disconnect the battery and not attempt to turn the engine over again until after the timing belt is replaced.

  13. Tim

    The seller has responded with, “Timing belt is a new Flennor item – tensioned correctly”.

  14. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    SOLD for $4,199 with 4 bids. Well bought!

  15. Thomas

    I have the opportunity to pick up an all original 1 owner 1976 Jensen GT in decent shape but I’m not sure if I should make an offer. The people need it gone and I’ve never even seen one before so I’m not sure what to do

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      Thomas, it’s a Jensen Healey with a hatchback. There’s not a huge following for them but I’ve known people who have been very happy with one. Thank of it as a less reliable but more exotic Volvo 1800 ES.

  16. Thomas Saucedo

    I appreciate your feedback Jamie Palmer! I think it’s a cool little car and I love the fact that it’s the first one I’ve ever seen in person and I like things not everyone has. If I get ahold of it it will be a fun car for my wife and I to work on and cruise together!

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.