Well Documented: 1974 Jensen-Healey

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Upon its 1972 release, the Jensen-Healey caused great excitement in the automotive world. It brought together three of the greatest names in British sports car production, and with low and sleek styling and a twin-cam engine, success seemed assured. However, Jensen was in financial difficulties, and the little Healey couldn’t save the company from collapse. Our feature car is a 1974 model that has spent its life in a dry climate. It is a rock-solid survivor with significant documentation tracing its history back to Day One. It has some minor needs, but there are no insurmountable shortcomings.

Donald Healey contracted Jensen Motors to construct the bodies for his iconic Austin-Healey 3000. When production ended in 1967, both companies had spare factory capacity and nothing to fill the void. Spurred on by Kjell Qvale, North America’s largest Healey dealer, the companies began negotiating a joint-venture model. Qvale tipped in a pile of cash, and the development of the Healey-Jensen commenced. The design of the new model wasn’t performed by one person, although William Towns made a significant contribution. Many will agree that the result was far more attractive than the Lagonda he penned for Aston Martin. The first owner ordered this 1974 Healey in stunning Tangerine with a pair of tops. The hardtop is in good order and wears Black vinyl, and the seller says the matching soft-top is equally impressive. The paint holds a respectable shine, and with no significant defects in it or the steel, potential buyers can consider this Jensen a tidy driver. One genuine Jensen-Healey weakness is a tendency to rust. However, the underside shots confirm this classic is as solid as the day it rolled off the line. The trim and glass are in good order, and the wheels are spotless.

The seller admits the Jensen’s interior needs love, and it is hard to disagree. The dash pad has succumbed to the California sun, the seatcovers are shredded, and there is carpet wear. However, the door trims and most of the dash components appear okay. Throwing some slipcovers on the seats would improve the appearance and make it serviceable as a short-term solution. A partial retrim seems inevitable, and reproduction parts are readily available. Prices vary widely, so the new owner needs to take their time during their search.

Jensen Motors and Donald Healey were two names behind this British classic, and the third party was Colin Chapman. Healey approached Ford and BMW but could not secure engine supply contracts with either. Chapman stepped forward with his Lotus 907 DOHC four-cylinder powerplant. Jensen coupled this motor with a Chrysler four-speed manual transmission, and the Jensen-Healey was up and running. The engine produces 140hp and 130 ft/lbs of torque, allowing this little classic to cover the ¼-mile in 16.2 seconds. The seller has been this car’s custodian for eighteen years and is selling it because they no longer drive it. They recently fitted new tires, confirming the vehicle runs and drives. Their listing includes an embedded video with the engine running and that Lotus four sounds crisp and clean. It comes with a collection of Service Records and documentation tracing its history to Day One.

The seller confirms this 1974 Jensen-Healey has spent its life in California, and it is currently located in Palos Verdes Peninsula. It presents well for an original survivor of its age, with the interior its only genuine weak point. However, with the parts to address these shortcomings readily available, the new owner could perform a satisfying retrim in their home workshop. The seller has listed the Jensen here on eBay in what appears to be a No Reserve auction that opened at $4,500. There are no bids, opening the door for someone to become its new owner with a single bid. Is that enough to tempt you?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Howie

    Many years ago i had one, nice color, i do not remember those big black rubber bumpers on any of them.

    Like 2
    • OtterdogMember

      Mine had a chrome trim fit to the top of the bumper. Chrome got bent up as part of regular use, never really looked any better than all black

      Like 0
  2. Joe MecMember

    Looks like a very fair starting price. It’s a car that people from the Northeast drool upon. No rust!! The paint looks great. The interior is an easy fix with a better looking steering wheel added and this looks to be a great driver!! Cali cars are the opposite of Northeast cars: dried out interiors and solid metal versus rust and usually good interiors! Good color!!

    Like 2
  3. Eric_13cars Eric_13carsMember

    Nice car and a fine price. Wrong coast for me. Since this engine is a notoriously interference type with a serpentine belt driving the cams, I wonder if the belt could in some way be replaced with a timing chain. I know it would be noisy but would eliminate, for the most part, the belt breaking issue. Sure, one could say, just regularly replace the belt. Much easier, but I still wonder.

    Like 1
    • tompdx

      On the plus side, that external belt looks easy to change!

      Like 2
  4. SteveRM

    Those bumpers absolutely ruin what would otherwise be a good looking car.

    Like 2
  5. RedRacer

    Having worked on these almost exclusively for 45+ years, this looks like a very good deal due to the lack of rust. The floorboards look excellent, but it would be nice to see the inside of the fender wells and the top of the floorboards to be sure.
    The rubber bumpers are the 5 mph “crash” bumpers that had to be on all 1974 1/2 cars, MGs, Porsches, etc. Starting with chassis # 18320 for the rubber bumpers, Jensen put their remaining 4 speeds in them until chassis # 18950, whereupon they put the 5 speed Getrag in. One could retrofit the metal bumpers if desired.
    As for the top, it is the aftermarket SNUG TOP and not the factory one which had a rear window defroster in it.
    In response to Eric’s question about a metal timing chain, there is a much better belt (blue in color) that was used on the 1986 NISSAN MAXIMA 3.0L , GATES T104RBV6 (Rockauto), that does not stretch, thus alleviating the fear of stretching and jumping timing

    Like 5

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