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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Taking Inventory for the restoration





Jeff and Laura Peterson were kind enough to check out the Jensen GT for me and arrange for an initial inspection by their trusted mechanic "Kenny" from Day Auto Service in Great Valley, NY. This would help me prioritize work and order parts before the restoration actually begins. Some parts can take months to procure but most parts can be found at "Delta Motorsports" in Arizona and the JHPS ( Jensen Healey Preservation Society) Club Store.

In the hatchback of the Jensen GT, Jim included a great deal of parts for me to utilize when restoring the GT. He put a spare windshield in the back to replace the cracked one presently on the car. This was a huge help as they are very expensive to replace and coupled with the high shipping costs from Arizona ( if they have them in stock), replacement costs alone for the part can reach about $750.00.  He included  stromberg carburator rebuild kits and all the manuals and other documentation which originally came with the car.  Jim removed at some point, all the emission engine controls, pumps, and hoses, which was great. In the mid 70's emission controls were added to cars and in the US, this was mandatory. It bogged down the Lotus 907's power. They added the stuff on to the engine without modifying it too much.  They added originally in 1976 the following things which attributed to loss of pickup and power as well as contributed to OVERHEATING and increases maintenance:

1) Catalytic Converter
2) Anti- run on System
3) AIR PUMP

These things were already taken off the vehicle and stored in the hatchback of the Jensen GT. I will definately will not be needing these again. Once these things were taken off, I can only imagine performance must have improved. In fact, every GT which I have seen restored, does not have any of these controls installed. Mine will not either.

The car was missing a radiator and a few marker lights on the right side. That was it. Besides minor body work on the right side of the car and some  interior refinishing ( headiner, new carpet, dash, and seat covers), the car was basically in very good shape.  Having already restored a Jensen Healey from the ground up, I am very familiar with all the hoses, belts, brake and fuel lines which will need replacing as well as all the upgrades which are now available for the engine. 

Some of the new upgrades items which are available for the Jensen Healey/GT are:

1) New improved water pump ( The original is completely rebuilt and new, better designed parts with longer wear are now available. The car is less likely to overheat as new improved bearings are used and better seals making leakage a thing of the past)

2) New improved Gear shift kit. This kit was designed by a retired engineer ( Pete Bahr). I send him the original shifter linkage and Pete rebuilds the entire assembly utilizing aluminum bushings to replace the fast wearing plastic bushings. The assembly once completed allows crisp shifts with no more trouble "finding" the proper gear.

3) Inproved Lucas alternator...... Well, it's Lucas, but it is supposed to be better than the original. It gives a little more power than the original with better  longtivity.

4) New electronic SU fuel pump to replace the original mechanical version.

5) Petronix ignition - Allows reliable starts and end the replacement of points  and condensor on a regular basis.

6) New three Core Radiator to replace the original 2 core radiator. Solves the cooling problem once and for all with combined with the improved water pump.

7) Dimmer switch and dashboard light upgrade. It took almost 30 years to come up with these but what a wonderful upgrade. The Dimmer  switch is a modified Jaguar XJ6 85-87 and the new bulbs actual put out enough light to see the instruments at night without putting excessive draw on the electrical system. Frank Schwartz, from Hendersonville, TN designed this upgrade. After this upgrade is done, the driver actually had to turn down the dimmer switch so the lights are not too bright.

8) Headlight relays..... allows brighter headlights and less electrical power going through the headlight switch.

9) Air Conditioning - Change parts for the new environmentally safe "gas"

10) Replace original "eyebrow" interior console lights with New super bright  bulbs  and red Lenses.

If I was rebuilding the engine completely, there are many options available, but a complete rebuild will not be necessary as this car has low mileage of 26,000 on the odometer.





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