Something very rare happened last Sunday. I completed the restoration of a 1974 Jensen Healey….a two year project done mostly in my shop. I won’t bore you with too many of the details, but my goal was to build a car that the factory would have built had the company lasted another five years (sort of like trying to build a 1972 Healey 3000 Mark IV or V). Fortunately the car, and particularly the Lotus 907 engine, lend themselves to numerous period upgrades. In any case, anyone who has ever done a BIG restoration knows that “it’s not finished when it’s finished”. Sorting out still needs to be done.
In my case, that adage was more than correct. One of the very last tasks I did (even after having the car running and driving a bit) was to install the dead pedal. Most of you know that as a place to rest your clutch foot when not shifting. Four little screws into the inner front trim panel and I would be done. That is until I turned the key……and a huge cloud of smoke poured from under the dashboard! Luckily I had installed a battery cut off switch and the fire was put out without extensive damage or the use of an extinguisher (and that mess).
So what happened? Would you believe that the very LAST dead pedal screw went right through a hidden portion of wiring harness behind the panel, and directly shorted the 12 gauge wire (unfused thank you Mr. Jensen) that runs to the fuel pump in the boot. Instant meltdown.
Finished was not quite finished. Out came the interior on that side of the car, in went my lithe torso under the dash and up to the waist for several hours of patching in a new section of wiring harness, a couple of burnt switches and relays and lots of testing before reengaging the battery.
So - about last Sunday. I drove the Jensen home from my shop on Saturday night and took Cindi to dinner in it. Drove back to the shop on Sunday morning, parked the car, got out and realized that I did not have ONE MORE thing on my punch list. Finally, finished really is finished! I will have the car at the Laguna Beach Show in October….I hope the rest of the Healey guys will have me. But that’s a story for another day