Rides from the Readers: 1974 Jensen-Healey Mk II

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Peter Madison

Hagerty readers and Hagerty Drivers Club members share their cherished collector and enthusiast vehicles with us via our contact email, tips@hagerty.com. We’re showcasing some of our favorite stories among these submissions. To have your car featured, send complete photography and your story of ownership to the above email address.

Today’s featured car is a 1974 Jensen-Healey Mk II. Launched at the 1972 Geneva Motor Show, the Jensen-Healey first set itself apart by its understated exterior; its minimally contoured hood sloped to a simple bumper, with an intake mounted beneath it rather than in the center, like contemporary Triumphs. However, the mechanical bits made the Healey-designed, Jensen-built roadster anything but a snoozer. (Fun fact: Jensen also fabricated bodies for the Austin Healeys and Volvo’s P1800.) Sunbeam gearbox, Triumph brakes, Vauxhall suspension and rack-and-pinion steering, and, best of all, a 2.0-liter Lotus 907 twin-cam engine that revved happily to 7000 rpm and made 145 hp. Add to that recipe a 2300 curb weight and an accessible asking price, and you’ll wonder why the handsome, capable roadster wasn’t a smash hit. Sadly, the Lotus powerplant proved to be high-maintenance, and extensive rust plagued these cars. However, these issues don’t discourage the car’s true fans, as this example attests.

This particular Mk II, nicknamed “Sun Fun,” belongs to Peter Madison. The 1974 model year was the first to boast chrome bumpers, but Madison decided to tone down the bling with some body-color paint. Under its sky blue paint, however, the roadster boasts a healthy dose of mechanical spunk. After its original engine suffered from piston slap, Madison installed a new 907 powerplant, which he afterwards rebuilt with a 2.2-liter stroker crankshaft, high-compression pistons, a “104” camshaft, and the Euro-spec, Dellorto side-draft carbs. The Mk II puts down around 200 hp to summer compound tires and, thanks to sway bars and a beefy roll bar, will happily carve up some back roads on a Saturday night drive.

“It may not be a very good investment,” writes Madison, “but when driven on a cool summer evening, the delays and dollars spent are soon forgotten.” And that, as we know, is what this hobby is all about.

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