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Austin Healey 6000

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Post by Joltin Joe Fri Dec 03, 2021 10:38 pm

No misprint, I do mean 6000. The other day, I asked Hotrod to google this Brit car. Told him it has his signature all over it. I suspect more than a few other guys here too. It's a bonified BJ8 at heart, but the similarities stop there.
I wish I had the skills to link one of the many threads being posted about this remarkable car (in my humble opinion, of course). Methinks the owner is really talented, or has more $$$ than God and socks it into this gem.
While I'm "suspecting," let me add, that if Uncle Donald is looking down at this incantation, along with Gregg and Gerry, the three of them have to be smiling.
Check it out, bros

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Post by Hotrod Sat Dec 04, 2021 9:56 am

I believe this is the article you are talking about:

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That's a fantastic piece of work.  It is eerily similar in a lot of respects to the car I'm building, except I didn't want to start with a real Healey.  Too costly and good examples are too hard to find to cut one up.

Here are a couple of articles about Donald Healy's effort to create a V8 Healey.  This car was kind the inspiration to build my car.  sort of a "what if" thing.

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It was a widened 3000 body to accommodate the Roll Royce V8 which is the same thing done to our cars by CR.  The bumpers even look very much like Sebring bumpers.

I don't think Sir Donald would have approved of the 6000.  He is attributed with once having said that he would never allow an American engine to be installed in his cars.  When Austin said they were going to stop production of the 3000's six cylinder, he could have placed a call to any of the Big 3 American auto manufacturers and got as many powerful American V8's as he wanted just on his name alone.  But, he chose instead to go with a very archaic Rolls Royce design that was inferior in every way to anything coming out of the States.  A RR salesman had conned Healey into believing that they had hundreds of the 4 liter V8's left after a failed government contract, but that was a lie.  They only had a few engines and would have had to tool up to make more.  The "no American engines" statement may very well have been true.  After all, you don't get to be "Sir" Donald Healey by promoting non British engines!

In the end, it wasn't lack of modern power that killed the Healey 4000, but US safety and emissions regulations.  Since the US was the largest market of Heaely's sports car, it was decided to just let it die.  The Lotus powered Jensen Healey was supposed to be the new car for the American market, but it was a failure.

Slightly off topic, but something I wish there was more info on is the legend that Carrol Shelby visited Sir Donald to try and buy the big Healey (100-6) roadster chassis' for the Cobra.  Shelby had done some professional driving for Healey, so there was a connection between the two men.  Donald declined, saying that he couldn't build enough cars for his own use.  I find this strange since BMC was actually building the production cars.  Healey was only building the race  versions.  If this story is true, it would tend to lend more credence to the "no American engines" statement.

Also, even further off topic is the story that Shelby actually wanted the Chevy 327 Fuel Injected engine for the Cobra.  It put out over 350 HP in stock trim and the FI would have made it a natural for road racing.  GM refused to sell him the engines because, as the story goes, they didn't want the Corvette to have the competition.  A very short sighted decision IMO since if Shelby's car had been successful, they could have proudly proclaimed "Powered by Chevrolet", but the 'Vette was never a big seller and they didn't want any potential customers diverted to another car.  There is also the possibility that Zora Duntov (the father of the performance Corvette) heard of the deal and pitched a fit.

So what does all this have to do with the Healey 6000?  If the planets had aligned a little differently, the vaunted Cobra may very well have been a Chevy powered Healey!  Think about that.  This story has been peddled on the various Cobra websites for a long time, but the "I bleed Ford blue" crowd refuses to accept it without undeniable proof and I don't mean just in a book somewhere.  I think the only proof they would accept would be if Carrol Shelby himself stood before them and verified it and we all know that ain;t gonna happen.  

Ok, now it's time to go out and work on my own Healey 5700!

Cheers.
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Post by Joltin Joe Sat Dec 04, 2021 3:38 pm

"... eerily similar ... to the car I'm building." Well, no sh#t Sherlock! Why do you think my initial reaction to viewing the Healey 6000 was, "Holy cow!? That's gotta be damn close to Hotrod Mike's beast!"

You raise many, many interesting points re., Sir Donald. Frankly, my own research on the man, his associates, drivers, etc etc, hasn't produced anything concrete to convince me the man was phobic to American engines.
It was Nash-Kelvinator who saved his company with their collaboration on the Nash-Healey. In that chance meeting aboard the Queen Mary in 1949, with George Mason, President of Nash, Healey was literally on his way to America to essentially "beg" GM to sell him their engines.
Mason wished him luck, but fortuitously added: "... but if it doesn't work out, come see me."
It didn't, and he did.
The result was that monstrosity, the Joe E Brown-grilled Nash-Healey. Sir Donald hated the grille and voiced his displeasure often. Still, the deal saved Donald Healey Motors, and Sir Donald says so many times in his memoirs.
Did it make him bitter toward GM? You'd think so. Still, I haven't found any evidence of it.
Carroll Shelby was one of the man's closest American friends. His genuine affection for Shelby was mutual. You're right, Carroll Shelby did drive for him. The two men met often on the Salt Flats where both of them chalked up world records more than a few times ... in Healeys.

Donald Healey was one of those rare birds who seemed to "like" everybody. He was a genuinely nice guy. If there even was a vindictive bone in his body (given the circles he moved in, there had to be), he had ample colleagues in his own country from which to choose.
His relationship with Sir Leonard Lord, case in point. Although, even with him, he had just as many occasions for which to be grateful.
But the real test of wills (after the BL debacle of 67/68) was the arm-twisting over the MGC.
I'm sure you're well aware of that test of wills, so I won't belabor it here.

Ah, Michael, seems you and I are birds of a feather. I only wish I had your skills.

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Post by David V. Sat Dec 04, 2021 7:57 pm

Wow! Thanks for sharing Joe, that's a dream build for sure! Not much for me to critique, and I do love a good nitpick. lol!
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Post by Joltin Joe Sat Dec 04, 2021 8:39 pm

I'm thinking if some enterprising individual found a way to fabricate that Austin-Healey grille logo ('SPEAR' '3000') similar to the take-off used on the "6000" I've been fawning over, I for one would be a buyer.
My own humble example being a mere "5000."

Could the tooling and fabrication be done so the end user could be charged somewhere in the $100 range?
Nah, probably not, still ...

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Post by Hotrod Sat Dec 04, 2021 9:28 pm

There is a way to get custom emblems, but I don't have the tools to pull it off.  I have been looking, though, since I would also like to have some emblems with "5700" on them.

An original emblem would have to first be 3D scanned.  I can't think of any other way to duplicate the emblem perfectly, unless you are or know an artist that could carve one by hand.  Scanners are becoming more and more common, so this isn't an impossible task.  The hard part would be locating one.

The emblem is a complicated "organic" carving that would not lend itself to even CNC machining.   I think the best way to make what you (and I) would like is to find someone that has a good 3D printer that can turn the 3D scan into a solid pattern that has the required changes to the lettering or numbering. That pattern could then be used as a master to sand cast a part in aluminum.

Or, you could use the 3D scan to create a reverse mold with a 3D printer.  That mold could be used to cast a wax core to be used in the lost wax casting process.  This process should produce a much higher quality part, since it is used to case intricate jewelry.

The original Healey emblems were die cast, so casting would make a good reproduction.

There is a process whereby a plastic part can be chrome plated, so you could conceivably get a 3D printed plastic part chromed .  I tried to get a fiberglass Sebring grill surround chromed and found a place that could do it, but it was very expensive ($600!) and not remotely guaranteed.  Of, course an aluminum part could easily be chromed.

The fellow in the article got his made somewhere, so it can done.  I have seen one other example of custom Healey emblems.  Perhaps, there is some company that can produce these types of one-offs.  I doubt that it would be an inexpensive proposition, though.
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Post by Joltin Joe Sat Dec 04, 2021 10:28 pm

"Lost wax" was my first thought, too. Neither of us would be interested in a plastic example. Not sure if there's an issue with copyright after all these years, but if someone was planning on selling generic copies, i.e., 5000, 5700, fill-in-the-blanks, they certainly would.
Was it you or Jerry who mentioned to me the original BJ8 grille surround wouldn't fit? Someone here said it. I know where one is, and the guy was willing to let it go for a song. I remember reading it "absolutely will Not fit," so I told the guy the truth. Moss wants $999 for theirs, and that he should list it for around $300 or so (rather than just "giving" it to me).
It's the same guy with the TVR. He's a quirky little guy, and I kind of feel sorry for him. He's got a treasure trove of Healey parts. Literally, two complete BJ8's ... as wll as that TVR. But, frankly, his people skills leave a little to be desired. It's a shame, all that gold will likely end up in a landfill.
David told me it would be okay to list the '72 TVR in our classified section. I spoke with my 'friend' last night about it. By the time I hung up, I was literally exhausted. No way I'm putting any of the folks on this site together with him.
Not sure why I mention this. I guess just to tie up loose ends. Hopefully, David will pick up on it. Trust me, no one needs that kind of drama.

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Post by David V. Sat Dec 04, 2021 10:51 pm

Wouldn't be too hard to make custom emblems these days. I'd model it in CAD, have it printed on one of the Ultra-Violet cured resin 3D printers, then press the print-out into casting sand and pour the mold with aluminum (or brass if you want it chromed after). Only worth it if you're planning on making a hundred or so of them though, or if you don't value your time.
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Post by Hotrod Sat Dec 04, 2021 11:11 pm

I had a BJ8 surround and it will not fit as is.  I have read of one guy that made it work in a Sebring, but he had to cut up and reshape most of the front area of the car to do it. I have not seen any pictures of it. While it seems like a good change, I would reserve final judgement until I had a look at one that had been converted. The shape of the Sebring was so far off, I'm not sure if it would look right or be obvious.

I still have the BJ8 grill bars, and I think they could be made to work, as I recall.  I used the upper section of the BJ8 surround to make my 100-6 upper brow. It was reasonably close to fitting, but, even that took dechroming the BJ8 part, reshaping it and then having it rechromed.  The lower section of the BJ8 surround was nowhere close to the shape of the Sebring.
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Post by Joltin Joe Sun Dec 05, 2021 1:34 pm

I'm sure David knows how many folks are on this site alone. Maybe we could take a survey of those who would buy the emblems? I'd assume most are running either 5700L, like Mike, or 5000L (actually, 4.9) like me.
I think something like a 50% non-refundable deposit of good faith money is fair. That said, I haven't the foggiest idea what the start-up costs would be. I just think it's a cool idea.

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Post by Stevez Sun Dec 05, 2021 8:15 pm

I need a Mk ll.lll


Last edited by Stevez on Sun Dec 05, 2021 8:31 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Stevez Sun Dec 05, 2021 8:20 pm

Car/Grill Badges – Cloisonné:

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Post by Stevez Sun Dec 05, 2021 8:30 pm

Maybe this guy has experience making AH badges??? Still “need” the cloisonné.

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Post by Joltin Joe Sun Dec 05, 2021 10:13 pm

Thanks, Steve, I checked the site.

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Post by Stevez Mon Dec 06, 2021 9:40 am

I've cast quite a bit of bronze, aluminum and iron for sculpture. I had an advantage of using the university's foundry. As David said, it is certainly doable but takes time. Making the prototype, gathering the materials (resin for the green sand, mold box, etc.), and building or finding a furnace for a one shot pour (green sand mold is not reusable) can certainly be satisfying, but ya gotta wanna do it. 😂🤔 Save up lots of soda cans. 😉Although I still have a five pound ingot of aluminum if someone wants it. I've never done cloisonné, but there are lots of how-to videos. Looks fun.
I love the “do it from scratch” attitude, the creativity and the fun of having something totally unique, but I must admit that if someone is doing it already and makes things simpler for me, I’m happy to support them. lol

If anyone has a “3000” front badge, I’d be interested.

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Post by Hotrod Mon Dec 06, 2021 12:57 pm

Yes, I've wanted to get into casting for quite a while, but I've been building a car! Very Happy

It is a lot work and takes specialized tools.  I have been SLOWLY collecting stuff to build a furnace.  Casting an emblem would be a nice "after the car is finished" project.

I actually have a long list of potential casting projects.  BTW - I have been told by someone that worked in a small foundry that they used old car and truck pistons (cast) as a base for their casting aluminum.  This was due to the high silicon content of the pistons making for a well filled casting.
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Post by lotech Sat Dec 11, 2021 6:17 pm

I'm wondering, if Donald Healey was so dead-set against using an American engine in a Healey, how do we explain the Nash-Healey? Or was it his experience working with Nash that turned him against the idea?

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Post by Hotrod Sat Dec 11, 2021 6:57 pm

Hard to say.  I remember reading that quote in an article many years ago.  It may not be true, but then, history sometimes skews things to fit the preferred narrative.  

After the war, Healey needed to sell cars to the American market, as there was not really a market in Europe (nobody had any money).  The Nash was a deal of convenience but I don't think it was what Healey really wanted.  What he really wanted would eventually become the big bodied Austin Healey's like the 100-4.  Plus there is also the fact that he visited GM to procure Cadillac V8's, but was turned down and that may have been the seed that soured him on American engines.  The Nash-Healey was a failure and that may have added fuel to the fire and further soured him on American business dealings.  In the end, he wound up with a purely British built car, built pretty much to sell in the US market.  Having everything made in Britain, meant that he had much more control over the supply chain.

Had he built a car that depended on American engines, the engine supply could dry up at any time.

Also, the production AH's were built by BMC, not Donald Healey.  BMC saw the prototype car and liked it.  It made sense for BMC to use parts from their production. As I know the story, Healey himself only handled the racing program which was great publicity for BMC and allowed DH to do what he loved.
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Post by David V. Sun Dec 12, 2021 9:34 pm

From my vague here-say knowledge of the subject I believe Mr. Healey being a racing driver would have been looking for a higher performance engine but struck the deal with Austin in order to get the cars into production using the leftover A90 engines.
Fun tidbit that few may know about, before the Rolls-Royce V8 engine prototype was made for the Healey "MK4", BMC had supposedly been further developing the inline-6 with a better flowing and lighter aluminum head and extra crank journals for higher rpm capabilities. The Healey MK4 never came to be as it competed with the more modern Triumph offerings, but the updated inline-6 that had been designed for the MK4 ended up in the MGC (of which few were produced).
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