Agatha A Healey

Posted on January 21st, 2012 by Dave under Austin Healey.
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One day 6 or 7 years ago I got a phone call from a couple who had recently relocated to NM from Florida.  They explained that they had an old ’55 Healey they had purchased from a junk yard and they had brought it with them and thanks to a windfall at a local Casino had some money to restore the car.  Judy just sent this:

“you picked her up in December of 2002 and I made my first drive in October 2003.”

Well, if you say “no” they go somewhere else.  I made arrangements to go look at the car some 30 miles from my location. If I recall correctly I took a friend with me. He was Dan Pendergraft, somewhat of a Healey expert and definitely a Healey racing expert from his experiences with the Healey Challenge series. Here’s one of many links, BTW that’s Dan’s #106 at the front or maybe Phillip Coombs.. can’t tell for sure.. I’m sure I’ll be hearing from one of them…  Ok, it’s not Dan’s #106, his was RHD and no driving lights. Ergo it must be Phillip.. #105

When we arrived we found a pretty sad looking mess. The fenders were held on with duct tape, for instance. It was a right hand drive car. On the positive side it was mostly all there and it had a louvered hood, but no cold air box. We thought that perhaps it was from Jamaica and had made its way to FL. We suggested the owner (Judy) send off for a heritage certificate from the UK and see what we could ascertain of the cars history.

In the meantime we arrived at an agreement and loaded up the “stuff” and had it hauled to my shop for complete tear down.

Start of an odessey

In the meantime the Heritage Certificate arrived and we were all very pleasantly surprised to learn the car was the 2nd factory 100M built. So it went from a desirable Healey 100 to a very sought after factory hot rod! Needless to say our plans of ending up with a nice “driver’ changed to a more aggressive  restoration since the car had suddenly more than doubled in value.

Here is Dan studying the car after it was at my shop and some basic steps had begun.

Ready for the long haul

Rough stuff

Well, I wanted to replace floors and sills and a bit more than Judy, but there was a budget in place so I did as much as I could get away with and no doubt wanted a better result than the customer at this point,  but she still wasn’t as convinced that the car was “that” valuable.

Here, I’ve replaced door hinge panels, trunk floor, bulkhead bits, battery access area and much more and sent it to a body shop/painter who Dan thought would do an economically credible job on the body work.

Judy&Dan at delivery to body shop

Here’s a series of progressions though the body and paint work.. In the meantime I was busy with the engine and trim and interior items…

pieces parts

In the paint booth

Rolling chassis

Back to my shop for assembly…

engine bay and electrical s going in

Engine in, starting to look like a car again..

Bumper back from the plater, lights, windshield..

Here’s another customer and his wife examining the nearly done car. BTW, the Heritage Certificate indicated that the car left the factory as a left hand drive. That change was made early on if you’re wondering..

"Is it safe to drive?"

Well, I’ll just cut to the chase.. Agatha, as Judy named the car, has been a star at most of the shows and conclaves she’s attended.

Judy is a dedicated owner and has become active in several car clubs and become a “gearhead” through her association with Agatha.

Here’s a highlight for Judy when she won a top honor at the San Diego Conclave and Gerry Coker told her that if he’d had his way he too would have used more chrome like we did with Agatha’s rebuild.

Gerry Coker congratulates Agatha and Judy

Thanks to Judy for her pictures she supplied for this entry. dp

Judy just sent this followup note that she wanted included…

“Enjoyed the write-up.  As a matter of fact, I have all the paperwork regarding prior owners/transfers.  More correctly I have the copies as when we registered Agatha in New Mexico they demanded the original paperwork.  Didn’t make me happy, but…
Agatha came into the port of Miami and never left Dade County.  She had 6 owners, the last not including the junkyard was a priest who got her from the wife of a deceased parishioner.  She gave it to him as he apparently was very kind to her husband.  It was that priest who had the accident that sent her to the junkyard.  When she got changed to right hand drive is a mystery as she was originally left hand drive.
It is my intention to keep Agatha.  I’m not sure what will happen to her when I die.  If my husband is still alive, she of course will belong to him.  Otherwise she will be a part of the ‘estate’ and treated as such.  I know I will only want for her to have a good home.  I know, geez, an emotional attachment to a car.
Thanks Dave, Agatha and I are indebted to you.  Oh I appreciate the ‘gearhead.’


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