The Healey: Pizza Run

Moon Over Healey

Yesterday brought a lovely evening to Seattle. This necessitated taking a ride in the Healey. What better excuse for a Healey ride than a pizza run? There are few things in this world better than rumbling around in a sportscar on a warm summer evening. A full belly and a full moon inspired the shot above. I wish I had a real camera with me and not my iPhone; however the best camera is the one in your hand.

Delicious Pizza

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|Project Kyoko| A 200,000 miles service done on complete accident…

Ok, ok. So I’m super sorry for the blurry pictures, but I am terrible at taking pictures. And also my digital camera was made before the turn of the century… I really need a better camera.

However, let the log commence!

So it’s been FOREVER, since I’ve written a project log update for Kyoko. However, that doesn’t mean that no work has been done on the car. For a while, I was having a micro-drama with seemingly constantly having to replacing parts on Kyoko. However, I suddenly had an epiphany which made all of the drama seem mute.

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The Healey: Getting Rolling Again

MjolnirThe Healey was mostly dormant for a few decades before we exhumed it. It had its original 48 spoke wire wheels with ancient retread tires.  This was not a setup we wanted to drive any distance. New wheels and tires were easily ordered through the nice folks at Hendrix Wire Wheel and Moss Motors.
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|Feature| – John Pattison’s Stunning Starlet

I’m really digging John Pattison’s Toyota Starlet Glanza. The Glanza is is a car that I wish we could have had here in the States. Small, lightweight and turbocharged, the Glanza is basically a micro-fun-box.

Based in the UK, Pattison has modified his Starlet to be a fairly quick street car. John has a pretty good understanding of the Starlet, being the secretary of the UK Starlet Club, so you can tell, even at a glance that he’s made a well-rounded package. The modifications are fairly light, but with a focus in all of the right places to be potent.  Currently, the car is running at 1bar of boost on the TD04 to reach the 235bhp on standard internals.

The car at present is away to have a stage 2 Forge Motor and should make 270-280 bhp @ 1.4bar. I hope that John sends us more photos when his car comes back, so that we can see the updates!

  • Engine Mods: Race-Tech TD04 Kit Manifold,De Cat, Japspeed FMIC, Magnecore HT Leads, Japspeed Cat Back Exhaust, EManage Blue ECU, JD Tuning Engine Damper and OEM LSD Gear Box
  • Interior Mods: Blitz SBC-ID boost controller
  • Exterior Mods: 15 Inch Rims, Varis Carbon Bonnet, IDWorkz Varis Bumper
  • Suspension Mods: KYB Shocks all round fitted with Tien 40mm Springs (Soon to be replaced with Miester R Coilovers)  Front Brakes upgraded to Levin Twin Pot set Up,  Yellow Stuff Pads,  OEM Front and Rear Strut Brace’s  Tegiwa Brake Stopper



Thanks for these photos, John!

The Healey: Radiator Recore Reduces Running Radiance

Free Range Radiator
After a couple of drives around the neighborhood, the first system to raise its hand for attention was the cooling system. The radiator developed a healthy leak in its core.
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The Healey: An Introduction


StartingGrid’s latest project car is this 1960 Austin Healey 3000. This car is a driving adventure. It makes incredible sounds and is an attention magnet. It seems that everyone has an uncle or in-law who had a Big Healey at some point in their life. In the short time we’ve had this car, we’ve already had several conversations with folks who have shared stories of adventures they or their family members have had in Healeys. My wife and I have signed on to be Healey adventurists.
Healey in suspended animation

I too have an in-law who had a Big Healey. This car was owned for nearly four decades by my father-in-law. He kept it in his heated garage and tinkered on it, lovingly maintaining and improving it, but rarely driving it. He’s a busy guy with a ton of competing interests, adventure for him does not necessarily involve roadside field expedient repairs of a half century old sports car. Being a rocket scientist (no, really) he’s doing the smart thing and replacing the Healey with a Miata.

The Healey in the Carport

I’ve been working on bringing the Healey out of hibernation and hope to make it a reliable daily drivable car. While I don’t intend on commuting in this car, you will see it Street Parked as my wife and I take summer evening spins and impromtu runs into the mountains to echo the hills and valleys with the sounds of this straight six.

Maybe you’ll see the Healey at an event soon? I’m not a show and shine sort, favoring instead driving and racing. Stay tuned for more updates. I’ve already completed a few projects and am so far really enjoying working on this car. The Big Healey has a long history of being a sturdy adventure partner. They were entered in LeMans and did well in international rally competition. It should be happy to put up with the occasional autocross, right?

Aaron Severson of Ate up with Motor wrote a great history of the Big Healeys.

|Photo| This too is factory ride height


Davin’s post of the Lamborghini creeping out of a driveway resonated with me as my newest most recent addition to the fleet is at stock ride height but scrapes over everything. That’s the exhaust in the picture above. It’s about three and a quarter inches off the ground.


These exhaust clamps dangled another half inch or so lower, making this car able to drive over things only a little thicker than a crushed soda can without scraping.

Some quick hacksaw work increased the ride height to a streetable level. I can’t go anywhere near a speed bump though. Speed bumps, it appears, are a newer invention than is this car.

Stay tuned for a formal introduction. You’ll be seeing a lot more of this car.

Project Kyoko- A weekend full of adventure!

Well, if you want to call replacing a water pump an adventure. TJ and John K spent all Sunday helping me replace my water pump, thermostat, timing belt and radiator hoses.

Honestly, it was probably one of the more straight-forward repairs that we’ve done on Kyoko. I was smart enough to bring extra cash, so that we could pick up tools as we needed. Plus, TJ’s mom ordering pizza made working through the hours easier. Hopefully, my car karma will start to change so that I can start doing some autocrosses and track days soon…(fingers crossed)

Meanwhile, I installed a new Momo Corsa steering wheel, and painted my valve cover. (Priorities, right? ;)) I’m not sure if I like the flat-bottom wheel design yet, but I do love the new steering postion. It brings the wheel closer to me, and gives me more spaces for my knees and legs. I’m going to have to give it some time…

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Bonus! – My girlfriend picked up a new car! She bought herself a white SW20 (NA) MR2 on Saturday. She hasn’t named it yet, but I got a chance to take it for a quick test drive once she brought it home. The 2.2 liter has more torque than the Miata does, but it does not have powersteering, so it’s a bit heavy.

Still, it’s pretty exciting to have the engine start up behind you. She’s talking about raising the car just a bit, so that she has better ground clearance. (The previous owner decided that hellalow was better than hellasafe.)

The most important thing is that 1) it runs, and 2) Lisa really likes it. So that’ll be an exciting mini-project coming up soon.

Project Kyoko- Autocross thrills and spills…

So this weekend, I’ve experienced the most expensive autocross runs I’ve ever had. I had decided to head down the 70+ mile drive to Bremerton Motorsports Park to race at the BSCC event there. I had spent the few days before doing upkeep on Kyoko, and picking up some used Toyo R888 tires that I could race on.

I’ve had some wonky (ie: crappy) Miata luck when it comes to going the track, lately. But when you love something you can never keep away, so I decided once I gave the car a once over that I would go and run the morning session away. My plan had been to ‘hedge my bets’; in case Kyoko had problems by dual-driving Mike’s GTI in the afternoon, so I could get some racing done. I felt like I had been a good enough person that my car would actually run an entire event, problem free.

Kyoko had some other ideas…

My first run went fine, as I was taking it pretty easy, just to make sure that all my wheels stayed on etc. It was decently quick for a shakedown run (63.xxx), so I decided that on my next run that I would start to up my pace. (Just jump straight to: 36 seconds, because I’m too lazy to edit the video.)

As I went into the slalom, I noticed a strong familiar (i.e.: frustratingly detectable) scent of coolant, so out of reflex I lifted off the throttle, which then spun the car. I love how no one notices my clean runs.

Pulling back into the grid, the smell worsened. I leaned under the car and saw that Kyoko was just vomiting coolant on the ground. At this point of my Miata-fatedom, I just decided that ‘it figures’, and pulled my car off to the side of the pit area. After opening the hood, I saw the source of my woes.

You can see where a hole blew out the back of the radiator, and was just streaming coolant onto the ground. It was probably just old and ready to go. (So that’s nice… Not really.) I scrambled to get my phone, and started to call up as many parts areas that I could get the number for. I had three things on my side.

  1.  There was a parts store that had a spare radiator. (Lucky)
  2. Steven and his girlfriend Tracy were also at the track, and were able to give me a ride to pick it up. (OMG, one thousand thank yous, as they totally saved me!) (Lucky x 2)
  3. I’m at the racetrack, so people have tools everywhere. Totally better than having a failure on the freeway. (Lucky x 3)

Steven and I were able to get the new radiator into the car in under an hour, but by the time that we were finished the afternoon run group was deeply underway. (There are times where I wish that autocross just had open run entry…)

So what did I get out of this weekend? 1.5 autocross runs, and a new radiator ($200 in total). Am I having fun yet? 😉

Project Kyoko: And then there were three…

Quick update: So tires and wheels have been the name of the game for the last few weeks. I was able to find a great deal on Toyo R888s that I wasn’t able to pass up. All it required me to do was to drive down to Chase Race in Duvall, pay for them and pick them up. Doug was super awesome, and already had the tires mounted and ready to go when I arrived.


While Doug was mounting the new tires to Kyoko, I took some time to look around his new shop. You can see the Civic racecar being worked on in the corner. (Sorry for the blurry cameraphone shots)


Afterwards, I drove back up with my now ‘third’ set of spare wheels and headed home to complete another project. I’m debating on whether I’m going to have these wheels painted too, or leave them alone. Although now I have a room that’s full of random wheel/tire combinations, I am really excited to actually have some nice rubber for autocrossing.


Speaking of painted wheels, though! Blue! I finally had a chance to test fit the ones that I had painted last night. I’m still not sure if I like them, but I’m trying them out for the weekend to see if I’m feeling them or not. I do really think that the blue really does pop, and these will make good trackday mule wheels. (So I guess it really doesn’t matter how they look.) Plus they were pretty much free, so I shouldn’t really complain.