[Healeys] Anyone know either one of these guys?

Bob Spidell bspidell at comcast.net
Fri Feb 6 09:14:46 MST 2015

I should add that sometimes the buyer's story is true. My father always disliked 'foreign' cars, having owned, worked on and driven nothing but American brands since his youth. However, he changed his tune after we rebuilt the engine on my BJ8 and he offered to 'break in the engine for me'--he ended up putting 600 miles on the car over a weekend. Dad always keeps an eye on the local want-ads for interesting mechanical stuff and a while later he called to say 'there's a 1956 Austin-Healey for sale in Turlock (California) for $12,500' (this was many years ago). I didn't know much about the early cars at that time and, thinking it was an early 6-cyl car said if it's in good shape it's probably worth that. Dad said he'd go have a look. 

Dad called the next day to say he'd bought the car. He said there was another potential buyer sniffing around; it sounded like the guy was 'bird-dogging' for a buyer in the Bay Area, possibly for a dealer/broker or well-heeled collector (but it seems most 'collectors' want to buy the end product of other people's work). Anyway, Dad and the seller (his name was Jess) hit if off and Jess didn't like the 'scout,' and when Dad mentioned it was his son that was really into these cars Jess said 'well, if it's it for your son you can have it for $10,000.' The deal was made and Jess--who was a wealthy contractor/businessman--had one of his workers deliver the car to us on a flatbed the next day. Jess and Dad remained good friends until Jess died a few years ago; unfortunately before I had a chance to meet him. 

The car? Well, it was a 4-cylinder car, one of those funky ones with louvers in the hood with a leather strap across it. Jess had a Nash-Healey that Dad considered buying but it was the later model--not the Panelcraft one--with the headlights in the grille and Dad didn't care for the look. Truth be told, I wish we'd bought it, pickled it and thrown a cover over it (same with the Ercoupe he had hanging from his shop's ceiling). 


----- Original Message -----

This is a recurring theme ... 
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