[Healeys] amazing cars

Michael MacLean rrengineer.mike at att.net
Thu May 9 12:43:10 MDT 2019

 It's heart warming to see my late friend Tom Rocke's cars maintain their value.  I was at his shop many times during the construction of both of these cars.  As to the question of the wood rimmed steering wheel.  Tom actually did not like the look either.  He much preferred the look of the original spoke steering wheel.  He installed the wood rimmed wheel because of the customers at the typical auctions he sold these at.  He said it make the car look toy like.  Most of the people buying an Austin Healey BJ8 or 100M were not Healey lovers like you and me.  A lot of them were investors, as in the case of the 100M or first time buyers that just liked the look of the car and could afford the artificially inflated auction prices.  The customers were the ones that liked the wood steering wheel.  To be clear, these were not 100 point cars.  They were close, but Tom would do small things to improve the longevity of the car.  Such as, the bracket at the edge of the engine bay  that the hood prop would key into when you opened the bonnet. That bracket would be chrome plated in Tom's cars.  He explained that it would get scratched the first time you opened the bonnet if it was painted as original.  The bumblebee sparkplug wire was not factory original, but looked good when the bonnet was open to the customer that did not know the difference.  Tom knew his customer's at Barret Jackson or RM auctions.  Sometimes he would get the self proclaimed Healey expert  come along before the auction during inspection telling him that he was ruining the hobby by over restoring the car. Funny, these experts were never buyers.   Tom would paint some of the cars non-original colors and they would still sell for high prices.  He was the only seller at these auctions that would guarantee the car mechanically for one year.  Tom built the engine for my BN2 restoration I am proud to say.  Without his help my Bugeye would not have come out as well as it did.  He was frequently just giving me parts I needed or selling them to me ultra cheap.  Tom gave me a set of carbs for my Bugeye that were missing when I bought the "basket case" car.  He sold me BN2 transmission with only 10,000 miles on for only $1100 for mt BN2 project..  That was a gift as far as I am concerned.  It could have been sold for much more.  He had a great sense of humor too.  I miss him dearly.Mike MacLean

    On Thursday, May 9, 2019, 10:29:31 AM PDT, Bluehealey <bluehealey at gmail.com> wrote:  
 I have to agree they are both lovely looking cars. Why, oh why though, do restorers who purport to know what they are doing insist on using MGB style wood rim steering wheels (‘T’ spoke configuration)? It is so wrong! The correct AH configuration is at 120deg spacing as all you fine people will know. It is as crass as putting the fender spears on backwards - an abomination.JM2CRant over.
Alan - from my iPad
On 9 May 2019, at 17:02, i erbs <eyera3000 at gmail.com> wrote:

Ira ErbsPortland,OR      _______                                  _______
     (______ \____1959 BN4____/ _______)
         (_________________________)          BT7 engine and disk brakes

1967 MGB  
A racing car is an animal with a thousand adjustments. Mario Andretti
Please excuse random auto corrects and misspelled words

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