Monday, April 8, 2013

5k: GNXensen Healey: 1974 Jensen-Healey w/ Buick 3.8 V6 Turbo Swap

The Jensen-Healey was the by-product of a union between Donald Healey, noted British car designer Bill Towns, and Jensen Motors.  It was a failed attempt to recreate the magic that made the Austin-Healey 3000 such a hit (and collectible today) but it was too late for Jensen Motors as financial and operational difficulties led to the company folding in 1976.  Equipped wtih a Lotus built inline-4 cylinder engine the Jensen-Healey was a fun and sporty convertible, but we think it really doesn't come alive until you shove something bigger under the hood.  Find this 1974 Jensen-Healey with a Buick 3.8 V6 turbo swap for sale in West Bend, WI currently bidding at $4,500 on ebay with 5 days to go (buy it now of $7,500).  Big thanks to tip from Scot!


The Jensen-Healey followed the classic British 1960s sports-car proportions and is dimensionally similar to a Triumph TR6, MGB or Spitfire.  Unfortunately, the Jensen-Healey was late to the party and as such only lasted a few years before the entire stack of cards came tumbling down.



The original Lotus 907 engine (an alloy DOHC screamer) has been replaced with a turbocharged and carburetor equipped 3.8 liter V6 from a Buick Regal Grand National.  The 3.8 liter V6 makes 175 horsepower and 275 ft-lbs of torque stock - but as typical with turbocharged engines, many ponies can be freed with a few tweaks to boost pressure.


 Thankfully this conversion kept a manual transmission instead of converting to an auto, and overall looks really nice on the inside. 


This GNXesen-Healey looks great with low-key wire wheels and a nice red paint job; the only thing we would change is to remove the monster sized cowl induction hood.  Presumably it is required to clear the turbo/carb setup on the Buick engine, but there has to be a hood option that is a bit more stealthy.



See a better V6-Turbo roadster? email us here: tips@dailyturismo.com

8 comments:

  1. Id go to a efi swap just to get rid of that hood. As an added bonus efi would make it much more useable and tunable.......also it would make room for a more stock apearing hood.

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    1. ~ that is exactly what should be the order of business. more tuning range, better drivability, more fuel economy, no hood wart. four benefits, one price.

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  2. Well, it is interesting car however that is not a GN (or X) Turbo. That is a "T Type Turbo" (even found in the Turbo Monte Carlo). The kind that made as much power N/A as it did Turbo'ed because as the boost went up the timing went back (what the turbo givith the distributor takith away)

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    1. You are pretty wrong on that buddy. That is a hot air set-up from the 84-85 cars. GN's and T-types got identical drive trains, except in very rare instances...i.e. a few T-types actually had 305's.

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  3. I think it would be an interesting drive since a 5-speed is mated to an old GM turbo

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  4. This is actually a 78-80 carb turbo set up. The intake and exhaust manifold are how you can tell. The first injected version was in 84 and the first intercooled version was in 86. The first Buick Grand National was built in 82 and there were only 215 of them built, and only a few were turbo charged. A Chevrolet engine was never installed in any Buick Regal from the factory, however, the Oldsmobile 307 did get installed in T types in 87 only. This is actually a set up from a Regal sport coupe because the T type didn't get produced until after 81. These are just a tuneable as the fuel injected models if you understand how they work. There's even several upgrades you can do to the turbo now. In case you wonder who I am the name I use on the turbo Buick sites is charlief1 and I specialize in this design turbo system.

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    1. ~ great authoritative input, charlief1. thanks!

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  5. EFI or carbureted, the Buick engine is too tall to fit under the hood of a Jensen Healey. A Rover/Buick aluminum 218, SBF Ford 302 or the Cologne V6 fit fine though. My Jensen Healey has a Cologne V6 in it and it is a blast to drive.

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