Painting the Healey

Once the metalwork had been largely complete, I needed someone to paint the car…at which point my good friend Paul Birkin from Birkin Brothers in Buxton put his hand up.  Whilst Paul and his sons stick to crash repair (normally), given Paul’s love of Healeys he agreed to paint it for me….and what a job!

The initial preparation took the majority of the time, with much time spent on ensuring that the panel gaps were absolutely right.  Each panel was trial fitted, then fettled until the fit was near perfect.  Incidentally, the panel fit from the original Jensen works was said to be fairly poor!

Once the crew were happy with fit, next stage was to get each pane the right shape, remove any imperfections and the lay some paint on to check the work.  You have to admire the sheer dedication of the Guys in working through the panels, until everything is right.

The next stage was to remove all the panels and paint the main body to wings, doors, bonnet and boot.

The above photo’s clearly show how the Healey is literally a chassis, with internal panels welded on then the front and rear aprons carefully attached.  All the other panels are then carefully attached with bolts.  Care is needed at this point, as the aprons are aluminium and the inner structure and wings are steel.  If the two metal are directly attached an electorate process starts to take place, leading to rusting of both metals.  We used imperial fasteners from Leyton Classics UNC range to fasten the panels together, with stainless fasteners used where possible.

 

The next stage was to build the car back up into the completed vehicle, another highly time consuming stage.  This is one time in restoration where things do become quite satisfying!  putting the vehicle back together with refurbished or new parts, rubbers, brightwork etc is the part I always look forward to.

However this is always the point when, on completion, you turn on the ignition and find out exactly what is and isn’t working!