A Most Excellent Adventure

(with a nod to Bill & Ted)

Time to visit Jason for an annual (aircraft-inspired) inspection and attention to some niggling matters.  So it is over the mountain on a wonderful spring morning, 86 miles distant with at least half on one of my favorite Blue Rascal roads.    Still some leftover roadside snow but the roadway itself is in great condition.  This early in the morning, there is little traffic.  Just one enthusiastic A4 that simply could/would not track through the curves with the ‘Rascal.  Judicious application of speed is important, however, as some sightlines do not provide reaction time for the occasional errant fauna.

Arriving early enough to allow plenty of time for whatever eventualities, I meet up with Jason.  Giving him the wheel to get his take on things, we pass through his weekday shop and see his current customer project on a classic Mercedes convertible.  Then we head for Jason’s  father’s home where we can get to work in earnest.  Driving up into the homestead driveway, I immediately sense that I am witnessing the effect of automotive DNA.  I spot maybe eight garage doors, at least half a dozen vehicles in the parking/driveway area (including some very slick early VWs).   One garage is opened to reveal a wonderful ’32 Ford pickup rat rod — more about that later — whose space I will temporarily displace for a spot on the lift.  Then in the far reaches of the shop I see an intriguing looking circa 1974 Jensen-Healey convertible.  This is looking to be a very interesting day.

Before we settle down to anything demanding, I look over the Jensen-Healey.  Seems that it once graced a magazine cover, but now is more or less a daily driver.  Looks nice (especially in comparison to the Blue Rascal), but no longer is show-ready.  The biggest surprise is that a Chevy 350 lurks under the hood, having displaced the original Lotus motor long ago.  Walt — I meet Jason’s dad for the first time, and he tells me that, among other things, he tows the J-H behind his RV so that he has a run-around car during his travels thoughout the country.  I have seen very few Jensen-Healeys in my time, and in case you’re not familiar with this vehicle, start here.  So Walt turns out not only to be a long-time hotrodder, but is a member of the Jensen-Healey Preservation Society.  And can talk expertly and with great humor on a vast range of automotive topics, dispensing wisdom on how to get a wife to buy into your car scenario, among other invaluable insights.

With the Blue Rascal positioned on the family lift, we began work.  First was a change of oil and filter.  Then a careful inspection of basic systems.    We concluded that the tires probably had another summer left in them, and that we might want to inspect the shocks in a few months again for possible replacement.  Brakes, other suspension bits, drivetrain systems also seemed to pass with flying colors.   Hoses and lines were inspected.  A tiny oil leak not deemed worthy of action at this time was noted.   Jason also checked out the functioning of the gauges, and we talked of a possible future fix for the somewhat inaccurate fuel level display.

For quite some time, an intermittent but very annoying battery drain had been vexing me.  Didn’t take Jason — along with his Fuse Buddy, other tools and his experienced hand — very long to track the issue down to a problematic power window relay.

Jason also tweaked the headlight positioning (some fallout as reported by the PO from that original drive-by accident that bumped the front corner)  and re-aimed the headlights.

Then we planned the next steps, figuring it was about time to complete the project started last year to rebuild the air conditioning (along with the conversion to R134a).  With the Blue Rascal on the lift, the rash-ridden rocker panels were painfully obvious (I do have a nearly prepped right fender waiting in the wings to solve part of that problem), so it was tempting to want to do more body stuff, but that will wait to winter, if needs be, as driving season is here for a few months.  And that, for me, is what Porsche is all about.


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