Newsletter of the Smoky Mountain Austin-Healey Club
Amy Turner, Editor
Number 9 September 1999
Did you see the article in Healey Marque about the May West Knoxville Driving Challenge? It’s great to see that our club is making news in the national magazine and that the rest of the country is getting to know that we’re an active group. The more we do, the more we’ll grow. The more we grow, the more we’ll be able to offer our members. What do you want to see on the calendar? What sort of events would you like to participate in? What do you want our club to be? Take part, take charge of an activity or two, write an article for the local or the national publication, and together let’s make the Smoky Mountain Austin-Healey Club even better than it already is!
Where to Meet
Fiddler on the Roof
Cedar Bluff Holiday Inn at 10:30 a.m.
Sullivan’s Restaurant at 7:00 p.m.
In this issue…
Brits in the Sky*
A Labor of Love*
Since Amy said that I’m always writing in anticipation of things that have already happened, I thought maybe it would be better this month to dwell mostly on the past. Of course I’m not fooling anybody; you know how far behind the times I can be.
I do want to emphasize, however, what a wonderful time Barbara and I had hosting the gathering at our house July 31st. The turnout was really good, especially when the heat of the afternoon is taken into account. But other than driving us inside to eat, it had no effect on the festivities. And speaking of eating, the food everyone brought was soooo good that my only regret is you didn’t leave some there when you left the house. I didn’t get to taste it all.
I must mention the special prize awarded to Paul and Rena. The famous Grainger County Tomato Festival 5K run tee shirt was to be given to all those who had the courage and fortitude to drive a Healey on such a hot day, and they were the only ones. Even Bill Denton, whom I’ve seldom seen in anything else, didn’t do it. Phillip and Margaret came close in their BMW Z3, but it had air conditioning. Sorry, guys!
We had a good meeting with Rick saying we have money in the bank and that we’ve grown into a medium sized club! Paulette gave a delegates report on the St. Louis Conclave, Gary spoke on Healey boats and other things, and Bob talked about the upcoming drive through the mountains in October. That should be one beautiful drive! Plan now to come and invite your friends with other English cars.
P.S. Don’t forget the thespian activities of Amy and Paul in Chattanooga!
What a month! Thank heavens August is so hot and miserable. I haven’t had the Healey out in weeks, and it’s because of the thespian endeavors
Doug was talking about. Paul and I have just completed the opening weekend of Fiddler on the Roof, so everything else has been on hold (eating, sleeping, working, and all that non-theatre stuff). I did manage to drive Healium to rehearsals one pleasant weekend, though, so the month wasn’t entirely wasted.
Fall is fast approaching, and I hope to see many club members at the upcoming events. Paul and I will be pretty much sidelined during September, so I’m looking forward to hearing your reports on Southeastern Classic and those lovely fall drives.
See you on the road!
Brits in the Sky
My father once said, "There might be other places in the world just as pretty as east Tennessee, but we took the trouble to tilt it up on edge so you could look at it." Fall is the best time to look at it, too, so make plans now to join the drive on October 17th (rain date, October 24th). Bob Ricker is planning a wonderful event that will take us through the Smokies, into North Carolina, and over some fabulous Healey roads.
We’ll meet at 10:30 at the Alcoa Wal-Mart. Be sure to bring a picnic lunch and a camera. This drive will top off a beautiful summer of Healeying!
Contact Bob Ricker, 423-694-6086 or 423-873-2005 pager.
Paul and I are grateful that the SMAHC is planning to drive en masse to see the Chattanooga Theatre Centre’s production of Fiddler on the Roof. The August pub night group chose the matinee on Sunday, September 12th. The drive will begin at the Cedar Bluff Holiday Inn and will depart at 10:30 a.m. Chattanoogans Guy and Judy Beaty plan to join us in their one-owner 3000.
The Chattanooga Theatre Centre is a semi-professional theatre that celebrated its 75th anniversary with the 1998-99 season. Probably its most famous alumnus is Jim Nabors, who appeared on the CTC’s stage in 1957.
The Theatre Centre is adjacent to a beautiful walking bridge over the Tennessee River and brand new Coolidge Park, which showcases a gorgeous carousel with animals carved by the people of Chattanooga. A variety of restaurants and shops line the block – in fact, there’s a hat shop that looks like it has wonderful chapeaux for top-down driving.
The park police patrol the theatre’s parking lot, and the theatre is working to provide additional security.
In order to reserve the best seats and get the group rate, please RSVP to Doug Smith at 423-828-3922 by September 9th. If you’d like to see the show but can’t join the group on September 12th, you can make reservations by calling the box office at 423-267-8534.
Directions (Back way)
I realize these directions are pretty complex. There are some tricky maneuvers on one-way streets in downtown Chattanooga, especially around the University. If the group decides to go the back way rather than the Interstate, Paul and I plan to meet you in Decatur on Rt. 58 to guide you into Chattanooga. We must be at the theatre at 1:30, so we’ll have to leave Decatur at 12:00.
Tickets are $15.50 each for the Sunday show ($18.00 for Friday or Saturday), unless we have enough people to get a group rate. The show begins at 2:30, so plan to enjoy lunch at one of the bistros on the riverfront or maybe take a spin on the carousel. Chattanooga has done a lovely job of reviving its downtown…and we hope you enjoy the show, too!
A Labor of Love
by David Campbell
Timing Chain and gears, rod bearings, main bearings, thrust washers, clutch plate, disk, throw-out bearings…terms previously heard but not fully understood. Until, that is, the mother of necessity reared her delightful head and presented me with a 1967 Austin-Healey Sprite and a 1979 MG Midget with multiple needs.
The first acquisition was the Sprite—a homely, sad little broken car stored for about 12 years in the basement of a lady who had intentions of restoring her, while having not a clue as to the logistics involved in automobile restoration. Example: Several of the rust holes had been "repaired" by having sheet aluminum glued over them. Even I was lulled into thinking that all I had to do was peripheral tidying, cleaning, and painting.
At this moment, the Sprite, "Victoria" or "Vicky" for short, sits totally stripped to a body shell inside a hexagonal roll-over frame—much of her lower body tub having been totally excised and replaced by new welded-in panels. A long road of restoration is eminent yet for Vicky.
Realizing that Vicky was not to be immediately on the road, I purchased "Taz", my 1979 blue MG Midget for my driver. Wonderful little car, Taz, but it was not always so. When I inspected her for possible purchase, I couldn't but notice how much of a beauty she was with her new paint, new upholstery, new top, new carpeting, and newly overhauled engine. WOW! And after settling at only $3200, I was excited as I drove off in a cloud of dust. Knocking? What's that knocking?? Where the heck is that knocking coming from?? Crawling over, under, around, and through—listening with tubes and screwdrivers pressed firmly to my ear—bracing pipes and parts with a length of board to prevent vibration. And finally—I traced the knocking to something inside the clutch housing. Oh no!!
So out with the engine and transmission, apart they come, and voila!!!! The mechanic of the previous owner had indeed replaced the clutch with new parts—only thing was he installed the clutch disk BACKWARDS!!! And what happens to a backwards clutch disk?? It beats against the flywheel bolts until they turn counterclockwise and loosen, rendering the flywheel sloppy to beat and bang around in the innards of the clutch housing. But what a learning experience it was!!!!
After replacement with new clutch parts, new bearings throughout, new gaskets and seals everywhere I could find, new timing chain and gears (the same mechanic had installed the timing chain oil thrower backwards as well), replacement transmission (the old one was damaged by the flopping flywheel), and white lithium grease coating all gasket surfaces, she was ready to prepare for the road.
Learning the procedure of replacing electronic ignition with points, setting timing, adjusting valves, torquing everything, adjusting the Weber downdraft carb was all exciting enough. But cranking that 1500—hearing it come to life was pure adrenaline—and adjusting the timing and carb to smooth everything out was unadulterated excitement! I felt as a surgeon whose patient was stirring to breath before his very eyes, and under his caring and skilled hand.
And now she runs. She has carried me far and wide with dignity, with response, with dependability, and most of all, with excitement, joy, and fun. We have won autocross and rallye trophies together. My wife, Paula finds joy within her cockpit, The wind freely blowing through our hair.
Now when I get Vickie, with her road cam in her +3 bored cylinders, on the road. . .
September 12 Drive to Chattanooga to see Fiddler on the Roof. Drive captain Doug Smith, 423-828-3922. Please RSVP by September 9th.
September 13 Pub night at Sullivan’s Restaurant on Northshore.
Sept. 23-26 Southeastern Classic XIII, Hiawassee, Georgia. Contact Sam Marble at 770-972-8747 for information.
Oct. 11 Pub night at Sullivan’s Restaurant on Northshore.
Oct. 17 Brits in the Sky. Drive captain Bob Ricker,
Smoky Mountain AHC Newsletter
Amy Turner, editor
126 S. Jackson Street
Athens, TN 37303-4711
Phone: 423-745-0309 or