Newsletter of the Smoky Mountain Austin-Healey Club

Knoxville, Tennessee

Amy Turner, Editor



Number 3 March 2000


National Officers Meeting

As noted in the January newsletter, the AHCA national officers will be meeting in our area on March 10 - 12. Volunteers are still needed to provide transportation between the airport and Tellico Village, bring munchies, and to generally show our club's appreciation for the hard work our national officers do. Call Bryan Broadhead at 966-7098 to offer your help.


Upcoming Events



Where to Meet

Mar. 10-12

National Officers Meeting

Call Bryan Broadhead at 966-7098 to see how you can help.

Mar. 13

Pub Night

Sullivanís Restaurant at 7:30 p.m.

Mar. 25

Brushy Mountain Drive

Meet at Campbell Station Road Cracker Barrel at 9:30 a.m.




In this issueÖ

National Officers Meeting *

Prez Sez *

Smoke Editions *

SMAHC Online *

Spridget Raid to Crimson Tide Territory *

First Drive of the Year 2000 *

Tech Tips for Spring *

March Calendar *

Upcoming Events *

Prez Sez

March is upon us and true to form it looks like "in like a lamb" is for real. Actually a few weekends like the end of February and weíll say itís definitely "peachy." The last few days have been great Healey weather, so if you have not been driving your Healey this winter dust off the cobwebs and let's get going. Our first drive of the year is coming up on March 25, so you have a few weeks to get everything ready. We are going to Brushy Mountain and itís a wild and wacky ride. See the article elsewhere for meet time and location.

Congratulations are again in order for Gary and Amy for the excellent article in Healey Marque that introduces Gary as the National President. The article is really neat with some nice pictures. All I want to know is WHO POSED IN THE SWIMSUITS!

At our January planning meeting, we discussed the upcoming gathering of the AHCA officers in our backyard at Tellico Village on March 10-12. This is an excellent time for us to meet, chat with, and serve our national officers. We had 3 couples volunteer to prepare food and 3 individuals expressed an interest in escorting the officers to and from the airport. I will be contacting various individuals for your help, if you havenít been 0contacted by Friday the 3rd and wish to help, please call me at 966-7098 and let me know.

Remember the National Conclave is July 23-27 and will be upon us before we know it. I have applications if you need one (also look at Letís have a great showing in Indianapolis this year. And as alwaysÖLetís go Healeying!


Smoke Editions

The driving season is just around the corner! Healium has been out twice since the year began, and I've reminded myself each time that I'm lucky to live in Tennessee where winter occasionally teases us with springtime weather.

Preparations are underway for the Turners to have a second Healey on the road in 2000. Paul's TV Healey is pretty much dismantled at the moment -- the engine is at the machine shop, the upholstery is strewn about the warehouse, and floor pans have been purchased to thwart his efforts at a Fred Flintstone impersonation. Paul wants to get this machine on the road, so cosmetic improvements will wait a while.

Bryan Broadhead's Healey is coming along. He and Rick Hayes have taken it apart, determined some of the parts they'll need to replace, and are making plans for their next move. Bryan's been keeping us up to date on the mailing list. If you have e-mail access, join the mailing list at to stay in touch with local mechanical goings-on.

In other Internet news (and the e-mail list heard it first!), I'm publishing the Smoke Signals on the Internet each month, just in case you need to double-check the calendar or want to re-read an article when you don't have the paper copy handy. I'm hoping to expand the web site in the future to include member profiles, car pictures, and information you folks would like to have easily accessible. Check it out at -- make sure SMAHC is in capital letters.

What's the news from your garage? Any new Healeys out there? Any improvements you've made over the winter? Do let me know so I can tell the world.

See you on the road!


SMAHC Online



Dave Berry

Al Bradley

Terry Brimer

Bryan Broadhead

David Campbell

Paula Campbell

Bill Denton

Paul Fournier

Rick Hayes

Charlie Lownsdale

Gary Lownsdale

Paulette Lownsdale

Mark Margetts

Rich Miller

Bob Ricker

Philip Spurlin

Amy Turner

Emilio Verastegui

Spridget Raid to Crimson Tide Territory

Do you remember the recovery process that Amy so well described for saving the Barn Bugeye from a slow rusting death in Georgia two years ago? Well, a similar mission of mercy was recently performed for a pair of Spridgets in Alabama. Gary & Paul learned of two Sprites that were languishing in a field from the Internet and cranked up Operation Spridget Rescue.

In the stealth of darkness and the cover of a rainstorm, they towed two trailers down to mid-Alabama and purchased the two Sprites from what appeared to be an ancient junkyard.

The Mk II had no engine, but was almost rust free. It had been modified for the fitment of a V6 at some part of its existence. Like most conversions, it was left to rest against a tree in a field, and it was the current home for an Alabama hare. After the hare was evicted and the tires pumped up, it was winched onto the trailer and spirited home. Interestingly, there was no title for the car, but we sure know who the prior owner was. His mailbox and post, complete with unopened mail was lying in the passenger compartment.

The Mk III was complete and rust-free, with a little bondo in the hood and decklid from a quick paint job years ago. It had its original engine and even a factory radio. The red(?) paint had faded to a dull pink and the Sprite proudly sported Dixie flags on its flanks and black panther decals on its fenders. Don't ask, we couldn't figure it out, either. After a little buffing, we found beautiful cherry red paint under the pink. All of the chrome had been painted black - all of it! Apparently, someone wanted the Sprite to look like a Midget in the 1970's. The good news is that the black paint preserved the chrome quite well. We have gone over the car and will fire it up and test drive it in early March. Look for the crimson tide special at the next drive.

Where will be the next rescue operation? We have not been to Mississippi or Louisiana yet. Has anyone heard any rumors of more Barn Bugeyes or Field Sprites?

Gary & Paul

Barn & Field Specialists

You remove the snakes first!

First Drive of the Year 2000

By Bryan Broadhead

Rev up those engines, here we go. The annual Brushy Mountain drive is coming up on March 25th. We will meet at the Cracker Barrel restaurant at the Campbell Station exit off I-40. Let's meet at 9:30 a.m. and leave at 10:00 a.m. The drive will proceed out highway 70, then up 95, eventually meeting up with highway 62 up to the Petros area. Highway 106 then winds, corkscrews up and down, and generally twists through some really back country until we end up back in the Oak Ridge area for a quick lunch. Weíll vote before we leave on where we want to go as "Nasty Boys" or the "Saturday afternoon leisurely tour." See you there.

Ouch! This picture was recently spotted on an Internet auction. Believe it or not, the caption says the Sprite driver walked away.


Tech Tips for Spring

By Gary Lownsdale

As the weather gets better and the warm sunshine creeps over east Tennessee, the wonderful mountain roads in the Smoky Mountain foothills beckon to all of us. We want to remove those covers, jump in the car, crank it up, and GO! But, wait, letís take the time to perform all the spring cleanup and run down the spring check list before we get out on the road.

1. Let the car down off the blocks and air up the tires. If you have bias ply tires, you did put the car up on blocks to avoid the square corner design in the spring?

2. Pull the wheels and check the brakes - front and rear. Are the linings worn? Are there visible leaks? Are the rear axle seals leaking?

3. Check and top up the brake and clutch master cylinders with the correct brake fluid. Bleed each wheel cylinder, caliper, and slave cylinder. Itís an even better idea to flush the fluid through and replace it all once a year.

4. Check the brake and clutch pedals for firmness. Are the seals leaking externally or internally? Does the pedal hold firm on the first application?

5. Check the exhaust for leaks and looseness of exhaust mounts. Those rubber mounts shear off pretty easily. Remove the tennis ball from the tip of the exhaust, that you installed last fall to prevent the mice from nesting in your exhaust system.

6. While we are under the car, letís adjust the parking brake and lubricate everything that has a fitting or a plug. That includes the suspension, steering, u-joints, and parking brake cable. Check the manual to make sure you lubricate with grease or oil where it is required.

7. Check the fluid levels of the rear axle and gearbox. Top up with the proper lubricant. Many gearboxes require oil and not gear lube!

8. Put the wheels back on and properly torque the wheel nuts or knock-on nut. Check and lubricate the threads at the same time.

9. Change the engine oil and filter. Remember, engines just love to run on clean filtered oil. Make sure that you moisten the filter seal with a dab of oil before spinning it on. Check the drain plug seal before putting it back on firmly.

10. Check the coolant level and inspect the radiator and heater hoses. That lower radiator hose needs a flashlight from underneath to catch those small cracks that can ruin a drive in the mountains. Check the bypass hose from the head on a Sprite. We had two fail last year on us. Are all your hose clamps on tight? Do you need fresh coolant, or did you change it last fall? Does your radiator cap fit tightly and is not corroded?

11. Check your belts for tightness and cracks. Itís much easier to replace the belt now than at the side of the road.

12. Pull your valve cover and adjust your valves. Proper rocker clearance is a must on Healey engines to ensure that they remain quiet and perform well.

13. Check your battery and its connections. Remove any corrosion and charge the battery if necessary. Remember, that old generator was not meant to charge a badly discharged battery and run the carís equipment at the same time.

14. Check your lights - front and rear - and donít forget the brake lights. Are they bright and do they work when they are supposed to?

15. Check and reset your points, lube the distributor cam, and check the rotor and cap for pitting and excessive wear. Place a drop of oil on the top of the distributor shaft. Check the distributor vacuum advance diaphragm by sucking on the end and making sure that it will hold vacuum.

16. Pull your spark plugs and replace or regap. Leave them out while you spray a bit of fogging oil into the cylinder to act as a prelube before starting the engine. Remove the coil lead and crank the engine until you see positive oil pressure and the engine spins freely. Reinstall and properly torque the spark plugs. Reinstall the coil lead.

17. Place fresh gasoline into the tank, if you did not leave your tank full last fall. Turn the key to on and make sure that you hear that comforting click of the fuel pump. As it dies off, then itís time to listen to that exhaust sound. Start it up with a little choke on.

18. After it starts, let it warm up and get the oil circulating well. Much of the internal wear and damage to an engine occurs during the first 30 seconds of a cold startup. Resist the temptation to blip the throttle while it is warming up.

19. Check under the car for fluid leaks and audible exhaust leaks.

20. Everything checks OK? Letís get out on those roads and have some Healey Fun!!!!!

Till next time,


March Calendar



Upcoming Events


Mar. 13 Pub Night at Sullivan's Restaurant on Northshore, 7:30 p.m.

Mar. 25 Brushy Mountain drive; Bryan Broadhead, drive captain. Meet at 9:30 at the Campbell Station Road Cracker Barrel.

Apr. 10 Pub Night at Sullivan's Restaurant on Northshore, 7:30 p.m.



















Smoky Mountain AHC Newsletter

Amy Turner, editor

126 S. Jackson Street

Athens, TN 37303-4711


Phone: 865-300-4553 or