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Is this Jensen-Healey Worth an $800 Gamble?

1973 Jensen-Healey asks just $800 on Craigslist

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, Craigslist

As a guy with a pair of project cars in my yard acquired for $220 and $50 respectively, my knee-jerk reaction to this question is most definitely. I mean come on, a Lotus-powered small British sports car project for less than $1,000? But the listing has gone stale after 14 days, meaning either the seller has neglected to remove the ad, or the neglected Jensen-Healey isn’t worth the chump change I think it is. Should you gamble your coin jar on this English two-seater? Let’s dive in.

The Jensen-Healey was designed by Donald Healey and built by Jensen Motors, who had built Austin-Healey bodies. Engines were provided by Lotus after BMW and Vauxhall engines didn’t check all the boxes, and the 1,973 cc Lotus 907 16-valve, DOHC engine provided around 144 bhp. Early Mk I cars (1972-August ’73) were fit with a Chrysler four-speed transmission, with around 3,357 cars built, while Mk II cars (August ’73-1975) were built with a Getrag five-speed and around 7,146 were built.

While the Jensen-Healey hasn’t enjoyed the same popularity as other small British sports cars, I really think it’s on the way up. Your money buys less and less these days in terms of Austin-Healeys, MGAs and TR6s, but the Jensen-Healey is still somewhat reasonably priced at an average value of $6,400. Hagerty’s full price rundown puts a fair condition car at $3,100, while a concours car is worth roughly $22,600.

That brings us to this lowly Mk I Jensen-Healey on Northern Michigan Craigslist for the dirt-cheap sum of $800. The car is fairly complete, allegedly needing only floor pans and a fuel tank, in addition to some obvious bodywork. The car was also a runner sometime recently according to the seller, and the engine bay looks very complete.

That’s not to say that you’ll be tooling around in this car for less than a grand, and I see this car as being a nice project to keep you busy on a Sunday here and there. Do as much as you can yourself and be resourceful, and I think this could be a decent little driver for under $5,000 — again, provided you’re resourceful.

As far as I’m concerned, you should be on your way to Northern Michigan with $800 cash right now. Oh and bring a trailer too, unless you plan on Fred Flinston-in’ it.

Check out the 1973 Jensen-Healey here on Northern Michigan Craigslist.

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