Tim Moran's "Max"
Texas, USA.

BEFORE
(After is at the end)


I had always wanted to do a V8 swap into a Healey ever since a high school buddy
of mine (his name was Max) put a Ford Flathead into a 100-4 back in 1958.
I have named my car for him, for it was he who gave me the idea so many years ago.

I bought my 1959 Austin Healey ,100-6, 4 seat Roadster in 1975 for $500.

When I bought it, it had major floor, outrigger, and fender rust. The most severe
problem, however, was a large hole, through the side of the engine block into
cylinder number 1. This car was a perfect candidate for that swap.This is what it
looked like after I had pulled out the blown engine and the 4-speed overdrive transmission.

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I bought a Mercury station wagon with about 150,000 miles on it.
I pulled the 302 V-8 and C-4 automatic transmission and junked the rest.

I engineered and made the necessary changes and parts to install
the engine and transmission into the Healey body.

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I used seats from a Triumph TR-6 A

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I drove the car daily for a year in Texas and for two years after a move to California.

Upon my return to Texas, I disassembled the car in order to totally re-do the
interior and exterior and to make some improvements.

A divorce and raising 3 children stopped the work for almost 20 years.

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In the summer of 1996, I totally stripped the chassis and had it
sand blasted
to remove all of the rust and road grime.

Note all of the holes in the firewall. HOT air gets through these.

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I painted the clean chassis with black epoxy primer and gloss black Deltron.

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As I started re-assembly, I installed 1961 Healey disc brakes on the front
and kept the 1959 Healey drum set-up on the rear.

Instead of re-using the stock lever action shocks, I designed and fabricated
mounting brackets in order to install gas charged tubular shocks all around.

 

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I mounted a (gold color) transmission cooler between the
front frame rails and added an auxiliary electric radiator fan.

ALL of the wiring in the car is encased within black, wrinkle wall,
spaghetti tubing.

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Traction bars on the rear springs eliminate spring wrap-up and wheel hop.

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The VERY low mileage 1982, totally rebuilt 302 engine is built up,
wired, bolted to the beefed-up AOD transmission, and installed as a unit.

All of the engine wiring is routed out of sight and
runs to the firewall at the top of the oil pan.

Note (in the picture on the right) that the exhaust manifolds are installed backwards.
This minimizes the width of the rear of the engine and eliminates surgery to the
firewall and foot boxes.

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The engine is installed.

I installed a Ford dual piston master cylinder with a Wilwood
adjustable proportioning valve (on the far right) for the rear brakes.

Note also, the new HOLE FREE firewall, laminated to the
original firewall. There is insulating foam between them..

The large holes in the top of the foot boxes will be connected
to the air intakes on both sides of the radiator.

The ignition coil and alternator regulator are positioned under the dash.

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Close-up views of the ram-air ducts and the reversed exhaust pipe routing.

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The carburetor is also installed backwards. This is necessary because the very
short transmission control cable (on the left) needs
to pull towards the front
of the car. The linkage of the normally mounted carburetor pulls to the rear.
The mounting shown allows the throttle cable (on the right - looped around the
front of the engine) to easily pull the linkage and transmission cable to the front.

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The upper T-handle of the Mustang shifter has been shortened by 3 inches.
The shifter is connected to the transmission by a push-pull cable.
The use of a cable is necessary because the lower shifter arm
and the transmission control arm move in opposite directions.

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No clutch is needed with an automatic transmission, so the pedals are bolted
together and swung to the left to give more room to the accelerator foot.

The redundant microswitches (red wires) at the top operate the brake light.

The big round hole in the upper left is for the ram air duct.

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The steering wheel is made from the original Healey wheel hub and spokes.

The wheel diameter has been reduced from 17 inches to 14 inches.

The rim is padded with firm foam rubber and has a brown, lace on,
smooth glove leather cover.

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All of the wiring leads to a spring loaded, swing down,
panel behind the dash in front of the passenger.

The panel holds the fuses, alternator voltage regulator, and turn signal control.

The coil and resistor are also mounted under here.

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That is about enough of the mechanics.
Now on to the body and the interior.

This is the way the body looked when I started on it.
I should call it Mr. Bondo instead of Max.

 

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AFTER

MORE than 20 years after I tore it down, here is the finished product.

The front end has since been dropped (1 inch) to a more attractive height
(the Ford V8 is 60 pounds lighter than the original Healey 6).

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Here is the front end ( the "business" end).

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This is obviously the back end and the trunk.

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From the outside, the dual exhausts are the only
giveaway as to what lies under the hood.

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The instrument panel is from a 1968 Opel GT. It contains a 7K RPM electronic
tach, a 150 MPH mechanical speedometer, an ammeter and oil pressure gauge
plus idiot lights. There is also a temperature and fuel gauge and an electric clock.

Below the ignition key (center) is an onboard computer from an Isuzu Impulse.

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Rather than spend over $200 to replace the rear seat pans and have them
upholstered (and NEVER use them), I built
a large, flip top, "glove box".

Note the matching door panels to cover the big spaces on the inside of the
doors.
They also hold the stereo speakers.

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The seats are 1976 MGB GT without the headrests. All new foam has been covered
with dark brown fabric. Fabric is MUCH cooler than vinyl in the Texas summer.

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Here's the Tonneau cover. It matches the rest of the interior vinyl.

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Here are a couple of recent pictures.



         

And the interior

I had the MGB-GT seats professionally upholstered, but I did all of the vinyl work.

By comparison, this is the original Healey dash and instruments.


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Here is a picture of the (aftermarket) hardtop that has been painted and fitted,
NOW, it's time to install the AIR CONDITIONING ! ! !

 

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Here is Max and his proud Papa. I have done ALL of the work myself,
except for the fabric seat upholstery and the exhaust system .

Yep... EVERYTHING ! !

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NOW, watch the video !

If you want a thrill, turn your speakers up, CLICK HERE, sit back, and enjoy the show !

( This video clip may take a little time to load, but it's worth the wait )

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Update

My Healey is being updated and re-restomodded.

I have removed the 4-barrel carburetor and Mallory distributor shown above and have now installed 4 - 2 inch SU carburetors.

In addtion to the 4 carburetors, I have added a HUGE (24" wide) radiator, Rack & Pinion steering, Air Conditioning, a real Healey hardtop, and a No-Distributor electronic ignition run by an onboard computer.

The car will also get a fresh, same color, paint job.

These modifications are slated for completion in sometime "soon".

Feel free to with your comments.

Tim Moran 04/01/14

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