The Healey was mostly dormant for a few decades before we exhumed it. It had its original 48 spoke wire wheels with ancient retread tires. This was not a setup we wanted to drive any distance. New wheels and tires were easily ordered through the nice folks at Hendrix Wire Wheel and Moss Motors.
Moss sells really cool knock-off hammers like the one in the picture above; using a hammer as a lug wrench is cool. Our new wheels have 72 spokes and are 6 inches wide, significantly stronger and wider than the original stuff. Big Healeys are notorious for unbalanced wheels causing scuttle shake or annoying vibration. The guys at Hendrix combat this by mounting and balancing the tires and then shaving them to be perfectly round when mounted on the car. The wheels are shipped with their suggested corner on the car written on a tag. This process clearly works, The Healey rides like it’s hovering over glass.
We chose a tire, the Vredstein Sprint Classic, that looks period correct but has modern construction and a sticky tread compound. This will give the Healey good handling and stopping performance on the street and tolerable performance on the autocross course.
We also needed to replace the splined hubs the wheels slide onto. The one in the picture above is very worn and about to fail. A failed splined hub would allow the driveline to move while the wheel stayed motionless. Even more scary is the risk of the brakes stopping the drum or rotor while the wheel kept spinning on the bad splined hub.
Finally, we replaced the rear wheel cylinders to make the rear brakes functional. Unbelievably, the guys at Autosport Seattle had a pair in stock!
The Healey now stops safely, rides smoothly, and looks awesome. Next up is bushing replacement.
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