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On this page: (excerpted from April 2007 Newsletter of the Jensen Healey Preservation Society)

History of Five Huffaker Jensen Healey Race Cars 
by
Joe Huffaker Jr.

Restored Huffaker Jensen Healey Returns Home
By Pat Lind

 


History of Five Huffaker Jensen Healey Race Cars 
by
Joe Huffaker Jr.

1973

The first car - #42 was raced by Woodner and totaled at Laguna.  He managed to get enough points prior to wrecking it that still made it possible to qualify for the runoffs. I talked to someone that was watching that race and said he was having a real good race with the GT6 of Group 44 when he crashed. Quite a trip for them! It was stripped, the cage was cut out, and the car was physically towed to a scrap yard and discarded. Funny side note:  parts of that roll bar went into the making of Mark Blaze’s MG Midget (copy of Woodner’s) that he made for himself in the after-hours. The rest of those parts went into the second car, in a very big hurry. That was the “black engine compartment car” that Pat Lind owned. 

The second car – again number 42, Mueller drove initially to get points. Woodner drove this car to DNF at Atlanta (used to be Pat Lind’s car).  Ran as Apollo Plastics car.

The third car – Number 43, nicer finished car, took more time and more effort went into it. Zolotone finished throughout. Mueller switched over to this car as new, drove at Sears Point, and a few more to continue to qualify for the runoffs. Mueller won the 1973 Runoffs in this car (Lind Bros. racing car).

1974

The fourth car - $43 again, nicely finished, Zolotone throughout, some updates. This is the car that Road & Track did the article on, and Mueller drove it to victory in 1974 at the Runoffs. The only car built for that year. Current owner Tom Raft.

1978

The fifth car – Bruce Madden customer car. Painted over the black, red at customer request. He may still own that car.

Also, Joe Sr. says that 2 other cars that Qvale ordered were shipped back east to George Garbith and those cars never became race cars. The whereabouts of those cars are unknown.


Restored Huffaker Jensen Healey Returns Home
By Pat Lind 

In the spring of 1973 my three brothers and I became the Jensen/Jensen-Healey dealer for the state of Iowa.  Our first truck load of cars consisted of a silver Jensen Interceptor and seven Jensen-Healeys in a rainbow of colors. The day the truck arrived was sunny and 70 degrees. The next day we had the worst April snowstorm Iowa had ever seen. The snow drifts covered the building!   

I was married on June 6th, 1973 and went to San Francisco for our honeymoon. My bride thought San Francisco was a romantic destination, but in fact it was the closest major city to Huffaker Engineering and I had a race motor to pick up from my Austin Healey Sprite. When I arrived at Huffaker’s, parked out front were five black Jensen-Healeys stripped down to the bare chassis. The roll bars were installed and the cars sat on Minilites. What a site! 

Fast forward to the SCCA runoffs in October 1973.  Lee Mueller in a Huffaker Jensen-Healey ran away from the competition and won the 1973 D production National Championship. After the race, the distributor for Jensen in the Midwest (John Weinberger) bought both team cars and the two car transporter. He hired my brothers and I (Lind Bros. Racing) to campaign the cars in the central division of the Sports Car Club of America. 

Our season got off to a rough start. During our first test session we broke a wrist pin. Our first race was in Gratton, Michigan. We qualified second and were leading the race when a lower ball joint broke. It turns out that the big brake upgrade was gone, but the “big” ball joints weren’t available so Huffaker had put in a spacer that didn’t work.

The next race was the June Sprints in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. It was the biggest SCCA event on the calendar.  We would race in front of the Jensen-Healey dealers as well as about 60,000 other spectators.

The class that the Healey completed in, D Production, was a huge group of very diverse cars: Triumph GT-6s, Alfa Romeos, Datsun 2000s, Yenko Stingers, Jaguar XK 140/150s and Lotus Super 7s. Many were factory entries: Bob Sharp Racing, Group 44, etc.  It was a hotly contested class.

Practice went well and we were set to qualify when a vibration started in the driveline. We inspected that car and found nothing, so we sent the car back out. On the next lap the front U-joint seized, ripped the tailshaft out of the transmission and tried to tear the tunnel apart. Not having a spare gearbox (4-speed) or a driveshaft, we tracked down on of our customers (Dr. Larry Betts) and told him, “We need to borrow your car!”  A fresh gearbox, a fresh driveshaft and away we went.

We started the race mid-pack and steadily moved to the front, passing Bob Sharp in the Datsun with a couple of laps to go and took the overall win. John Weinberger, our sponsor, and his son Joel, hopped in for the victory lap. We were thrilled to finally get in the winner’s circle.

For the next six years we campaigned the cars throughout the Midwest with great success. After the 1980 runoffs the cars were stored away when growing families took precedence over racing cars.

The 1973 Championship car and transporter sat until 2003 when I sent the car back to Huffaker to be restored to 1973 specs. I hired a local mechanic to restore the transporter. Joe Huffaker Jr. led the restoration with help from some of the original team members. The car looks just the way it did when Lee Mueller won in 1973, black with blue and white trim.

My intention is to run 4-5 vintage races a year and hope in 2007 to earn a spot in the Monterey Historics.