By Ron Phillips
Originally published in the Austin-Healey Magazine, March 1988
Probably the toughest proposition in all restoration efforts is trying to reassemble a set of tools to match the vintage of your car. Most parts manuals just don't supply pictures of each item. Wouldn't it be nice if they showed a detailed picture of each part change that reflected the variable nature of suppliers and supersessions? The only exception is the basic drawing of the standard set of tools is the BJ8 Parts List. But even here, they don't show us exactly every change. So, with this treatise on tools, the best I can do is to note that changes exist and hope that the really avid collector will locate enough bits to makeup an original set to match his or her car.
Only the brave should venture into this subject. If you do, the following chart will help. For those who couldn't care less, please don't think I'm crazy. For if the truth be known, the tools carried in the six cylinder cars were minimal, generally of poor quality, and no substitute for a good mechanic's tool set. Those kits of the "100" were much more complete, but still inferior in quality. One would have to be somewhat crazy to actually use some of the tools, rather than a modern counterpart. But in an emergency? Well, after all, that's why they were supplied with the cars in the first place. So good luck to those of you who wish to take up the challenge. Parts Lists ready? Here we go!
Notes on the Chart
Now that you have studied the charts, a few observations are in order. First, notice how the number of tools supplied diminishes greatly, the newer the car. Ah yes, bring back the good old days of value received. But in America in 1953, where would you get a set of wrenches (spanners) for the ''100''? After all, the specification noted is Whitworth, not S.A.E.!
Once S.A.E. specifications were introduced with the 100-6, fewer unique tools were needed. Now the local gas station could service your Healey. Well, almost. And the common de-coke (valve job to clean out the carbon) for the "100" passed on as did the Valve Grinding-in Tool with the advent of the Morris Six, a much more modern power plant.
From the chart, you can see one of the most puzzling, changeable items was the jack. You would think that in all those changes there would be some improvement in design and utility. Well, the design did change a lot, but the utility remained poor to the end. Anyone for a good scissors jack?
Be sure to read the footnotes for applicability. C or (C) stands for Chassis, the Austin Tag Number, not the Jensen Body Number. C.E. stands for both Chassis and Engine number on the later"100"s. W.S.E. means "when stock ends".
Finally, you may think there are a couple of typographical errors in the chart. They were taken, intact, from each parts manual. Or were they errors? Now that's the stuff to fuel a debate. Good hunting.
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