I owned my first Healey from 2001 to 2011. When I had to sell it, due to cost overruns on the restoration work on this house, I knew of the potential for the current machine. I also knew roughly the level of sheer destruction caused by the fire and the fact that, apart from the engine, gearbox and primary case castings, almost all the alloy had melted. So I took lots of photos of the first Healey before I sold it, along with lots of dimensions of various parts, hoping to put them to good use if the opportunity came along.
All the original instruments, the binnacle and the supporting plates were destroyed in the fire. The instrument binnacle itself is early Triumph Trident or BSA Rocket 3. The one now used was originally fitted to my first Healey but I had removed it to fit a Jim Hunter special one which also incorporated the space for a clock. Speedo came from the Stafford autojumble one year, the 12v warning lights from Holdens of Bromyard along with the rev counter. The ammeter is from actual Healey stock via Graham Berry who was selling them off a few years ago. I must have bought one as a spare because it was on the shelf when the project started.
The binnacle is mounted on an alloy plate which in turn is supported on two alloy brackets from the tops of the forks legs. Unfortunately, the alloy brackets are not up to the job so start to crack after a while. I had replaced the two on my first Healey with stainless steel ones made by hand from sheet stainless and luckily, I still had those alloy brackets to use as patterns. The alloy plate was one of the few items specially cast for Healeys. I made the new one from a suitable alloy strip, to the size I had noted from my first Healey. But it is recessed on the top side to take the bottom of the speedo and rev counter, along with the surprisingly large amount of wiring needed. So the top surface was recessed on the mill, a process involving a lot of trial and error, especially where the routes of the various wires were concerned. The design of the rev counter has changed since the 1970s with a much deeper connection at the back leading to an area where the alloy plate is no more than about 1/16" thick now. The location of the mounting screws has also changed with the result that one is now in slight conflict with the allen screw holding bracket to plate. This is more an annoyance than anything else but it does make removing the binnacle more difficult. The speedo and rev counter are held on by special nuts with the hex at the bottom end of a tube about 1.5" long, threaded internally. Naturally, the threads on the speedo are different from those on the rev counter. Getting the angles right on the stainless steel brackets in relation to the alloy baseplate so that the brackets were symmetrical and the baseplate the right distance from the fork stanchions was a tricky job, solved in the end by drawing the whole arrangement out full size on paper.
All in all, the instruments and their mounting took a lot of work on the lathe and mill, not to mention quite a bit of hand cutting and filing and finally use of the polishing mop.
36 4G, 37 VH, 54 KH(A), 75 Healey 1000/4, 52/53 ex ISDT KHA (project).
Former Machine Registrar & Archivist, General Secretary and Single Spares Organiser (over a 25 year period).
Now Archivist once more - but not Machine Registrar.