Lotus Engine Found In A Jensen Healey

Until about a week ago, I had never looked under hood of  a Jensen Healey. The drivetrain could have been comprised of a gaggle of hamsters for all I knew. I snapped off this picture and did a bit of research.  It turned out that only about 2500 of these cars were sold in the US between 1972 – 1976? (ish). It all made sense now.  I had probably never even seen one of the cars before!  That’s why I had never seen under the hood!  The car itself kind of looks like the offspring of a 1960’s Mazda Cosmo and a 1999+ Toyota MR2.  The shape and design of the car isn’t really too life changing, but it does have a super cool Lotus engine under the hood that I enjoyed staring at.

Apparently the Jensen-Healey team built the car itself with a cornucopia of their own, and other companies’ parts. The problem was that they needed an engine that could make decent power and pass emissions standards in the US. They went to a few different car companies searching for the perfect match, and Lotus ended up being the winner.  Lotus stepped up with a untested new 2.0L DOHC 16V 140+ horsepower 4 cylinder.  Behind the engine was a close ratio transmission that helped grab 60 mph in about 8 seconds.  At the time, that was quite sporty.  As you can see in the picture, the engine is tilted like the oh-so-famous Chrysler Slant 6, and it had twin side draft carbs on it.  It kind of reminds me of the mysterious TriFlux for some reason, though I cannot put my finger on why. What do you guys think?  In any case, by 1976, Jensen-Healey had closed up shop, and this car brand became lumped in with with the Nash, Kaiser, Packard, Tucker, Plymouth, Pontiac … well, you get the idea…

Jeremy Nutt

Hi, I'm Jeremy.

5 thoughts on “Lotus Engine Found In A Jensen Healey

    1. It’s strange that you mention the Esprit, because just yesterday I was telling my friends how much I need one. I don’t even know why I want one to b honest. I’m pretty sure they aren’t very fast, they are expensive to fix, and are generally not a quality vehicle…

      annnnd… I just described all the vehicles in my driveway. Well, that explains that.

  1. With a British sports car it’ll combine all your unreliable/show/expensive/low quality cars into one vehicle! There is a Wheeler Dealers on the Esprit as well, I don’t know if its been shown on Discovery HD Theater yet, but its on youtube and BT.

  2. Only two things more fun than looking at this engine:
    1) Tuning those beautiful Webers/Dellortos (hard to see which ones), and 2) Throwing that soft top down and driving the pee out of it!!

  3. As stated the Bill Towns exterior design was plainly flaccid, where it ought to have instead brought the sexy Healey lines forward into the next two decades. Austin Healeys are lusted after more than ever, but Jensen ones simply languished away. The underpinnings aside from the grenade engine were good enuf for an SCCA championship, even though they were “bitsa” parts bin cars as stated. I could have been more impressed in my one ride in that model if it had had four working shocks, but it had the ride motions of a canoe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *