The Original Austin Healey Parts Specialist

Have an inoperable Austin Healey? Here’s how to get it to the shop.

Posted: Thursday, 14 September 2023 @ 08:19

Is your Austin Healey an ongoing project, and not currently operable?

 If so, you may need the help of a professional mechanic, to restore it to working order. A H Spares - the world’s premier supplier of Austin Healey replacement parts - has the best advice to get your valuable classic transported to the shop without damage. 

1 - Get It Rolling 

Even though the engine won’t start, if your Austin Healey can roll and steer - it can be transported on a flatbed tow truck. This method will use a winch to pull it into place. If your inoperable classic can’t roll or steer, a forklift may be needed instead to load it onto the transport truck.

Since you don’t want a forklift anywhere near your valuable Austin Healey, be sure to address any transmission, wheel, brake (like seized brakes) or steering issues on-site before attempting a move.

2 - Hook It Correctly 

Though it may be tempting, placing the winch hook on the sway bar is a recipe for disaster - as it’s thin and has weak attachment points. The most likely outcome of this approach will be a bent sway bar and a failed attempt at loading. 
Another poor solution is the frame cross member near the front of the vehicle. While a car jack can be placed on this spot, two issues are likely to present themselves when attempting to pull the Austin Healey from the frame cross member. The first is that this area is susceptible to rust, and an inoperable vehicle may have significant issues in this department. Second, the brake line runs along the top of the cross member, so this could potentially be damaged (1).

Instead, it’s recommended that you opt for nylon tow straps (rather than a metal hook) and that you wrap these around the lower a-arm on each side of the Austin Healey. These arms boast reinforced construction, so they can take the strain without issue (2).

3 - Alternative Attachment Point

If you’re worried about damaging the undercarriage due to extensive rust, weak spots or even visible cracks - then you do have an alternative. On the car’s frame, you can bolt a pair of tow eyes into the front bumper mounts (3). This should provide two strong connection points that will face the flatbed tow truck straight on, without the need to loop straps around spots on the Healey’s underside.

4 -Towing It Yourself Isn't Expected

Towing an inoperable Austin Healey yourself isn’t recommended, although this may seem like a logical course of action - especially ifit already has considerable cosmetic damage. In this case you might not be concerned about additional chips in the paint or even small dings, which could result from towing the vehicle on your own without a flatbed.

However, some knowledgeable owners strongly advise against dinghy towing (also called flat or four-wheel towing), unless you first disconnect or remove the driveshaft. While there is debate about whether this is necessary (especially when using a tow dolly to raise the Healey’s front wheels off the road), it seems the issue is that the mainshaft nose will delaminate and the interior of the input shaft will also incur damage. A short tow will likely not cause an issue, but anything longer could result in significant harm to these components, and possibly other elements of the transmission (4).

In fact, some sources assert that improper towing won’t just shorten the transmission’s life or cause damage, but will completely destroy the transmission - requiring a total replacement to make it roadworthy again (5).

For this reason, you’re advised to seek out a competent company like A1 Auto Transport, with the equipment and experience to move your prized Austin Healey without issue. 

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