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Austin-Healey BN6: renaissance of a British roadster

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Austin-Healey 100/6 BN6 restoration
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E in DKW motorcycle, a hospital stay and the estate of a workshop, these are some of the stops on Achim Kiesewetter's journey to his Austin-Healey. The DKW motorcycle, a 175, once gathered dust on the property of a farmer, whom Kiesewetter occasionally lent a hand. He liked the old machine and finally bought it in the early 1990s. 'This purchase and the subsequent restoration was my entry into the classic car scene,' remembers the 53-year-old.

He sniffed even more intense classic car air after a stay in the clinic for several days. His bed neighbor there was also a classic car enthusiast, but owned a car. After their recovery, the two decided to set up a kind of old-timer get-together, which they actually put into practice with the founding of the old-timer IG Lautertal and the surrounding area.

Love at first sight

The IG near Coburg quickly gained a certain degree of popularity, which is why one day a widow got in touch to help sell the estate her husband was looking for. He had repaired and sold classic English cars. Kiesewetter was of course part of the inspection of the wagons. A green roadster immediately caught his attention: 'I had no idea what kind of vehicle it was, but I liked it straight away,' he says.

During the price negotiations that followed, the Franconian went overboard knowledgeable about this car and contacted one or the other dealer. He quickly realized that he had something special on the hook, because this Austin-Healey was one of only 4,150 BN6s built. So he decided to buy, even if it was a strange feeling to buy a largely unknown car for thousands of people that was not ready to drive. Yes, strictly speaking, the papers were also missing, only documents about the customs clearance of the car imported from the USA a few years ago were available.

Therefore, he first requested a clearance certificate from the Federal Motor Transport Authority in Flensburg, which he received Luck was issued without any problems. So the Healey was not reported stolen. Now he could calmly devote himself to his car. First he obtained literature and workshop manuals to read. Together with his brother, a master mechanic, beganhe then, to get the car ready to drive .

Get Austin-Healey ready to drive first

Among other things, the carburettors had to be installed and adjusted, the ignition in Tidied up and the fuel pump repaired. At some point, thanks to the existing sidepipes, the machine spoke up loudly. 'Half the village came together,' grins Kiesewetter. Then followed a few meters of test drive on farm roads and the realization that this car absolutely had to be nicely restored. 'Since I didn't want a Rolling Restoration, I decided to do a complete restoration,' says the Coburg native. To keep costs down, he wanted to do as much as possible himself. He had already practiced a little on his DKW, and as a trained toolmaker and machine fitter, he knew how to use tools. If necessary, he could also rely on the help of his brother and various experts from his oldtimer IG, for example with the bodywork.

He took the entire dismantling into his own hands. He had already suspected that the green thermal paint applied in the USA hid many a secret. Not only did some rust damage come to light, but also considerable dents, repaired the American way. For this purpose, a few holes had been cut in the sheet metal, through which part of the thickly applied filler then oozed and thus formed barbs that give hold. However, Kiesewetter attached great importance to careful and professional work. For the repair of the bodyshell and the fenders, several repair sheets were butt-welded and the seams tinned. There was rust damage, for example, to the sills, the lock pillars and the wheel houses. The bodyshell and the frame were sandblasted and hot-dip galvanized.

No talent for spring dents

The sandblaster would have additional The hard-to-reach areas of the bonnet, such as the edges of double metal sheets, are supposed to remove rust, but Kieswetter also aimed the device at the larger areas and fabricated a spring dent, i.e. a bump that jumped outwards or inwards when touched. Kiesewetter's talent was not enough to eliminate this. Fortunately, there was Kurt Sümmerer, a bodywork cleaner in his oldtimer IG, who got rid of the problem by specifically heating and quenching the sheet metal with cold water. He also helped with the repair of the aluminum front center section because he had access to an aluminum welding device.

Kiesewetter was also lucky with the paint job. He wanted to treat his Healey back to the original Healey Blue, as it was noted in the birth certificate of the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust. The company in which his brotherworked then, made him the best offer. Coincidentally, a demonstration painter was expected there soon, who wanted to present his company's products in a favorable light. And this master of his trade was won over to paint the Healey. Kiesewetter took on the sanding work himself, and by applying a black lacquer it was checked in between whether he had done his job well or whether there were still dents somewhere. 'Cars are rarely painted with so much effort,' he says happily today.

'I saved a lot because the engine was already overhauled,' he adds. When dismantling the oil pan and the valve cover, many new parts came to light. He therefore limited himself to a little fine-tuning, such as polishing the inlet and outlet ducts or smoothing out transitions. However, he converted the rear crankshaft seal to a Simmerring, which he was able to do himself thanks to his learned profession.

Austin-Healey with a setback at the end

The Healey was completed piece by piece. The parts of the suspension had been powder coated beforehand. Every part was either renewed or refurbished. Kiesewetter added a brake booster to the braking system, as it was used in racing at the time. Everything went like clockwork. Almost everything.

The biggest setback was the chrome plating of the attachments. Kiesewetter also ordered the windshield frame, but it was made of a brass alloy and was completely eaten away after the electroplating bath. He searched for a replacement for a long time, the Internet was not yet very widespread. He finally found what he was looking for in England, and so after a good three years a restoration came to an end in May 2000, the quality of which is still visible today.

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