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Valve Cover Question

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Valve Cover Question
#1
  This topic is about my 1966 Austin-Healey 3000 BJ8
zayante Avatar
zayante Chris Attias
Felton, CA, USA   USA
1964 MG MGB
1965 Land Rover Series IIA "Mrs. Merdle"
1966 Austin-Healey 3000 BJ8 "Louise"
When I bought it, my '66 BJ8 had an alloy 1960's Austin Vanden Plas Princess Mk II 3 liter valve cover. It's great, but I'm not sure where it came from - VDPs are a little thin on the ground in the States.

First guess is that it came as a dealer-installed option back when the original owner bought the car in Miami. I'm told they were fitted to factory rally cars, but I can't confirm that. I've seen pictures of a couple of cars in the UK with this cover, but none here. My question is: where would this have come from in the US? Anyone else have on of these?

Thanks.

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34085939036_576e92c4bb_z_d.jpg    63.2 KB
34085939036_576e92c4bb_z_d.jpg

brims49 Andrew Brims
Peachland, BC, Canada   CAN
Perhaps it arrived on these shores with this valve cover from the UK already installed. Am I looking at your right hand drive vehicle which may have been imported fairly recently? While I learned to drive in a manual VDP which my employer owned in 1969, there were not too many around. I consider myself lucky to have an early appreciation of the Austin six cylinder engine. Then as now almost impossible to stall. Are you looking for another alloy valve cover?

zayante Avatar
zayante Chris Attias
Felton, CA, USA   USA
1964 MG MGB
1965 Land Rover Series IIA "Mrs. Merdle"
1966 Austin-Healey 3000 BJ8 "Louise"
Andrew,

Good catch on the picture! I wanted an illustration, but didn't have a good one. I found that one on a Google search on its original application, and pics other Healeys with similar rocker covers. There's a picture in Chis Harvey's book "Healey - The Handsome Brute" of a Weber-equipped race / rally car with one, too.

I think I've only ever seen one Austin VDP in many years of attending British car shows in the US. The rarity of VDPs here points to the possibility that the cover came from a dealer's parts shelf or special order "back in the day."

I actually have a LHD BJ8. According to the BMIHT factory record it was delivered to a dealer in Miami, Florida, and it was kept by the original owner from 1966 to 2008. I have her handwritten note from the time of purchase, listing dealer options she got (a hardtop, Motolita "Derrington-style" steering wheel, BMC A/C kit, a Blaupunkt AM/FM radio, and chrome wire wheels), but no mention of the rocker cover. I have no service receipts from her ownership, but have all of them for work done by the second owner, up until the time I bought the car.

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petnatcar Avatar
petnatcar Silver Member Peter Carbone
Watertown, NY, USA   USA
Hi Chris,
I had one of those a long time ago but can't remember where I got it. Sorry.
Might have been from Sports & Classics or even MOSS Motors.

Peter


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Cold Air Box-2067.jpg

Taipan Tim B
Melbourne, VIC, Australia   AUS
I love these alloy covers. I believe the guys at Cape are going to do one in the not too distant future. I think they are the only ones who do this cover with the raised area for the ID plates. In the meantime i will keep looking.

zayante Avatar
zayante Chris Attias
Felton, CA, USA   USA
1964 MG MGB
1965 Land Rover Series IIA "Mrs. Merdle"
1966 Austin-Healey 3000 BJ8 "Louise"
It would be a great thing for someone to reproduce. Just saw another one on a restored early BJ8 on Bring a Trailer this week. This must have been a BMC dealer dress-up accessory back in the Sixties, when they were standard on the (very rare in the USA) VandenPlas Princess 3 liter.

Ashley James Avatar
Stroud, UK   GBR
I recognised my engine! Truth is that Vanden Plas 3 litres are rare in the UK too. I found that one on EBay, so it might be worth searching UK Ebay.

Randy Forbes Avatar
Parrish, FL, USA   USA
1957 Austin-Healey 100-Six
1999 BMW M Coupe "Blue Car"
1999 BMW M Roadster "Black Car"
2001 BMW M Roadster "Gray Car"
Mine was purchased from Moss Motors back in the 80s. Same order along with a set of (6) connecting rods__ALL LOOSELY PACKED IN THE SAME BOX__!! Fortunately, the worst of the dings were on the rearmost face, and I could file and polish them out. What a careless give-a-$hit mentality (they were informed of my reaction when opening the box).

From some recent attention to the engine:


Dougie Avatar
Dougie Doug Escriva
Portland, OR, USA   USA
In reply to # 207605 by Randy Forbes Mine was purchased from Moss Motors back in the 80s. Same order along with a set of (6) connecting rods__ALL LOOSELY PACKED IN THE SAME BOX__!! Fortunately, the worst of the dings were on the rearmost face, and I could file and polish them out. What a careless give-a-$hit mentality (they were informed of my reaction when opening the box).

From some recent attention to the engine:


Not quite the same care as you get from a custom manufacture.


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Saenz Custom Rods.jpg

Randy Forbes Avatar
Parrish, FL, USA   USA
1957 Austin-Healey 100-Six
1999 BMW M Coupe "Blue Car"
1999 BMW M Roadster "Black Car"
2001 BMW M Roadster "Gray Car"
Yep, I'd be savin' those boxes!

classic-steve Steve D
Warwick, Warwickshire, UK   GBR
Hi
I found this thread by chance and it has solved a mystery for me.
When I bought my restored BT7 some 3 years ago it had some unsupported history of it being extensively rallied in the 60's. It had an alloy valve cover painted grey which I replaced with a new alloy cover.
Since seeing this thread I realised that the painted cover is actually a Vanden Plas 3 litre cover. I stripped the paint and gave it a quick polish and wonder now if I should put it back on the car. Are they covers very rare? Are they sought after for Works Rally car replicas?
cheers
Steve


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VP valve cover 2 - 1.jpg

brims49 Andrew Brims
Peachland, BC, Canada   CAN
Steve, I suspect you have come to your own conclusion already . Alloy covers are designed to provide some oil cooling , so if your new one has a finned top surface it will be more efficient than the smooth VDP unit. If you drive in continental Europe this might be a consideration. This will not be an issue for you if your sights are set on the Scotland 500. The cover you have inherited may have more value than a new one to a collector. If you consider parting with it, or just testing the market for value, I would suggest a Healey car club classified section . Cheers Andrew

zayante Avatar
zayante Chris Attias
Felton, CA, USA   USA
1964 MG MGB
1965 Land Rover Series IIA "Mrs. Merdle"
1966 Austin-Healey 3000 BJ8 "Louise"
I wonder about the practical benefit in alloy as far as engine cooling is concerned, finned or otherwise. It would be interesting to take readings on an engine head with steel and alloy covers. Factory race and rally cars often had oil coolers, which would be more effective. Many alloy race car covers had hinged quick-release filler caps, not something you see on a steel cover.

I did find a picture of 1967 RAC Rally Works entry PWB57 in one of Geoff Healey's books that had a VdP cover, with two breather Tees. 1959 Works Liege-Rome-Liege Rally car SMO744 used a steel valve cover.

On a 3 liter VandenPlas, its purpose is probably to reduce valve noise (as used on Rolls Royce, Bentley, and other higher end OHV / OHC engines), and to provide a more reliable oil seal with the head, as it's less likely to distort when tightened down. In terms of marketing, fins and alloy are very good looking, and alloy connotes "high performance" and higher specification.

I don't know how many 3 liter VdP cars were made, and how many are still around, but I'd guess not too many. I don't think there are many other BMC C-type engines that it fits - the MGC, for example, uses bolts around the perimeter. I know many Healey owners would definitely appreciate it.

Taipan Tim B
Melbourne, VIC, Australia   AUS
In reply to # 208658 by classic-steve Hi
I found this thread by chance and it has solved a mystery for me.
When I bought my restored BT7 some 3 years ago it had some unsupported history of it being extensively rallied in the 60's. It had an alloy valve cover painted grey which I replaced with a new alloy cover.
Since seeing this thread I realised that the painted cover is actually a Vanden Plas 3 litre cover. I stripped the paint and gave it a quick polish and wonder now if I should put it back on the car. Are they covers very rare? Are they sought after for Works Rally car replicas?
cheers
Steve
If you decide to sell it - please let me know winking smiley

Or even auction it.

PAN Avatar
PAN Alwyn Keepence
Ipswich, Queensland, Australia   AUS
G’day Chris, I would say you have worked out why alloy valve covers were used by the works for the competition cars. The rigid cast alloy makes it possible to get a dry seal which makes it easier to remove and replace “in the heat of battle”.
Cheers,
Alwyn

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