Twenty five years ago or so, a good friend of mine made some flying duck whirlygigs with his Dad for gifts. My wife and I were lucky enough to get one. It has been a part of our backyard collection of odds and ends since we received it. I mounted it outside our dining room window and we have watched it flying along with the breeze for years. However, after all that exposure to the elements of heat and moisture it needed some TLC. The wings are made of Baltic plywood and had started to delaminate. Being an amateur wood worker I decided I could make some new wings for it and generally clean up and protect it.
The restoration didn’t take too long and was kind of fun. Good to be out in the garage doing something while honoring the “Stay Home – Stay Safe” thing. Since I was enjoying the project I proceeded to make a few more. Besides the woodwork, the ducks also had to be hand painted. I used acrylic paints my wife provided and then multiple coats of clear gloss polyurethane. I’m a miserable artist and had to go back and forth over my painting oops and mistakes. Eventually the flock was finished and ready to fly off to new backyards.
So, I told you about the ducks so I could tell you this. I wasn’t ready to go back on the couch so I decided to make a whirlygig Healey. I used our first Healey as the inspiration. We purchased Sandy’s car in 1969, a ‘64 Phase-One BJ8. I don’t know if I’ll make more whirlygigs or not but it was a good project for these inconvenient times and Hey, it got me off the couch.
So now I have a Healey that I leave out in the backyard. It mostly sits but runs whenever it feels like it. Not unlike the real thing.
Cheers – Ron Davies