Healeys in Paradise was the theme of The Austin Healey Sports & Touring Club’s annual event Encounter this year. Encounter is held in a different region each year, and each event involves a variety of activities for Healey owners, including a rallye, tech sessions, a gymkhana and a flea market, along with the popular car show.
I ran into Robert and Joanne Sweeney once again. For years now, I have crossed paths with them at the various car shows in the region. Their black 1954 Austin-Healey 100 was displayed with the windscreen down, and with its wide-mouth grill, it appeared to be smiling.
Joanne introduced me to Jerry Hoeppner, a true craftsman in metalworks. Jerry is a partner in Coventry Restorations in West Wyoming, Pa. Joanne tells me that Jerry has an English wheel. Jerry describes this tool to me visually, using his hands as if he was standing right in front of his English wheel, smoothing and shaping body panels and fenders from flat sheets of metal. He leaves to get some swag from the flea market before they close. I ask Joanne if they will be at the Hershey car show, and, of course, they will.
I run into Jerry again in front of a red Ausin Healey 100M with the bonnet up. We discuss the linkage on the carburetors and take pictures of the engine, his more for technical reference, mine for more artistic reasons. He tells me that he has one in the process of restoration and hopes to have it completed soon.
I look forward to meeting them again. Until our next Encounter.
Story and photos by Dai Swengler