Restored roadster reaps rewards

Posted May 31, 2012, at 11:12 a.m.
Jim Begin of Richmond drives his 1962 Austin Healey 3000 Tri-Carb Roadster down a Highland Road in Brunswick, Saturday, May 19. Healey paid $250 for the car in 1978.
Jim Begin of Richmond drives his 1962 Austin Healey 3000 Tri-Carb Roadster down a Highland Road in Brunswick, Saturday, May 19. Healey paid $250 for the car in 1978. Buy Photo
Jim Begin, of Richmond wears driving gloves while driving through  Brunswick, Saturday, May 19.
Jim Begin, of Richmond wears driving gloves while driving through Brunswick, Saturday, May 19. Buy Photo
A snapshot made in Oct. 1978 shows the condition of the 1962 Austin Healey when Jim Begin bought it from a man in Monmouth. It had been sitting in a yard so long bushes were growing in the front seat.
A snapshot made in Oct. 1978 shows the condition of the 1962 Austin Healey when Jim Begin bought it from a man in Monmouth. It had been sitting in a yard so long bushes were growing in the front seat. Buy Photo
Jim Begin (right) and visitors to a car show are careful not to touch the paint as they peer into the engine compartment of Begin's 1962 Austin Healey in Brunswick, Saturday, May 19. Begin took first place in the import class at the show.
Jim Begin (right) and visitors to a car show are careful not to touch the paint as they peer into the engine compartment of Begin's 1962 Austin Healey in Brunswick, Saturday, May 19. Begin took first place in the import class at the show. Buy Photo
A gremlin wielding a wrench often starts conversations when the curious peer under the hood of Jim Begin's Austin Healey at car shows. He makes sure he removes it before driving away.
A gremlin wielding a wrench often starts conversations when the curious peer under the hood of Jim Begin's Austin Healey at car shows. He makes sure he removes it before driving away. Buy Photo
A steering wheel made of Brazilian cherry and a stainless steel instrument panel are just some of the restorations Jim Begin has made in his 1962 Austin Healey.
A steering wheel made of Brazilian cherry and a stainless steel instrument panel are just some of the restorations Jim Begin has made in his 1962 Austin Healey. Buy Photo
A nameplate on the front of Jim Begin's 1962 Austin Healey.
A nameplate on the front of Jim Begin's 1962 Austin Healey. Buy Photo
The speedometer, gas gauge and overdrive switch on the the stainless steel instrument panel of Jim Begin's restored 1962 Austin Healey roadster.
The speedometer, gas gauge and overdrive switch on the the stainless steel instrument panel of Jim Begin's restored 1962 Austin Healey roadster. Buy Photo
A stainless steel radiator cap reflects the paint job on Jim Begin's 1962 Austin Healey.
A stainless steel radiator cap reflects the paint job on Jim Begin's 1962 Austin Healey. Buy Photo
A sign displayed at a car show in Brunswick on May 19, 2012, details some of the work Jim Begin of Richmond put into his 1962 Austin Healey.
A sign displayed at a car show in Brunswick on May 19, 2012, details some of the work Jim Begin of Richmond put into his 1962 Austin Healey. Buy Photo
A motto from the driver's mother adorns the dashboard of Jim Begin's Austin Healey.
A motto from the driver's mother adorns the dashboard of Jim Begin's Austin Healey. Buy Photo
The open road calls as Jim Begin cruises down Pleasant Hill Road in his restored 1962 Austin Healey 3000 Tri-Carb Roadster in Brunswick, Saturday, May 19.
The open road calls as Jim Begin cruises down Pleasant Hill Road in his restored 1962 Austin Healey 3000 Tri-Carb Roadster in Brunswick, Saturday, May 19. Buy Photo
Jim Begin of Richmond drives his 1962 Austin Healey 3000 Tri-Carb Roadster down a road in Brunswick, Saturday, May 19. Healey bought the car in 1978 for $250.
Jim Begin of Richmond drives his 1962 Austin Healey 3000 Tri-Carb Roadster down a road in Brunswick, Saturday, May 19. Healey bought the car in 1978 for $250. Buy Photo

BRUNSWICK, Maine — In the fall of 1978 Jim Begin bought his dream car for $250 — only back then the 1962 Austin Healey Tri-Carb Roadster looked more like a nightmare.

“It was sitting in a backyard in Monmouth for 3 or 4 years, long enough so that bushes were growing out of the front seat,” said Begin, who was showing his car at a small car show in Brunswick on May 19th.

The previous owner was working on the fuel pump when it caught fire. He put it out and just left it there.

Begin first became acquainted with an Austin Healey when he was given a ride in one while hitchhiking home from Boston while in the Navy in the early ’60s. He was working as a machinist at Maine Yankee when he found the neglected sports car. His skill in the machine shop came in handy when he started making parts to restore his little sports car. Many of the engine and cockpit parts have been replaced with polished stainless steel.

“I tried to keep everything on the outside original, but the dash I did to my specs,” said Begin, of Richmond.

A couple years ago Begin decided to enter the Autumn Gold car show in Ellsworth. He had what he thought was the misfortune of being placed next to an expensive red Ferrari. But when the ribbons were awarded Begin’s Bristish import took first and the Italian came in second.

“I felt sorry for that poor guy,” said Begin.

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