Should I Bid? 1965 Austin-Healey 3000 BJ8

The seller of this 1965 Austin-Healey 3000 Mk. III seems to be a man of few written words, but tells us that they purchased the car 10 years ago and have not touched it since. Or at least not until they received some questions after listing the car for sale here on eBay. Bidding has reached $8,600 so far but has not yet met the reserve. Yes, that’s another Big Healey next to this one, but it’s not for sale, although this parts car for the BJ8 is also for sale. Despite the car coming with a clear Kansas title, it’s currently located in Pleasant Valley, New York.

As you read on, please be aware that this is yet another in the series of Barn Finds posts by me about cars I’m trying to convince myself not to bid on and buy. As you can see from my Lister-Jaguar XJS here and here and Cristina’s Roadmaster here and here, I’m not always successful. So, Barn Finds readers, feel free to try to convince me either way. This picture of a relatively solid frame (and I’ve owned two rusty Big Healeys, so I know what a nightmare they can be) is not helping me keep my bidding fingers still. I do wish there were more complete pictures of the car, but if it’s like most Big Healeys, you can count on electrolytic corrosion between the steel fenders and aluminum shrouds as well as much rust in the devilishly designed rocker panels and lower fenders.

I chose to show this picture to point out that there is a localized repair here — but who knows what that flaked off piece of body filler was really hiding. I’m trying to tell myself it’s a lot more rust, but my car-loving-soul isn’t buying it.

You have to wonder what mangled the steering wheel like this! Especially on a car where the interior appears intact enough to use on a driver-quality refurbishment. The odometer is showing 70,460 miles which I can believe based on the wear. I think those are rust holes in the front of the passenger side floorboard? Trivia time; did you know that later Big Healeys (I’m not sure about earlier ones) came with an asbestos heat shield under the driver’s floorboard due to the exhaust heat that would be transmitted to the driver? Trust me, it was really necessary on the 100-6 I daily drove for two years. The BJ8 (3000 Mk. III) models like this one finally did something to improve the ground clearance in the rear, but I think the exhaust pipes are still right there under the driver’s floorboards.

Two huge SU carbs and what appears to be an “un-messed-with” engine compartment are speaking to me. The seller apparently was asked whether the engine was free or not, and reports after a 10 pm trip to the storage building with 5″ of snow on the ground that a four-foot breaker bar and a large socket successfully turned the engine over.

Something simple like the overspray on the left grommet and the lack of cracks in both of them can tell us a story. One, we know the car was repainted, not quite matching the original “Healey Blue” metallic. Two, the car has been not exposed to horrible heat during storage as those grommets tend to crack badly. So, Barn Finds readers — what do you think? Should I sell the XJS and go for it?

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Comments

  1. JACKinNWPA JACKinNWPA Member

    Go ahead and make a bid on that, as the song goes. I would have asked the owner to remove the spark plugs, spray some PB Blaster in the cylinders and come back in a couple days(couple weeks is better) and then try to roll the engine. Without lube stuck rings can break. either way I’m not in the market so go for it as it seems to be a real good restoration project.

    Like 1
  2. alphasud Member

    You would have to be a brave sole to did on a car with pictures like that. I guess a plus to the listing is the engine isn’t stuck after a uniformed owner brute forced the engine to turn. It makes it a little easier to remove the pistons on what will now be a engine rebuild.

    Like 1
  3. bobhess bobhess Member

    The 5th picture from he left on eBay tells me you should go far away from this car as it indicates a lot of rust that the seller isn’t going to show you. It’s already bid way past any reasonable buying price.

    Like 6
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      Hi, Bob, agreed on the rust. I’ve restored a Big Healey before with similar rust and I do all my own work, so I’m not petrified. Probably should be…

      Like 1
  4. Patrick Kelly

    That parts car listing is really confusing

  5. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    The model designation – “BJ8” is bad enough but what’s left of the steering wheel put it over the top.

    Like 1
  6. Steve

    Put one of those asbestos mats in the MGB/GT that I used to own. What a great difference they make.

  7. Eric_13cars Eric_13cars Member

    I can tell you for sure, Jamie, that the MkIIIs had an asbestos plate under the driver’s seat. When my 65 was on the road, it was excruciatingly hot sitting at a stoplight, even in the winter. In the summer, I’d watch the temperature gauge hit 240 briefly until I got moving. It was unnerving to say the least. As for the likely $10K reserve on this one, if you can do all of your own work, including painting it, I’d say it’s worth it. If you’re subbing all of the work out, you might as well grab a much nicer version for $40K, otherwise you’ll be far underwater. Labor rates are ridiculous and you’re looking at a 1000 hours at least to do a full restoration. Don’t sell the Lister to do it either. Just got my XJS back on the road the other day (warm December with top down) and what a treat. Still have to get the electrical gremlins (top, quarter windows, cruise) fixed. Pittlsboro to Efland is not that far :-)

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      Hi, Eric! Yes, I do all my own work including painting…the only thing I can’t seem to get right is setting up a differential, only 1 for 4 that didn’t have to come back apart. No, I don’t expect it to make money :-). And ultimately I’m probably not going to bid.

      The XJS is running perfectly right now. But I’m not enjoying it enough because I’m waiting for the next problem…

      Like 2
  8. A.J.

    Ad says “clean title” yet the title pictured is salvage. Maybe not even a parts car?

    Like 1
  9. Eric_13cars Eric_13cars Member

    Also, this is a late 65 and possibly a 66. My 65 does not have the amber turn signal lights, and the later years had both amber and clear, turn and parking. Also, the rear reflector became an amber turn signal.

  10. gaspumpchas

    I live in Pleasant Valley, NY; if anyone is interrested I’d be glad to look at it for you. Would be a stretch to buy it with the lousy pics. With the bondo peeling off like it is, beware. My home phone is 845-635-3662, cell is 845-554-6095.
    Good luck, be safe and glad to help out my car buddies.
    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 5
    • JGeezer Member

      From our old Global Healey crowd, by any chance? I met Donald at the shop there when I had my ’66.

      Like 1
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      Thanks for the offer! At this point I’m holding off, for some reason (probably looking over my project list) I’ve gotten a little bit of sense.

  11. gaspumpchas

    Hey J geezer! I knew Glenn Kurris a little and always admired his little operation. Not sure when he closed, or what happend to him. I worked at the Arco station rt 55 and east noxon when I was in High school. My old stomping grounds. Good luck and stay safe!
    Cheers

    GPC

    Like 1
    • JGeezer Member

      May just be nasty gossip, but back then I heard the business went up his nose. Too bad in any case, good shop with good guys.

  12. John Torani

    Depending whether this a parts car or a project(not completely understanding the description), I could use some parts!! So please try to clarify exactly what’s for sale and where it(or they) end up!
    Thanks, John.

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