1962 Austin-Healey 3000 V-8

It wasn’t uncommon during the 1960s and 1970s to shove American V-8s in all kinds of European sports cars, and the “big” Healeys were no exception. This particular one received a “Shelby” V-8 in 1968/69 (more about that later) and has been in the same family for the last 40 years! It’s listed for sale here on eBay where there’s a reasonable buy-it-now of $35,000 and lower offers are welcomed. That snug garage it appears in is located in White Plains, New York.

I installed an exhaust system on a stock 1961 Healey 3000 once; there’s a really good reason that the conversion was executed with side pipes (besides the fact that they are very Cobra-esque). The period Ansen aluminum wheels are a bit unusual and may be to your tastes, or not. I like the Cobra copy fill cap; again, depends on whether you like originality or not! The paint is obviously weathered but kinda lends itself to the overall look of the car; as long as the seller’s claim of no rust is true I’d touch it up and let it go! Speaking of going, the 306 claimed horsepower is a lot more than the original 132, so going won’t be much of a problem.

Believe it or not, one of my friends in college actually rode to football games in the back seat of my Healey. She was pretty small! Apart from the upholstered tunnel, aftermarket upholstery, and added center stack, the interior looks fairly stock Healey. There’s a hardtop that comes with the car as well, but remember that this model comes with side curtains anyway, so efforts to keep the weather outside are only going to be partially successful at best.

There’s a reason I’ve saved the engine for last. The seller states that the intake manifold that has three two-barrel carburetors mounted on it was one of six produced by Dean Moon for Shelby American in 1966 and that the engine itself came from a 1966 Shelby (it isn’t stated if it was from a 289 Cobra or GT350, but the assumption is that it was a GT350 as the last 289 Cobras were produced in November 1964). The seller states that the engine was rated at 306 horsepower and has an 11.6 to 1 compression ratio–pretty stout for a street engine! There’s been some recent work done to the car, including installing new brakes front and rear, a new clutch master cylinder, and a new water pump. Overall I think this is a pretty cool car and I’d love to have the chance to drive it! What do you think, readers?

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Comments

  1. Ric

    Would like to know what was done to the rest of the drive train. Can’t just add that much power without blowing stuff up. Don’t ask me how I know.

    Like 15
    • Terrry

      I would hope the frame was strengthened, also.

      Like 3
  2. healeydays

    The original car Shelby wanted to use was the Austin Healey, but he was told he couldn’t have it. So he went to AC and as they say history was made…

    Like 10
  3. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    What a great “old school” find. At a time that American V8’s were scattered across the landscape it was a difficult breed of cat that would use anything but another American car to keep it going, I.e. fabricating a set of mounts to shove a 421 into an old F100 or yank the 327 out of a scrapped Chevy II and nestling it into the engine bay of a blown up E Type..
    Sacrilegious today, but at at time that you just used whatever you had to keep what it was on the road then pull the motor and put it in something else later.
    GLWTA.

    Like 7
  4. Howard A Member

    I know my purist British roots should hate this, but truth be known, this was a very popular swap,, “Healey Cobras”( or Cobra Healeys) they were called. When the AC Cobra came out, they were pretty much out of the realm of the common person, yet, big Healeys were a dime a dozen. They hadn’t reached the status of today, actually, nobody wanted them, and became a perfect low budget Corvette killer, I believe the original Cobras intention. V8’s were all around, and I remember several of these. Trouble was, the poor Healey was never meant to have that kind of torque, and while the small block wasn’t any heavier than the 6, it added to the already pronounced understeer these cars have, and fell out of favor, after some pretty scary rides, I bet. Cool car, looks well done, I’d get your best quote on life insurance before taking this baby out.

    Like 12
  5. bobhess bobhess Member

    The ’62s and back were great looking cars. I’ve driven a V8 version of the early Healeys and it was a lot of fun. The owner had put a lot of miles on the swap and incurred no driveline problems, even with the wire wheels. He autocrossed it regularly and it was fun to watch it power out of turns. This has the possibility of being a very nice car.

    Like 3
  6. Terrry

    Great car, great engine. But in this combination, not so much. I’d prefer a stock Healey and put that motor in a 65-66 Mustang.

    Like 2
  7. jimAND ROSE nashwinter

    I had a tr6 that I put a 350 sbc in and a 9inch ford;It was a real monster;drove it every day;I loved it?I made a new rear frame with torsion suspension;

    Like 3
  8. James

    I have owned one of these exact swaps. The critical conversion items are the mounting parts and suspension mods. This is a great Swamp, as close as you can get to a Cobra without the expense. I was privilidged years ago to have a ride in Shelby’s 001 when he was still alive. Of all the insanely powerful street cars that I have owned over the past 55 years, my Heally swap was one of my most favorite three, right next to my TVR and my 400 GT Superleggara. If I wasn’t in my 70s I would jump on this one.

    Like 2
  9. JohnfromSC

    If that’s a real documented Shelby engine and carb setup it would be well worth pulling out of this AH, especially if the original Shelby VIN still lives on. I could see $20K easy for the engine if that VIN is alive.

    Like 3
  10. HealeyRick

    When I was in high school in the late 60s a local guy put a 2bbl 289 with an auto into his Healey and dusted off the Vettes in the midnight street races. Made an everlasting impression and about ten years ago I decided to build my BJ7 Healey into a period-correct Nasty Boy as if a guy in 1965 found a wrecked Shelby GT-350 and dropped the drivetrain into his car: http://tinyurl.com/yj52fwo Surprisingly, this car was pretty much built to the car in my imagination. I’d like to see some documentation whether this is a real K-Code motor and the Dean Moon tri-carbs. My motor puts out 345 crank hp and with the added lightness over the six-cylinder it handles much better and is a joy to drive. Don’t let the naysayers talk you out of this one, it will be a blast.

  11. Ike Onick

    Is the license plate cover included?

    Like 1
  12. Chuck Foster Chuck Foster

    Neat car, but wouldn’t you want to pull it out and get some better overall pictures? The wheels look like 8 slot, I doubt Ansen, sort of like one of my favorite styles, Cragar Mach 8s. There’s a DoD base sticker on the bumper.

  13. Bill

    Knew a guy that had a fiberglass Healy kit car with a small lock Ford and automatic. BRG, nice looking car. Would have preferred a 4 speed myself.

  14. Beignet atthe Beach

    Good Lord! I thought that was my car! I had the great fortune to own a 62 3000 back in the 70s that had a Shelby motor, XK-140 gearbox and radiator, and knockoff steel wheels. Also black, I did not have a front bumper. My car was built by an engineering genius and teacher, Ron Kilborn, up in SUNY Oswego, NY. As one commentator pointed out, you need to beef up some bits to handle the FoMoCo power, and hence the reason my car no longer had the original rear end ratio, or the spoke wire wheels! Professor Kilborn cut the centers out of some Cadillac 5 bolt rims, and cut his trued up wire centers, then press fitted and welded them. 3 of my 4 rims required no wheel weights for balance. Thus: solid steel knock offs! It remains, decades later, the ONLY car I have regretted parting with. Financial needs & reality…..darn it!
    My V8 Healey had 1960 Chevy mufflers, with side exits in front of each wheel, subtle to lure in the unsuspecting … downside was the near requirement to wear ear protection with the hardtop installed, upside was that marvelous exhaust not under full chat. Best of luck to the seller and buyer..FUN is in the future!

    Like 1
  15. Roland Schoenke

    I love the design of British cars but hate the unreliability and lack of power so this is perfect

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