2nd Phase Survivor: 1966 Austin Healey BJ8

1966-austin-healey-mk-iii

Big Healey values have been all over the place in the past couple years. They climbed to all time highs in 2015, dropped part way through this year and have seemed to level back out. What has caused the fluctuations I can’t say (likely changes in the European market), but they are still quite desirable and can fetch big money. This example needs some work, but looks solid and runs! It doesn’t drive and will need a decent amount of work to get it back on the road, but with nice examples trading for six figures, this one seems like a decent buy at $29k. If you’d like to take a closer look or make an offer on it, you can find it here on eBay in Wylie, Texas.

This car is a MK III BJ8 Phase 2, that’s a mouthful, so it has every refinement and improvement that Austin Healey made to the 3000 before it’s demise. It has servo assisted brakes, wind up windows, a 150 horsepower inline 6, an improved exhaust system and better ground clearance. The Mk III is easily the most comfortable and powerful versions of the 3000. The changes are welcome improvements and helped keep the 3000 around till ’67, a respectable 8 year run!

1966-austin-healey-chassis

Like most British roadsters of this era, these cars suffer from rust issues. This one is said to have been stored in Arizona for the past 10 years and yet it still has some rust. The frame does look solid, which is the most important part of these cars to check out closely. Patch panels are available for all the common problem areas. Hopefully this one can be repaired without doing a full body off restoration. Of course, if you’re going to do the work, it might be worth taking it all apart and having the chassis treated for rust and powder coated or painted with a rust inhibitor.

1966-austin-healey-bj8

I’ve had the opportunity to see a few of these later 3000s and I was impressed by every single one of them. They are beautiful cars to behold, with lovely interiors and the fantastic 2.9L inline 6. This one is going to need work, but it looks like a better buy than some of the totally rusted out examples we’ve seen in the past. I honestly won’t be surprised if values for these later cars will start climbing drastically again in the near future, so if you’ve always wanted one, this might be the time to buy!

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Hmm, so that’s what the exhaust looks like under the car, and not dragging 10 feet behind.( flex pipe? C’mon) I see prices have come down to “ridiculous” for these. Something doesn’t look right, the back appears much higher than stock. I don’t ever remember seeing the inner rear wheel well on these. The interiors were much nicer on these than the early ones, but still, sadly, most will never experience the thrill of driving one of these. Certainly not the finest car, but cool factor is through the roof, along with the cost today. That’s a shame. I can say from experience, this was a cool car. ( Not literally, as that exhaust, when properly attached, goes right under your butt)

    • Josh Mortensen Staff

      They really are cool cars! The rear ride height is right, for the Phase II cars they redesigned the rear suspension to help with clearance, that way you were less likely to tear the exhaust off when you went over a bump.

      • healeydays

        Yup, I can back that one up. Series 1 cars such as my 1959 3000 is so low, if I ever see a speedbump, I have to turn around and go around it.

  2. Howard A Member

    Let’s go for a ride, shall we? The sound is unmistakable. ( note, O/D in 3rd and 4th and a little “SU” stumble, I was hoping he’d floor it at 1:37) Beautiful!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1duHyc-hhc

    • RayT Member

      Howard A, the next video I found on YouTube was 18 minutes of someone running a 3000 in a vintage race at Spa. Woke me right up! Never idled my 3000 around like the guy in the video you referenced unless it was late at night or The Law was around….

      The racing video was, of course in an extreme way, what I remember: that distinctive howl beyond 4000 rpm, lots of understeer and occasional Big Oversteer. Can’t imagine running over rumble strips, though. Would have taken off the exhaust system on a street Healey!

      The SUs on mine never “stumbled,” but they did occasionally “spit” when cold. Never could cure that.

      Now I miss the Healey more than ever — old school, with side curtains and a some-assembly-required top (which was almost never put up) — and the hard ride and heat from the exhaust system. Best car I ever owned!

      • Alan (Michigan)

        This one, eh?
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UD7TjvMkHK0

        Love that sound!

        Certainly an example of how some vintage racers drive more aggressively than others. And a lesson in how to not respond when you get boxed out on a corner, just because you have more power and straight-line speed. That part was sad to watch, a Jag Lightweight taking out an MGA, merely because the driver lost his head.

    • Dolphin Member

      This is my favorite Healey video—a record time at Spa in Belgium.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUuorPUnqKg

      Think about it: 105 MPH through Eau Rouge, then reaching 130 MPH on the straight. Also interesting to see the driver work the OD at times.

      I think the car might have some mods, but not bad for an early-’60s sportscar cobbled together from Donald Healey’s brain and the BMC parts bin.

      And yes, the later Healeys were jacked up on their suspension because of complaints of how often the exhausts got broken off on poor No American roads. I had a ’62 low rider, and if you were careful and didn’t treat it like a lifted pickup you could do OK with it, and I never lost an exhaust from road hazards.

      A bigger problem was how quickly the lever-action shocks wore out and leaked, especially at the front where they formed the top half of the suspension. Worth looking at closely for a prospective purchase.

  3. Charlie

    I am not a fan of BJ8 Healeys, but I like this car. It’s honest. I would deal with the lower door/fender rust, and do a light cosmetic resto and drive it.

  4. Jay M

    I think these are one of the most beautiful cars ever designed.

  5. Bruce Best

    I had one in dark green when I was driving home from university. A friend was driving with me from University of Idaho to Kansas City and then by plane to New York. In the middle of Nowhere, Wyoming I had been napping in the passenger seat and I woke rather quickly once I saw how fast we were going. There was nobody else on the roads and I said nothing as I put my hand over the speedometer and asked him how fast he was going. He said about 70 to 75. Only when I pulled my hand back did he understand that we were really going 110 MPH. It was perfectly safe under the conditions and I had no problem with that speed. My problem was that he did not know how fast he was really driving.

    I had to sell mine or I would have it to this day. These are not perfect cars the seats are too up right with no adjustment. However some aluminum blocks just between the seat and the seat frame will work miracles. The floor will melt tennis shoes in the summer. The bodies are a total pain in the ass to get right, but now days almost every part but the main frames are available if expensive.

    Heavy, parking is similar to twisting a tree in the ground but moving and cruising cross country they are in many ways the equal to the E-type for the emotions they bring. Not as elegant but in their own way classy. Classy then, classy now and in the future. That the price went up is not surprising at all. That the price went down is but I think other are correct the price will be going up again. I just hope that the prices do not go so high that you do not see one on the road again to let some other driver feel alive and in the world like I did with mine.

  6. Wm Lawrence

    As for having the body off and having the chassis powder coated, the body and chassis are integral on these cars. only the doors, bonnet, boot lid, wings, and outer (alloy) shrouds are removable. The chassis and body assembly were, in almost all cases, painted body color. A lot of powder and probably not a good idea to bake it.

  7. Eric Dashman

    Thanks to all for posting the You-Tubes, but as an owner of a 1965, I can tell you that in person it’s even more awesome sounding (with the standard exhaust and not the glasspacks that this one is showing). Yes, the heat on the driver’s side in the summer in North Carolina is enough to make you faint when you’re at a stoplight. Once moving, it’s bearable. Had mine up to 105 on I-95 once (in traffic and I was being passed). A friend had a 1962 with the triple carb setup and it had an even meaner sound than mine with the 2 HD8s. Sadly in need of complete restoration at this point, but I offer this picture of it in better days.

    • Alan (Michigan)

      A Beauty, Eric D. A Beauty.

  8. Alan (Michigan)

    Unless someone is going for a concours restoration, there are today solutions for the floorboard heat problem mentioned. Thin film insulation can deflect the radiant heat, and be unnoticeable unless under the car. And a different insulation under the carpet can tame the problem even more.

    Bottom line: If your classic car is driven, and not relegated to being trailered between shows, there are many things which can enhance your experience, without diminishing value. IMO!

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