40 Years Family Owned: 1961 Austin Healey 3000

The listing for this 1961 Austin Healey 3000 is a tale of caution for those of us with projects languishing in the garage. The seller is the son-in-law of the long-term owner who had bought seemingly every part for restoration before losing his bout with cancer. The 3000 comes with the desirable factory hard top and potentially all of the parts needed to rebuild it. Find it here on craigslist for $25,000.

The Healey’s engine was completely rebuilt, according to the seller, but the potential for it needing to be rebuilt again depends on how long it’s been sitting. The body looks fair in the pictures provided in the ad, but it really needs to be brought out into the daylight to form a fair opinion. If the car has been stored for the last several years and the owner was as detail-oriented as his son-in-law professes, one would think the body was done before the rebuilt engine was installed.

Pictures like these help reinforce that it likely does come with all of the spares needed to rebuild, as seeing dash trim wrapped in plastic, along with what looks like the body chrome, bears the signs of an owner who attempted to keep his stash of parts organized. The seller mentions “….hardware, door skins, mats, bumpers, grills, glass, trim, etc.”, but would be wise to seek the help of a local Healey expert to detail out what is in the parts inventory.

This is when you really feel for the offspring or heirs to projects like this who weren’t close to and/or involved with the restoration. The seller seems to indicate they’ve been given advice over the internet as to where to price the car, which is completely understandable when presented with an incomplete restoration project like this Austin Healey. I’d find a Facebook group or local club page to get an honest opinion of what’s here, and potentially drive a stronger asking price. Any local readers and Austin Healey fanatics care to help?

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Comments

  1. Sarah

    As the owner of two later Austin-Healeys, one an older restoration that I bought while undergoing a full restoration of the other, the reality is that a car like this that needs a lot of work, even if there are new replacement parts and a rebuilt engine, isn’t going to likely return full value.

    There needs to be a real incentive to take on this project, and the very few photos provided don’t provide sufficient information in order to make an informed decision. I know from experience that much rust can hide in lots of places on a Healey, and when you hear “only the usual Healey rust”, the best thing to do is run away as fast as you can, as I should have done!

    Like 13
    • TriPowerVette

      @Sarah – Wisdom through experience.

      This is a pic of my brother’s last Healey project. He sold it, to concentrate on his TR-4 resto. BTW – ALL of the “typical rust” had already been taken care of, and it was fairly far along to final body work. He accepted substantially less than this gentleman is asking.

      Like 1
    • TriPowerVette

      @Sarah – Also; his would start and ran really well.

      Like 2
    • Sarah

      Hi TPV – Here are mine. I am now about to do some work on my TR250 that had a light restoration many years ago. No more full restorations for me!

      I sure am glad that I am now at the other end of a full restoration, not that I was actually intending to do one. But when instead of the asked for written estimate, a company decides to strip your car down to its core without any permission to do so, the “sell_it_as_is” option was no longer on the table.

      The problem with a fully restored car is that you now become aware of the fact that there are a lot of crazy drivers out there, and you don’t want to leave her in a parking lot!

      Like 6
      • TriPowerVette

        @Sarah – Tell me about it. I specified that I was to be notified of the time and place of the sand blasting for the first step in fully documenting the complete resto currently under way on my 1968 442 convertible. Needless to say, they just went ahead with the blasting, then sprayed the protective coat, without so much as 1 picture having documented the transition.

        Not an auspicious start.

        BTW – A TR-250 (especially, the Peter Brock Special TR-250K), is one of my bucket list cars.

        Like 2
      • TriPowerVette

        @Sarah – TR250K … aaahhhhh. Perfection.

        Like 3
      • Sarah

        Hi TPV – I was stuck since I was about to be moving homes. So I reluctantly continued on and things went from bad to worse. The quality of the work was terrible with even more work done that I didn’t authorize. So 3 years later with little done, I yanked her out and took her to Coachwerks in Victoria for a proper job. And they did a fantastic job fixing what was bad. For example, the doors wouldn’t have fit and the rocker panels were too high. They also found that most of the welding was done with a gas torch and had to be redone, due to oxidation. The initial company also stole parts and swapped my only decent fender (FL) with one from a late ’50s Healey, that had to be both repaired and modified to fit.

        So I ended up taking the original company to court and won! I had the photos and documentation, proof that they did what they did. They are no longer in business being able to rip people off. The number of people who came up to me once they knew, telling me what happened to them.

        My TR250 sat in a showroom for over 20 years after the light restoration, so the hydraulics and gas tank had to be dealt with after purchase. She now runs great, but I want to install the new overdrive gearbox that I had built along with a new leather interior, carpets and burled walnut instrument panel that I have ready.

        Here is a pic of me doing what I like best,… driving down a country road with the top down and the sun filtering through the trees!

        Like 7
  2. S Bayes

    Taking on an unfinished project especially one needing a first class paint job that this needs will know it’s all got to come apart and taken back to metal and then have those door skins welded on plus all the prep. for what it costs you would be better finding one that’s already been done that can be driven now rather than wait two years and spend another $25.000, that’s after knocking them down to $14000 it’s real value in these times of the higher end classic crash

    Like 2
  3. Brian Scott

    Watching closely. We’ve got one in identical shape, but its embroiled in an estate dispute now. One party claims it’s worth a fortune; I’m thinking five grand tops. And it’s going to take six grand, measured at minimum wage, to dig it out of the barn. The old gal ought to be put back on the road. One of my life’s near-death experiences was having the left rear knockoff send the tire ricocheting right through the front door of an unsuspecting business owner. He would likely vouch for it being his near-death experience too, now that I think about it. :)

    Like 1
  4. Bill Wilkman

    The seller doesn’t apparently know this, but what he has here is the very rare and desirable two seat BN7 model of the 1961 Healey. The more common model is the BT7, which has a couple of jump seats behind the main passenger and driver’s seats. A BN7 along with a factory hardtop is a highly desirable combination. I’d say if the car is reasonably rust free and truly includes all parts necessary for its restoration, $25,000 is a very fair price. If I had room in my garage and lived closer to this car’s location, I’d be very tempted to buy it. I previously owned a BT7 1961 Healey and my only real gripe about the car was its awkward side shifting transmission and balky overdrive. One can buy a kit to change the truly awful Healey four speed to a delightful Toyota five speed, and that’s the route I’d go if it were my car to restore.

    Like 2
    • Tricky

      Yep, does say BN7 on the firewall ID Tag, but I thought the hardtop only came out on the BT7…?? The BN7 had the horrible plastic folding roof with the detachable side screens!!

      • Devin Williams

        Both the BT7 and BN7 have hardtop options. Like Bill W. said, the BN7 is much rarer, making those hardtops incredibly rare.

        Also, all the Big Healeys came with sidescreens whether they were two or “occasional four” seaters. It wasn’t until 1963 they came with fold-down tops and rollup windows.

        This is a fair price, IMO.

        -DKW
        1962 3000 Mk-II (BT7)

  5. Maestro1

    Jeff, I think the asking price is too high regardless of market values if for no other reason that even if all the parts are there the labor and time involved in getting this one right could be into a very high five figures. Then there is mechanical work and anything else it needs. So the Seller is not realistic.

  6. robert gressard

    I bought my 67 in 67. Drove it home from active duty in 1971 with 27,000 on the clock, parked it and never drove it again. Always garage kept. Still has the original top and interior. It was repainted in 1970. Long story. It once pulled a 1952 Ferrari from Fla. to Ohio in 1970.with a Uhaul trailer with those skinny bumpers. Will get it out someday soon I hope. Cheers

    Like 1
  7. TriPowerVette

    @robert gressard – You better, you better, you bet…

    Like 2
  8. Anthony Suozzo

    Having restored multiple Austin Healey 3000’s I would be very cautious spending 25k on a Healey that has been sitting for 40 years. Sure they indicate the engine was rebuilt , but even good engine rebuilders have a hiccup from time to time where there engine develops a problem after a hours of running. These projects must be approached as if everything needs attention. Since it’s not running condition , you can have tranny issues , differential issues , but to mention hidden rust thy these car are notorious for. Doing most of the work myself , it typically runs about 40k to these Healey’s fully restored and operating well. If you have to pay someone to do most of this work it will be double that. Unless you get a great buy on a Healey in this condition, and you are skilled in mig welding and mechanical restoration, you would be better off finding one already done that you can test drive an ensure you’re getting what you want and that the condition of the mechancials and the entire car are good. They are great cars that are fun to drive and are quite enjoyable when they are done correctly. Just my two cents. Thanks for reading.

    Like 2
  9. Neil

    I do worry that when I “pop my clogs ” or whatever, that my son will have to deal with whatever projects I still have on the go. Even gathering up all the bits for any one project will be an issue!

    Like 1
    • Sarah

      That is the reason why I only tackle one car at a time. Heck, my 3 sons would have difficulty figuring out what to do with just the extra new parts I have for my fleet, even though I have them all labelled. Two of them turned into modern VW lovers, (no air cooled engines for them). Oh where did we go so wrong!

      Like 3
  10. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Most likely a good Healey to start with the continued restro….and a high school buddy still has his TR-250 stored away….still work on him at the reunion’s !

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