Austin-Healey Restoration Business For Sale!

The seller of a collection of Austin Healey spares and parts is doing a bang-up job of making me question my life. You see, not only does he have an impressive stash of 100-4s for sale, but he mentions how you could buy the whole collection and do what he did: start a business and “…be free.” Yes, that does sound good. Yes, I would like to have my own metal building filled with cars and parts that somehow pays me a respectable income. Yes, I’d like to be captain of the ship. I’m not sure if it’s really as simple as he makes it out to be, but it sure looks like fun to earn a living playing with desirable cars and parts all day. Check out the listing here on craigslist which also includes some highly-prized finished examples, like a BN2 and a 100M BN2 LeMans.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader Patrick S. for the find. The listing shows several 100-4 projects sitting on the rafters above the shop space, all of which appear to be restorable examples. The seller notes he has a total of seven for sale, starting at $19,500 each. All cars are said to have proper documentation and come from western states, which the seller claims is the contributing factor behind their non-rust-bucket condition – but don’t let that sway you too much, as they still need total restoration. The listing photos are worth scrolling through to see the variety of Austin Healeys he has for sale, along with the massive stash of spare parts and body panels.

This is just one corner of the facility, which shows parts and body panels neatly arranged and certainly organized well enough that a newcomer could pick up where the seller left off. This is one of the few listings offered as a whole collection that makes sense to me, as the seller seems extremely organized. When we see those for sale ads that specify any potential buyer must take everything, it’s often hugely unappealing solely because the collection appears to be in disarray, and potential buyers know they’d spend their first few months simply sorting out what they bought rather than making some cash off of their investment. To me, this business looks relatively turnkey, but it also depends on what sort of reputation the seller has in the Austin Healey community.

You really need to look at some of the other cars on offer, as they appear to be nicely restored examples. This is an Austin Healey 100M BN2 LeMans, which is perhaps one of the most prized cars in any Healey fanatic’s collection. This one is offered at $195,000 and is described as being in new condition with all papers; the other cars include a largely rebuilt BN2 for $44,500 and a replica Porsche 911 RS built off of a 1973 911T, offered at $98,500 with newly refreshed air conditioning components. Overall, there’s something for everyone in this listing, but the most appealing offer may be the ability to be your own boss and seemingly have plenty of cars and parts that collectors and enthusiasts would love to own. Would you buy a vehicle or the whole business?

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  1. ccrvtt

    “Be free”??? The seller most likely spent a lot of time and effort acquiring skills, doing quality work, keeping things organized, and working long hours. Very long hours.

    You have to admire people who take the leap of faith to embark on their own businesses. It takes courage, stamina, and a healthy dose of denial – denying yourself certain luxuries, denying that it could possibly fail at any moment, denying the uncertainty.

    I guess there are many different definitions of freedom. The great cartoonist Jules Feiffer once described it at the right to choose your own jail. It definitely has a cost as any combat veteran can tell you.

    This business is so attractive to many of us, like a beautiful woman who smiles at you. For a brief second you may think you have a chance but then you realize you’re way out of your league.

    To whoever does buy this: Good luck. Be Free.

    Like 14
    • ccrvtt

      Once again I need to correct myself. It was Rousseau who said, “Freedom is the power to choose your own chains.”

      Like 3

    Hold onto your checkbook Jeff. Nothing wrong with dreaming. It’s what keeps us alive. However this guy has carved out a very specialized niche market here. Unless one shares the passion for such a specific vehicle and knows every nut and bolt he had better keep dreaming.

    Have known numerous car builders that quit their day job to do custom builds that for several years did very good. Two are struggling one found it easier to work for the man. The issues are keeping the money flowing enough to pay help and utilities to doing the books. Not like on TV where you hang banners and have infomercials. Get free tools and related products. This is real. Plan on spending your life there. No days off. Problems 24/7. Taking on a six to eight month build they have been stuck with some very unfinished vehicles.

    There may be very rare parts. NOS would be a bonus. Wouldn’t count on much. Most of the inventory looks of left over bits and pieces from past restorations. It could be made to look very attractive with the cars/inventory and good will. With this deal unless you know what you are looking at keep moving. If it’s for you consult your attorney.

    Like 4
  3. Magnus

    Gary Emory of Parts Obsolete in McMinnville, Oregon has spent his entire career working with 356’s and now his son Rod is doing the same thing, building some amazing Outlaws. Gary built a great business and is as happy as anyone I’ve ever met.

    Quick Gary story if I may. I wanted some high back seats for my 356. I looked at everything Gary had and didn’t like any of it but saw an old Porsche sitting with some seats out of an ’82 911SC which were perfect. Well, that was Rods car but he wasn’t there so Gary sold me the seats which I used for the next 15 years. Rod had to find some new seats for himself.

    Like 5
  4. Bob_in_TN Member

    I knew a guy who owned and operated a small classic car repair/ restoration business. He would work on anything, but he focused on Mustangs. I suppose he (correctly) figured, there are plenty of Mustangs out there to work on. Was in a prosperous suburb of a big city. Employed one or two other guys. About the only criticism I had was that the facility was a shabby disorganized mess, complete with parts cars strewn about. He would also do general mechanic work on newer cars, if one criteria was met…. as I will note below.

    He did work for me, good work, at a fair price, for several years. One day I called and he was gone, out of business. I later learned he had simply given up after 15-20 years, because people would commission work then wouldn’t pay. So he would have to get into the world of liens and holding cars hostage. He finally reached a breaking point, I guess. The last I heard he was buying old cars, fixing them up, and flipping them. Who knows, he may be on BF.

    I suppose all businesses deal with this sort of thing. It’s a sad commentary.

    So, why did he accept work from me? Because (you guessed it)… I paid my bills and didn’t complain.

    Like 5
  5. bikefixr

    Buying a ‘business’ that turns out what, 3-4 cars a year is not a good investment. What he wants for the business will never be recouped in a reasonable amount of time. Most places are lucky to get a decent percentage of inventory. If every cent of net profit is used to pay off the intangibles…what are you working for?

    Like 2
  6. Danh

    Another automotive business for sale. What a shocker. I love what I do (Collector Car Business) but ain’t what it used to be. Just finding a decent chrome shop can be challenging these days. Your far better off making money doing something else and turning wrenches for fun.

    Like 2
  7. Maestro1

    Don’t get me started. If i was much younger and not afflicted with health issues i would jump on this. Indeed. Free is too choose your own chains.
    Well done.

  8. Dougie Member

    Gary is happy because he is retired and set his son up with a great, secure future. Any father’s dream.
    Buying this business would be my nightmare. Farthest thing from freedom that I could think of. And working 24/7, as any business owner knows, is a paved road to a nervous breakdown.
    Sure, there’s a few lucky souls that pull it off. And there’s a few people that make it into the NBA.
    I’ll pass.

    Like 2
  9. junkman Member

    Well said all, nothing to add to that commentary line up. It looks easy, it isn’t.

    Like 1
  10. CJinSD

    There have been lots of beautifully restored Austin-Healeys turned out over the last twenty-five years, more than there are people who still care about them and have the money to warrant the restoration costs.

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