Austin-Healey With A V8 Surfaces After 20 Years

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Barn Finds reader Olaf E. frequently submits finds that intrigue me, and this 56-61 (the seller doesn’t have a title) Austin Healey has certainly done that. The car has been highly modified in the “nasty boy” mold with an American V8, fender flares and other modifications that was really common in the 70’s and 80’s and still is today with some enthusiasts. It’s located in Sweet Home, Oregon and is for sale here on craigslist, where the seller is asking for $28,000.

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This is the car before cleanup. You can see the side curtains, which help to date the car, and the well-integrated fender flares and Trans-Am fender vents (presumed functional in this case). The exhaust avoids the typical big Healey clearance issues by exiting just in front of the rear wheels.

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Wow! It’s amazing what a little soap and water can do sometimes. The black/green color scheme suits the car well. I think I would have located the fender vents a little closer to the factory rally car position higher up on the fender, but that’s being nitpicky. The seller tells us the car was stored for 20 years, and unfortunately during that time the title has gone missing.

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The seller got the car running, and with a “totally built” Ford 351W V8 and a five speed transmission (thank you for not putting an automatic in!) the seller tells us it is “scary fast” and “the most powerful car” they have ever driven. I wish we got to see under the hood and into the interior, but I admit I’m hooked anyway. I’m not sure about the price, though.

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Ultimately, I’m sure many of you view a bastardized car like this as sacrilege. I certainly wouldn’t choose this car to start with if I were to try to restore a Healey to its original state! But as a toy that’s already been converted, if the job was done well, sure, I’d drive it in a heartbeat! How about you?

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Comments

  1. RayT Member

    For me, as a longtime Austin-Healey fan and former owner, this is, at best, a parts car. The conversions I’ve seen required too much sawing and hacking to be worth returning to stock; I can only imagine how the 9-inch rear was jammed in there. At least whoever converted it did away with the original 100-6 drum brakes!

    Someone else might enjoy this. But it’s not for me.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Ray, like you, I’ve seen some horrors! But I’ve seen two nice ones — a member of our Triumph club has a beautiful job with a 302 and a five-speed that’s been done properly. It can be done.

    • Healeydays

      At $28,000 it would need to be a fully sorted out Nasty Boy.

      I have seen some engineering work of art nasty boy Healeys at the national Austin Healey events/conclave and even the best would sell at this price or less. The founder of the Nasty Boys registry within the Healey circles just passed away recently and his 2 cars went for alot less that what is being asked of this one. His two cars (both 1957) only got a little over $16,000 and $12,000 and they were fully sorted out.
      http://www.hibid.com/lot/69262-76214-46967/1957-austin-healey-2-door-convertible–nasty-boy-/
      http://massartauctioneers.hibid.com/lot/24828660/1957-austin-healey-2-door-roadster-bn4

      • Alan (Michigan)

        There is a very pointed and sobering bit of recent sales history for the seller of this car to be aware of.
        Heck, the auctioned car which sold for the lower figure is a Big Block! (must have taken some creativity to get it in that engine bay)
        Although both of those are automatics, each being fully sorted, titled, and drive-ready means to me that the subject car here should be available for half or less than half of the Craigslist price.

        Great, fun car to find after a long slumber. But it would have more value without the engine swap and other modifications, yes?

      • Healeydays

        The sad thing about these 2 cars that were sold with a local auction house to settle an estate by the brother. Susan & LeRoy Joppa were well known in the Austin Healey community and they will be missed.
        Yes, they were automatics, but if they were properly marketed and sold at an auction house that specialized in auto auctions, these cars might have gotten a better price.
        You should have seen LeRoy and Sue put these cars thru their paces in a Autocross course or in a 1/4 mile.

      • Murray

        I think Healeydays is right saying that a more specialised auction house would have realised a much higher price for these cars. Yes the auto trans in both (to my mind) would not have helped the pricing any…. Which brings me to something I’ve always wondered, why do so many Americans love auto transmission? To me putting an auto behind any engine going into a Healey is just so wrong. These earlier autos (as opposed to the modern autos as used in european cars) were rubbish unless all you want to do is go in a straight line under full throttle…….

      • Dave Wright

        Automatics are much simpler to install…….no clutch or shifter linkage……remote automatic shifters are very easy.

      • Jamie Smith

        I had seen the article about this and this one is high. It will take a while to restore it correctly. I’m interested in it. But not at 28k

  2. jimbosidecar

    Is this a Sebring kit car?

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Jimbo, I thought it was at first as well, but there are too many differences where the Sebring deviated from the original and this doesn’t. This one is either a 100-6 or a 3000 Mk. I (or early Mk. II before roll up windows)

      • RayT Member

        Jamie, it’s a 100-6. The giveaway is the crease on the bonnet, which went away when the 3000 was introduced. Hence, my comment about drum brakes, which also vanished when the 3000 came out.

        Not many differences between 100-6 and 3000. My dad had one of each, so I was well-versed in details!

      • Healeydays

        Big differences between the 100-6 and the 3000. Brakes as mentioned, but the 3000 engine could out pull a 100-6 motor all day. I know as I have a 59 3000 in my garage right now…

    • Ross W. Lovell

      . Greetings All,

      It started as a Healey. Look at the first straight on picture, that center accent line was a short deviation from the original design that AH did early on and discontinued. No one would bother to copy that detail.

  3. Dave Wright

    The guy I bought my first Lotus race car ( original lotus 11) had one of these. He called it a Chivelly. The thing was really fast on a high speed autocross course and on a short course it never stopped smoking the tires. It was a lot of fun on the cheep.

  4. wuzjeepnowsaab

    I bet this car would scare the bejeebus out of a Cobra. I totally dig its outlawness

    • Healeydays

      The interesting thing is Shelby originally wanted to use the Austin Healey for the frame and body.

      While Shelby originally hoped to use Chevrolet’s small-block V-8, GM management thought otherwise. Similarly, one of Shelby’s early ideas for a chassis met a dead end when BMC showed little interest in selling Austin-Healey rolling chassis.

      • Ross W. Lovell

        Greetings All,

        Both Shelby and Cunningham had Healey’s stuffed with a V8’s that raced successfully, John Fitch drove one of them.

  5. Dolphin Member

    The car is very low on the right side, and the seller shows only the left side and doesn’t mention the lean = beware both the car and the seller pending a close personal inspection of the chassis. Also the engine bay and interior, which the seller does not show.

    Not a 1963-67, which had roll up windows. It could be a 100-6 or 3000 (1956/7 – 1962).

    Don’t think it’s worth anywhere near $50K when finished that the seller says.

  6. Ben de Man

    When it has its original doors, it is a Longbridge car.
    Because they had door handles with lock.
    They are built till 1958.

    Ben
    Holland.

  7. Doug

    The suspension could be set up for the drivers weight in the car that could be why the right side is low so when the drivers in it it sets level and balanced….. interesting car.

  8. Scott McPherson

    Looks like a very cool car. Creased bonnet and driver’s door lock would indicate and early 100-6 Longbridge built BN4. If is done right, maybe 18k. If not, less.

  9. ROAR

    After the newness wore off MANY small cars: saloons in addition to roadsters etc. received bigger engines, this happened with MG-t’s (flatheads), Aston Martin DB-2’s (chevvy) VW & Renaults (chebbys also) etc.

    At least here in the golden state, the 50’s and 60’s were THE hot rodding era! One never knew what was setting next you at the stoplight!

  10. Woodie Man

    I too love the outlaw nature of the car. Had a ’67 3000..and THAT scared the heck out of me. Be that as it may, you have to wonder whats wrong with sellers on Craigslist? You want to sell a bastardized Healey and NO PIX of the engine, tranny, undersides etc???? I get it …maybe seller thinks this will only flush out the true buyers but at 28K he’s not doing it in a very intelligent fashion.

  11. Jimmy

    My guess is it’s an early Longbridge built 100-6 as those were the only cars to have the hood crease down the center as I’ve been told. The 100-6 lost the center good crease when production moved to the Abingdon factory.

  12. Howard A Member

    Years ago in Milwaukee, they used to have “gymkana’s” at shopping centers on Sunday ( when shopping centers were closed on Sunday) There was a guy that had a Ford V-8 A-H, and he cleaned up on everybody.

    • Ross W. Lovell

      Greetings All,

      The wheelbase is a little short, the car will definitely steer via the throttle. The back end comes around pretty fast with an 8, even with wide soft rubber.

      • Howard A Member

        Hi Ross, you’re right. That guy in the gymkana I mentioned, did that. On one lap, he missed a turn, and rather than back up, he mashed the gas, spun it around and kept going.

  13. Julles

    I apologize to the purists but that is damned sexy car.

  14. Van

    I would have said Sebring too.
    The pictures are terrible.
    Are you guys sure that someone who would put Trans Am vents on a Healey, couldn’t add other touches to fiberglass kit car?
    This car could be a Sebring with real Healey body parts.
    You better known what your buying.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      The cowl and windshield are considerably different on a Sebring to allow the use of flat glass. The insets for tailights and front lights are larger to allow for modern (and size-legal) light units. There are other things the Sebring/Saxon folks got wrong as well, but that’s a start.

  15. Doug Towsley

    Sweet Home!!! Ha ha!,,,, Man that place has a reputation. Its up in the hills east of Interstate 5. We have a retirement home not far from there (Eugene/Springfield area, Original home turf of Matt Groening, creator of the Simpsons).

    So, some interesting old iron turns up in those kinds of places. Funny mix of wealthy folks, and dirt poor hillbillys and all shades in between. I know of a lot of vehicles that come out of that area. I know a few people there and some really nice folks around there but no shortage of completely crazy ones too. I dont know who the seller is and thus no opinions, but this is another one “Aggressively priced well ahead of the marketplace”.

    I heard a great interview once with Burt Reynolds regarding the movie “Deliverance” and he and some of the other actors took a tour well after the movie of the same area.
    Its a dang funny story if you can find it, But during the interview he said the locals renamed the stream-creek where the infamous part happened “Sodomy Creek”.
    Sweet Home Oregon has a similar tale and reputation. The locals know it well. It will NOT help your sales negotiations at all if you bring up that topic, but to many, they will NEVER live that reputation down.

  16. Doug Towsley

    BTW, while on the topic of Sweet Home, Maybe, just maybe this car had a famous previous owner? Ken Kesey, author of “Sometimes a great notion” and “One flew over the Cuckoos nest” as well as famous as one of the “Merry Pranksters” and Electric Kool-aid Acid test moved from the Bay area up to Oregon and he grew up in that area originally and bought a farm and lived his later years very close to Sweet Home. There is a lot of info about his life and adventures online if you care to look.

    One of the largest Hippy gatherings in the US is coming up, and not far either from there. Known as the “Oregon country fair” Ken Kesey was a regular and performer at that hippy festival. Its been going on since the 1960s and every hippy young and old across the Western US will be headed there soon. (its a few weeks away) just look for the clouds of Pot smoke.

    There is also a huge country music festival coming up very soon as well right in Sweet Home. Perhaps the seller is hoping some music star will buy it. We made the mistake of travelling near that area a few years ago on that same weekend. All the side roads and the interstate were clogged bumper to bumper.

  17. Stephen

    NICE car, but why a Windsor and not a Cleveland while you were at it?

  18. 62 Tricarb

    Longbridge Healey (crease in the bonnet/hood). This makes in a ’57-’58 100-6… but it’s been modified. That’s a lot of money for an old conversion to a “nasty boy.” The only way it’s worth that money is if everything is in really good shape, including interior, suspension, brakes, transmission, etc. Can’t tell from the pictures and description…

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