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Back Yard Mechanic Special: 1957 Austin Healey 100-6

Very well known, and traditionally loved, the Austin Healey 100, and 3000, models are always to be seen at various car shows, and club meetings. This particular 100-6 looks to have lived an interesting life having lost its original drivetrain along the way. A fire breathing V8 was not installed in this Healey like so many have chosen to do. Instead a Japanese 4 cylinder replaced the C series Healey unit. Currently stored in a barn, with a fairly solid body, this Healey may be a fair project for a 100 enthusiast at $7,700. Find it here on craigslist out of Batesville, Virginia.

So I am sure you are curious as to what engine last motivated this Healey? (Drum roll) It’s a Toyota 20R 2.0l inline 4 cylinder with a 5 speed gear box. Not a horrible choice, as it can easily pull off the British looks, and sounds, without hacking up the engine bay to accommodate a V8. Under the hood is a rough and rusty engine bay. Obviously lacking the original drivetrain affects the value, but I can also appreciate that someone kept this car on the road, by adding a different drivetrain.

Looking inside of this barn lurker reveals an empty and rough interior. The dash is dangling, and the interior wears a few different shades of paint. The seats seem to be in fair condition, and the seller is including a new carpet kit, wiring harness, and dash. These factors sweeten this rough cock pit just a bit.

Wearing what appears to be primer, this Healey has some rust concerns. The frame outriggers have some rot, obviously needing some attention. There has been some previous rust repair done to this Healey that is a bit cringe worthy. The lower section of the passenger rear wheel arch has been replaced, and the quality of the work is shoddy to say the least. The weld work is bad, and the extra metal was simply folded into the door jamb area. It is simply metal, and in the right hands this work can be removed and executed properly. Overall the body panels appear straight, with a nice fit. Rust appears to be a minimal concern with this 100-6 making its future seem more plausible. Solid enough to do something with, this could easily be a restoration candidate, or perhaps a parts car. It all depends on the next buyers aspirations. What would you do with this 100-6?


  1. steve m

    Wow, how much fun would this be with a Honda S2000 driveline in it???

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  2. Howard A Member

    BLASPHEMY!!! Off with their heads!!! I’m shocked and appalled. And now the price,,,,again, see Alfa post. I’m sorry, if anybody thinks this was a good idea, they clearly don’t know the value, as much as I piss and moan, of big original Healey’s, ESPECIALLY a 100-6. Not happy about this one, one bit.

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  3. terry

    Probably the only big Healey I could ever afford.

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  4. sir mike

    Looks like it could be a money pit….just saying

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  5. Scott

    There is a fellow around here who I see from time to time. Has one of these. May be real or added on patina. Can’t tell as never have gotten close enough for long enough.

    Looks about in this state. Though the interior is more complete. It has a seat and a tonneau cover.

    It’s loud, sounds like an inline six, it’s rough, and looks like a hell of a blast.

    You could restore this or not. I would be happy with either.

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  6. JCW Jr.

    In the write up it talks about execution. Do you mean that is what needs to happen to this or is that what happened to the engine or the g uy that did the body work and engine replacement? Just a little confused about that from the comments Howard had?

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  7. Jeff G

    Looks like a TR4 sitting in front of the Healey. I wonder what engine that has in it.

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  8. Wm Lawrence

    The early 100-6 with the log manifold is the least desirable of the big Healeys, but there is still a lot of potential upside for this car if you are able to do your own work. Mechanical components are available, although they might be a little pricy. All of the sheet metal is available from Kilmartin in Oz. Rough restorable big Healeys have been running around $15K so the current price may make the project doable. Using anything but original mechanicals, of course, will pretty much kill the sale value.

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  9. Dolphin Member

    $7,700 for this “nice straight car”? I don’t think so. It has already rusted and been hacked up so much and badly ‘fixed’ that it’s really just a parts car now.

    Sorry to say it but I think the seller probably just ignored the car for a few decades, and now that decent Healeys are bringing good money has awakened to that fact, and wants too much for it.

    Anyone who wants a Big Healey will be much better off to save up a bit more and get a decent one that could be put back on the road in his lifetime without buckets of money and as much work as this car needs.

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  10. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    I need some more help here gang. Not many Healeys in my part of Wisconsin, but I have seen a few. Just what is a big Healey and is there a small Healey? Thanks, Mike.

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    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      100/4-100/6-3000 = Big Healey
      Sprite = Small Healey, although the term isn’t used much.

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      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        Thanks Jamie!

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  11. Alan

    Frame off total redo, $7700 too high a starting point. Needs everything.

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  12. Bruce Best

    The engine is the easiest to replace as they are about indestructible as are the transmissions. IF and it is a big IF the body has not been hit this is a very easy frame off restoration. If it has been hit and they frame is damaged in any way walk away if you can not run away.

    These may have the lowest power but I had at one time one of these and a 3000MKIII and while the suspension was much better on the MKIII there was not that much difference in around town driving. I guess the difference is that the 100-6 was lighter but in general the construction was the same.

    Replace the fenders, have a good welding shop replace the out-riggers and then go to town. You will have something you will love to drive.

    Personal note when you restore it have some aluminum blocks trimmed to tilt the seats back a few degrees. 9 degrees worked for me but the original seats are bolt upright and will kill your back over time. The rock hard suspension does not help that either.

    Except for a bent frame replacing rusted parts on this car is about as easy as it gets. The big problem is there is absolutely NO and I mean NO room for adjustments in the frame. They go together one way ONLY. To me it looks like a wonderful father and son/daughter restoration car where they will know the value of the car because they had to help build it. That would make it worth far more to the right person or family.

    I wonder if the TR-4 in front of it is for sale. Hmmmmmmmmmmm

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  13. Bruce Best

    An additional note if you do not mind. The center panels on both the front and rear are aluminum and are very easily damaged. I do not see damage on these but if you restore it yourself or have it done be very careful with these pieces. They can be replaced but you might be shocked at the price. All of the fenders are in reproduction and are not that expensive even the very good ones.

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  14. charlie Member

    IN 1963 I had a friend with a 100 in which, in Arizona, on a flat straight road he went a steady 100 mph for more than 20 minutes without overheating or any other engine issues. He finally started to worry about the tires which in those days were the weak link and stopped to check them and they were very very hot, and so went along at 40 or so to cool them down and then back up to a sensible 75. Lots of cars can do this now, probably even a Honda Civic, and the tires can, too.

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  15. Dan h

    Toyota 20R is a great little motor but in a Healey?? C’mon.

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  16. Roadstir

    Already stated by Wm, least desirable of all the Big Healeys. Why spend time on one in that end of the range when there are many available that are frankly better performing cars and more valuable when up & running? And you still need to locate and rebuild an engine. Cost does not adequately reflect the condition and desirability of this under- powered Healey model, IMHO.

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  17. Healeymonster

    OK all you purists, time to clench your tail cheeks. First of all, the 100 cars had the four cylinder. By 1957 the 100-6 were 6 cylinder cars. I have owned a 57 100-6 for over 30 years. When I got it it had already had a Ford 289 with a top loader installed with side pipes. The conversion had been done in 1968. No modifications were done to the brakes or suspension and that’s the way I kept it for the longest of time. I had taken it to Laguna Seca back in the day when the clubs could park in groups on the infield and island. I would park my Healey just a few car lengths away from the club cars. Everyone’s Healey looked the same so.. boring. I had all the crowds around my car as the side pipes gave away the V8 underneath. That was then. Today I have cruised along with the Healey clubs and British car shows with no animosity. Its more accepted in these days of restomods. Also a incident on one of the cruises changed my mind but not how you would think. As I was coming back to my hangar to park the car the left rear brake wheel cylinder exploded and all brakes were lost. I was able to come to a safe stop with the parking brake. But that made me do something I had been putting off. Making the car perform like a modern car. I was in talks with Scott from Scotts Hot rod Shop in Oxnard Ca. He, if you are not familiar with the name builds high end hotrods and is a Riddler Award winner. I pulled my engine out and sent the car to his shop where I had the complete underside redesigned and replaced with a coil over independent suspension with rack and pinion steering and Willwood discs at all 4 corners. When I got the car back the 289 was shelved and in its place I installed a fuel injected 302 stroked to 331. The body and paint had already been done by the PPG rep himself. So with over 400 horses under the hood I now can turn and stop as well as go like stink. And the value? It has been appraised at 100k as it was considered a show car. But I don’t like trailer queens so its driven as it should be. But now I can drive without worry of changing lanes when the drum brakes grab or bounce around on lever shocks as the original. I know many of you gasp at the thought but real Healeys can still be had in excellent condition from 30k. Im not interested in them. But I wouldn’t mind doing a 100 conversion as I really like the fold down windshield.

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    • Kent-1004

      Kent 100-4

      I agree with healeymonster! althought I restore 100’s as a hobby in
      retirement , first 53 restored pulled fiberglass molds from to build
      Nastyboyhealey with 327 300hp. C4 corvette suspension. Only way
      To have a fast driver

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