Barn Find? Garage Find? 1957 Austin Healey 100-6

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I actually used a 1959 Austin Healey 100-6 as a daily driver while I was in college, so I do have some relevant experience with this one. Unusually for a big Healey, there’s not a tremendous amount of corrosion, which may explain why bidding has risen $3,000 while I’ve been looking the car over! It’s up for sale here on eBay and is located in Dade City, Florida. Either there wasn’t a reserve or it’s quickly been met; bidding is hot and heavy and is up to $14,200.

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There can’t be many shapes in this world that scream “SPORTS CAR” more than the Austin Healey 100/3000 line. There are very small rear seats behind the front buckets, but apart from very small legless children consider this a two-seater. Trivia: I think that’s a Triumph TR250 magnetic gas cap rather than the smaller Healey one.

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The car comes with a pair of side curtains (that don’t work very well at drive-through windows!) and an aftermarket fiberglass hardtop. However, the hardtop doesn’t have a rear window. You can make one from Lexan, as I had to replace the windshield on the Marina recently with, but it’s not as easy as you’d think.

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See what I mean about legless children? And I think this is with the front seats pushed forward. That’s not the factory dash, and I don’t think it’s factory upholstery either. Nonetheless, this looks like a great car if you want to drive it a lot and not be petrified to park in a regular parking lot. I’m amazed at the lack of corrosion where the steel fenders meet the aluminum shrouds. Even in a good Healey, those areas can be problematic.

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This version of the C-Series inline six cylinder is only 2,639 cc and sports less carburetion than the later 3000 series. The white dryer hose subbing for the original, once-polished brass radiator and aftermarket hoses and fuel filter also lend to the idea of a driver rather than a show car. The seller says it’s a barn find–I’m betting it’s really a garage find. There is a picture of what look like credentials from a series of cruise-ins in Kissimmee, Florida, but no dates, so we’ll take the owner at their word that it hasn’t run in over ten years. Wouldn’t you like to change that? I sure would.

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Comments

  1. Terry J

    Ahhh…..my car. Had a silver 3000 around 1971. Loved it. Fast, cornered like it was on rails. Also melted the soles of my Converse All Stars from the heat of the dual exhaust pipes just under the drivers floor. 4 speed with a Laycock de Normanville electric overdrive. Had a fiberglass hardtop. Only have 1 picture of it. Bought it for $1395, sold it for about the same 3 years later. What a car. :-) Terry J

    • TONY WATERS

      I am English and old enough to remember back when the English made some wonderful cars. This was one of them, the MGA another.

  2. Dolphin Member

    I had an experience similar to Terry’s, but with a ’62 Healey, the only year they came with 3 SU carbs instead of 2. It was faster than any other Healey around. This car has the early in-the-head intake manifold, which made less power than any of the other Big Healeys. The sound was just as good, tho, and one of the best exhaust sounds ever in a sportscar. I learned my lesson when I put on a cheap aftermarket muffler and lost the sound. I couldn’t stand it, so I took it off and replaced it with a factory muffler.

    This car looks OK at first glance from a distance but it needs lots of attention. In a lot of the Photobucket pictures the paint is too silver to be Steel Blue, and I would want to change that if I owned it. It has had a few dopey custom treatments done to it that were done badly. I haven’t looked at every picture but have seen enough to say that it needs work everywhere to be right. It runs badly and needs carb work even to idle properly, likely other engine work too.

    These run very little ground clearance, so a close underside inspection is important to see how many hard knocks it has taken underneath. A lot of the Big Healeys were run hard, and were not always run by sympathetic owners who would take care of them. An all-over inspection is really important for these if you are dealing with one that hasn’t been restored.

    Bid to $16K so far with 5 days left in the auction for an early 100-Six that needs everything…..I would be very careful to not overpay for it.

  3. Pfk1106

    Had a ’58 100-6 in the 80’s. there isn’t another car that sounds like it. I had a 911 follow me once just so he could listen to it accelerate. The ground clearance was always a problem. The clamp bolts on the exhaust system were always getting ground down as it bottomed out on country roads. Sure miss that car.

  4. CHICK

    love these cars but they did have their problems. i had a 66 and a 65 and a 62. 65 bought 4 300 it had a 289 motor. the 66 paid 1200 in 69 4 it. fun cars run fast. every saturday i had 2 re attach the down pipes. neighbor used 2 kid me about liking it soooo much. i have been looking at a 62 w trip carbs. it has been re done but interior needs installed. guy wants 40k. auto cross tsd rally or just out tering it up.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi CHICK, back in the ’70’s in Milwaukee, they use to have “gymkana’s” at local shopping centers on Sundays ( yeah, stores were closed on Sunday) and a guy used to show up with a big Healey with a Ford V-8, and cleaned up on everyone. I was impressed when he missed a corner, floored it, spun around ( in a cloud of smoke) and kept going through the course. Don’t see that stuff much anymore.

      • pat k

        AH Cobra…..had a friend build one of those, man it was scary fast off the line.

  5. Howard A Member

    Yeah, this site is great for pulling dusty memories out of the abyss. THIS, was my brother’s car, the one that replaced the Alfa. I see the right part of the dash looks a little odd. The gauge part looks the same. The O/D switch is just to the lower right of the speedo. My brother’s car had a ’64, 3000 motor ( but retained the 2 carbs) and that funky shift lever, I tell you what, that car forever changed what I thought was the nicest car, the British roadster. As far as cars go, it is a little rough. Like the others say, it’s hot, cramped, front heavy, low clearance ( tore the exhaust off several times, boy did THAT sound nice, but not too cool at 1am) On a local “designated speed run”, that car did an honest 120, although, it felt like the world was coming apart. Like I said in the Alfa posts, I can’t believe the prices of these types of cars. It shows how badly people want these cars. I mean, years ago, they were all around, nobody wanted them ( my brother paid $1,000 bucks for his) I sure am glad I got to experience these cars, as now, there’s no way, and people will pay big bucks to experience that, and sadly, many won’t get the chance. The car met it’s demise when someone pulled out in front of my brother, he hit the brakes, the left front grabbed before the right, the car spun around, and mowed over a traffic island, folding both right side wheels under, bent the rear axle, and front suspension, and once again, tore the exhaust off. Ins. gave him $500 for it and they hauled it away. Like the Alfa, I’ll never forget that “Big Healey”.

    Like 1
  6. Terry J

    Well put Howard. Great looking, very fun car offset by hot exhaust pipes, SU carbs that wouldn’t idle under 1000 rpm, and funky positive ground Lucas electrics. Would I spend $30,000 + to be able to re live that experience? Sadly, no. But I’m sure glad I did when the cost of admission was my spring Tax refund check. :-) Terry J

  7. Dave Wright

    Lovely classic British cars. I have always been struck by how long they clung to 40’s design and engineering. These cars were never cheep. In the early 70’s I owned a 1967 911S, there were lots of these around. The only one that could even have a prayer in creeping up was one a buddy of mine had. He called it a Cheveely…….had a performance 327. I am sure a good 912 or 2002 would keep up with most of them.

    • pat k

      Dave, true they kept that body style for about 15 years, and would never have survived the transportation regs of the 70’s. Can you imagine those black MG bumpers on a big healey. Oh the humanity. it is still one of the most beautiful cars ever made to me.

      Like 1
      • Dave Wright

        I agree, but even the mechanicals were based in the 30’s and 40’s…..

  8. Terry J

    Oh sure Dave, no doubt about it, but that is sometimes a good thing. My F150 with the 300 inline engine and a 3 speed on the tree? Definitely 30s stuff. My wife’s 2008 Grand Prix with the 3.8 push rod overhead valve iron block/heads engine ? Yup a throwback. But both are listed in most “Best Engines of the 20th Century” lists. I picked them for their toughness. Now a brand new 500+ HP Camaro that gets 25 mpg? Something to be said for that also, but remember – the big Healy was designed and built in the 1950’s and 60’s. Shoot, when Donald Healy first came out with his masterpiece, some American manufacturers were still using flathead engines in their new cars. :-) Terry J

  9. charlie martin

    could talk for hours about my brand new 1960 healey 3000 right off the boat in seattle . then to acapulco, came out of mexico in texas and raced another 1960 healey to pasadena for the huskies rose bowl game. then seattle to omaha, for christmas , and back again.
    think it was a BN-7 two seater, old english white, blacked out the rear drum brakes and painted the spoke wheels white. I bragged about paying my way through 6 years of architecture school , and actually did, but my dad bought the healey for me, and it was a wonderful car! thanks again, dad.

    • Terry J

      Why would ANYBODY give a thumbs down to that terrific story. Ohhhh….wait a minute, now I see it. The Huskies. Go Ducks ! :-) Terry J

      • Charlie

        Actually started life in Eugene! John McKay swept out my dads Dodge Plymouth dealership for the college “work” program.

  10. john albera

    My father had a 54 100-4 . He put a .100 over 283 with three twos and a t-10 four speed in it. Remembers buying the t-10 brand new from the chevy dealer for $150, and how he had to add steel disks to the wire wheels so they would hold up. Talks about test driving it with a string for a throttle cable before it was finished and how fast and light it was. Raced it till it was used up, on paved and dirt sports car tracks.

  11. Ross W. Lovell

    Greetings All,

    The only thing that bothers me is that dash replacement, looks like Masonite???!

    Part is available through many and reveneering is available.

    Had a tricarb version. Biggest issue other than low ground clearance meant a rear flat was a pain, was the front end getting dangerously light in the steering above 80 mph.

    Otherwise looks good.

  12. Bruce Best

    I had a 1967 BJ-8 which has a little better ground clearance. I have owned about 7 of the various models except for the 4-cylinder models. I agree with just about everything but would love to add the following points. Those low exhausts leave an amazing trail in high snow, very distinctive. They also put out an amazing amount of steam when you stop in high snow which they go thru with relative ease. God they are fun and in the cold of winter you begin to really love those exhaust pipes and hot transmission.

    The BAD. The bodies on these cars are almost unique. There is almost no room for damage. No adjustments for the doors, fenders and other parts. Check for damage with critical care. Get it up on a lift and measure the diagonal distances between wheels and everything else you can think of. Body and frame damage can be hell to repair on these. I know because I helped restore a couple more that I did not own.

    I love them to drive and think that the final add campaign they had for them was accurate ” THE LAST ANGRY SPORTS CAR ” It kind of had that feel. If you wish to get a better idea look on Youtube for the Tears for Fears Video EVERYBODY WANTS TO RULE THE WORLD. My BJ-8 was exactly that color and that video give you a good flavor of what they are like to drive if you have not every driven on.

    And if you do not have strong arms, you have not greased the steering box never try to parallel park one of these, you could easily pull a muscle. I really miss them all but the BJ-8 the most.

  13. Jeff

    My dad had one of these when I was 5 (1963), and yes I got stuck in that horrible back seat. Despite that, I grew into a 6’4″ adult! I’ve always loved these cars!

  14. Devin Williams

    My ’62

  15. Terry J

    Lucky Guy! :-) Terry J

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