Big BT7 Project: 1961 Austin Healey 3000

Austin Healey 3000’s have caught my attention ever since a high school friend’s cousin showed me his 1959 model replete with a Chevrolet 327 small-block engine and a Muncie four-speed manual transmission. Today’s find is a 1961 version that is located in Santa Ana, CA and for sale here on eBay with a BIN of $12,900 and retains it’s original drivetrain.

What initially caught my attention is that a motor car dealer is offering this vehicle for sale and it’s a bit rough to say the least – not what you would expect to find. The seller is very forthcoming about its condition, however. The initial thought would be how can this be a SoCal car in this kind of body condition? Well it’s not, it hails from Georgia and ended up in Santa Ana. The photos clearly show the extensive rot and the finish which appears to have been applied with a paint roller.

What we do know is that Austin Healey 3000 was manufactured in Abington, England by a combination of Jensen and British Motor Corporation (BMC) between 1959 and 1967. They were built as either a two-seat sports car or a 2+2. Powering this Austin Healey 3000 is a 2.9 liter, inline six-cylinder engine generating 132 HP. Backing up the engine is a four speed manual transmission with overdrive. Considering the 2,900 lb. curb weight, these AH 3000’s move along in style. The seller states that the engine is all there, all original and turns over by hand; it does not run however. I would be concerned about the wiring!

There are several good images of the interior but they all reveal a pretty disheveled environment. The seller claims it is all complete just needs complete restoration.

Moving on to the integrity of the car, the owner states that the frame rails and “cross X” are all solid though there was a RH side frame repair performed in the past. Repaired floors have been done too though apparently, they are amateur in nature. From what the image reveals, the frame does appear to be sound.

Beyond all of the rot issues , I can initially observe a lot of missing items like bumpers, windshield wipers, tail lights/bezels, door handles (he may have a replacement), steering wheel center, door cards, front turn signals, lower grille trim, top frame, side curtains, dashboard switches and  interior trim but the seller does state that he has some of these missing items in original condition. There are replacement doors available with this car.

I’m usually not definitive on pricing but I think this one is a bit rich. My questions are do you think this AH 3000 is restorable, as in worth taking on the considerable amount of metalwork needed, and if so at what price?


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  1. sir mike

    Might be restorable but a lot of money is needed……best of luck to new owner.

    Like 2
  2. KEN TILLY UK Member

    Too far gone to be anything other than a parts car only IMO.

    Like 2
  3. bobhess bobhess Member

    That kind of rust spells salt water. That much rust in the engine compartment just doesn’t show up just sitting around with the hood down in the back yard.

    Like 2
    • jerry

      lay money on it its a flood car thats sat under water someplace! a fool and his money are soon parted right here!

  4. Billieg

    I rebuilt one in the 70’s at the tech center where I taught mechanics. Even back then parts were hard to find and very expensive. They are beautiful cars when done but you’d better have a fat wallet.

    Like 2
  5. Ray With

    At best a parts car with limited parts!

    Like 1
  6. Pete

    I have a tr6 .to go that route is way to I put a v8 in my tr6 still much work .but will enjoy when done

    Like 3
  7. John

    While they were beautiful, they were ALWAYS fragile, especially the frame. Spend $12K on this one, and you will likely more than triple that amount to bring it back to anything close to original. So you will wind up with a $50K car that is still quite fragile and rust prone. There must be better examples requiring far less work for far less money.

    Like 3
  8. Little_Cars

    Jeez, could the seller at least turn the bottom seat cushion around in the driver’s seat to make it rest correctly? The area around the hood opening looks like it’s been hamfisted pretty bad and rattle can black hides a lot of issues. And seriously, white brush painted sides…this just emphasizes the roughness of the sheet metal. I have a 1/32 Aurora model of this car with the same brush painted sweep. Mine is solid as a rock. Almost $13 large, PASS.

    Like 3
  9. Del

    Clapped out rust bucket..

    l would not give him 2900 let alone 12,900.

    Not even a good parts car

    Like 1
  10. Britcarguy

    A bit steep for a dashboard and windscreen frame which appear to be the only parts of value. Run away!

  11. the one

    Rode hard and put away wet..

  12. Tex260Z

    This original engine makes 600 HP at the wheels:

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