Estate Sale Find: 1965 Austin Healey MkIII BJ8

This Big Healey has apparently led the good life, living in Los Gatos, CA, the current owner enjoying her for 20 years with only one other owner since new.  It’s a splendid 1965 sports convertible, Ice Blue Metallic and Old English White #2, found here on Craigslist as part of an estate sale.  How can we surmise that this car has been pampered?  There were five other cars on Cragislist accompanying this one for sale by the estate, two of them are eighties Rolls Royce cars, photographed in the drive of a rather nice looking home.  For perspective, Los Gatos is within commuting distance of San Jose, Mountain View, and Palo Alto; these cities you may recall are the epicenter of Silicon Valley.  This was likely the weekend and wine country getaway ride. Thanks once again to our tipster-supreme, Ikey Heyman.

And a fun driver it must have been for the family.  In general, the photographs present the 55-year-old car as a clean, driveable sports car that has recently undergone some pricey garage work: new radiator, exhaust, brake system, water pump, fuel pump, and clutch.  A reminder: This is one of Donald Healey’s 17,712 Big Healey MkIIIs made in Abingdon-on-Thames, model year 1965 smack in the middle of the 1964-1967 MkIII production run.  About 90% of the Austin Healeys made in that period were shipped to the U.S. equipped, naturally, with the left-hand drive.  The 17-year total run of Austin Healey’s production showed a steady arc of improving power, speed, and increasing human comfort, the final years when this car was made is the culmination of excellent design, engineering, and production capabilities.  This Phase 2 interior features a burled wood dash and well-bolstered seats, the quicker closing convertible top, and crank-up windows.

Power for the MkIII was a 2,912 cc straight-six cylinder engine producing about 150 hp.  Its two carburetors were an upgrade from the previous years’ engines, adding larger carb throat diameters for that little more power coupled with a slightly higher lift camshaft.  This engine appears as clean as a survivor/driver could be expected to be, probably a result of the fairly extensive list of new parts recently installed and some detailing elbow grease.  The car was built with a four-speed synchromesh transmission (most likely with overdrive, can’t confirm).

Austin Healey MkIII cars can suffer from chassis corrosion, otherwise known as “tinworm.”  Since there are no under-car photographs, it’s not possible to rule out tinworm at the usual and customary locations along the ladder-frame chassis particularly where the outriggers are supporting the cabin and around the wheel wells.  Since this has been a California car and is leaning toward “pampered” status, a quick chassis inspection will reveal or dispell any such issues.  The wire wheel spokes are looking fresh.  There is no indication from Seller whether this car has been through a restoration–if this is the original paint and interior and the chassis is free from rust, OMG this may be one to grab.

So, “Why hasn’t she sold? you are probably asking.  The estate’s price tag is $36,500. Really, though, that falls well within the range of Hagerty’s FAIR (at $31,500) which this car’s condition easily exceeds and Hagerty’s GOOD condition (at $47,500).  Someone smart is running the sale because that person has done their homework–striking the delicate balance between the cost of repairs (to make it driveable) and splitting the asking price between the FAIR and GOOD Hagerty market dynamics. It’s a beautiful looking car despite the shade-tree photos and a description that leaves a little to the imagination. She may be just the thrill ride you need to mosey down the West Coast this winter, gently shifting through the gears, eating up PCH on a cloudless day, and putting the top down. Might just be the perfect Rx for that COVID cabin fever.

 

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Comments

  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    I was pleasantly surprised to see that they’re not
    asking crazy money for this.If the underneath is as good
    as the rest of it,could turn out to be a good buy.
    I just hope a flipper doesn’t grab it.

    Like 8
  2. Oldog4tz Oldog4tz Member

    All belonged to well-known photography studio a
    owner and
    sportsman who recently passed. Quality people.

    Like 3
  3. alphasud Member

    Pretty color combination. I gravitate towards the big Healey over a Jaguar E type. Maybe someday if funds and car come along.

    Like 4
  4. Haig L Haleblian

    Appears to be a very fair deal.

    Like 4
    • Mike Tarutis Staff

      I want it.

      Like 4
  5. Rustytech Member

    Then buy it!

    Like 2
    • Mike Tarutis Staff

      The only two reasons why I can’t buy this thing are: (1) coast-to-coast flight or two to inspect and pay; (2) the drive back to Florida rather than just down the coast or a nearby state.

      Thanks for the comments.

      MJT

      Like 2
  6. Al

    Heck of a better deal than:

    Dec 30, 2020

    Some Assembly Required: 1965 Austin-Healey 3000

    Like 6
  7. Thomas Lyons

    That’s her

  8. Eric_13cars Eric_13cars Member

    I have a 65 and unless I’m very much mistaken, this is a 66 or 67. My 65 has single clear lens turn signals in the front with no additional parking light or amber turn signal. The rear has a single small reflector above the single taillight. This has an amber turn signal above the single taillight.

    • Had Two

      Eric_13cars,
      I think you have a rare 1964 Phase 1 Healey. They only built
      1,350 of these in England with most being exported to the USA.
      This was the first part of 1964. Yours possibly was not sold until 1965. Among other things the Phase 1’s had the new 150 hp engine, wood dash, cubby armrest for your right elbow, but
      retained the traditional rear suspension and the single two clear glass turn signal lenses in front and single red tail lamp lights
      As I understand it there were complaints from some owners that the rear end dragged over things like speed bumps, so Healey jacked up the rear end for more clearance, wrecking the side appearance of the car but allowing owners to cross railroad tracks easier. Latter 64’s through 67’s had the raise rear ends.

      • Eric_13cars Eric_13cars Member

        You may be right, Had. I know mine is a BJ8 but I don’t have the VIN handy. In October of 2014 there was a car show in Wilmington, NC, ‘Brits At The Beach’ (a delightful day out in my 90 XJS convert) and I took a bunch of pictures…more in a second. I also grab every picture of a 1965 that I can and looking through my collection, every one of them has the single front and reflector rear. Hang on…not saying you’re wrong. At the show, from my pictures, every one of the dual fronts were listed as 66 or 67. However there were 2 65s according to their owners’ listings…one with the single lens/rear reflector…and one with the dual fronts and turn signal rear. As I recall the 64s, while having the roll-up windows, had an older style interior and dash. The show cars all had interiors that matched mine. Here is a side-by-side of the 2 65s at the show. If you know the VIN sequence number range for the Phase 1, I could check my VIN to see if it fits (if I can get the rusted hood latch to release). Learn something new every day on this website!!

      • S_W

        I own an early phase 2 and a late phase 2, one built in September 1964, the other July 1966. Both are titled the next year after they were built. Phase 2 cars have the revised suspension. Early phase 2s have single front side lights while the top rear is a reflector. Late phase 2s have double front side lights and the rear top is a light. All phase 2s other than maybe built for Germany or other regions with other regs, have plastic lenses for front and rear side lights, and the doors have push button locks. Phase 1 BJ8s have glass side lights front and rear, while the door handles are non locking from the outside, along with the older rear suspension as found on BJ7s and earlier. The big difference with the BJ7s is that they have the non-wood instrument panels. Both of my BJ8s have rear lowering kits installed that decrease the ugly huge gaps between the rear tires and the fender openings (IMHO)!

  9. Maestro1 Member

    If I had the room I’d buy this and one of his Rolls……….

  10. Had Two

    Eric_13cars
    Thank you. Looking at the photos you provided show the front lenses to be larger than the smaller glass lenses on the Phase 1’s. So, you have a 65.
    BTW, my bad, Healey built a total of 1390 Phase 1’s.

    This blue/white Healey is a non-molested beauty. It may well be a 66 or 67.
    I hope it goes to a good home.

    Like 1
  11. Peter

    No one has mentioned the missing console, does it come with the car and why was it removed?

  12. KC

    I been trying to see this Healey since the day it was posted and had absolutely no luck with the seller. I only live a few miles away and can’t even see it. I doubt he really care or wants to sell this car to anyone

    Like 1

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