Live Auctions

Have A Healey, Or Two, Or Three?

Barn Finds reader Jeremy M. sent in this super find that was posted here to the Austin-Healey Club of America Facebook page. With three cars in total and a bunch of parts, they are being sold together. The seller, whose father has passed (they were his cars) has thrown out an asking price of $55,000 for all three cars but it may be negotiable–they are trying to secure money for their mother. The seller is located in the Knoxville, Tennessee area but we’re not sure yet if the cars are there as well.

I know the photo is fuzzy, but this Sprite looks to be in really terrific shape. The seller says it will only need a fresh battery to be complete again. His father died last year and they are closing out their warehouse space; thus the need to sell.

This modified Big Healey was on the road, but had some type of wiring issue in the steering column. It’s decidedly non stock under the hood, though; it’s a good thing those vents are in the fenders!

I believe that’s a 5.0 Ford V8, but feel free to prove me wrong. Based on the grille and the windshield frame, this was originally either a 100/6 or a 3000 Mark I. It’s not a kit car.

This one looks like a 100/6 based on the front drums, and has had a lot of welding and body work done already based on the pictures.

The standard of work appears to be pretty high! There are lots of closeups of this car here, as well as some more of the other cars, although many are out of focus.

Speaking as someone who has done a lot of Healey welding, a lot of the hard work has been completed here. Not to say there isn’t a lot left, though.

We’re not told the condition of the engine, but based on the rest of the car and what it looks like cosmetically, I’d be surprised if it wasn’t rebuilt prior to the cosmetic restoration. Overall, these look like three nice cars, two that would be on the road quickly and one project to finish with the easier parts left to go. There are plenty of parts included as well that may include most if not all of the parts needed to complete this third car. Is anyone willing to add an Austin-Healey fleet to their stable?


  1. RayT Member

    Jamie, it looks to me as if the blue Healey with the Ford engine is a 100-6. The ridge running down the bonnet was found only on that model. Does look to have front disc brakes, though..

    Some people really dig these V8-into-Healey conversions. Being a former Healey owner, I’m willing to sacrifice extra performance for the sound of the original “six,” plus I’m pretty much an advocate for originality in all classic cars.

    I’d take the Frogeye home! It seems to be a jump-in-and-drive car; even if not, Sprites are so basic and simple that it wouldn’t take long to put any problems right.

    BTW: I remember seeing an interesting Frogeye in a sports car magazine back around 1961-62: some maniac had stuffed a SBC (with a P-glide) into it!

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Thanks, Ray! I’m glad they added the discs. I agree, the Sprite looks really nice.

      • RayT Member

        Oh…Jamie, is that car on the right in the top group photo a rare TR-Threealey?

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        No, that’s the car they are keeping :-) But I like the pun!

  2. Alan (Michigan)

    As has been discussed here so many times, offspring of those who love cars don’t always share the passion. So telling, in the first line of the FB posting are the lister’s words: “… I have a couple of his Autos to try and get rid of…”

    Anyone with any sense of connection at all would at least say something like “…try and find new homes for…” instead. Reality is sometimes sad.

    In this case, one buyer might be found, but more likely two or three buyers working together to get the one they want.

  3. Dolphin Member

    Sad to hear that the owner / restorer didn’t live long enough to complete all of the cars and get them all running strong. The work on the Big Healey in primer suggests that he had the skills to do the right work on them.

    I hope that since the cars are being offered through the A-H Club there might be one or a few guys who will know what the cars are worth and pony up the proper amount(s) to buy them so the family can receive what should be coming to them from the father’s skills and work.

    Altho I agree with RayT’s thoughts on originality and engine sound, I’d like to drive the Healey with the Ford V8 just to see how it goes. I’m prepared to be surprised to the upside if the car’s balance is good and it drives well. That’s one setup I have never driven.

    • RayT Member

      Dolphin, a Healey with a 289 should be well-balanced indeed! The original “six” is no lightweight and, IIRC, is heavier than the small Ford engine. I would expect such a conversion to be quite nice to drive. So that has nothing to do with my dislike for such swaps.

      It appears the swap uses the stock radiator, which might be marginal, even with an added electric fan. Stock Healeys don’t run cool!

    • Bruce Best

      I have driven three and none of them were that much faster unless they destroyed the look with much wider tires in the rear. Similar problem with the 427 Cobras to give you an idea.

      Too much engine, not enough cooling and rear tires made all of these point and squirt cars that you could not drive for long because they would over heat.

      One of the good points is that with twin exhaust the passengers shoes melted just as fast as the drivers shoes did. To say the least I am not a fan of that conversion. The chassis and tires are not up to it.

  4. Bruce Best

    The engine is the least of the problems. What I was looking for was frame damage and I did not see any. The craftsmanship was excellent as well. The car with the v-8 is worth a quarter of the other two because so many have been done badly and the Straight six will get you arrested in any state of the union.

    Something that few realize is that the 3000 series had marginal cooling from day one. The BJ-8 from 1966 to 1967 were better but unless you do a lot of under hood work on the cooling you are going to have major problems. The V-8 Should most certainly be supplied with an oil cooler if you need one.

    These 6 cylinder engines are almost impossible to kill unless specifically abused to make them fail.

    The seats are the biggest problem for the 3000 series for you sit bolt upright unless you put some steel or aluminum blocks along the front anchor points of the seat to the runner. That will put enough tilt to make them bearable for long trips. 5/8″ to 1/4″ thickness will do the trick. Another problem with the V-8 conversion is that the rear wheels are too narrow to stand the torque. You end up not going faster but you do go thru tires much faster if that is how you wish to spend your money.

  5. Dolphin Member

    I have heard about the big weight of the Healey six, and seen it up close / personal when I had to change the head gasket on my ’62 Tri-carb engine. It was then that I discovered that that head was also cast iron and just about all I could lift as a fairly strong 20-year old.

    On the cooling problem, I mounted a strong auxillary fan in the space in front of the radiator, blowing back into the rad. Wired to a toggle switch on an aluminum plate mounted under the dash, I could flick it on in summer traffic. Problem solved.

    This is going back many decades, but IIRC, I found some holes in the rad surround that the car had from new. If you bolt a pair of metal struts to the rad surround using those holes you can mount a fan on the struts. It was easily removable if you want to put it back to stock, but the guy who bought the car was glad to have the auxillary fan there, so it became a selling feature in a place with a hot summer climate.

  6. Anthony

    He destroyed the blue one because of the conversion.
    Never was a Frogeye fan.
    I’d go with the 100-6 all the way – just the way it is….

  7. Richard Walter

    I had two Healey 3000’s bought new back in late 50;s early 60’s, a BT7 (40,000 miles) and a BN7 (100,000 miles). Both ran warm but never had an overheating event!. Raced the BT7 and removed one of the two fan blades with no ill effects. A well maintained and properly tuned Healey should not overheat.

    • Wm Lawrence

      I’ve had the same experience with my 4 cylinder Healey 100. It never heats as long as you can keep air moving through the radiator. The only problem is in slow or stopped traffic and for that reason I’m looking at installing an electric cooling fan in place of the stock unit. I don’t even claim that’s well maintained or properly tuned.

      While it’s true that the engines in these cars are heavy they were still designed and built with a near 50/50 front to rear weight distribution. A lighter engine might even make them a little tail heavy.

  8. johnj

    I would take the blue car all day long. Lighter engine means the handling wasn’t affected or could even be a little better. Modern, injected 302 ford? I am a chevy guy and know that a good 5.0 is hard to beet. Since its injected it’s surely a factory roller motor with the one piece rear main seal too. Rev happy, plenty of power, light weight, mostly leak free and probably even good on gas. Put modern rubber on it and have a blast. Love that it doesn’t have flares and scoops, still slab sided, what a sleeper. My father had a sbc powered 100-4 with 4spd that was done rite. He claimed it was a very well balanced car, and other Healey owners that drove it sure didn’t complain. No longer a “purest” car but destroyed? I guess it depends on what you are looking for. I dont see a wanabee drag car here, more like a 289 cobra, Grifith, or a Tiger to me…..

    • Wm Lawrence

      Healey people and the clubs are very accepting of modified cars or Nasty Boys as they are called. That goes along with the Healeys’ philosophy that it is your car and you can do what you want with it.

      I had a friend, now sadly gone, who had some performance and aesthetic mods done on his car and while some of the purists at the Snowmass meet in 1992 gave them a funny look, Donald Healey actually looked the car over and complimented him. He said he always hoped that his cars would be treasured and that the owners would find ways to make them their own.

      • Dave Wright

        Donald died in 1988

  9. peter farmer

    I love the V8 Nasty Boys, have built 3! 2 for customers and one for me. most British Healey people hate them though. as long as you engineer them correctly they are a blast.

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