No Reserve: 1961 Austin Healey 3000

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

Amazingly, this no-reserve 1961 Austin Healey 3000 is said to come with solid floors and an original, numbers-matching engine. The body does look rough and the seller says to expect nothing less than performing a complete restoration, but the high levels of originality could make the juice worth the squeeze in this instance. Find the Austin Healey here on eBay and located in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

I’ve been watching this listing just a few hours and it’s already jumped from the low 3s to over $5K at the moment. At first glance, I thought this would turn out to be a total basketcase but it seems more solid than some of the other 3000s we’ve featured recently. The seller notes some previous bodywork on the rear quarters and doors was done poorly, but I’m not sure what that translates to in terms of needs for the next owner.

Seeing the original radio and gear shift knob still present is potentially a strong indication of how original this Austin Healey remains. I’m still a bit shocked the seller claims the floors have no holes in them, as this example otherwise shows the signs of long-term storage in non-ideal environments. The passenger side fender looks quite crusty (as do both doors) and further investigation of the photo gallery does show rear quarters with flaking paint and corrosion underneath.

The engine hasn’t been turned over and the seller seems a bit flippant about expecting any more details than what he’s currently offering: “I do not know when the last time it was started, so please don’t ask silly questions. It needs a full restoration, but it totally worth it because it’s definitely a rare collector piece.” Both of those statements give me some pause, as the collector value relies heavily on overall condition and in particular the health of the motor. A neat car with lots of questions.

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Comments

  1. RayT Member

    Listing seems to have gone away. Thirty years ago, I probably would have taken it on but, since it looks like a candidate for a full restoration, I lack the space, time and money to deal with it.

    From the photos here, I don’t see a part that doesn’t need to be removed, cleaned or replaced and reinstalled. I’d suspect the rockers are gone, and there would be plenty of rot to deal with. Given the Healey’s construction, that might not be fun, unless you’re good with a welding torch.. The shroud around the bonnet — aluminum, BTW — is probably cracked at the seams, too. Mechanicals would need a total refresh.

    I won’t comment about value, mainly because Healeys are worth more to me than to many people. At least the parts are out there — thank you, Moss Motors! — and there are competent restoration shops that have lots of experience with these cars.

    Bring money! It will consume lots of that, as well as time. But it will be worth it!

    Oh, Jeff? I suspect the radio was dealer-installed, or at worst owner-installed back in the early 1960s. The shift knob isn’t original either; the factor knobs were plain, with the shift pattern engraved on them. Both are easily correctable, if you want total originality.




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    • Beatnik Bedouin

      Having had a lot to do with Big Healeys in my misspent youth, I second RayT’s comments.

      The shift knob is aftermarket and was a popular accessory a half century ago (or more!).

      Love Big Healeys, but would be reluctant to tackle a major restoration project at this stage. If I ever need to, my neighbour across the street has one I could work on (and yes, I have offered to help him when he’s ready).




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      • Chinga-Trailer

        Hey Beatnik
        We apparently hail from the same locale – do you remember the teacher at John Burroughs High School who drove an old 100-6? I think he taught English or Social Studies or something equally useless but at least he had a cool car. I think the name was McLoughlin or something like that.




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  2. Matt Trummer

    Cannot view on eBay now




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  3. Doug

    Would make a nice Cobra alternative with a small block Ford…. The Ford is narrower than the Chevy, so makes a better fit. I had a ’61 “4 seater” ( back seat good for legless 2 year olds ! ) with a 289 back in the 70’s -wish I still had it ! Great fun on mountain roads.
    The one MUST if doing a V8 swap is making a way for the heat to get out from under the bonnet ! Hood louvers or a vent similar to the rally car are the easiest and probably best ways to accomplish this. At low speeds in traffic, even a very good electric fan will not be enough on a warm day. See the link below for images of the side vents found on the rally cars.
    https://romangarages.com/car/1962-austin-healey-3000-mk2-tri-carb-with-overdrive/




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  4. cyclemikey

    A significant part of my time in college was misspent in a ’61 3000 with a Chevy small block in it. As Doug says, it’s a tight-ish fit in the area of the steering box and left exhaust manifold. Heat was handled with a radiator from a Buick, laid in at an angle. It worked admirably, though prolonged idling wasn’t ideal. But that wasn’t our use case, to say the least.

    Can’t see the featured car on Ebay, but the value would depend entirely on how much rust has taken hold. Without that info, you’re flying blind.




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  5. Ben T. Spanner

    There is a 1960 listed in the Naples Daily News. Project car with hardtop, “rebuilt power train and new trans”. $25,100. 239-206-8344. Having owned 6 big Healeys, and 6 old Jags; the mechanical part is easier than the body restoration.

    If you want a Healey with a V8, get a kit car. I’ve seen several old healeys with V8’s and none were really impressive. How about a 1957 with a 3.8L Jaguar engine and transmission. Kinda hard to steer, but it sounded nice.




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  6. Bruce

    I Have also had much experience with English cars of the 60’s and especially MG’s Triumphs, and Healey’s. I suspect that the body is better than the photos show. The paint they used at the time oxidized and can look terrible as it can look blotchy as if there is bad body work underneath when it is just the paint alone.

    I do not like dipping cars to clean off paint but this is one car that I think could use it. Total restoration is the only way to go. As for an engine swap yes it can be done if you wish to reduce the return on your investment by half or more and you wish to additionally spend a lot more in changing the fenders, wheels, tires, transmission, drive shaft and a raft of other things. These are fun enough as they are and they have the best balance with the engine they were designed for. If you need something with a bigger engine get a kit Cobra and do not molest something that is getting rarer every day.




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