Ravaged by Racoons: Austin Healey 3000 Mark 3

This Austin Healey 3000 Mark 3 is in rough shape, there’s no way to sugarcoat it. It’s listed as a 1968, although the last year for this model was 1967, so the actual year is unknown.  The only way to get this Brit back on the road is with a lot of time and money to restore it. But these cars are very attractive, and this car still has the potential to give its next owner a lot of enjoyment. It’s currently for sale here on craigslist in Vancouver, Canada, with an asking price of $11,111. Thanks Barn Finds fan Chris S. for the tip!

Generally speaking, it costs quite a bit more money to restore most cars than the owner will ever get from a sale. However, it’s not unheard of for these Mark 3s to fetch over $100,000 when properly restored, so if the next owner can do some work themselves or find a reasonable place to do the work, there is actually a chance this might be a financial investment instead of just for pleasure. Either way, everything on this car will need to be fixed.  Take a look at what this car could have looked like when it was new.

The body on this car, according to the seller, has some “surface rust.” But the closer you look at the photos the more rust you can see, especially around the hood and edges of doors and fenders. Since this is a convertible car, there’s also the likelihood that more rust is lurking where we can’t see it. Unfortunately there are no photos under the car or of the trunk, so it’s hard to accurately gauge what repairs might be needed.

The engine photo is a bit blurry, but the engine appears to have most of the components still present. The seller states that the engine is seized due to neglect, but hopefully with some work it’ll be freed up, or at least be suitable for a rebuild instead of a brand-new engine. No word on what drivetrain is installed, although you can see it’s a manual. It’s probably the original 4-speed, mated to the standard inline 6 cylinder. Not a lot of power here, but a lightweight car paired with great handling characteristics are the hallmarks of these cars. They’re sure fun to drive around on twisting country roads.

The interior here is crazy. According to the seller, it was vandalized by raccoons! It looks like they’ve destroyed pretty much everything that isn’t metal, so a completely new interior will be needed here. Notice the red paint up against the firewall (and also in the engine bay) – I’m betting that was the original color. If it was repainted at some point I can see why the classic British Racing Green was chosen, but a return to the factory color would make this car stand out as well. It’ll be an intense project, but a body-off restoration would sure do this fun convertible justice.


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  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    That much rust and corrosion in the engine compartment will tell you that all is not well down below. Not sure this one is worth doing. Parts car maybe but not a lot of them either.

    Like 3
  2. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    To bad about the coon’s. My buddy has a nice original LaSalle. Opened the barn doors one spring and the coon damage to the interior was horrific! I almost cried myself after he showed me the damage. The subject was never mentioned again. He still owns it but I am sure it will sell after he checks out as is.

    Like 2
  3. Howard A Member

    Ach du lieber, RACOONS! 1st, can’t be a ’68, I believe ’67 was the last year. 2nd, I beg to differ with the author, these had PLENTY of steam, and all had overdrive. With as many as are around, I wouldn’t waste my time or money on a wasted car like this. Proof that at one time, it was just someones everyday, year round beater. Fun cars, but I wouldn’t pay $10g’s for a nice one.

    Like 4
    • Nick Stuckey Staff

      Great catch on the year! Article edited.

      Like 1
    • Pauld

      “these had PLENTY of steam, and all had overdrive”said Howard A. I totally agree. These would keep up with big American cars of the time.

      Like 2
    • Dave Peterson

      Howard, as I have pointed out previously, the current crop of buyers have no frame of reference concerning cars of a certain age. They will either have driven an over restored garage queen or not at all. They will learn from their mistakes same as we have. But, come on! Even you would pay $10k for a nice Healey 3000.

      Like 1
      • Howard A Member

        Hi Dave, I suppose, I realize I’m still stuck in 1973 when my brother bought a ’58, 100-6, with a ’64 3,000 motor for $1500 bucks. With this “adjusted for inflation” crap, it’s about the same, even though, I still say it was easier coming up with $1,500 then, than $15,000 now. Fun cars indeed, but a list of shortcomings, no need to be repeated. It certainly would beat most off the line, ( until 3rd gear) and did an approximate 120mph( speedo needle was erratic, but close enough) and was such a scary ride we never did that again. Besides, since we’re throwing good money after bad, I’d go with a Jag.

    • Steve Byers

      As I stated below, these cars were not built by “model year” which is a USA concept. The “year” was generally assigned by the original selling dealer on the registration paperwork. This car is chassis 31117 which was probably built in early to mid-March 1965. Depending on how close to the “new 1966 model year” that began in September 1965 it was first sold, it could have been registered as a 1965 or 1966.
      Also, not all of them had overdrive, although most that were intended for the USA did have it. Some original owners ordered them without overdrive. Non-overdrive cars were much more common in UK Home market cars. The factory considered overdrive as “optional equipment”. The grey upholstery that the raccoons ruined was installed only in Colorado Red, British Racing Green, and Florida Green cars and was relatively rare in the first two. Too bad the raccoons destroyed it.

  4. Steveo

    No photos under the car? I doubt there is even an under the car.

    Like 7
  5. Pat

    The lack of dual running lights and tail lights suggest it is a phase 1 Mark 3, 1965 or earlier.

    Like 1
  6. Paul in Ma

    If the body is pretty solid the interior is no big deal. I don’t think the price is $11,111 and that is just a placeholder but if it was, that would not be too bad.

  7. Derek

    Looks fousty rather than rotten. Wiring’s easy. Interior? Stick a couple of lowback buckets in it. Carpets are heavy.
    I’d be interested to see a BMW 6 conversion, incidentally.

    Like 1
  8. S_W

    This is an early phase 2 BJ8 Austin-Healey 3000. You can tell due to the single front corner lights, the rear reflector at the rear and the style of lockable door handles. That would make this mid 1964 to late 1965 car. The late phase 2s had double front corner lights, and the top rear reflector became a light. The price is reflective of the amount of work needed, but is not out of line, but I know from experience that Austin-Healeys are not cheap to restorate, although it looks fairly complete. How do I know,… been there, done that!

  9. Steve Byers

    These cars were not built by “model year” as we are used to in the USA. Whether they are ’64, ’65, ’66, ’67, or ’68 depends on when they were first registered. Most of the world outside the USA considers the “year” to be the actual calendar year a car was built in. There are some BJ8s registered as ’68, although only one car was totally built in calendar year 1968 (some were started in ’67 and finished in ’68). This car is NOT a Phase 1 car (chassis numbers 25315 through 26704), but an early Phase 2 (CHASSIS numbers 26705 through BODY number 76137. Phase 1 cars have small glass “beehive” indicator lights under the headlamps like BJ7s. Early Phase 2 cars have single indicator lights, but they are larger and have plastic lenses at the front, reflectors and red plastic lenses at the rear. Can someone please post the VIN/chassis number and body number of this car, from the plates on the firewall? Some of us are interested in that.
    Steve Byers, BJ8 Registry

    Like 1

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