Running 3 Years Ago: 1967 Austin Healey 3000

I have a rather long list of classic cars I plan on experiencing one day and towards the top of that list is a Big Healey. I’ve heard a wide range of things about them, some praise them while other find their performance to be rather lacking. Every car has it’s pros and cons, that’s what makes every car unique. Given how values are going for these cars, I’m going to guess they are actually quite enjoyable to own. This particular example looks to have been restored once sometime in the ’80s. It was parked in a barn about 14 years ago, but was still running and drivable up until 3 years ago. You can find this 3000 here on eBay in Cincinnati, Ohio with a current bid of $17,100.

The seller points out some of the car’s flaws, including some rust spots and the need for new wheels and tires. They don’t say what kind of condition the engine is in, but hopefully it isn’t seized. While replacing the wire wheels won’t be cheap, I’d rather replace the wheels than try to replace a damaged engine. This is likely going to be the kind of car you want to have a closer look at, but if it’s solid underneath and the engine isn’t seized, it could be a great buy! Seeing as I’ve yet to experience a 3000 on the open road, I’d love to hear any experience you might have had with one of these beautiful cars.

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Al

    If you have never driven one of these, the rear suspension is absolutely terrible. I think the A-H 3000 shortened many tall English drivers and passengers at least 3 inches.
    You can drive one if you are 6’4″ or less, anything more, don’t even consider it.

    • Bruce Best

      I have had a 100-6, a early BT-7 3000 and A BJ-8 which is this one. I would totally agree with your comment on the first two. I ridden in smoother coal carts. The BJ-8 was a much different animal. More power and far more smother ride. I love mine and I only sold it because of medical bills. In the future I will own another and I will never sell it.

      Of note This car has absolutely no adjustment for the body. If they have ever been wrecked they are a massive hassle to get right. Same for rust repairs. The body needs to be put to gather exactly or it will not work right. Additional the center of the body around the trunk lid and the front hood is very soft aluminum. You can get replacements but be prepared to sell one or more of your children’s body parts to afford having a new one shipped to you.

      For long distance travel these are some of the best convertibles of the day. I have taken trips from Seattle to Kansas City, Denver to Spokane and or Kansas City in mine and it was always great fun. However watch your friends because I let one drive mine thru Wyoming in the flat areas of that state and without paying attention he was exceeding 100 MPH without realizing it.

      They may not accelerate quickly, and may not go as fast of others but they are great cruising machines as well as sports cars

      • PaulG

        Thanks for the great perspective Bruce, hope you get to own another one soon!

      • Woodie Man

        My brother had a 67 BJ 8 in the late eighties . Shipped out to me in Cali thinking we get more money for it. I drove it for a couple of months. One day I’m driving on a city street and the hood flew open and bent in half ! A friend of mine owned a shop and repaired it and did a fine job . The only downside was he was a Scientologist…and I had to listen to a whole lot of crackpot baloney to get the car done. I think I sold the car for 6 or 7 grand….it was a beautiful car and I enjoyed driving it as it had an overdrive .

      • KEN TILLY Member

        Hi Bruce. I must agree with you re the hard rear suspension and what is known as the aluminium Shroud and boot/trunk lid. I had a BN 7 which had been fitted with a triple carburetor cylinder head. The car went like stink but handled like a pig, so much so that while in the middle of a tight right hand bend overpass I hit a bump and the left rear shock parted company with the chassis/frame. When this happened the car ran straight into the Armco steel barrier which demolished the front end. The cost of a replacement aluminium shroud was so exorbitant that I replaced it with a fibreglass replica. The other big problem was there was so much heat coming up through the floor under the left side passenger seat that the wife refused to travel in it. If you have never owned one then you also will never know what a beautiful car an Austin Healey really is. I even used to go out to my garage, pull up a gallon paint tin and just sit and look at the rear end. So sorry I ever sold it.

    • Dolphin Member

      I can’t disagree with your views on the Big Healeys, but…

      A 1962 tri-carb Healey was my first and only Big Healey, and I owned it when it was a year old. If the roads were decent—no potholes and well maintained—the Healey’s ride was firm but OK. It’s a Brit sports car, and a cushy ride with lots of suspension travel wasn’t a top priority.

      The later BJ8s with the jacked up suspension definitely rode better because they had more rear suspension travel, but to me the look was ungainley—too high in the rear. They just didn’t look right.

      An advantage of the ’62 M.Y. cars was that a good running tri-carb car could outperform almost any car on the road back then except the better musclecars or the exotics. The later twin carb BJ8s weren’t as powerful.

      With pre-BJ8 cars especially, on badly maintained roads not only was the ride bad, but your lever-action shocks would wear out quicker than they should, and since they were part of the suspension in the front that was a problem. They would leak oil past the seals and pretty much stop working.

      Any Big Healey, or the little Sprite too, are not really suited to the modern, badly maintained and sometimes potholed roads we have. But then again, I have cars now that I hate to take out on those bad roads too. It’s a judgement call…

      • GR

        The Healey’s looks and sound are great…….brakes, handling, suspension all pitiful. And “outperforming almost any other car ” back then? Sorry, but no Healey ever held a candle to any XK Jaguar, and a ’62 E-Type makes them look like tractors.

    • Bob Morris

      Guess you don’t fall into the “enthusiast” category. I had a 1960 Healey BN7 in the 1960’s and I out handled many Corvettes of that day. I ran autocross and gymkhanas and won a number of FTD (fastest time of the day). The big Healey was a major force in world rallye events and was well regarded. Next time do your homework.

      • GR

        I’ve been an “enthusiast” for 50 years ahol. Of course it outhandles old Corvettes; so did Corvairs. The Healey had its merits in terms of looks and sounds, but was a performance turd compared to Jaguars, Alfas, Maseratis, etc. Next time, don’t shoot off your subjective yapper.

      • KEN TILLY Member

        Well said Bob.

  2. Chuck Sibio

    The only reason to have one of these is the look.They are beautiful. Drop dead beautiful,period .
    Other than that- it’s still a mid 60’s English car.

    • Bruce Best

      Oh I forgot the seats are bolt upright. If you can get some aluminum bar stock about 3/8″ to 3/4″ Thick you can put that under the front seat frame rails where they bolt to the sliding rails and it make a huge difference in the comfort. and all you need to do is chose your thickness cut some lengths and drill a couple of holes in the aluminum. Easy. Chuck I understand your feelings but do not forget the sound they make or the amazing amounts of steam the very low exhausts make when you stop some place during a snow storm. They also leave really funny looking tracks in the snow if it is deep enough. I learned those lessons in Norther Idaho when I was going to University of Idaho. Good times.

      • Dave Wright

        I also went to the U of I…..I knew there was something I liked about you. Where are you now? I have never been an english sports car guy with the exception of my Lotus race cars, my drop head jag XK120 some early mini coopers. These look great but crude compared with my German and Italian cars, have always been expensive. But the style is great.

  3. HadTwo

    This looks like a nice one to fuss with and restore, or make a nice driver out of it.
    Why? Because it is mostly all there. It is a 3000 Mk III Phase 2, the very last of the Healeys. It should bring considerably more money.
    The wire wheels were replaced once, unfortunately with chrome wires, that have rusted. Possibly the best available at the time. Yes on new wheels, maybe new hubs too. It’s had a seat kit, a carpet kit and a gearshift rubber boot. Also the valve cover was off and repainted green. What happened to the
    chrome headlamp rings?
    Rear latch askew. Boot lid will need alignment, maybe some straightening.
    It is going to need money spent on it, but again, a good starting point.
    They are a blast to drive and they sound great.
    Helps if you are a mechanic or friends with one that can work on it part time.

  4. RayT Member

    I owned a BT7 — as well as a BN2 and a Frogeye Sprite — and would own another, if possible, in a heartbeat. Never had any complaint about the ride (it’s not as smooth as some, granted, but you can always find cars that ride more softly or more harshly).

    The BT7, which my father purchased new in 1960, was driven over 500,000 miles, mostly by him, and rather briskly at that, and it was more trouble-free than any other car I’ve ever owned. The engine was rebuilt twice, the gearbox and o/d had never been apart when I had to sell it.

    Performance? It felt fast, which to me is relative. Not as quick as many other cars I’ve driven, of course, but for what it was it was a natural blast to drive as hard as one dared. Sounded wonderful, too.

    Never could get warmed up to the BJ8s. I know a lot of people dug the one-man top, rollup windows and the planking on the fascia, but to me Healeys are all about pretty basic capital-M Motoring. One of my great delights for many years was climbing out of the latest and greatest high-performance Wonder Machine and getting back into the Healey. It was getting back to my roots….

    I have had enough miles in my two Big Healeys to have learned almost everything that was wrong with them. I have yet to hear of any fault or quirk I haven’t experienced. But they mean very little in the overall scheme of things, at least to me.

  5. Pfk1106

    Owned a 100-6 and a tri carb. Loved both and sorry I got rid of them. The 100-6 is still owned by the man I sold it too in 1985, and it’s driven quite regularly. He won’t sell it back to me sadly. There isn’t another car that sounds as sweet as a big Healey. Once you have heard it, you never forget and can pick that sound out of a myriad of other cars. Sadly the tri carb had several owners after me and lastly

    was converted to a cobra esque with a sbc and wrecked.

  6. Ross W. Lovell

    Greetings All,

    Great car!

    Keep a block of wood in the trunk for when you get a flat. The idea is that you drive the rear wheel up on the wood, then you can get a jack under it to change the tire.

    If restoring it, put some money in Dynamat. The cabin gets hot, the exhaust runs close.

    If doing rockers and floors, Healey’s always suffered from scuttle shake. Too much weight above the belt line because of heavy windshield and supporting structure. A few well placed pieces of square tubing along with some gussets will cure this.

    How I hate chromed wires for just this reason, plus the plating process brittles the spokes, but hey they look shiny.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Ross, the good chrome wires now use polished stainless steel for the spokes for that very reason.

      • Ross W. Lovell

        Greetings All,

        Jamie, the stainless has less tensile strength than steel hence the reason they went to a tapered spoke design.

        Like the shine don’t like the way it makes the wheel look thicker, plus you lose the option of painted wires.

  7. Big Al

    I had a 61 and enjoyed it immensely . It had its issues which I knew about and how to handle them most of the time . I prefer the older ones without roll up windows. They aren’t that comfortable to drive only because they get so hot in the cockpit. Otherwise, so much fun. chrome wires are unnecessary in my book.

  8. Rodney

    Is it just me or does that first photo look like the car is sitting in its own grave?
    Odd. Lovely British sports car with a unique sound and feel. Drove a beater version of this car to the races in Watkins Glen in the 1960’s. Wonderful memories of roasting in the cockpit and hanging my head out the window to cool off like some old Labrador…

    • Lugga Rack

      Thank you! My first thought was “Could you have found a worse way to introduce your car”?

  9. boxdin

    It’s 1970, I just bought a 1960 Big Healey 3000 BN7 2 seater for 1000 dollars. Not bad shape, runs & drives well today….. It was a joy beating that new Datsun 240z, rolling start 2nd gear shift to 3rd wind out and hit overdrive button. Shoot ahead and kick that new zs butt. Great feelling, but previous owner put in new batts slighty wrong size so rear end chunked out both batteries inside corners so relocate batt to trunk. Had to go sideways into driveway or forcibly remove all exhaust. Wouldn’t start so I parked it up the nearby hill, someone backed into it. Sold it to buddy a Fleminco guitarist who ran it into the back of a truck. The bumper guards were fine but all above crunched to windshield. Wheuuu,, a real love hate relationship.
    My next car was the beginning of my love affair w the Datsun 510…

    • Dave Wright

      I am not an oriental car guy but if I was going to do one, it would be a 510. I watched Bob Sharp run them at Riverside in the early 70’s and they were incredible. The BMW was faster but had transmission reliability problems as I remember. The Datsuns were rock solid competitors.

  10. Bruce Best

    To Dave Wright, When I was at U of I I had either my Giulietta 1963 Spyder or a 1966 3000 BJ8. I was an architecture student and if you know the architecture building a bug eye, my Giulietta and my 3000 would all fit between the security posts without a problem. Nobody every complained as they were generally parked there over night when we worked thru the night. I am now in the Kansas City area and am the owner of a Lotus Europa, Esprit Turbo 1988 and a 928S manual Porsche and laugh if you must a Renault Fuego Turbo.

    I have gotten to work on so many cars because of a friend of mine called Pete Wilson who had a XK 120 and who worked with a restorer called Jim Kreckovich. He was an ex artist from Hallmark Cards and was the first and best person I have met with pinstripe brushes. All of us were half crazy. Jim is gone now and Pete restores airplanes in San Diego under the company name of Paladin Aviation. I know he recently won best restoration with an AT-6 in arrest me yellow at the EAA Convention in Oshkosh. I believe it was in 2016. I worked with him on a another AT-6 that last I heard was hanging in the first floor of the building that houses Sporty’s Pilot Shop in Manhattan, New York. For all concerned, that plane is totally AT-6 parts that are totally Un-Airworthy. The prop is held on by one of the worst cracked Crankshafts I have ever seen stay in one piece. But it looks amazing. If you have an exotic plane to be restored check out my friend Pete.

    • Bob Gressard

      Wow the Kreck; Late at night at Gatherings of The Faithful of the New England MG T Register tales of the Kreck are still told. He always wore that floppy hat in his TD. I too drove a BJ8 from new. I always had to put wet towels on the flood to keep my Adidas from melting. I once pulled a Ferrari home from Fla to Kent Ohio in a Uhaul trailer with those skinny bumpers. I drove the Healey for the last time home from active duty in 1971. Still have it. It’s resting in the garage. Bob

  11. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Daily driver my middle college years (1984-85) was a 59 100-6. Lots of stories!!! Great experience but if I had one now I’d want a BJ8…

  12. boxdin

    Roll up windows are nice. It was a pain to put in the side curtains on the 1960 3000. And then take them off again……

  13. ccrvtt

    I like big Healeys, and small healeys, too. But I’m confused as to why the seller took the pictures in what seems to be a trench. While this looks like a nice car I am very suspicious of what may lie underneath the paint. Having owned ’67 & ’69 MGBs that were seriously infected with tinworm I am leery of LBCs of this era. I love them, but they scare the s*** out of me.

    If this car is solid it’s going to be a great find for someone.

    • Dolphin Member

      The car is in a very old, narrow driveway. In one of the pics you can see a small garage door at the end of the driveway.

      There are lots of this kind of narrow drive and small garage door in Victoria, British Columbia which, being more British than Britain, had an ex-pat population that kept to the little Austin and Morris cars that fit easily in those drives. I’m surprised to see this one in Cincinnati. Must be the old part of town.

      Those cars are pretty much gone now, and what do you know: You just can’t get a giant Benz SUV in there now.

  14. Mike Lussier

    I’ve owned three big Healeys in my time hear.68 yrs. A 67 a 66 and still have a 65. The 65 I retrived from a horse and carrage barn. The suspention front and rear are terribly ridgid. The cars were made for race tracks not roads of pot holes. cracks. and RR crossings. the car performs best at high speeds and can / could run all day that way. My guess that engine is not siezed but needs rear seal. (conversion Kit best) and the voltage regulator needs replaceing. (experience) The switche’s copper contacks glaise over with time and need to be cleaned including the horn. Fluid changes and leaver shocks refilled and springs replaced. It will bring pleasure to the next owner. Take note hear : when driving even a Ford Escort. behemoth’s it.

  15. Ben T. Spanner

    I bought a non-running BJ8 in 1973 from the original owner, and drove it every day for several years. It was hit hard in the rear and repairs were a pain. I sold in in 1998. It still had the original interior with one replacement panel.

    I’ve had 4 100-4’s, 1 100-6, and the BJ8. Mine was late production and had octagonal knock offs. My wife misses that car, but in South Florida, the heat would be difficult.

    I owned and drove mine in Cental Ohio and rust is a problem. Restoration levels vary and this car would require a detailed inspection on a lift. I know it has rust, it’s just a quation of how much and how well it was repaire.

  16. drdata

    I had a ’59 100-6 (two-seater) which was a really great car, in spite of the best efforts of the tin worm. Front end was basically held together with baling wire and some very bad fishplating on the frame rails. Engine, however, was a thing of beauty…tough as nails and plenty fast enough and, unlike some of the American cars I have owned, started up every time, no matter what the weather. I also had electronic overdrive in third and fourth which was great. I took the 100-6 on several long road trips and enjoyed every moment. I would love to get another AH, especially like the one listed here. Unfortunately, prices are now crazy.

  17. Jorge Garcia

    I’ve owned one for the last 20 years and I do find performance to be lacking. It is humiliating to drive the Healey and get passed by everyone on the freeway. The lowliest of modern cars will run rings around the Healey. Off course they don’t look as good or sound as good.

  18. Arthur Brown

    Have ridden in an old 100-4 and a 3000 that looked just like the one in the picture. It was my uncle’s and I was much younger. These cars aren’t about numerical performance but the experience, the feel the sound. Btw my uncle was the Healy club President here are pics from when Donald Healy came to visit

  19. John

    I’ll always remember Sports Car Graphics review – perhaps Bedard – which said somethinng ike “..while these cars will go 130 mph, it is not a vehicle that I would consider driving that fast..” I had a 3000 MkIII. it was beautiful and frightening. I loved it. I’m glad I don’t have it anymore.

    • blasphemy

      Not sure what Bedard was quoting, but the Healey (NOT “Healy”) wouldn’t come close to 130mph unless pushed over a cliff. Maybe he was quoting 130 kph?

  20. Arthur Brown

    Here is a second pic. I’m told this was Healy’s idea.

  21. Rich Nepon

    I had a housemate in the 70’s had a late 3000. I drove it often around Rockville MD. He was a wuss, and never opened it up. I did that for him so that he could drive it sedately. The best car I ever hated. Looks great, drove hard. Later jaguars were much more fun. I worked as a Volvo mechanic in 73-76. A guy I worked with had a 100-4 and a 100-6. He even found the correct M engine for an M frame he had. He restored than all. He would only do metal, no filler. Beautiful work. Wasn’t a rich man but probably still has these cars. Will never sell them. I got him some English plates that were on my MM1000 convertible. Probably in his garage as they weren’t Reginald to any of his cars. Would I buy one now. In a heart beat.

  22. Ray

    I’ve got to weigh in with my two cents worth on this one.

    l think you have to keep the cars of any era in perspective. Big Healeys were 150 HP, 2500 Lbs and could go around corners. There were plenty of cars with V8’s with less power, more weight and they could NOT go around corners! Let’s be generous and say that the chassis of the Big Healey was “flexible”, the brakes were “mostly adequate”, the suspension was “forgiving” and tires “needed improvement”. All in all the performance of the Big Healey against its competitors was favorable and a lot of fun for the time.

    Fast forward. Now there are more than a dozen front drive cars with 300 plus HP at the wheels, phenomenal braking and feel like they are “glued” to the road. A completely different category of performance. And no offense, a lot of them are yawners. They have no visceral “spirit from within”.

    Sometimes, it’s just a whole lot more fun to drive a slower car, fast!

  23. HadTwo

    Circa 1965, I hear that a shirt-tail relative has sold his perfect 1956 Chevrolet
    210 2-Door with perfect paint, American Mags, powerful V-8, and 4-speed on the floor, tuck and roll interior…….WOW!?….what could cause a person to do the unthinkable?…..Several weeks later I am outside, in the distance I hear a sound unlike any I’ve ever heard, the sound of a motor/exhaust yes, but different. I listen as it grows closer. Then up the rural curving road I see a red bullet of a machine, windshield swept back, pulling in a lower gear and accelerating rapidly uphill….
    An Austin-Healey. Then I understood why. Time stood still a bit that day.
    Took awhile but acquired an Austin Healey. It rests inside my heated garage.
    I wouldn’t trade it for a ’56 Chevy. Nope.

  24. owen

    Put my face through the windshield of one about 60 or so years ago. Not a good ending to a fun night. They have very thick glass in the windshield.

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.