Whats It Worth? 1967 Austin-Healey 3000 Mk. III

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Having owned two “Big Healeys” and driven one as a daily driver for more than a year, I can tell you they are an acquired taste. There’s not many sports cars that are better looking out there, but the primitive steering, excessive interior heat and antiquated secondary systems certainly made me echo Billy Crystal’s famous “Fernando” character who maintained it was better to look good than to feel good! This pretty solid restoration project is up for auction in Atlanta, Georgia. Thanks to Jim S. for this cool find!

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By the way, this is the good side of the BJ8; the right rear fender isn’t even there. The seller tells us that the car was taken off the road with intentions of restoration that didn’t happen. They have bolted the fenders that exist back into place for transport only. There’s one trunk hinge missing too, but since you can get new ones, that’s usually cheaper than restoring and re-chroming the pot metal anyway.

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The front and rear shrouds are aluminum, so at least you don’t have to worry about those rusting. The under structure of a 3000 seems to have been designed to trap water and debris, which leads me to worry about the condition of the frame and under panels.

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The interior looks very original, which is good, but pretty tired, which is bad. I guess the seats would be ok for a driver, but since you are going to be repainting the outside anyway, I think I’d replace the interior as well. But that’s me; what would you do?

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My 100-6 and 3000 Mk. I both had smaller SU carburetors than this Mark III; I’ve always heard that this engine/carb setup was a really sweet combination. The seller does tell us the engine is free, and based on what I can see, you’d probably have this up and running fairly quickly. However, the body is another story, and I think I’d want a good inspection done before bidding too much. If you are interested, the auction is here on eBay, and bidding is just under $9,000 as I write this. What do you think this one will go for?

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Tim

    It needs everything, so that should be reflected in the sale price. I’d say 10-15 grand is the window, anything above that and you’d lose your shirt

  2. Healeydays

    I agree with Tim. 14-15K is ceiling on this one. Too bad he didn’t take some pictures before he bolted the body back on so you could see what you can’t see…

    • RayT Member

      If the fenders were off, more potential buyers might be scared away. Lots of rust under there, I’ll bet, plus probable corrosion between metal and aluminum panels. A restoration is going to eat up some serious money….

      Having owned two Big Healeys — a BN2 and a BT7 — I don’t really care about the car’s “primitive” nature as much as Jamie does. I loved the way my father’s BT7 ran and handled when I first got behind the wheel (at age 15, with learner’s permit) and still do. It might not have been as slick a driver as, say, a new Porsche or Mercedes, but that was never the point. I will say I found the later one-man top and rollup windows unnecessary frills, but to each his own! For impromptu back-road “races” with a friend who had an XK-120, it was perfect.

      Wish I still owned a Big Healey!

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        Ray, the first time I tried a drive-through window with side curtains in the rain (remember, daily driver, college student, no budget) I made the decision to go back home to Triumphs… :-) But to each his or her own! That is definitely a “first world” problem, I freely admit it!

  3. Pete

    That seems a high price for a project even though 56,000 is listed by
    Hagerty’s valuation tool. The missing rockers and no pix of the floor
    where the carpet has been stripped concern me. They point to rust
    damage.

    the free engine is good. There is no mention of the rest of the
    mechanicals conditions.

    You could easily spend a lot for a ‘restoration’.

  4. SarahW

    I own both a ’65 and ’67 Austin-Healeys, the ’67 having been purchased since I never thought that my ’65 “restoration from hell” would ever be finished. Now that it is finally finished to a concourse level, I am somewhat afraid to drive and park it in a parking lot! My ’65 was at least a driver as a starting point, and this looks to be in quite a bit worse condition. The low miles sure look to be hard miles, and even though mine had only 47k, the engine had to be rebuilt due to the amount of wear.

    One thing I have learned about Healeys,… there is no such thing as a cheap Healey if there is rust. And if I were to hear the “typical Healey rust” comment, I would run quickly in the opposite direction! If purchasing an Austin-Healey, my suggestion would be to buy the best one you can find that has no rust, or next to none. You can count on there being more hidden below. Having said that, there is little better than to experience a drive down a country road with the sun shining, the top down and the roar of that lovely 6 cylinder engine.

    Like 1
    • Tim

      “A #1 can be fun but a #3 will set you free”

      Perfect cars are too stressful! Drive them, enjoy them, and scratch it once yourself so the next person who scratches it doesn’t wind up dead :p

  5. Dolphin Member

    Agree with Sarah—buy the best you can find & afford and you will save time, money, and aggravation, and likely you will be driving a lot sooner.

    And if you do buy the best you can afford it will probably cost less than if you bought some years ago when excellent Big Healeys peaked at over $100K, then fell back to saner prices for a car that wasn’t very rare, especially in No America.

    I had a Tri-carb when I was 19 and loved it, but I was young, and the condition of the roads and traffic was much better back then, and the competition for your dollar was mostly less appealing than a Big Healey. Back then they were a big deal. That’s one of the reasons why they called them Big Healeys—that, and the contrast to the little Sprite. The sound was worth putting up with a lot of the car’s inconveniences. But they were best if they didn’t have to be a daily driver.

    • RayT Member

      Dolphin, I have to disagree with them not being “best” as daily drivers. My father’s ’60 BT7 did the DD routine for some 15 years — along with many long road trips — and, by them time it went into other hands, it had something North of half a million miles on the clock. Regular maintenance and two engine rebuilds got it through that, and the transmission and overdrive were never opened up. It was, at the end of his ownership, still a solid runner and a pleasure to drive.

      Of course the water temp. soared in summer traffic….

      I wouldn’t pick one as a daily driver here in Massachusetts, as it would pound itself into pulp on our miserable roads in short order, and would rot in the winter. But if I were back in California, I’d be happy to suffer with a Big Healey. Every day.

    • Dolphin Member

      Ray, I think we actually agree. I also used my big Healey in Mass. near Boston as a DD for a number of years back in the 1960s, and thought it was the best car I could possibly have owned at the time, and I didn’t and still don’t regret using it that way. It never let me down on the road.

      And yes, the water temp soared in the Mass. summers, so much so that I installed an electric fan in front of the radiator wired to a toggle switch on a small aluminium plate under the dash, which worked really well for keeping the water temp down. It was put in such that it could have been removed if desired with no trace of it having been there…but the new owner was very happy to have it.

      But it looks like we agree that we would not choose one as a DD in Eastern Mass now, or probably a lot of other places with badly maintained roads and lots of bunched up commuter traffic. Then there are the 18-wheelers, more now than in the ’60s. Having made it this far, I’m not so willing to chance it driving next to those big boys in such a low open car. Then there are the winters…

      But I would have one again now as a toy or a DD, especially since I don’t live anywhere near Eastern Mass now.

      • Roadstir

        It is the proliferation of the SUVs whose drivers are oh so distracted, that woild really put your life at risk as a DD.

  6. Rando

    I just finished reading about the “Hemi Healy” (sic) in HotRod magazine… hehehe

    See http://www.hothemiheads.com/hemi_info/hemi_projects/hemi_project_61.html

  7. Chuck Foster Chuck F 55chevy

    If you buy it and want a correct restoration call my high school wresting team classmate Frank Wicker in small town Kendallville Indiana, he has done a lot of award winning Healeys at Wicker’s Body Shop.

  8. Randy

    BRC of Philadelphia has done about 500 of these cars. They would charge about $75K for a full restoration. You have a car worth about $95K when done, so anything over $10,000 is just too much, if you’re looking for any profit.

  9. Bob Gressard

    I bought mine a 67 in !967. It was two weeks old. Drove it on active duty state side and parked it in 1970 with 27,000 miles. Has original paint top tires sorry tyres stored in a heated garage. I wonder what they bring unmolested. Bob

    • Dolphin Member

      The Sports Car Market Guide says the recent median auction sale price for the BJ8 cars was $60,500, and the high auction price paid for a BJ8 was $159,500. Those are professional auction numbers, not Ebay or CL.

      As an ultra low mile, single-owner, unmolested car it sounds like yours would bring more than the $60K number. As much as the $160K number? Depends on who’s in the auction room. Best to find all the documentation you can for the car to show that you were the original buyer and that you maintained it.

  10. cyclemikey

    Rust is everything on these, so you’d need a detailed examination of the innards of this car. It will probably be restored either way, but the extent of rust will determine whether it’s a labor of love or a business proposition. I’d not hold my breath for a profit and consider myself lucky to break even. But once restored, it’s not going down in price anytime soon. I’m betting this will bring close to 20K. Just a hunch.

  11. Black Cat

    At first glance, I expected this to be beyond salvation, given horrid lines along the sills. But reading that the wings were just slapped back on for presentation, a closer look suggests a car that may be better than a first glance would suggest.

    It’s definitely in better shape than the XK-120 I started with, many years ago, and that only survived because love trumps logic. I also like the seller’s good feedback rating, and that he looks my age as reflected in the mirror! If I were in the market for another DIY restoration — and that’s the key to building equity in a car like this — I’d take a closer look.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      “love trumps logic”: I wouldn’t own any of my collector cars if that weren’t true!

  12. Larry Landes

    Looks like a very restorable big Healey. Well worth more than the current bid. I bought my 67 Healey in 1972, drove it until 1986 when I put it in my mother’s basement and told her I’d get it out of there in a few months. It’s still sitting there. Getting close to time to get it out. Bought my 64 MkIII as a parts car sometime in the 70s. Later found out it’s one of the earliest Mk III’s still around and probably worth more than the 67. Soon as I finish my current project, I’m planning on starting on these.

  13. Eric Dashman

    Looking at the pix, the left door looks like it’s sagging. On a Chevy pickup, you’d look at the door hinges. On the BJ7s and 8s it could be frame sag. My 1965 BJ8 has the same issue. Of course, it’s now a terrible rust bucket that will require full restoration, but it was like that before I shamefully allowed it to fall into greater disrepair (engine is great…rebuilt it 14K ago).

    A former friend of mine had a 1962 Healey with the tri-carb setup. It was a bear to synch the carbs, but once done it had all sorts of power. My own has the twin HD8s on it and they’re pretty easy to synch. I use a short piece of rubber hose to do it :-).

    I have to say that there is nothing like the sound of a big Healey’s exhaust roar. It sounds the way the car looks! Awesomely powerful sound.

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