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Lost Cause Weekend – So, you want to restore the Austin Healey of your dreams…

Jim Brennan November 17, 2012 For Sale, Weekend Edition 13 Comments

Welcome to the Hooniverse Lost Cause Weekend, where I decided to look at the inventory of the Beverly Hills Car Club, and see if the cars that are offered at reasonable prices are the sort of car that an amateur restorer can try and replicate the car of their dreams, or even maybe build a competitive track car at least. Our leader has been tackling a couple of projects on these pages (see here, and here), so if you’re living in Southern California, why not join in on the fun, and see if you enjoy the type of fun that Tim seems to enjoy. Let’s start out with a few classic Austin Healey Sports Cars….

Our first subject is this 1956 Austin-Healey 100-4 Convertible. According to the dealer:

1956 Austin-Healey 100-4 BN2 Convertible sports car. This car comes in silver with black interior and is an original black plate California car. The motor turns freely by hand and it is an excellent car to restore.

Lets take a look at the images, shall we? Is there anything on the car that won’t need restoring? The body panels have some corrosion, the windshield frame is crap, and the interior isn’t in the best shape either. The engine seems all there, and the frame looks OK, but is this car really worth the asking price of $16,750? See the listing here, and let me know…

This is a 1959 Austin-Healey 3000 BT7 Convertible that looks to be in a little better shape (well, not really), and there isn’t any more information from the dealer about this particular car. Corrosion is abundant, interior is practically not there, but this is a true 3.0L Six-Cylinder Healey, so it must be worth something, right? This is actually priced lower that the 56 Healey 100-4 at $9,750. Is it worth it, or is it a lost cause? See the listing here, and then tell me what you think…

This is a 1960 Austin-Healey 3000, and is suppose to be a very rare 2-Seater. According to the dealer:

1960 Austin-Healey 3000, very rare 2 seater convertible sports car, wire wheels, excellent candidate for restoration.

I don’t know what they are thinking about when they describe this car as an excellent candidate, because all I see is rust, missing pieces, and no interior. The asking price for this Healey is $11,750. See the listing here, and please, tell me what you think…

This is a 1962 Austin-Healey 3000 BT7, with aftermarket wheels no less. According to the dealer:

1962 Austin-Healey 3000 BT7 Convertible sports car. This is an extremely rare triple carburetor car that also comes with a rare hardtop. It has just come out of storage where it has been for past 20 years.

This car doesn’t look as bad as the other examples, and it has some rare options, but the asking price is ridiculous at $17,500. See the listing here, and express your thoughts.

Last Healey, and this is a 1965 Austin-Healey 3000 Mark III, which was the last variant of the Austin-Healey until they were discontinued in 1967. According to the dealer, this Healey will need complete restoration. Really? I would have never guessed. It is by far the roughest of this very rough lot, and yet, the dealer is still asking $9,750 for it. See the listing here, and tell me what you would do with it…

Which of these Austin-Healeys is the right candidate to build the Healey of your dreams?

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  • Van_Sarockin

    Any of these could be a good candidate for some level of restoration. Probably presentable driver would be a good place to shoot for. Rat Rod might be another option. The prices for Big Healey's have been rising tremendously, so you could have some fun and not lose all of your shirts on this.

  • Matt

    None are really that rough. Even that last one has great potential. The prices are all way too high for my tastes

  • I can't believe the prices on these monuments. I'd love to find one sitting in a shed, under a pile of junk and ratshit. I'd sell the PCH project to someone else, and use the money to cherry out all three of my trucks.

  • smalleyxb122

    Wow, are Big Healey prices really so high as to justify these kind of prices for cars in this condition? I was driving behind a rough-ish looking Healey just last weekend, and thought about how nice it was that it wasn't restored, and contemplated it's value. I must have been waaaay off. If these cars are any indication, the one I saw last Sunday would have to have been a $25k car. Yikes.

    • Van_Sarockin

      Nicely maintained/restored examples can go for much more that $40k. They might even be worth it. It's an authentic experience you can't get any other way. It's not my calculus, but seems to be what the market is supporting right now. The upside is that those sorts of prices can support a lot of maintenance and upgrade to a rough driver.

      • It's hard to find data on what price some of the nice Healeys listed in Hemmings and such have actually sold. While these are simple cars that are fun and easy to work on, I'd be hesitant to buy in to most of the cars above at anywhere near these asking prices.

        Parts are readily available at reasonable prices, so if you can buy one of these cars at less than half the ask, you'll probably never lose your shirt (unless it blows out of the cockpit during a topless drive). These cars are a gas to drive, topless or pantsless.

        I'd love to find a hard top for my BT7. I'm sure the seller would be happy to sell it to me for a grand over market value.

  • I choose the 1962 since it looks the most like you could actually drive it while you worked on it without it dissolving before your eyes every time you hit a bump.

    That said, as much as I would love to make one of these a project, to the prices I must say, 'Yowsers!' I have a feeling lots of us had in mind maybe half the price of the cheapest car as a high point for project pricing. Guess that means no Healey for Me-ley.

  • Devin

    Just the bodywork alone on these things is staggering, lord knows what's going on under the skin, and if someone pays $10-17k to find out they are genuinely crazy.

  • MrHowser

    Either someone at the dealership has a sense of humor, or that last, really-rough Healey is warning everyone to stay away.

    <img src="http://www.beverlyhillscarclub.com/galleria_images/1161/1161_p38_l.jpg"width=500&gt;

    For a second, I thought the last one might be usable as bare-bones for a 2JZ/M50 track beast. It's already so far gone that anything you did with it would be better than the crusher. Then I saw the fact that the car looks to be held together by boards. Yikes.

  • Remone

    I always thought it would be great to put F20c from s2000 into one of these can't imagine how much fun that would be, still keeps the character of the car high revving natural aspirated motor and probably weighs less than the old lump that was in there

  • High revving? My Healey is much more comfortable chugging around in high gear rather than screaming along at over 5 grand.

    Torque is good.

  • John Bruce

    all the cars seem to be the bit worse for wear . But nothing is impossible and a restoration of any of these cars would cost a substantial amount of money . The basic price of the cars seems high for what you are getting , a basket case. It just depends if you want a project to keep you occupied and how deep are your pockets $ wise. The prices of these Healeys just keeps climbing so if you want one and can t afford to buy one outright then you are caught or trapped by those who have the goods and are asking the high prices for these rebuildable projects. The prices of these cars worldwide just keep going up I guess because they like all older cars are not being manufactured anymore. Want one ? Then a project could be the answer. John Bruce Australia

  • Chris Willis

    If u want to spend 20 , 30 thousand on a rusted hulk go ahead . Better to find a good driver for 25,000 to 35,000 ….they are out there . money ahead and u can enjoy it . Unless spending thousands of hours frame upping with ur welder and shop full of tools ….go ahead .
    Hey let somebody else put 50 k in one pluss his 20 k purchase price and give him 40. Love British cars but rusted projects with half the car gone are a losing proposition