The Austin-Healey sports car range is synonymous with a particular era of British sports car production, and is similar to Jaguar in many ways. Both companies built strong, reliable and affordable cars for the North American market, their strongest and safest market, and the cars evolved model by model over the years. The 100 series Healeys were successful, initially with four-cylinder, then six-cylinder, motors, but it is the 3000 model that most people remember as the definitive Healey. The first 3000 designated car was introduced in the spring of 1959 and featured a six-cylinder 2912-cc motor with overhead valves and pushrods, that produced 124 bhp at 4,600 rpm with a top speed of 115 mph. The gearbox was four-speed with overdrive on third and fourth. The suspension consisted of front independent coil springs and a live axle with half-elliptic springs in the rear. Front disc brakes were introduced on the 3000. Two body styles were available, a two-seater (BN7) or a 2+2 (BT7).

The 2+2 has been comprehensively and professionally restored to the highest of standards; virtually everything that could be done by way of restoration has been attended to. The chassis was stripped to bare metal and blasted before being resealed and painted, and the panelwork was similarly prepared before a high-quality urethane black paint job. All chrome work was either replated or newly replaced, while the interior was retrimmed with correct Connolly leather seats, new carpets, panel kit and new Everflex top and sidescreens. Both the style and finish has been done to correct factory colors and standards and with all correct detailing and appropriate decals and stickers. The car sits on sixty-spoke upgraded chrome/stainless wheels and correct-size Michelin radial tires.

Mechanically the drivetrain has been completely rebuilt, as were the rear axle, brakes, suspension, and electrical system, all to the highest standards. The Healey is offered with a BMIHT certificate verifying that it was built on June 12, 1959, destined for Los Angeles, so it is entirely fitting that forty years later, almost to the day, the car is offered for sale in Los Angeles.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1960 Austin-Healey 3000
Years Produced:1959-61
Number Produced:10,825
Original List Price:$3,250
SCM Valuation:$16,000-$24,000
Tune Up Cost:$400-$500
Distributor Caps:$60-$75
Chassis Number Location:Reverse embossed on plate screwed to firewall
Engine Number Location:Stamped on plate riveted to engine under exhaust manifold
Club Info:Austin-Healey Club of America, P.O. Box 3220, Monroe, NC 28111, 877-5-HEALEY
Alternatives:Jaguar XK 150, Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider Veloce, Porsche 356C Cabriolet

This car sold at the Christie’s Auction/Petersen Museum sale on June 17, 2000 for $64,625 including buyer’s premium. (The photo above is of a similar car, but a correct BT7. The photo used in the auction catalog, and in the August SCM, was incorrect, and of a later 3000 Mk II.—ED.) When news of this sale went out over the Healey grapevine in late June, it was met with near disbelief. Sure, factory-modified 100Ms had, a few times, cracked the $50,000 barrier, but never to anyone’s knowledge had a standard model Healey ever crossed the auction block for so much money. Adding to the astonishment, this wasn’t a late convertible or even a two-seat tri-carb, generally considered second and third in desirability in the Healey market. This was a simple early 3000 (often but erroneously referred to as “Mark Is”) in the slightly dowdy 2+2 body style. Of course, the early BT7 has all the basic attributes of the good Healeys—disc brakes in front, the (nearly) three-liter engine, and that inimitable exhaust note. Nevertheless, the owner will have to struggle with screw-on side curtains and a detachable top that is about as weatherproof as an army pup tent. In addition, this car won’t be challenging the Jaguars or Astons for speed in any touring caravan. On the other hand, Healeys are considerably cheaper to maintain than most high-end dream machines and a properly restored example, like this one, will be nearly bulletproof if the owner just remembers to change the oil and lube all twenty-three grease fittings once a year.

However, we do not believe that this is the first robin of a new spring in Healey prices. Even a nearly concours-quality BT7, as this one was, usually sells for around $25,000 and you will still be able to find another one tomorrow or next week at that price. Why this particular car sold for what it did says more about auctions and auction buyers than it does about trends in Healey prices. First, this was a primo car. The restorer has been doing Healeys for owners and on spec for over ten years and his father, who does the bodywork, has been beating panels for a lifetime. He has a reputation for paying close attention to originality in his restorations, departing only where it may enhance the sale—such as by substituting chrome wheels for the original painted wires. The color choice of black, which shows off good bodywork, coupled with a rich red leather interior, certainly didn’t hurt the car’s attractiveness.

Second, Christie’s was playing to a well-heeled crowd at the Petersen benefit. These are people who don’t ask the price when they are offered the very best of something they want. And third, at least one notable celebrity collector was actively bidding against a buyer who wanted to take a Healey home that night. Good car, good crowd, emotional buyer; it doesn’t get much better than that for a restorer. He was probably just as surprised as anyone when the hammer fell.—Gary Anderson, Editor and Publisher, British Car Magazine.

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