The Austin Healey 3000 has long been revered as the quintessential English Sports Car. Some would say that the E-Type could claim that, or even the MG. But the reality is today, what it was then; the Austin Healey 3000 gave enthusiasts options. 6-Cylinders, 2 and 4-seats, open top motoring and a price point perfectly placed between the MG and the E-Type that gave way to a very large fan base of buyers all over the world. 50+ years later, and the situation hasn’t changed much, especially with inflated prices on E-Types, the Healey has yet again become an obvious and sensible choice for those looking to rekindle their youth, or simply have a fun old sports car in the garage.
At any one given moment, there are always 30-50+ Austin Healey 3000’s to choose from on the open market. Pick a color, a condition, and write a check for exactly what you want. The point to be made is that money can buy anything you want in the world of an Austin Healey. If, however, you are a discerning collector or fastidiously understand these cars on a level of which most do not, it will be hard, very hard, to find a truly excellent Austin Healey 3000. With nearly 17,712 MKIII’s produced and at a price point of about $3,000 in 1966/67 it meant most could afford one. Returning GI’s from Vietnam to kids who worked and saved their money to your average salary man. The Austin Healey sports car was attainable, and so just about anyone ended up with one.
As a result of so many being built, over the years so many of them were also traded time and time again. Broken down, fixed up, original paperwork, tools and documentation long gone, most within the first year of ownership. Multiple owners down the line the history was of no concern. These were after all, in the 1970’s, merely used sports cars with little value. Many ended up rusting and left to the elements until values once more achieved a point where it made sense to dig them up, restore them and bring them back to their glory. The example on offer is one of those cars that has seen a no-expense-spared restoration but with thoughtful well executed changes.
The car on offer here, chassis number HBJ8L40603 was dispatched on February 24th 1967 destined for the North American Market. Exact early history is not 100% known but we do know that the current custodian purchased it from a long time owner in November 1998 in Minneapolis, Minnesota with 74,832 original miles. The exact story is well chronicled and available for review in the “view documents” section of the website. About 6 years later, the serviced of Fourintune Garage of Cedarburg, Wisconsin were entrusted for a complete and restoration which was finished one year later in 2005. As when finished, today it is in a category all of its own, defining the perfect Austin Healey in just about every way, checks all the boxes for those who really understand not only a classic sports car, but a real Big Healey. This restoration compromised of tending to, upgrading, and ensuring the elite quality of this example with over thousands in options and upgrades including; rally louvers, alloy fenders, trunk, and hood, triple exhaust manifold, Webers, aluminum head, Welch exhaust, hidden electric radio antenna, dual fuel pumps, Moto Lita steering wheel, and headlamp buckets to name a few. The exact list of modifications and a restoration ledger is available for review in the “view documents” section of the website. In short it was built in the style of the factory race-cars with many endurance modifications, lightweight attributes and power upgrades all completed by capable and experienced hands.
The current owner of this magnificent BJ8 has showed it regularly at a variety of events and it has consequently incurred an impressive resume of awards including multiple Best in Class and Best In Show awards at both marque specific events as well as formal concours events. Testament to the quality especially over the past 10 years, proving the longevity of the job completed. The car could easily pass as a newly restored example showing only signs of use. The exact ledger of events and awards can be found in the “view documents” section of the website.
A walk around the car will show that cosmetically it is near flawless with what is most likely better than new gaps and panel fitment. Any and all chrome pieces are new or refinished to show quality with the exception of the rear bumper, which shows a few light scratches that may or may not polish out. Any and all accompanying rubber components are new, and any glass, if substandard, was replaced with superb originals or proper replacements. The paint is consistent throughout and nicely contrasted with black coves, having no flaws and polished to a mirror like finish. Near the front hood cowl, there is a very minor crack in the paint that would only be noticed upon close inspection. The car is straight down the sides, and while a blemish or two is bound to be found due to this car being used and enjoyed, they will ultimately be minor if any.
Upon entering the interior, the carpets are tight and of the correct style. The top is a slightly higher quality canvas upgrade and is basically new as well with no real flaws. The trim on the interior, every knob, switch, pull and bezel has been tended to and is in perfect working order with nothing out of place. Under the dash shows properly routed wiring per original standards, with a few exceptions including conversion and rerouting of the heater intakes to cold air intakes for the drivers feet as these cars can be notoriously hot at times. There is also the light modification of the dual fuel pump switch, which is neatly hidden just below the steering column. Providing endurance capability, a smart upgrade for a car that is intended for use. Last but not least is a full sound system, well integrated without taking from the original character and intent. It has been wired to an Aston Martin antenna on the driver rear ¼, which sits nicely, blends in and operates upon the radio’s start up. A modern touch that is hardly noticeable and very usable. The steering wheel, wood veneer fascia, are both upgrades over the originals and the seats also show a red piping to replace the original clear piping. All done within the guises of being tasteful, useful, but without taking away from the original look overall.
Upon opening the bonnet, one notices a very clean engine bay and would be hard pressed to believe given the age of the restoration. The engine is nicely detailed, highly correct in its finish in the style of the factory race cars and internally was built to reliably perform. All of Fourintune’s engines are blue-printed, balanced and completely rebuilt using modern internals when possible. There is nothing substandard, skipped, or out-of-place in the engine bay, at all. Most notable of course is the well executed shroud cut out on the drivers side to accommodate the servicing of the 3 Weber carburetors. A homage to the factory race cars which carried the same modification. The undercarriage continues the theme of the car it is also incredibly clean, showing just as immaculately as the top side of the BJ8 with a few blemishes only to be expected from a car that is driven and used.
The chassis rails are straight and true and free of any dents, as good as we have ever seen as these cars consistently have dented frame rails. The only item out of place, but easily switchable is the free flow exhaust that has been added. Though done so to match the balance of the intake and airflow from the Webers. Should the new caretaker desire. The trunk area, again, is correct. The spare shows a matching and correct style tire held down by a nice piece of leather.
The operation of this Healey is very interesting; many aspects of its visceral attributes make one think about the depth of work completed to make it work so correctly. Simple things from the way the doors open and close to the cars ability to freely rev and handle a corner with absolutely no inconsistencies. It’s truly well built with attention to detail that only a restorer who has completed hundreds of these restorations can achieve. The nuances of what makes these cars perfect during a restoration are long learned lessons of experience, and it shows in every facet of this cars presentation. It is a turnkey Austin Healey that could be driven to any event, nation-wide at speed, win an award and drive home; we hope for just that.
This example has received what is considered the highest standard of Healey restorations. Even the most critical Austin Healey purist would have a challenging time faulting its quality even though not 100% concours correct. This is the ultimate Austin Healey 3000 MKIII with accompanying, documented, long-term ownership. Due to the true craftsmanship of the marque specialist at Fourintune, this Healey is more than worthy of any rally, tour, or show and a real contender when judged. Complete with records, restoration file, all accessories, tonneau cover, boot cover, and a story of a genuine car guy who loved his Healey to tie it all together, this is perhaps the finest opportunity to acquire a spectacular Big Healey.
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