11 June 2013

A Divided Austin-Healey Market

For years, the discussion of the Austin-Healey market has been dominated by high-profile sales of 3000 MKIII BJ8s restored by a limited number of well-known shops. Now it's shaping up to be a bit of a bookended/bifurcated market with increased interest in the 100/4.

There are several reasons for this as the cars literally represent the alpha and omega of the big Healey world. The 100 is elemental and pure with its two seats, side curtains and rakish folding windscreen. The 3000 is easier to live with and more luxurious with a folding top, roll-up windows and a polished walnut dash.

They both have enormous appeal (as do the 100/6 and earlier marks of the 3000). But what it comes down to is a desire on the collector's part to have the first and last. 100/4s had been the red-headed stepchild for too long until 100M prices shot past six figures. Those priced out of that market have now set their sights on ordinary 100/4s. Fans of the earlier car point out the myriad events that the 100 is eligible for and the 3000 isn't. And in today's usability-driven market, that's a factor that shouldn't be underestimated in predicting future values.

To learn more about Austin-Healeys, and to connect with fellow owners and enthusiasts, visit the Austin Healey Club USA website at http://healey.org/.

11 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Mike lempert Charleston June 12, 2013 at 13:47
    The subject car is a 100, not 100/4. The models are :100; 100-6; and 3000. The 100 series are BN1 and BN2; 100-6 models are BN6 and BN4; and the 3000 are BN7, BT7, BJ7, and BJ8. The BN1, BN2, BN6, and BN7 are roadsters; the BN4 and BT7 are occasional four-seaters; and the BJ7 and BJ8 are convertibles.
  • 2
    mike South Carolina June 12, 2013 at 15:14
    Have to agree with Rob on this. Have owned all big Healey models except a Tri-Carb and BJ7 and now fortunate to own a factory 100M. Very different driving experience with the 100M versus a BJ8 or even one of the other six cylinder models. Have a bad day in the office - just go jump in a BN1 or BN2 with the windshield folded down and all the stress just goes away ! Gerry Coker's original design of the 100 should be considered a classic.
  • 3
    jeff kramer santa fe, NM June 12, 2013 at 15:24
    I have always like the looks of the Healy 100/3000. they just looked so cool, but unreliable. They rattled bad and were uncomfortable on a drive of more than 3-4 hrs. in length. I have had friend in SW Ohio that have own and worked on them all the time, while I enjoyed my faithful 1959 Alfa Romeo 1300 Veloce Spider with roll up windows. I still like the looks of the 100/3000 but they are in my opinion are way out of line on pricing unless you are buying a trailer queen.
  • 4
    MTdesign N. AZ June 12, 2013 at 16:34
    And why would we pay too much for a 100/4 when we can buy a well equipped TR-3 or TR-4 with an equally powerful motor and more sport to boot?
  • 5
    Chris E. H. Ny July 7, 2013 at 21:34
    When it comes to the BN1 it's the lines.
  • 6
    Eugene South Carolina July 9, 2013 at 17:29
    Just a brief question about a true classic made by the true automobile stylist and performance driven makers from Italy. Lancia Beta Zagato with only 2,100 imported to America; a car which has no rust issues and the electrical components are doing rather nicely - do you think it will make a statement as a Italian lower price favorite any time in the future?
  • 7
    Hamilton Dulyth MN. July 17, 2013 at 15:12
    I have driven a couple of BIG Healeys. Loved the look and the feel. For the same or less money you can own what i own. A 1964 Sunbeam Tiger. It is what I call a "MAN'S CAR". Which would you rather drive.
  • 8
    Bill Walnut Creek, Ca July 31, 2013 at 16:54
    I have owened and do now own a Austin Healey 100M and I Have been around these cars since 1955. I take my healey to car shows all over the west coast and can tell you only a few cars draw more attention than a 100M. It's a combination of design, performance and rugged oness with the road that makes these early BN1 & 2's so desireable. They have a pedigree born on the race tracks of Le'Mans, Sebring and the salt flats of Utah with drivers like Sterling Moss, Carroll Shelby and Lance Maklin. To the true collector, what is the price of owning a piece of histroy.
  • 9
    William Townsend United States--Kansas City Area July 31, 2013 at 17:35
    Saw your comments on the Healy family and I am wanting to determine the value of my 1965 3000 MK 4 that I bought in 1969. My kids learned to drive on this car. It has about 70k miles on it, never wrecked, changed it from light blue to bright red in the 70s and have had it stored in covered and temperature constant facility since the middle 80s. My question is: I either sell it as is or put the money in it to revert it back to original condition. Any idea on how to value it now and after restoration?
  • 10
    bill N. Calif July 31, 2013 at 21:19
    It is all about the shape. My 59 100-6 BN6 is a true roadster. It was also free!!! It is now a resto rod with a small block ford/c4, and although some would call it blasphemy, i never had the cyl head, carbs or original radiator anyway. with its 60 spoke wheels and white/blue (original) paint iit looks good and sure drives like a Tiger! (have one for comparison), but is more comfortable. And that is all i have to say about that.
  • 11
    Bob United States August 1, 2013 at 00:20
    Had a 55 in College. (100-4) 3 speed converted to 4 by eliminating the reverse block. Allowed for overdrive in each gear by a switch mounted to the shift knob. I believed this mod made 4 speed cars in 56. I used the knock off hammer to keep the fuel pump working when necessary. The arm shocks were horrible and converted to tube later. I had a removable fiberglass hard top that affixed the same as the rag top. The brake drums were chromed accentuating the spoke wheels. After the head cracked it was replaced along with an improved cam and carbs upgraded to Jag's. Jackie Cooper (Child Star) drove the 100-4 to a record of I believe of 119 mph or so if memory serves. When the 57- 3000 appeared it was like what happens with all car makers, they think they make it better. Sorry, they lost the essence of the car that ran Le Mans and many more tracks and still does. I wish I still had mine. Unfortunately it met it's demise planted into the side of a Ford Station Wagon. Fortunately, I survived losing a make up year of school and can share these memories with you.

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