Is this Chevy small-block-powered Austin Healey your budget Cobra?
The formula is simple—an American V-8 aggressively shoehorned into a relatively small British roadster. Carroll Shelby made a name doing it, Sunbeam is underappreciated for its take on the strategy, and plenty at-home mechanics tried it on their own cars. As we scrolled through eBay listings we found the product of one such brave soul—an Austin Healey brimming with horsepower from a Chevrolet small-block transplant.
There is a twist though: the eBay listing presents this red-with-tan soft-top as a 1962 Austin Healey, but from the looks of things that is only partially true. Based on the flares and dashboard, this car likely started life in a stack of boxes, not a factory in Britain. That is to say, the car has all the marking of a Sebring MX, a replica of the 1962 Austin Healey 3000 which was targeted at reproduction Cobra buyers. The pitch? More interior space and a slightly longer wheelbase.
Classic Roadsters produced the Sebring MX, along with a handful of other fiberglass kit vehicles. While its website is currently down and production seems to have stopped in 2009 around the time the company filed for bankruptcy, the cars that were produced now carry the legacy of the project.
This example packs a four-bolt-main Chevrolet 350-cubic-inch small-block. The four-bolt-main is typically the more desirable of the 350 engine casting variations thanks to the additional strength from four bolts holding the main bearing caps rather than two. Said to be rebuilt and appearing relatively tidy with an aluminum intake manifold, the motor probably packs plenty of punch given it needs to move such a light fiberglass roadster. The power flows through a Chevrolet automatic transmission to an unknown rear end, though the most common unit used to build these kits was a Ford nine-inch.
The interior appears tidy, if minimalist. The wood dash seems like a nod to the Sunbeam Tiger crowd, and the seats are simple buckets that help the driver cozy up to a Grant steering wheel.
The Buy-It-Now price is $25,000 and there is an option for best offer. A similar build car sold on Bring a Trailer in 2018 for $13,250. Replica Cobras can often be found in the $20,000-$30,000 price range, but typically a good example will cost more. Such Cobras are also relatively common, so if the goal is stand out in a crowd, this Healey will draw stares.
Is this red roadster the hot tamale your garage needs, or a plastic fantastic with too much power and not enough Lucas electrics? Let us know in the Hagerty Forums below.