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Old 11 June 2011, 16:49   #1
STi wanna Subaru
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Default Classic car restoration - Austin Healey 3000

My old man is toying with the idea of buying a Austin Healey 3000 as a restoration project now he is retired. I went to look at one today with him and it certainly needs some work!

He's competent at the mechanical side and owned a couple when he was younger so knows the cars. He however has never undertaken a project like this. Anybody who has got any advice?

My advice is to think of the logistics first. Do you have the means and place to work on this? Do you have the tools and contacts to do the project? Time is not really an issue but I said he needs to be realistic about a time frame to do the work.

A few pics of the car today....

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Old 11 June 2011, 16:58   #2
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A guy I worked with has done a TR3 ,TR4a and a 6,each were similar condition to the Healey, and each took about 3 years to do to concours condition, and he spent more money on each one than it was worth when he finished them,but he was spending the money a bit at a time not in a big lump so he didn't notice it quite the same,he did them all in about a 2 car size garage ,but the bodies where done seperately by a bodyshop and delivered back to him done for dropping onto his chassis,his next project was going to be a Healey,but unfortunately he passsed away from a brain tumor.

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Old 11 June 2011, 17:07   #3
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Hi Col,

My dad has a double garage with a pit in it but I think he would look to rent somewhere to do the work on this and store it until the big jobs were done. He would want to get it as close to original as possible but without being mega **** about it. His intention would be to use and enjoy the car. As for the money... well if he could cover his costs should he ever sell that would be ideal. The price of these things is mega though!
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Old 11 June 2011, 17:17   #4
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Mechanical are the least of your worries, the important thing is to get a sound (or as sound as you can) shell. You could end up spending many, many thousands welding and replacing the chassis and shell which would be better spent on a better one to begin with. That car is really a basket case. Check on availability of a new shell to rebuild the car into which may be a much better option that ploughing money into a rot-box.

Mechanicals are all straight forward and mostly available through companies such as Moss

If this is a labour of love then you will still need some sort of budget to work to. I would keep looking and see a few more so you have something to compare it to.
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Old 11 June 2011, 17:19   #5
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The price of restoration can also be mega ,you only get what you pay for ,BTW these cars were the first cars this guy had ever restored,he had a good basic understanding of cars and a normal set of tools,he did win several show awards and they are a credit to him,think of a figure you might spend on it and double it ,I think he payed about 5000 for the paintwork alone and the panels were pretty good to start with,and aren't that big.
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Old 11 June 2011, 17:24   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Zohan View Post
Mechanical are the least of your worries, the important thing is to get a sound (or as sound as you can) shell. You could end up spending many, many thousands welding and replacing the chassis and shell which would be better spent on a better one to begin with. That car is really a basket case. Check on availability of a new shell to rebuild the car into which may be a much better option that ploughing money into a rot-box.

Mechanicals are all straight forward and mostly available through companies such as Moss

If this is a labour of love then you will still need some sort of budget to work to. I would keep looking and see a few more so you have something to compare it to.

It would need a replacement chassis from what we could tell. Well that would certainly be the sensible option. As for budget he's talking of 25-30k including what he spends on the car.
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Old 11 June 2011, 17:34   #7
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http://www.classiccarsforsale.co.uk/...p/carno/127845http://www.classiccarsforsale.co.uk/...p/carno/134769http://www.classiccarsforsale.co.uk/...p/carno/128703

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Old 11 June 2011, 17:36   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rallycol View Post
The price of restoration can also be mega ,you only get what you pay for ,BTW these cars were the first cars this guy had ever restored,he had a good basic understanding of cars and a normal set of tools,he did win several show awards and they are a credit to him,think of a figure you might spend on it and double it ,I think he payed about 5000 for the paintwork alone and the panels were pretty good to start with,and aren't that big.
5k for the paintwork?!! My dad isn't obsessed about meeting the concours standards at all costs but would like to make it as original as possible within reason. The issue I see with that though is the work it needs you almost have an Only Fools - Triggers broom situation.
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Old 11 June 2011, 17:41   #9
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thanks but he actually wants something he can spend time on restoring for a couple of years then hopefully enjoy.... it's that or he's forced to take up golf!
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Old 11 June 2011, 17:52   #10
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He could be cruising around in one this summer ,its a buyers market
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Old 11 June 2011, 17:55   #11
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The more I read and understand the more I agree......
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Old 11 June 2011, 18:02   #12
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Dont forget the only gain he has is that his own labour is free. http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/1962-AUSTIN-HE...item4cf74e363c 25k offer! bargain and enough left over to restore something else.

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Old 11 June 2011, 18:16   #13
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Join the owners club. Although spares availability for the Healey 3000 is likely to be pretty good for a car of that age there will be some parts which haven't been remanufactured. Chances are that your old man's car will need one of these parts but that some member somewhere will have one of these parts sitting in a drawer (it may be very "second hand" and need a bit of work to free off something seized, but it is a start ).

Go along to any local owners club meetings. There will be times when he will feel that he's bitten off more than he can chew. The other members will give him encouragement to continue (and may also have that elusive part that he needs). They will also be able to provide advice about how to remove that awkward sod of a part that seems to require 3 hands and major damage to an important component!

If there are any non-marque specific local classic car clubs, join them as well. Although your old man may have a good set of tools there will always be something that he needs that he doesn't have but can be borrowed or hired through the club. There will also be extra pairs of hands available to do things such as lift the body off the chassis in return for a few beers. (I'm not a member, but this is my local classic car club. The website may give the impression that they exist to show the cars, but how did the cars get to that condition? There is generally a lot of expertise available in such a car club. Earlier comments about encouragement also apply!)

You may read about restorations done in a lockup, but realistically a body-off job needs a double garage. A local car club may have premises which can be rented for the bigger jobs which means that a smaller garage would be practical. Heat and electric power in the garage are essential.

As has already been mentioned, bear in mind that this has to be a labour of love. It is very unlikely that he will be able to buy that car, restore it and then sell it at a profit. Having said that, the price guide in the latest Practical Classics has a Healey 3000 starting at 11K for a condition 3 car. Condition 3 is described as "usually needing a complete rebuild but might be driveable and MOT'd". That car is somewhat less than condition 3!. However, Condition 1 is 35K and condition 1 is described as "non concours, but well presented and with no major faults".

If your dad wants to do this restoration then I'd encourage him to go ahead, but it will take longer and cost more than he anticipates.
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Old 11 June 2011, 18:39   #14
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Really appreciate that advice. I know nothing about this but trying to give him some perspective as the romanticism will invariably kick in!
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Old 11 June 2011, 19:58   #15
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I used to work for a company that restores these. It was called Everick Panels, but that was many, many years ago. Harolds son, Jon took it over and now its called JME. They are based in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. May be worth giving jon a call to chat first. Here is a link, (hopefully) http://www.jmehealeys.co.uk/home%20page.html
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Old 12 June 2011, 08:32   #16
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I'm sure I saw this car up for auction at the Race/Retro show at stoneleigh park back in February? If it is the same car, needs re-shelling as it has broken it's back (look at the doors compared to the rear quarter)
These are fantastic cars when restored and as said, try to make it as standard as possible.
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Old 12 June 2011, 10:07   #17
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I've found out since making this post that it sold at an auction in Feb so that ties in. Thanks for the info!
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Old 12 June 2011, 11:03   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STi wanna Subaru View Post
thanks but he actually wants something he can spend time on restoring for a couple of years then hopefully enjoy.... it's that or he's forced to take up golf!
Buy a half decent runner and bring it up to a very hight standard, the thing is with cars like this is they will always need work on them from topping up the carb dash-pots, greasing the grease nipples, checking the knock-ons are tight, balancing the carbs (regularly) to a full rebuild. and will require weekly fettling to keep in good order just to keep them sweet and on the road.

Get one with a good sound body/chassis as a starting point whatever you do.

Suggest your dad has a good long think about the realities and exactly how much time, money effort and love he wants to put in because it can be a long, hard slog and often two steps backwards to one forwards and quite soul destroying. Being a mechanic he could overhaul the drivetrain, suspension, etc and upgrade it over time to keep him busy. This sort of work will be ongoing and is fun and very rewarding. Having a rot box which you have to plough 1000.00's into just to get it looking half nice is not so much fun if you cannot do the work yourself and just end up paying out.

Have a look here: http://www.apincorporated.com/cars.htm stock is always changing and nice people to deal with. Likely you will get that good chassis and panels but need the mechanics and interior fully restoring

Oh and get him a years' subscription to Classic and Sportscar for fathers day!
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Last edited by The Zohan; 12 June 2011 at 11:08.
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Old 12 June 2011, 11:25   #19
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Cheers. Good info and I said the same to him yesterday. I think he enjoys the fettling required to keep a car like this running in top condition so I'm inclined to side with this approach.
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