The Overview

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. Many of which were near condemned examples that are now show cars. This is NOT one of those cars…


The car on offer here, Chassis # HBJ8L41037 is in a category all of its own, it defines the perfect Austin Healey in just about every way, checks all the box’s for those who really understand not only a classic sports car, but a real Big Healey. This is the story of a man who bought a car, never sold it, and always cherished it. A known car, with known history from literally while it was at the factory to the very second you are reading this. No gaps, no mysteries, coupled with a no expense spared concours restoration.


The story begins with an inspired young man who got a ride in an MGA at the age of 15. Years later, during Active Duty on the famed Navy Aircraft Carrier; the USS Enterprise, Mr. Hanford was in detailed communication with Nemet Auto International in New York, contemplating the purchase of a 1967 Austin Healey 3000 MK III. Original documentation from December of 1966 shows that the process was well under way, a few questions were asked and in January of 67’ Mr. Hanford’s questions were answered. A $50 deposit was placed on Chassis # HBJ8L41037, and the car was to be built to his specification. In effect, this was a mail ordered car. The company who ordered it ran an interesting business whereby the advertisement claimed “tax free European Cars”, they were technically purchased factory direct via Hemet Auto International then shipped to the country specified in the order. A letter from British Motor Car Distributors dated June 21st, 1967 states that the car was to make landfall on June 24th, 1967 aboard the “Golden Gate” and could be collected at the port in San Francisco, California. There, Mr. Hanford retrieved his new MK III Healey, finished in Colorado Red, Black Top and Black Interior. He immediately had a BMC Dealer in Fresno, CA install a AM Radio, Seat Belts, and a mirror.


While in California, Mr. Hanford was still on active duty for another 3 months before returning home to Pennsylvania. While in California, the Healey sported an English Registration and matching plates. Figuring it would be easiest to simply register and title the car upon his return to Pennsylvania he left it. A Ticket by the California Highway Patrol, dated August 14th, 1967 said otherwise and unfortunately a fine was due. Both the registration plate,  # NLC952E, and the original Traffic Citation are still with the car today. Luckily, Mr. Hanford had at least purchased what ended up to be a very pricy insurance policy at $243.00, for 3 months worth. Upon his return to Pennsylvania he acquired a policy with Statefarm, a policy that is still in effect today, with the same agent.


By September of 1967 Mr. Hanford’s service was up, he was discharged and off he went in his nearly new Healey, headed straight for Pennsylvania. He made it home safely, and just before winter purchased a 55’ Chevy so the Healey wouldn’t have to see the harsh Pennsylvania winters, and from that point forward, it never did. An interesting event happened during the first year of ownership that contributed to years of preservation, though at the time more than likely frustrated Mr. Hanford. A back road near Pittsburgh, PA was freshly oiled and chipped possibly minutes before Mr. Hanford traveled down it. As a result, the underside of the car was thoroughly coated with oil and very small stone chips. This undoubtedly sealed the chassis and undercarriage, and while an eye sore and a moment of annoyance, it most likely preserved the car for years to come. Mr. Hanford’s Healey became a member of the family, it was the car of choice for his Honeymoon, summer vacations, and was driven everywhere and anywhere when the sun was shining. It was a love affair and one that has yet to end nearly 50 years later.


From his purchase in 1967 until its restoration in 2013 Chassis # HBJ8L41037 traveled many places, but not without being fully documented along the way. From the very first inquiry letter to original purchase documentation, warranty card and booklet, to simple oil changes and registration renewals there is perhaps no better documented example extant. At LBI Limited we have the pleasure of owning and consigning a wide variety of cars in varying condition. Those original and/or one-owner examples often come with interesting documentation showing the cars life on paper. This Austin Healey however easily provide a new basis for perfection in documenting a cars history down to the most complete and minute details possible. It is truly interesting and cannot be stressed enough, real value, real history for a very special car and a very special story.  We ask that you please review, in detail, the available scans of original documentation that is included with the car.


Chassis # HBJ8L41037 was delivered to Austin Healey Marque expert Knut Holzer of BMC (British Motor Corp) located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 2013, destined for a nut-and-bolt Austin Healey Concours Gold level restoration to the highest standards possible. The mileage at this time was 46,012 miles, from new. Mr. Hanford had always driven and enjoyed his Austin Healey, there was no time where the car was dormant or not in use. It had always remained a weekend driver reserved for proper weather and special occasions. There was a point however more recently where it became realized that the car deserved better. Though it was a highly original, straight, and rust free example it couldn’t have been a more perfect basis for total restoration. BMC completed one of the finest restorations possible on a true one-owner example, bringing the car back to perfection down to the hose-clamps. It is that well done, that correct, and that perfect. One would be hard pressed to find a flaw much less an item that doesn’t adhere exactly to original factory standards. The entire process was totally documented via invoices from BMC to Mr. Hanford as well as photos. A receipt is present for the result of the original motor and transmission by Bitner Automotive, and any and all parts that could be restored where instead of purchased. In short, this was an “open check book” no expense spared restoration to the highest quality. Documented, and rightfully completed to bring a full circle ending to a very long story.


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, any and all accompanying rubber components are new, and any glass, if substandard, was replaced with superb originals or replaced. The paint is spot on Colorado Red with no flaws and polished to a mirror finish. Upon entering the interior, the carpets are tight and correct, proper vinyl seat covers with gold piping adorns the seats per the originals. The top is a slightly higher quality canvas upgrade and is basically new as well with no flaws. The trim on the interior, every knob, switch, pull and bezel has been tended to and is in perfect order with nothing out of place, and everything working. Under the dash shows properly routed wiring per original standards, tidy, neat, and exactly as it should be and as it was from the factory.


Upon opening the bonnet one notices a very clean engine bay and would be hard pressed to believe that there is 1,000 miles on the car since completion of the restoration. The engine is nicely detailed, highly correct in it’s finish and internally was built to reliably perform. All of BMC’s engines are blue-printed, balanced and completely rebuilt using modern internals when possible. Finished in correct Austin Healey green the engine appears to be highly correct while also able to perform. There is nothing substandard, skipped, or out-of-place in the engine bay, at all. The undercarriage continues the theme of the car it is also incredibly clean, hardly showing the 1,000 post restoration sorting miles that the car has been driven. One interesting point to be made is that there are absolutely no leaks at all whatsoever from the underside of the car, a rarity even in totally restored English Sports Cars. Additionally 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. Should the new caretaker desire, it could easily be switched and is a minor item that is perhaps out of place per the rest of the car. The trunk area, again, is correct. The spare shows a matching and correct style tire held down by a nice piece of leather. The original jack, handle, hammer, and bag are present along with the original tonneau cover as well.


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 over 500 restorations can understand. 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. With 1,000 miles contributed to the odometer since completion the car is a turn-key Austin Healey Concours Gold contender, but more importantly it could be driven to any event, nation-wide at speed, and we hope for just that.


Restorations can be bought, checks can be written for perfection, if you can find perfection; but the story to match is priceless and in the world of Austin Healey’s, it simply never happens. This is the ultimate Austin Healey 3000 MKIII, it is one of the coveted late 41,000 serial number cars with true and documented singular ownership that has been restored to the highest level possible by a marque specialist. Complete with all of its records from day one, restoration file, all accessories and the best story to tie it all together, this is perhaps the finest opportunity to acquire what might very well be the world’s most incredible Big Healey.


Available Documentation: (Click on the links below to view the file)