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Donald Healey’s stunning two-seater sports car owed its mechanical prowess to nothing more than an amalgamation of bits from the Austin parts bin, but my, what a car.

Alongside those alluring looks, the key to its success was the Austin A90’s 2660cc four-pot engine, which output a decidedly perky 90bhp – enough to fire the little scamp to a top speed of 102mph.

Factor in an incredibly affordable price tag and while we certainly loved it over here, the USA went absolutely bonkers for it. In total a staggering 14,612 100 and 100M models were sold.

Named of course for its top speed, which broke the mythical 100mph barrier, the Austin Healey 100 had it all: handling, power, looks and, most importantly in the Post-War world, that quintessentially British aura.

As it evolved the Healey got bigger, but it also got brawnier and more powerful – hence the moniker ‘Big’. In MkIII form its 2912cc powerplant output a hairy-chested 148bhp.

The earlier variants may be a touch more nimble, but latter Healeys exude a delightful Great British machismo. Climb aboard, fire it up, kiss each bicep once, and get ready to devour the English countryside in style. 

The Vehicle

‘I bought the car in February 2016 from The Healey Factory, in Melbourne Australia,’ explains vendor Mark. ‘I was out there for 15 years living and working in Queensland, but saw this in the garage window and called in…’

He drove the car briefly in Australia before relocating to the UK in November 2016. The Healey was shipped over at the time and Mark had the intention of using it here. ‘It was entered into the UK but I never registered it, as I was busy restoring a house.’

Having finished that project, he has now decided to return back down under. ‘I also have an MGA, which will most likely go back with me, but I can’t really see the point of shipping the Healey over again,’ he says.

‘Even though I never got the chance to use the car here, it’s still had regular oil changes and I’ve continued looking after it to keep it up to date. Recent work includes fitting a new hood, rubber seals and new brake bearings.’

Originally a US car, its then owner emigrated – taking the Healey with him – to Australia in the Nineties. ‘It’s only had a low number of owners from new; three, I think. There’s a terrific history file going back to its first service in 1968, so if someone studied the paperwork for a few hours it’d all become clear.’

‘It remains in good condition, presentable and looks nice. It does need a bit of work on the paintwork, which I was thinking of doing at some point. The interior is quite nice and it starts quickly, and drives well. Its strongest point is just how well it steers; when I first drove it I couldn’t believe how nice to drive it was.’

This Big Healey is located at The Market headquarters in Abingdon, so as with all our lots we recommend hitting the ‘Contact Seller’ button to arrange a viewing and test ride.

On the Outside

It’s a nice looking car and looks lovely from around 20 feet away, but get closer and the paint finish reveals a few issues with some cracks including on the front wing, boot lid and o/s rear wing and a bit of orange peel here and there. There’s also a little chip on the boot lid and the paint on the n/s edge of the bonnet has rubbed off (the latter can only be seen with it open).

Mark was very honest in his appraisal. ‘I was thinking of doing the paintwork next; perhaps not repainting it totally, but tidying it up.’

The next owner can now make that decision.

Do you go for the full paintjob works and it’ll become a sparkler – but do you then worry about where you park it? To be honest, it could easily remain as it is and be enjoyed as a regularly.

What is clear is that the basis is superb. Panel fit appears to be very good, with no play in the door hinges (something that’s often the case in tired examples) and as befits its dry-climate history there appears to be no discernible structural rust. The door gaps are also very consistent - much better than a rusty UK-market car. It appears to be very strong. Separately it appears to be a car that has not had to have constant attention to its bodywork etc as the years have passed by - whilst not perfect, it does feel genuine, honest and largely original.

Brightwork presents very well, tyres and wire wheels (slightly larger than standard) are in good condition and up top that newish hood is taut and still fresh. What needs doing? Well, the driver’s door is a touch tough to latch; the window edge is a bit chipped and the passenger door rubber slightly loose, but that’s not too bad is it?......

It’s gained modern wing mirrors (with adjustable arms) – most likely in the US – they look a touch out of keeping with the rest of the exterior, so we’d be inclined to replace them with the period chrome items that are included in the boxes of spares included in the sale..

On the Inside

It’s a nice original picture inside. All four black leather seats (contrast piping) are damage free, with a pleasant patina and still offer plenty of support. Up front the dashboard wood retains a fine finish, with no serious lacquer issues evident. Similarly, the chrome instrument bezels are pretty much tarnish free.

Carpets are good and some tough rubber overmats protect them. There’s a modern (1990s?!) newfangled radio contraption and some accompanying speakers fitted (in both footwells), but the original Le Chaperon AM radio and mono speaker also comes with the car. The drivers window does not wind down at the moment.


Have a butcher’s underneath and you can see why Californian (and in this case, Aussie) imports are popular. It all looks to be solid, with the original paint showing in places, and free of corrosion issues. If it were ours we’d have the underside stripped back and then stone-chipped to ensure it stays that way for the next few decades, too.

The engine bay is neat and nicely presented. The engine is so clean that you wonder if it has received significant attention 'recently'. It’s not concours by any means, so there is room for improvement. The twin SU carburetors breathe through a couple of mesh type air filters, which adds a bit of extra fruitiness to the intake noise.

We can confirm that it starts quickly and easily. As our video below shows, the engine is a gruff manly sounding unit and the twin exhaust pipes have a lovely deep note. On the move both provide a thoroughly enjoyable aural experience.

That’s backed up by a no-nonsense and no issues drive. The clutch is good; the gearbox shifts without any issues; the engine pulls well; the suspension is similarly fine; and it steers well as Mark says. The only minor note is that the brakes require a bit of a heavy foot to fully engage, but having been rebuilt that is most likely down to a lack of recent use and the system should free up with some regular use.

History Highlights

Accompanying this car is a manila folder that’s approximately two to three inches thick; inside are a wealth of invoices and information dating back to its original sale – provenance simply doesn’t get better than this.

In order to give a flavour of what’s included we’ve only photographed a small proportion of the documents within. The next owner can investigate it fully to their own delight over a cup of tea and a few biccies.

The original workshop manual is included, as is the all-important NOVA UK HM Revenue & Customs import documentation. As Mark’s never registered the car in the UK there’s no V5 or MOT test certificate, if it stays in the UK the next owner will certainly need to do the former (fairly easy) and may wish to have the latter done (although no necessity to do so).

Please visit the documents section of the gallery of this listing where you will find photos of this and other paperwork to support our claim that this car has been maintained to a very high standard.

"Please note There are now a few 2019 invoices added to the documents section in the listing"

What We Think

The major benefit of this particular Austin-Healey is its sunny climate history. As an ex-Californian and Australian car you can be rest assured it’s never so much as seen a grain salt touch its tyre treads.

It has a lovely and comprehensive history file running all the way back to when it was new, and has only had a few subsequent owners since its first back in ‘67.

It is indeed a left-hooker, but on UK roads that’s no biggie – you’ll barely notice after a few top down blasts. The interior is nice and original, and the exterior – while the paintwork could be improved – benefits from smart panel fit.

Mark hasn’t used it much in the last couple of years, but that hasn’t stopped him fettling. The process of updating the mechanicals and wind/weather proofing has continued unabated.

We think this very nice example of a ‘Big’ Healey will sell for between £27k and £35k, with a reserve set even lower - which will give the next owner a ruff’n’tumble Sixties convertible bruiser that drives really well, and a lovely solid basis to continue improving as, and if, they wish.

Viewing is always encouraged, and as stated this car is located at our Abingdon headquarters; to arrange an appointment please use the ‘Contact Seller’ button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

If needed, please remember we have a network of trusted suppliers we work with regularly and can recommend: Classic & Sportscar Finance for purchase-financing, Thames Valley Car Storage for storing your car, AnyVan for transporting it, and Footman James for classic car insurance.

BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at the vehicles delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

Video Review

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  • Location: Abingdon
  • Seller Type: Private
  • Odometer Reading: 60000
  • Chassis Number: HBJ8L - CA698971
  • Engine: 3.0
  • Gearbox: manual
  • Colour: British Racing Green
  • Interior: Black

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