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1960 BT7 Thoughts

AN6-TX

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Based on the photos, and the asking price, I'd say its definitely worth a visit (especially if you're local). As you probably know, these cars are a lot fun and require attention and TLC. Its been my experience that, the more you drive these wonderful machines, the better they perform.

As for a beginner British sportscar, I imagine responses will vary. I'm all for taking the plunge head first. If you are new to British iron, please know that the "tin worm" (aka rust) is not your friend. There are some great resources out there to guide you in buying a Big Healey. If you're serious about this car, go take a look, and spend time going over things while you're there. Dog legs, sills, floors, outriggers, and the frame are components that tend to rust (and can often be hidden by plain sight).

Good Luck!
 
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cwdubya

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Thank you for the reply. It's close geographically, but it's also close to the top end of my budget. I do need to go take a look. The old front end damage repair concerns me. I'm by no means a body man, although I do have many of the requisite tools. What did you start with in terms of your first British car? Did you have a lot of experience with vintage before buying one?
 

Rob Glasgow

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I started with the same car, a 1960 BT7. But I bought it when it was just 3 years old so my experience is not the same as what you're looking at. That being said, I still have the car, drive it almost daily and can't imagine life without it. Compared to newer cars, these are simple machines but as Nate said above, they tend to rust is the worst places and that can be expensive to fix. Overall it looks complete and if the paint work was done several years ago, you should be able to see if rust has started again. If it had a brand new paint job, the rust may still be buried. They are fun and entertaining. If you're looking for something that will turn heads and make people smile, a Healey is the way to do that. Just remember, you're looking at a 60 year old car, designed to last 15 years. But with love and attention, you can't beat 'em and they will last as long as we will have gasoline to run them. Good luck.
 
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AN6-TX

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What did you start with in terms of your first British car? Did you have a lot of experience with vintage before buying one?

My first British car was a '69 AH Sprite that needed a restoration (front end was removed when I bought it). Unfortunately, I lost this car in a fire before I could ever get here back on the road. Car #2 was a '73 MGB-GT - car ran (most of the time) but the body was poor. Sold the car back to the people I got it from a year or so later. Car #3 was a '62 AH Sprite, Car #4 a '67 Sprite, Car #5 a '72 MGB-GT, and Car #6 a '66 AH 3000 (BJ8). I still have #5 and #6 and enjoy them whenever I can.

I'd have started with a Big Healey if I could have afforded one (cars 1 & 2 were owned while in college). Keeping in mind a budget, there may be another car that is a good option for entry and exposure to these great cars. There are a number of options that are less expensive (and perhaps less intimidating to some) than a Big Healey. MGBs and AH Sprites come to mind.
 

Bob Claffie

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I have had two 1960 big Healeys, one new and the other a few years ago. Original 1960's had VERY small brake pads around the size of six postage stamps and no dust shields so the pads wore out extremely fast.

Although Healey's had heavy steel in their frames it was not especially hard steel , hence it's relatively non-durability.

Very pretty cars and wondeful sounding but for actual driving I preferred the MGA/MGB or Triumph. That is very subjective and I'm sure you would enjoy the example in your post.
 

HealeyRick

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One of the main things you want to look for is chassis rust. Big Healeys are really susceptible to frame rust and it's expensive to fix. Sounds like the clutch issue could be a bleeding problem. Price is decent and Healeys are something you can work on yourself if you're mechanically inclined. If not, they are going to cost you to have someone else do the work. It would be really good if you could fins someone nearby who knows Healeys to go look at it with you.
 

Jack T

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I love my BT7, but I would recommend that you drive one before taking the plunge. For a first British car, I would probably look for a TR6. More plentiful and less expensive, and easier to drive.
 
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cwdubya

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Thanks for the help, all. I really appreciate it. There's something about the Big Healeys at least to my mind that make them a bit more unapproachable for rookies- but I think that's also coming into play with the pricing. It's right at the top of my current budget, and if there was something that I couldn't wrench on, I'd be without much of a reserve for fixes. I think that for me right now, it's probably best to enjoy and evaluate for the future, especially if I can do a walk around and drive one to see what the feel is like. If it were an AH MK 1 Sprite for a competitive price, I'd maybe already have it in my garage because I adore the look. :smile:
 

NutmegCT

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Clayton - what is your budget for buying, transport, and possible repair parts?

Keep in mind that you *rarely* get back all the dollars you've invested, when you eventually sell.

Tom M.
 

HealeyRick

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. If it were an AH MK 1 Sprite for a competitive price, I'd maybe already have it in my garage because I adore the look. :smile:

I'd suggest a bugeye might be a better choice in your price range. A $25k big Healey is likely to have some needs while that price will get you a really nice bugeye. Bugeyes are less expensive to fix and parts are cheaper. BringaTrailer.com has had a big selection of them lately and it's worth looking at that site to see what's available. The prices on BaT tend to be a bit higher than the market and by shopping around on other sites and the club magazines you can save some money. A lot of bugeye owners (myself included) would tell you the bugeye handling is far superior to a big Healey and if you get one with a hotted up 1275 will keep up with the big boys (except my Nasty Boy, of course)
 

Jerry

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I have a BJ8, TR3, old mini, and am working on another BJ8 at this time. Of all the cars, the Healey is the best to drive. The TR3 and TR4 are the same engine and frame and drives nice but is not as smooth as the Healey. body work on these cars can be done by anyone. Depending on where the repair is you might have to take apart part of the car. The BJ8 that I am working on had dents in the front and rear. Looked like someone was hitting a parking stop with the car. A few hours on each end made it look pretty good.
I would echo a comment above: Find a local British car club and ask for someone to help you look at the cars. Experience with the marque is valuable.
 
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... body work on these cars can be done by anyone ...

Agree, with one caveat: panel fitment. No two cars are alike; the 'legend' says that the assemblers had a pile of wings, shrouds, bonnets, etc. and went through the stacks for each car to get decent fitment. I read a story in one of the Healey mags that, although they were supposed to do one at a time, the workers in the body shop would press as many as 3 at a time, so there was quite a bit of variation. And, the panels never seem to go back exactly the way they came off. Even today, aftermarket body parts for newer cars have some variations.
 
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cwdubya

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I appreciate the advice and the suggestion to take a look at the Bugeye. I'll take a look at BaT... their prices are escalating all the time, but a few slip through for a reasonable amount that I've noticed- more that I haven't I'm sure. There are some cars that bring outrageous auction prices. Fun to look though! Wish I had the $ to throw toward a Ferrari or something crazy, but who doesn't? :smile:
 
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