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BJ8 chassis number ending with suffix "G" [??] on BaT

lbcspinners

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I've just consulted a new AH BJ8 listing on BaT this AM, and I'm quite literally puzzled by this car's chassis number: HBJ8L42775G. Also puzzling is that it is listed as a 1968 model BJ8...

SEE: https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1968-austin-healey-bj-3000-miii-roadster/

I've never heard of any A-H BJ8 chassis numbers ending with a letter "G", so I'm addressing my request for info on this, in particular to:


  • Editor Reid & also
  • to the AHCA's BJ8 Registry Mr Steve Byers (sbyers@ec.rr.com)

Enclosed below are 2 pics illustrating the chassis plate number.



1968 A-H BJ8 MK III  BaT Auctions (1).jpg1968 A-H BJ8 BaT Auctions (2).jpg



Thanks in advance for your info on this, w/ best regards



ROBERT
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AN6-TX

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1968 is the first year in which the car was registered/titled (a common practice back in the day). Obviously, this has nothing to do with the year/date of manufacture but rather an exercise with the DMV (and when the car was sold to its first owner).

As for the "G" suffix, that is correct. This indicates the cars were assembled (final assembly) at the MG factory in Abingdon. Steve may have more information but I believe the use of the letter "G" may have started shortly before the "L" was switched to "U". The use of "U" (as in HBJ8Uxxxxx) was thought to have occurred in June 1967 on all North American-spec cards.
 
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But the plate indicates Longbridge. I was unaware that Healey BJ8s were still made there in '68. And it only refers to "Austin", not Austin Healey.
 

Editor_Reid

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Hi Robert, thanks for your question.

The "G" suffix indicates that it was made at the (mostly) MG factory at Abingdon. (Why didn't they use "M"? Who knows? At least this way we don't have people claiming they are "M models"! :friendly_wink: )

The car was titled as a 1968 because it was imported to, and first sold in Canada. In the USA, the first emissions and safety regulations came into effect on January 1, 1968. The Healey did not comply. Therefore instead of registering Healeys that were first sold in the USA in the calendar year 1968 as 1968 models, they were titled as 1967 because they were made in 1967 and that avoided conflicting with the new regulations.

By the way, the guy who commented on BaT that two big Healeys were made in 1968 is wrong. One was made, and it was sold in the UK (although much later imported to the USA).

Likewise, the first commenter, who unfortunately has received five thumbs-up and so his post is now highlighted as if especially good or useful, is also wrong. He said:
Stopped production in ’67. Maybe a late manufacture in ’67, then exported and titled to US in ’68.
Big Healeys were never originally titled in the USA as 1968. If you find a LHD "1968" BJ8, it is almost assuredly a car sold new in Canada.
 

AN6-TX

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Some time in the late stages of production, the chassis number plate (the big tag on the firewall) was changed to 'back' to an oval-style plate similar to what was on prior models (think 100, 100-6). Although the actual change isn't documented, it is thought to have occurred somewhere in the "40xxx" range of BJ8 chassis.

According to Anderson/Moment, "...found with a car number plate in the same style, color, and lettering, but reading "Longbridge, Austin, Birmingham, England"..." (see pg. 146 of their restoration guide).

While Steve Byers is your definitive source, I would offer that the chassis plate shown in the photos appears to an original (or original-style) number plate for a late-BJ8.
 

AN6-TX

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@Editor_Reid, I believe the car built in 3/68 was recently for sale here in the States
 

pkmh

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My number is also a HBJ8U (not L) and ends with a G. My Certificate indicates the car was made in mid to late October, 67. But evidence I have seems to suggest mine did sell in 1968, but it is understood it was sold as a "leftover 67," fwiw.
 

Editor_Reid

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@Editor_Reid, I believe the car built in 3/68 was recently for sale here in the States

Correct, March 1968, put together by apprentices from leftover parts, chassis 43026.

It was on display at the Healey Rendezvous in Monterey, California, a few years ago. An ordinary white BJ8, it is nonetheless "the last one" (although the last regular production (i.e., assembly-line constructed) big Healey has December 21, 1967 recorded on the Job Card and that is the accepted last regular production big Healey made.

All of that said, Steve Byers, the BJ8 Registrar, has uncovered several interesting tidbits about which one was actually finished last, as well as other anomalies that defy strict number-order sequence.
 

Editor_Reid

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My number is also a HBJ8U (not L) and ends with a G. My Certificate indicates the car was made in mid to late October 1967. But evidence I have seems to suggest mine did sell in 1968, but it is understood it was sold as a "leftover 67," FWIW.

Yes, they stopped using "L" for Left Hand Drive and starting using "U" for USA specification late in big Healey production. Why? I don't know, but a good guess might be that some up-and-coming exec just had to make his mark and shake things up, so we got U instead of L and the G suffix. What a management genius he must have been!
 

BJ8Healeys

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But the plate indicates Longbridge. I was unaware that Healey BJ8s were still made there in '68. And it only refers to "Austin", not Austin Healey.

Longbridge, Birmingham was the headquarters of the Austin Company. I assume they made the plates for BMC and put their address on them.
 

BJ8Healeys

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Correct, March 1968, put together by apprentices from leftover parts, chassis 43026.

It was on display at the Healey Rendezvous in Monterey, California, a few years ago. An ordinary white BJ8, it is nonetheless "the last one" (although the last regular production (i.e., assembly-line constructed) big Healey has December 21, 1967 recorded on the Job Card and that is the accepted last regular production big Healey made.

All of that said, Steve Byers, the BJ8 Registrar, has uncovered several interesting tidbits about which one was actually finished last, as well as other anomalies that defy strict number-order sequence.

43004 completed the assembly process on the regular production line 21 December 1967. There were two more after that, 43007 (1 Jan 68) and 43000 (11 Jan 68).

The two production cars with the latest shipping date (19 Feb 68) were 38734 (completed assembly 1 Oct 66 (!) and 42758.
 
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