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BT7 Restoration value advice


Senior Member
Hey guys, I'm restoring a BT7 with the intent to sell it when complete. I am doing an entire frame off, rotisserie restoration and trying to do everything I can to maximize the value of the completed car.

Any advice? I'm assuming that using all stock parts except for anything rubber, vinyl, electric, brakes and hoses. etc... is new. I also plan on getting a new radiator and new gas tank.

Can anyone who has experience let me know what to/not do to maximize the price?

SideShifter Tri-Carb

Senior Member
In my humble opinion, you will do better to sell it as is - unless you are a great body guy (or it is a CA car) and all the parts are in tip top shape. A rust bucket will cost you $75k or more from a professional restorer for concours restoration, and you won't get that back with today's pricing. Finding NOS stuff is much harder than it was 10 years ago, and the repops are often noticeably wrong.


Jedi Trainee
Hello NJ

I have a BT7 myself, since the early 80s, and found it easier to restore than the work I've done on my BJ8 (which in fairness was relatively nice to begin with). I guess it all depends on what you have to start with - decent frame, body panels, etc. etc. ad nauseum. And whether you'll be doing the work or farming it out, your personal level of technical expertise, and (seriously) how old you are, because these things take a lot of time. Gorgeous as they are, restoring Healeys is, in my view, expensive and time consuming. First thing I'd do is get a copy of the Anderson/Moment Restoration Guide for Healeys. Beyond that, expect to spend thousands, and possibly tens of thousands of dollars. Whether or not you get your money back is a point of discussion/argument. While it's true that Healey prices have increased significantly over time, the extent of appreciation has levelled off somewhat in the past couple of years. So....unless you have access to unlimited funds, be very careful.
Beyond that, there are other BCF members that can provide better advice on what to do to maximize the value. On a personal level, my eye is drawn to a factory hardtop, fender/side vents, and chrome wheels on the BT7. One of the recent BCF threads had a Healey with similar features, and it was stunning.

This is all hypothetical any way, because when it's done, like the rest of us hopeless cases you won't be able to part with it.

Country flag
I'd say it depends on your target market (you do have a target market?). If you plan to sell at auction you'll probably want some 'bling.' Kurt Tanner has discovered that modern paint schemes raise prices. I recall one car he did in an Aston-Martin light green color which was very pretty but not stock; of course, it was 2-stage paint which wasn't original either. Chrome wire wheels, slightly oversized, and leather seats probably help too. I like the old stock steel in green, but polished aluminum valve covers and some engine bay detailing probably helps, too. If your market is enthusiasts then, of course, originality and correctness is most important. However, an enthusiastic is not likely to go overboard on price--they (we) usually want a complete, original car that requires some work to perfect it. If you're just going to put it on eBay or BaT then either way would work (again, more bling probably brings more bucks).

If you have an intact, decent 'barn find' and paid a low price for it you're probably better off just flipping it--after getting it cleaned up and running OK--unless you're willing and able to do the restore yourself and value your time at about $1/hour.


Jedi Knight
Country flag
Hey Bob,
That labor rate of a $1.00/hour must be a California rate ! Think my labor rate over the years working on various LBC's is probably in the negative! As to the original question of what to do on restoring a BT7, wish we all had a crystal ball to answer that one. Unless it is one of the high profile auctions, seems like the 4 seater roadsters ( except tri carbs) do not bring much more than lower to mid $40's on ebay and such. BJ8's a completely different story and BN6's, BN7's and BJ7's bring more also. IMHO I would suggest trying to determine how much you will have in it when completed and if you are beyond mid 40's, be very careful or you will end up upside down on the project.
Good luck,


Luke Skywalker
Country flag
I sold a Healey this year and the questions from people that called:
1. Is it the original engine and transmission?
2. Does it have OD and does it work?
3. What has been done to the engine and transmission and are there receipts?
4. What shape is the frame in? I posted about 50 pictures of the car which showed about everything.
5. Paint color is important. Many did not like my choice in color. But many did like the two tone paint.
6. Non- orginal changes were a negative, even if they might like the changes. IE: brake upgrades, chrome wires, louvers in the hood, an extra gauge.

On the other hand, my BJ8 receives a lot of comments at car shows and wherever it is parked. Is it the color combo or what? A friend of ours sold a 100 6 at one of the auctions in Pebble Beach for a lot of money and it was black and a light leaf green with leaf green interior. I never would have believed it would sell for $65K.
you just have to find the right buyer.

Country flag
You might be able to 'have it both ways;' i.e. do some bolt-on upgrades that would appeal to one set of buyers but include the original equipment that an enthusiast would prefer. Examples that come to mind: upgraded (Al) head, wider chrome wheels, brake upgrades (if easily reversible), electronic ignition, headers, aftermarket air cleaners, spin-on oil filter adapter, tube shocks, etc. Of course, if you spend thousands on a new head, Weber carbs and headers and an enthusiast buyer doesn't want them you probably have to eat that in the sale (or reverse the upgrades and sell the parts separately).

That way, someone who likes the upgrades can keep them, an enthusiast could bolt the original gear back on. Anything that involves cutting, drilling, grinding or welding sends you down a one-way road.


Senior Member
Here is some more info.

The car was a rust bucket but was also free and I am a decent body guy. Car is all matching numbers, original OD and low miles.

So the entire chasis has been stripped, all the panels have been sandblasted, al the rust was cut out, new steel was welded in, all panles were hammered out so minimal filler was used, all panels were dusted, blocked, glazing to cover all low areas, sanded up to 220, then sprayed with high build 2k primer to then block with 400. Then a top paint guy with seal and paint. All so the inside of the 4 fenders and the inside of the doors was all painted with por 15 before being primed for extra protection.

The engine is in good shape but I am having a well known performance guy rebuild it and the trans, i'm having the carbs rebuilt and the suspension/shocks rebuilt.

THe frame had some rotting underneath so I plan on removing the bottom of the rails, sandblasting the internal frame, coating the inside and welding new steel along the bottom. I will also be replacing the entire floor of the car, trunk floor and rocker panels.

All suspension parts, springs, heat shield, sway bar etc... is being zinc plated and then either painted with por15 or powder coated satin black.

All other brackets and pieces have been stripped and powder coated.

After all this work I should have 15k into the car... the only items left out of that cost are new wheels & tires, interior, new convertible top fabric and fluids.

All this being said the questions in relation to finished value are:

should I paint a two-tone or research the original color which i believe was red?

Should I go leather or vinyl?

Should I go with factory size wheels and tires or larger?

Should I upgrade anything?

Can anyone else suggest what I can do to add value and also what my best direction should be to sell when complete.


Jedi Warrior
Country flag
When I restored my BJ8 I did all the work myself, rebuilt engine, rebubilt tranny w/OD, total brake system, all body work, all the painting and complete interior. I was retired then and spent 6 to 8 hours a day, 7 days a week for 27 months. The rust was so bad I basically had to replace the bottom 6" of the car. I did reinforce several areas of the frame at the recommendation of our local Healey guru. I have a total cost including everything of about $33,000. So if you do ALL the work yourself, you have enough time and space, you will probably not be upside down in the car. It is definately a lobor of love!


Jedi Trainee

You noted "THe frame had some rotting underneath so I plan on removing the bottom of the rails, sandblasting the internal frame, coating the inside and welding new steel along the bottom". Got to hand it to you - you're a bear for punishment. But you've done a lot and that's a credit to you. When you're welding up or capping the bottoms of the rails, don't be tempted to simply weld in flat stock - get that little hump of a weld line in - important to preserve the appearance of originality, since you've obviously gone to a lot of trouble thus far. Prospective Healey buyers always look at the frame first.
A couple of upgrades already mentioned by others - and well worth it - spin on oil filter, and electronic ignition. Original single colours are nice, but in my humble opinion the Healeys are better suited to a two tone treatment, particularly the BN/BT series, which don't have the glamour and flash of the BJ series. Paint is so subjective. But stay away from pink, or we'll have to shoot your dog.

Country flag
It sounds like you are already in over your resale price. I think you should just keep it and enjoy driving it. When I bought my BJ8, I looked for the most original car in the best condition that I could find. I paid a lot not have to redo someone else's idea of the perfect "improved" car. Even then, I found the PO did not maintain it properly and I began a rolling restoration (over 10 years now). I agree with Olin, if you aren't going to love it then sell it to someone who will love it and will not mind spending another 40K because he does love it. Interestingly, untouched cars have vastly increased in value because there are fewer and fewer of them each day. So, I vote for "love it or leave it".


Jedi Warrior
Just my opinion. There is more room for creative interpretation on your BT7 for a few reasons. It is not a super collectible model and is rebuilt from a rusty shell. I would go the route of being different and have your car stand out. I found this BT7 to be one of the most stunning big Healeys that I have ever seen, wearing non-original colors. and it brought $71k.

Country flag
Looks like the Tanner car in the Aston-Martin color I mentioned in a previous post (it sold at B-J). Haven't seen a hood in that color--probably custom made.


Senior Member
THanks for the tip on the frame... It was parked in a yard for 30years and sunk so it was sittingon the frame, i will try and find the seamed steel or just lay down a bead myself.

I don't forsee myself going over 20k on the restoration. My best friend has an auto body shop in his back yard so all the sand blasting, welding, priimer spraying etc i can do for free. I own a powder coating set up and have a friend that owns a metal plating company so all of that can be done for free.

I have a top engine guy that will rebuild mine and hopefully the transmission, found a guy to do the tri carbs for about a grand and a guy to do all 4 shocks for about 300.

it has been a lot of work but luckily with my career I make my own schedule and have been able to sink about 400 hours into the car this year.

Definately could use some advice if anyone is local, as I've never done this much mechanical stuff and never worked on a british car.

John Turney

Country flag
Here is some more info.

Should I go leather or vinyl?
The interior should be as original. The seating surfaces of the front seats and arm rest are leather, the rest is vinyl. If you go all vinyl, it really detracts from the price, and if you go all leather it really adds to the cost.


Darth Vader
Ok I'm sorry but I'll tell you my opinion. Not knowing your skill level, I'm going to guess it's minimal. If you want to just fllip the car do it now. A poorly done restoration will just de-value the car even more than it already is; meaning BT7 are not the most desirable Healeys, plus the new owner will most likely have to do all your work over!

The only exception would be if you plan on highly modifying the car including perhaps adding a V8 motor etc. etc. Then having your fun with the car then sell it, with all the original parts given to the buyer. You'll be happier in the long run and so will all of us "enthusiast's".


I don't forsee myself going over 20k on the restoration

Here is a very approximate breakdown of costs on my BN4 restoration
10k chassis
10k interior
10k panelwork
10k paint
10k mechanical
10k tools and workshop equipment etc
20k initial purchase price
$0 eight years of my life spent in the garage

One of the points of doing this is to get myself out of the idea that money is important. It isn't. Any car done to a budget will be compromised and the more severe the budget, the more severely compromised the vehicle will be. Restoring a wreck for 20k will be very unrewarding and potentially dangerous depending on the extent of corrosion in the chassis and how it is repaired. Ten bucks says you will have tipped more than 40k into it five years from now, either that or it is in the too hard basket.



Luke Skywalker
Country flag
Ok as long as we're all chiming in, I say have your performance engine builder breath a little harder on it, install a roll bar and the additional safety bits and come racing with us. You can keep it street legal and still have a ball mixing it up with the Porsche and Alfa villains on the track. There's always room for another racing big Healey.....

https:// IMG_0561 by dougescriva, on Flickr
https:// 1960 Austin Healey 3000 driven by Gary
by dougescriva, on Flickr
https:// mini-HQ8R3238 by dougescriva, on Flickr


Jedi Warrior
Yep.... I agree with dougie, build a nice looking fun racer out of it that you can also drive on the street. After my move is over, I plan on building a bn4 racer with all the high performance goodies... I used to race motorcycles, flat track, TT racing and moto cross.. Due to my age now, I want to move into vintage racing, and also have a racer to drive on the street. I love my all original 1967 BJ8.... but its time to shift gears and have some fun racing! I have many ideas i want to incorperate into a Healey that will make it a much better car on the track and street. Personaly, I put much value on a well built sharp looking Healey racer.
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