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new member needing help with buying a 3000.

Drone Dog

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i went to look at a 1960 mark1 today. nice car and an older restoration. looking for some help and advice on what i saw. below are notes from the went for my test ride today.
owner: really nice guy but either does not know anything about cars or does not want to talk about it. i got the impression he does not know much. i asked him about things like paint codes, info from earlier owner. he said he had paperwork but did not offer to go get it while i was there. sort of felt like he was not sure where it was. So a face to face was only moderately helpful.


first impression: car looks nice for an older restoration. yes there are a number of paint chips. but mostly the paint looks good. it would look better if it were cleaned and polished. same with the chrome. just needs to be cleaned up. door gaps and panel gaps looked good to me. did not notice any sags. rocker panels and and inside the arches showed no signs of rust. no signs of rust at the fender seams. not sure why a guy trying to sell his car would not have cleaned it up first....


under the car:
all the frame rails and beads on them looked straight. the cross members and one other rail had some denting on the bottom from what looked like a jack. not bad but bent a little.


then, as the third picture shows, i found rust on the one back member. in fact it is rusted thru outside where the rear of the leaf spring attaches. everything else looked pretty good as far as i could see.


interior:
other than needing a good cleaning, looked pretty good. now this was my first time in a healey. if you look at the first pic, is that how the door jambs should be done or was something covered over? everything seemed to work in there except the blinker light indicator.


noticed the tach had a red line painted in it. have seem that on other cars but this was was at about 4700 and others i have seen looked like they were around 5200. just different model year?


engine bay:
well there was no tag for the engine serial number. i could see the rivets but the tag was gone. i did check the head casting number and it wwas correct. but no way to know on the motor.
rest of the bay looks ok. the guy had taken it to a shop to get worked on. he said there were issues with the engine and they rebuilt it. new rings, timing chain, cam, and gaskets to stop all the leaks. (after the test drive i looked where the car was sitting and it still leaks some.)


in the second picture up there you see what looks like an electrical connection for a temp gauge but this car has a mechanical one... so wondering what that is for?


when the owner had the engine rebuilt they could not get it running right. so they pulled off the SU carbs and built a little piece to attach a 2 brl single carb. runs well now but i would want to put that back. he still has the original carbs. so just a rebuild there i think.


test drive:
the car started and idled well. sat at 700 RPM and smooth. oil pressure at idle was 25psi. the car showed a temp of 190 the whole time we were out riding. clutch seemed to engauge late for my taste but that could be an adjustment? car went thru the gears nicely. first gear had a whine but the rest were pretty quiet. the car did not jump out of any gear and 2nd gear was not notchy. of course my first time so i was not real smooth either. only thing i did notice was the OD. i was going about 45mph and flipped the switch. backed off the gas a little and felt it kick right in. but if i gave it some gas, it would kick back out. could have been my speed or lack of use?


all in, i like the car but a few things worry me a little and why i could use your help.


1) what is it going to take to fix that one rust area on the frame? and does that likely mean more even though i could not see or feel any.
2) i think the owner is just one of those guys who buys a car and is not interested in what makes it work. it either goes or it doesn't. So he is not much help. he said he has only driven the car 300 miles since he had the engine done. he said it does not leak... but we now know it does some.
3) is the overdrive not having enough speed or is this something that needs to be fixed?
4) original engine or correct engine?


any help would be appreciated
 

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number6

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I think I would get a screwdriver out and start poking around the frame, looks like a tip of the iceberg type of thing. Overdrive may be low on oil or have loose wiring bundle. First things to look for, if they are all right than it could be something internal. I don't know what that sender is in the block, it looks like a sender for an automatic radiator fan. My 100/6 ( long gone ) was mechanical. Owner says engine doesn't leak, maybe it's the transmission. I had that problem on my MGC and it did cause problems. I am always suspicious of decorative finishing plates in door jamb area, etc, I always think they are covering up defects and that something is being hidden. Does he have before and after photos of those plates before installation? As for cost, My opinion, a lot. Lastly, the carbs were switched out, I would want to know that every single part was included, otherwise it will be a bear to get back together. From what you write, I get the impression the re builders don't make a habit of rebuilding British engines, or they would have known how to set them up for a new rebuild.
 
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Drone Dog

Drone Dog

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thanks for the reply.
the rebuild was done by the previous owner. but the engine was redone by this seller. he did say his shop was not really a british car shop. and since have told him they could send the carbs to CA to have rebuilt. this owner just does not seem to know to ask such things or has just lost total interest. i did go thru the carbs and the parts and it all looked to be there.

really the rust is my biggest issue. i am not close to the car so not likely i will be back to pick more of it. what i did punch with my pick felt soild. but this does make you worry... unless this is one area that is usually the first to rust....? also wondered if there can be a cover welded over it for an easy fix. or does the whole cross member have to be replaced? and what does that involve?
 
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Drone Dog

Drone Dog

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oh and i did look at some pictures. the door jamb covers seem to be how they were done on a few cars. So maybe that is fine.
 

Keoke

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Hire an appraiser to look at the car
 

CLEAH

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Drone, welcome to the forum. What are you looking for in a Healey? You describe this particular car and this particular owner, but what do you want? A non-original driver to tinker with? An original driver? Ideally a restored car? What is this guy asking for the car? That matters when attempting to provide advice. Personally, I 'd say walk away. The fact that he "doesn't know anything" is not likely. You don't own an old British sportscar and not know anything about it. The carb swap is bizarre, and likely harder to do than simply rebuilding and adjusting the SU's. Given the information you provide, that is enough for me to walk away. By the way, the aluminum finishers in the door jambs are correct (but missing a black plastic bead between the finisher and the bodywork).
 

red57

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First, I applaud you for your diligent inspection.
1) The door shut trim looks correct to me except there is supposed to be a beading (similar to the piping on the seats) that should be running down between the aluminum finisher and the fender.
2) The sender in the head is not for a temperature gauge or fan switch but is for the Thermo-choke that was used in the first 1/2 of 1960. That indicates a correct head. Unless you are going for concourse (sp), you don't really want the thermo-choke. Most have been sent to the trashcan and manual chokes installed. I had one on my '60 and the constant smell of fuel bugged the heck out of me - others may know more about how to set them up. Also, again unless you are going for originality, I wouldn't worry about 'matching numbers' because lots of these have had motors/trannys replaced and unless the car is upper echelon, it probably doesn't matter (my opinion only).
3) The frames on these are a crap shoot - you can find rust anywhere, and not necessarily consistent from one car to another. The rust should be limited to the bottom of the crossmember from moisture getting in and laying on the bottom of the tube. This one looks like you might get lucky and only have to cut out & weld in a new bottom piece in that area, but you might find the whole crossmember needs to be changed.
4) On the overdrive, I have been running a Toyota tranny for over 20 years so have no recent experience, however anything over about 30 miles an hour should allow overdrive to engage and it should not drop out once engaged without switching it off. You are correct in that it could be oil low, poor oil pressure, poorly adjusted, electrical controls, etc.

The focus for me would be frame and chassis rigidity/lack of rust - the mechanical parts (engine/gearbox/rear end/suspension) are relatively straightforward but chassis/frame repairs become big deals easily.
Dave
 
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Drone Dog

Drone Dog

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very good points.
Hugh
Thanks for the questions. i guess i would say i would like a very good driver. not trying to win any shows. i want something i like to look at and is pretty much original. (although i admit i usually paint vehicles where i think the paint job is sub-par) my feeling has always been i will change something as long as i can bolt the original back on... or someone can. (which is why i have boxes of parts around) my goal when this search started was to find something for me to work on over the winter and maybe the next few. i really enjoy that. i do have a limited budget of 34K and maybe i am best sticking to something in the MGA field to give me room to spend on parts to fix up. but i have always loved the healeys. in this case i believe i can buy the car for 34k. and the car has a lot going for it. it drives fine. seems to have good power. not the best paint job and there is the weird carb thing. but overall it is ia nice car. i have a garage i built for working on cars. just sold a 52 MGTD and a 30 Model A so i would have room and money to spend. so that is what i am looking at, part of the appeal of this car is it does need some work. if i had not found rust, i would have bought it today. Just was not sure what that meant. i really don't want to buy something, put a lot of money in it and then never be able to get it back out. Certainly i have done that with the MG and the Model A. even so i thouroghly enjoyed having them and wokring on them. oh and i also still have a TR6 to run around in while i work on something. i know ultimmately this is a decision thing and i must make it. but reading what you all have to say really does help. finding things that look out of sorts to me but you confirm are probably correct is a big help.

red57
thanks for your info.
when i was looking at the carbs, there was something that i guessed was maybe some sort of electric choke. i was not sure what it was and the owner did not know either. but now it makes sense. looking at pics i could see some other cars had the same thing but could not tell where the wire went.

yes, rust is my main worry. i figure i can work on anything else. i got time (retired), got the place (shop including a lift). i have most everything i could need.. well maybe not all the money...

the thing is the rocker panels and fenders, some obvious places were fine. i could not find any issues with the floor pans or the out riggers. tough to hit every spot without the car on a lift of course.

so i guess the question now becomes, what is a decent driver worth? does 34k leave me a good bit of room to work?

thanks again to everyone for the attempted help. i know it is tough without seeing the car in person and trying to figure out my crazy thoughts.
IMG_0039.jpgIMG_0046.jpg
 
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Drone Dog

Drone Dog

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assuming for a minute the cross member needs to be replaced. do i have to pull the body to do it? and what does that mean? seems to me i read these bodies are not bolted on like a lot of framed cars. some parts are welded... is there a site i can look at that would give me more of an idea what is involved there?

of course assuming you would not say i can probably do better to hold out for another car.

thanks again
 

vette

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Personally I think this Healey is an honest representation of a reasonably good driver Healey. You have studied it well and you know what it is. If you can verify that the frame does not have much more rust than what you have discribed then I believe to go ahead and weld in the repair pieces for the frame and enjoy the car. If the car can be bought at 30K I think it would be a good purchase. If you try to move up to what appears to be a more correct or more quality car, you could be buying into more problems than this car has at a much higher price tag. It is easy for high end cars to hide a host of sins.
 

Healey 100

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The OD is not supposed to "kick down" when you step on the gas -- though I have seen Healeys with the throttle switch on the OD wired incorrectly so that it does that. I suspect yours is wired improperly. The OD's on these cars are surprisingly reliable, most of the problems with them are electrical and easily repairable. Noisy first gear and weak synchros in 2nd are common problems. It is costly to fix those issues, but it can be done. And it's easy to get used to double clutching to deal with the weak synchros.

I would put the SU's back on. The SU's are very rebuildable, adjustable and well suited for these cars. Swapping to a downdraft setup is rarely done because it's not necessary. Most mechanics familiar with british cars should be able get your SUs working properly.

If the seller says it doesn't leak, I would be wary. This is a British car!

I think if the rust is not too bad, this car could be a nice one. It all comes down to price. I would not pay top dollar for this one, it will need some sorting to get it working properly.
 

Keoke

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so i guess the question now becomes, what is a decent driver worth?---->35K +

does 34k leave me a good bit of room to work?----> NO!
 
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Drone Dog

Drone Dog

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thanks for all the info.

the big thing to me right now is if the price leaves me some room. since this is the only AH i have driven i really have nothing to compare it to. but if a good driver is selling in the 35 range, then it would seem silly to take the risk here for 34k. if a good driver were selling in the 40+ range, then it would seem like a better gamble. i have seen a number for sale that are over 40 but you never know what people really get for them.

in other words if i pass it up, i am probably not missing a great opportunity. i got some thinking to do....
 

maxwedge5281

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I would advise you to look over the current ebay listings with pictures and descriptions as well as completed listings. that would give you some general ideas as well as you might find one to your liking in your price range.
 

Brinkerhoff

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For 35-40 grand you should be able to find a Healey with a nice straight rust free chassis frame . Some see holes in the frame as not a big problem , I disagree . I see a hole to throw money in to. Fall in love with one that is sound and you won't regret it .
 

RestoreThemAll

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I'll spare you the long history of my car but I do want to mention that most of the rusted frame was on top. It was out of sight, under the floor boards. Extremely hard to see unless you have the car on a lift. The frame rusted from the inside out. It looked very solid on the sides and bottom.
 

CLEAH

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As Keoke said, a decent driver would be in the $35k range. Decent driver means it is reasonably solid, runs and drives well, and looks good. A car in this category is not without “issues,” though. There will be funky stuff (like the carb on this car), some less than ideal repairs, and rust somewhere, either visible or hidden. Just because there is rust somewhere, hidden or otherwise, does not mean there is a fundamental problem. Healeys can have some pretty serious rust and drive just fine, and you’ll have great fun. My own car had a decent amount of rot when we bought it in 1978, and when I had it restored last year most of that rot was still there (we had never done anything about a lot of it). It ran and drove fine, doors closed and stayed closed, and it was plenty fun. It is perfect now, but you don’t need a perfect Healey to have fun.

Healeys are robust and straightforward mechanically. The body and structure is complex, and often structural repairs require substantial disassembly of the car. Once you are doing that, might as well do the complete job. But, if the car is generally solid and drives fine, just leave it alone.

If this car were issue free, it would not be a $35K car. My guess is that the owner knows that full well, and has priced it accordingly. If you are interested in this car, I would press the owner to be forthcoming. The concern I expressed initially is that the owner seemed to be not telling you something. Maybe there is nothing to tell, and the car is decent, but anyone selling an old car, especially to someone not familiar with the marque, should point out the good and the bad. A $35k driver will have “issues,” so explain them. I note that the car has a BT7 vanity plate. Typically an enthusiast who knows a thing or two about their car does something like that. If he were really a guy who buys cars and does not know anything about them he’d have a plate that says “vroom-vroom.”

Either use this experience as a baseline and look at other cars, or go back and seek more information. My opinion.
 

DerekJ

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Just to add to what Cleah has said. Sometimes these good 'driver' cars can be the worst value of all. They look good and they cost quite a lot of money but if they are a cover up job then you will have huge repair bills on top of the reasonably high purchase price. I'm not saying this car is like that but if you are serious about it you need to spend more time with the car on a lift and also stripping back carpets and getting under the dash to have a look at the substructures. The car appears to be undersealed which personally I don't like and to me indicates it has never been properly restored. On the other hand the engine bay looks pretty good and gives the impression the car may have been dismantled for a respray (during a restoration?). An unrestored Healey can be a minefield so don't be deceived by nice looking body panels.
 
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Drone Dog

Drone Dog

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Derek and Hugh
all great points.
the car was restored and the body was, at least mostly, off for it. that was done by the previous owner. the seller thinks the car may have been green. since the eingine bay was all sprayed the same blue color, it must have been apart at least a little.

you say the car appears to be undersealed? what are you looking at there? if i do not get this one, certainly something i should look for down the road as well.

i did lift up the carpets and looked the floor pans over top and bottom. saw nothing there that concerned me. unfortunately i do not live close enough to him to be able to just run over and check other things out.

the seller has countered at 34500. i am sure he is probably a little upset.... thinking he had the car sold. i told him i would think about it. one minute i am ready to go and the next i am shying away. i was looking for a project for this winter and maybe the next couple. that is why i made room in the shop. SO this may actually be a good fit for me. taking apart and putting it back together i would do here. just my labor and it keeps me busy on winter days. it is the actual structural welding i would need to get help on. i can do some but i would not trust my welds for frame work. ahhh, the dilemma... haha
 
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Drone Dog

Drone Dog

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one question i have on the clutch: can it be adjusted? this one seem to engauge when the pedal was almost all the way out. is there maybe some sort of linkage adjustment? i know on my TR6 there are different holes in the one rod. is there something on a 3000 or is this a sign of a worn clutch plate. i did not feel any slipping and it enguaged fine, just really late.

sorry since i have not bought a car, i have not bought any books either.

thanks
 
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