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Phase 1, Phase 2, Where's Phase 3

AngusSaunders

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I've clawed through the search feature, quized the internet and have yet to understand the variations of the Mark III. I've found references to door pulls and park/ turn signal lights. There is even some ambiguous mention of suspension upgrades. Is there no phase 3 because there was no more upgrades? I see lots of references to the different phases but little information on what the differences are. My best guess is I have a Phase 2, manufactured in 64 and sold in 65.
Appreciate any explanation; Angus
 

Editor_Reid

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Hello Angus,

Briefly, the names Phase 1 and Phase 2 are not official model names. They're just shorthand nicknames to identify the early BJ8 cars (the so-called "Phase 1") with a rear suspension that rides lower and has pull-type door handles (as opposed to push-button style) and a "cubby box" (small storage box) on the center armrest. The Phase 2 BJ8 cars have a raised rear suspension that was BMC's crude attempt to decrease the problems with bottoming out, dragging the mufflers on the road/driveway surface. At the same time they also introduced push-button door handles that you may or may not like better, and they eliminated the storage box on the center console, a change that most people considered a loss.

The Phase 1 cars are chassis numbers 25315-26704 (1,390 made from November 1963 to May 1964).
The Phase 2 cars are chassis numbers 26705-43026 (16,322 made from May 1964 to December 1967, with one more car made in March 1968).

Many people actually prefer the aesthetics of the Phase 1 because the rear ride height looks natural, whereas the rear of the Phase 2 cars looks unnaturally "jacked up."

There is no such thing as a Phase 3.
 
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AngusSaunders

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Appreciate it Reid,
If I understand correctly, the phase 1 was made for near half a year and everything after that is considered phase 2. Was the modification to increase road clearance a frame modification or just suspension?
Angus
 

pkmh

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I hope I am accurate to indicate other destinctions here between the Phase 1 and Phase 2 such as, and without getting too specific which includes, modifications and added working 2nd installment of the rear brake light markers (and larger), addition of second set of light markers in the front (and larger), reflectors added to the rear chrome bumpers (I believe was for the Phase 2, only), and I know the Su Carburetor setup went from HD6's to HD8's, but not sure and maybe someone else can confirm that the HD8's also were part of the Phase 1 development as well. What else did I leave out?!
 
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Appreciate it Reid,
If I understand correctly, the phase 1 was made for near half a year and everything after that is considered phase 2. Was the modification to increase road clearance a frame modification or just suspension?
Angus

The P2 had radius arms to the axle, and I think the P1 still had a Panhard rod. The P2 had a dip in the chassis so the axle could ride lower (hence the body could ride higher):

https://www.healeywerks.com/gallery/preview.php?id=1549
 
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AngusSaunders

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I'm not so sure the front marker lamps are an indication of a Phase one or two. I see a lot of 65's with one on each side as mine has but by the chassis number mine is a Phase 2. There were probably minor changes to the phase 2 as the years progressed that didn't warrant creating a new category.
Angus
 

Editor_Reid

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I'm not so sure the front marker lamps are an indication of a Phase one or two. I see a lot of 65's with one on each side as mine has but by the chassis number mine is a Phase 2. There were probably minor changes to the phase 2 as the years progressed that didn't warrant creating a new category.
Angus

Correct.

Anders Clausager's book, Original Austin-Healey, lays out the change points for running production changes. If you're interested in such minutiae - and many of us here are - I recommend you obtain a copy.
 

Keoke

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IMO the raised height was all about the US standard bumper height being phased in. See also MGB, XKE and Alfa Romeo GTV among many others.


No Steve :

It was because the Germans did not like all that noise from the exhaust system, the were a big market, and that was the method used to make room for the rear resonators N quiet
it down.
 

steveg

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No Steve :

It was because the Germans did not like all that noise from the exhaust system, the were a big market, and that was the method used to make room for the rear resonators N quiet
it down.

Au contraire, Keoke -

All BJ8s came with the crossover exhaust (see Anderson Moment, p 145). So, while the Germans may have had a hand in quieter exhausts, it was a separate issue from raising the car on the Phase II, which also happened on a number of older designs when the US regs came out.

So it was likely a combo of scraping the mufflers and the bumper height regs.
 

John Turney

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IMO the raised height was all about the US standard bumper height being phased in. See also MGB, XKE and Alfa Romeo GTV among many others.
Those regulations came in 1968. One of may reasons Big Healey production stopped with 1967, except for one car for the home market.
 

Keoke

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OK, another question. Is the frame on the Phase one the same as those on the earlier 3000's?
Angus

Very similar:

The rails were straight end to end
 

Keoke

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IMO the raised height was all about the US standard bumper height being phased in. See also MGB, XKE and Alfa Romeo GTV among many others.


Yeah:

I think U guys are right
 

Editor_Reid

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OK, another question. Is the frame on the Phase one the same as those on the earlier 3000s?
Angus

I know this isn't exactly what you asked, but to clarify some of the discussion on this subject and quoting Geoff Healey now on the difference with the "Phase 2" frame: "The top of the frame under the axle was cut away and lowered by 1½-inches. The top was closed in and the bottom lowered and strengthened at this point. New springs, raising the car by one inch, were fitted front and rear. The increased rear axle movement enabled lower rate springs to be used with benefit to ride and handling."

Additionally, among the other Phase-1-to-Phase-2 changes was elimination of the old Panhard rod, which limited the rear axle’s movement, replaced by two radius arms similar to those used on the early Sprite, while a revised exhaust system was installed to take advantage of the additional ground clearance.

The changes were in response to the long-standing complaints about the Austin-Healey's low ground clearance. They were not a response to regulations.
 
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