V8 powered, aluminum-bodied, 1960s period tribute, unbelievable detail, over $851k invested.
1957 Austin-Healey V8
Blue over Cream with Tobacco Leather Interior
Established in 1952 as a joint venture with partners Austin Motors (BMC) and the Donald Healey Motor Company, Austin-Healey established their reputation as artisans of stylish and sporty cars in a remarkably short period of time. Within a mere four years, the company expanded on their initial offering, upping the four-cylinder model with a longer wheelbase and a substantially more powerful in-line six-cylinder engine, aptly named the 100-6. Offered in a range of variants, the cars became extremely popular as a North America import. Outfitted with twin SU carburetors, the improved six-cylinder engine delivered 117 bhp on tap and a top speed of 104 mph, achieving 60mph in just 10 seconds. The 4-speed manual gearbox also returned a surprising benefit of 17.3 mpg, a considerable achievement for a sports car of such distinction. Though braking was handled by drums in all four corners, the coil spring, anti-roll bar front suspension and De Dion rear axle, semi-elliptic leaf springs, and Panhard rod rear suspension made for a nimble and sporting car. Sales were nothing short of astonishing given the relatively new venture and lack of worldwide advertising, with examples heading to all parts of the world with strong sales reported in sunny California.
Among the many Austin Healeys that came to the states, word eventually got out about the nimble, lightweight nature of these cars as privateer racers began experimenting with the installation of American V8 engines. The Corvette had already established the theme of a big V8 in small sports cars, but soon Shelby American would offer the same combination, enticing more custom builders and racers to install a high torque V8 engines under the hood of the welcoming Healey. Given the long six-cylinder and width there was enough space to accommodate the V8 without significant modifications. Multiple iterations began to appear in various forms with a wide range of build quality and performance results both as race cars and street conversions.
The example featured must be counted as one of the best V8 powered Austin Healeys in the world. Commissioned by a wealthy multiple sports car collector with an open checkbook, between 2014 – 2018, experts at Bob Smith Coachworks, TX, treated this car to exceptional construction, superb engineering, beautifully finished components and features, and professional updates to the suspension, brakes, and driveline. The results are exemplary in every respect. Documented by more than $800,000 in professional restoration service invoices accompanying the car, the workmanship represents far more than typical restorations. Significant effort has been expended to develop the best combination of performance features without compromising the elegance and sporting nature of the original Austin Healey. The result is not only visually stunning it delivers amazing performance from behind the wheel while still offering the much beloved vintage appearance.
Powered by 327 cu. in. V8 crate engine fitted with dual four-barrel Edelbrock carburetors and five-speed Tremec transmission. The transmission is outfitted with a protective scatter shield and the dual exhaust runs cleverly back from the engine, outboard of the passengers, with heat shielding at the mufflers, and twin exhaust pipes exiting under the rear bumper. The rear suspension utilizes a Doug Morrison supplied 9” with heavy duty sway bar and heavier 8-piece leaf springs with twin longitudinal track rods which substantially improve the power transfer and torque from the V8 engine. Bilstein shock absorbers and front disc brake conversion with rear drums are the perfect combination for the power delivered by the 300+ hp engine which was fitted with a Wayne Calvert balanced flywheel. Originally a left-hand drive car, the steering was reconfigured to allow for the best steering geometry compatible with the new engine installation. A new aluminum radiator was installed, all new wiring, and virtually every under-hood component was purchased new for the build.
During the build, the entire car was fully disassembled, cataloged, and inventoried with parts logged and ordered one by one from Moss Motors. Every piece of hardware was removed and replaced with nickel plated or stainless steel. The floors were replaced with new steel and the steel frame areas were inspected, refinished, and prepped for paint. All suspension was removed and rebuilt or replaced as needed with all mounting points checked, prepped, and finished for assembly. All new alloy body panels were purchased including a new Moss Motors alloy hood, alloy door shells, alloy trunk, and rear panels. The hood was professionally louvered, and the front fenders gently flared and fitted with custom made side vents to aid in engine cooling. The alloy cowl was welded and filled, accommodating custom changes to the engine and steering column installation, and the entire car primed with the correct zinc oxide alloy primer and finished with two tone paint. A lay-down 100 style windscreen was specially fitted with a new windshield and all new hardware. All new bumpers, chrome trim, lenses, lighting, and trim were all purchased from Moss Motors and carefully inspected before installation. A set of new wire wheels were finished and installed.
The interior was completely removed, and the floors finished with high heat insulation, padding, and proper carpets for added temperature and sound insulation. Specially dyed leather was hand selected and trimmed using the correct original patterns and pleating reflective of the original interior. All new instruments, interior trim, and a wood rimming steering wheel were installed to deliver a balance of authentic period construction with a hint of custom features that might have been done in the early 1960s. A Stayfast top and matching tonneau cover were installed along with a roll bar which is offered as a spare with the car. The trunk was finished with the spare tire tub specially reconstructed to allow for more trunk space. The end results speak for themselves with both stunning quality, fit, and finish in every aspect of this truly amazing car.
Today, with just 300 miles indicated since the build was completed, this Austin Healey presents ready for any premier show as a superb example of a desirably prepared V8 Austin Healey. Defying classification, the end results are both a nod to vintage Austin Healeys and the era of custom sports specials of the early 1960s. The paint is beautifully done with a high gloss finish, excellent coverage, and smooth application. Everything has the appearance of freshness with crisp detail and excellent fit. The chrome is brilliant with no fade or scratches. The body integrity is excellent, with consistent shut lines and tight closures on the doors and bonnet. The precisely louvered alloy hood fits very well, and the leather bonnet straps are the perfect touch for the performance theme of this build. All trim, script, and body panel fender trim have been applied with care and have been carefully detailed. Glass, lighting, and the distinctive wrinkle-grille are virtually new. A pair of Marchal fog lamps, leather hood straps, and laying back the 100-style windscreen completes a very aggressive competition appearance. The wire wheels are authentically finished in silver paint, accented by dual ear chrome plated knockoffs, shod with 205/70VR15 tires which fit quite well into the wheel openings. Stance on the car is very sporty given the sleek lines and stealthy character of this low-slung roadster capable of delivering a very rewarding performance surprise when fired up and on the pedal.
The tobacco interior is in excellent condition having been both thoughtfully and expertly redone with correct materials and trim, high-quality carpeting and matching two tone painted colors for the dashboard. The leather seat material is supple, wrapped over properly padded cushions with a handsome and purposeful finish. Instruments and switches are detailed with clarity on the faces and glass, cleverly selecting Stewart Warner instruments in keeping with the period build that might have happened in the 1960s. Fit and finish and attention to detail is evident in the door panels, entry thresholds, tonneau cover, and beautifully finished wood-rimmed steering wheel.
The engine compartment is a visual delight of performance blended with correct factory finishes and excellent polished features. The engine compartment and firewall have been equally finished to a very high level, correctly painted, and in keeping with the exterior presentation. The dual-quad engine is presented with the very best performance parts, new MSD ignition, and Edelbrock engine dress up features. The underside of the car is essentially fresh and finished to a very high level as well. The front disc brake conversion, heavy duty 9” rear, upgraded suspension, and custom exhaust are among the many re-engineered features of this build.
The car starts instantly and settles into a deep, loping V8 idle, delivering a wonderful sound from the hearty twin carbureted engine. The 5-speed gear shift lever works very smoothly as all gears are easily engaged, and the clutch takes up effortlessly. The performance combination of the engine and 5-speed are perfectly matched and progressive in all gears. Brakes are far superior to what was offered in period, enhanced by the responsive front disc brake conversion. Acceleration is jaw dropping with fantastic launch out of every gear and smooth ride well into highway speeds. Suspension is amazing for a car that normally features compromises. There is no cowl shudder, no uneven tracking, excellent straight-line lift-off and surprising handling due to the engine position placed closer to the firewall. The car is accompanied by a spare roll bar, tools, various mechanical parts, and numerous pages of records documenting the build including a record of all expenses totaling over $800,000.
This is a great opportunity to acquire a cost-no-object construction Austin Healey V8 finished by top-tier professionals at Bob Smith Coachworks. Rarely does such a superlative build come together in every respect. This example is ready for any show, touring event, or simply to fire up and enjoy with the same passion performed by the dedicated craftsmen who crafted it to the highest level possible.
The above vehicle information is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted to this website. Corrections or additional information is always appreciated. All advertised prices exclude government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer document preparation charge, and any emission testing charge. Vehicles are subject to prior sale. All advertised to be true but not guaranteed. We assume no liability for errors or omissions.
Fantasy Junction • 510-653-7555 • 1145 Park Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608