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Bob Russell and His Austin Healey 3000

Community  /   /  By Derek Mau

RELIEF. That was the overwhelming feeling Bob Russell felt after being reunited with his 1969 Austin Healey 3000 Mk III that was stolen forty-two years ago.

Rewind to 1970. After returning home from a second date with his future wife, the Associated Press reported, Bob’s Austin Healey was stolen from outside his Philadelphia apartment in 1970. During a routine search of eBay Motors, Bob discovered his old Austin Healey being sold by a dealer. Identification was confirmed by matching the VIN number.

The recovery story was picked up by several major news sources and automotive blogs describing how the car was found and eventually recovered. During the recovery process, Bob literally rode an emotional roller coaster of ups and downs for several months.

However, he persevered through the entire ordeal, bolstered with support from his lovely wife and daughter, and remembered the feeling of relief when he finally put the Austin Healey on a transporter back to his home in Texas.

Forty-two years and 42,000 miles can also wear down a car. Thus, Bob has plans to restore his recovered 3000 to excellent condition with the help of a local Austin Healey enthusiast, support from the local and national chapters of Austin Healey owners, and a lot of parts buying on the Internet. In addition to eBay, Bob is also sourcing parts from sources that specialize in British sport cars and Austin Healeys.

In its current condition, Bob’s 1969 Austin Healey 3000 is worth approximately $20,000. Once it is fully restored, value of the car will be in the $50,000 neighborhood.

As true enthusiasts, Bob’s story really struck a chord with the entire eBay Motors team and we were inspired by his commitment to finding his pride and joy. So, as a token of our appreciation for his passion and to help him kick off the restoration project, we sent Bob a $1,000 gift in the form of an eBay gift certificate. After all, there are currently more than 400 parts for the ’69 Austin Healey listed on eBay. Our hope is that this small gift will help Bob with purchasing some of the replacement parts he finds on eBay.

Background: Bob is a retired sales manager and has been living in Southlake, Texas for almost nine years. For as long as he can remember, Bob has always liked the lines of the Austin Healey.

When a friend offered to sell his ’69 3000 to Bob with only 10,000 miles, Bob didn’t need to be asked twice.

Since 2000, Bob has been a light eBay user purchasing various items such as electronics. With his new project, we expect Bob to be visiting eBay a lot more.

Happy Motoring!


Update from Bob [Aug 5, 2012]:

We will be replacing wheels, tires and splines (chrome 60 spoke), new fuel lines and fuel tank, new fuel sending unit and fuel pump. The entire hydraulic system is being replaced – both master cylinders, clutch slave cylinder, brake lines and a rebuilt reservoir, calipers and wheel cylinders rebuilt.

We have replaced the rear springs and the carbs will be rebuilt. So far, we will leave the suspension system to see what we have once the car is rolling.

The engine and transmission are being pulled so that we can inspect the clutch and change the motor mounts. We will then paint the engine compartment and the engine as well.

After that we will do some interior work and replace the convertible top and the exhaust system. Last, a complete paint job and straighten out the some poor body work that will complete the fix.

I’ve found all parts, have an interior guy but it will be a struggle to find a painter and body work guy.

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  1. paul-michael August 6, 2012 at 8:08 am Reply

    As an article, this FAILS! The most interesting thing is the neglected story of HOW he found and recovered the car 42 years later. Most likely the majority of your readers have *NOT* seen the news articles, and so your reference to them isn’t that useful. It would be better to include a link to one of them, or at least include a synopsis of the story! Thank you.

    [I am also available to edit… (-;]

    • Virginia August 6, 2012 at 8:31 am Reply

      I agree–tell us the story of how it was stolen and how he found it! That’s the only reason I read the article, how disappointing!

      • Derek Mau August 6, 2012 at 10:43 am Reply

        We listened and updated the article with more history as to how the car was stolen and recovered.

        Thanks for the feedback.

        • paul-michael August 6, 2012 at 8:10 pm Reply

          Thank you Derek. You guys are amazing and all-in-all your articles are very interesting. It was GREAT that eBay Motors gave him some help—those parts are sure more expensive now. I’m sorry if I was a bit ‘rough’ in my comments, I hadn’t had my coffee yet! Keep up the good work!

          Brooklyn, NYC USA

          CURRENT CARS:
          ’66 Fiat 1500
          ’61 Lancia Appia Pinin Farina Coupe
          ’66 VW 21-Window Bus

          • Derek Mau August 6, 2012 at 10:36 pm


            You had a valid point and calling out the omission was justified. Plus, it helps keep us honest.

            We truly appreciate the feedback and are open to constructive criticism.

  2. Domnuladi August 6, 2012 at 8:33 am Reply

    wow….this is surely one for the record books.
    And sooo awesome on behalf of EBay to present him with a great gift certificate….bravo

  3. Derek Mau August 6, 2012 at 9:50 am Reply

    We wanted to focus the story of Bob and his Austin Healey moving forward. A link to the story behind the theft and recovery is here:

    I’ll update the story with more background info since it is a missing element.

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  6. JimB January 1, 2014 at 9:48 am Reply

    Driving a 3 year old Healey 3000,while in school, doesn’t exactly fit my personal experience of “cash strapped” as described in the news article,but it’s really cool that he found his car. It instills some faith in the justice system. The philly officer that reopened the case must have been a car guy that “gets it”. One of the students at my Alma Mater drove a 54 corvette to school for about 3 weeks until it “disappeared” and I’ve always wondered about it every time I see one for sale. That was a case of more money than brains!

  7. Flash January 21, 2014 at 9:14 pm Reply

    The Big Healeys production was stopped in 1967 in part due to the new American safety regulations required of 1968 cars as the Healey could not pass the new bumper requirements and some other requirements. One final car was assembled in the first quarter of 1968. It’s possible Bob’s car was titled in 1969, but it was most likely made in 1967. I Love these cars as I drove a 1958 100-6 to college, then bought a 1962 3000 as a senior in college. They are fun to drive. Bob if yor are not a member already you might want to look into joining the Austin Healey Club of America. They have a great group of people in the North Texas area club.

  8. Ewan February 11, 2014 at 4:02 pm Reply

    Everyone loves it when individuals get together and share views.
    Great website, continue the good work!

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