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.
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.