By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, Craigslist

The lovely little Austin-Healey, or the big Healey in this case, is a car with universal appeal. It has stylish and quirky lines, wrapped around a basic chassis with a thundering little six-cylinder engine with rear-drive. It’s the basic small British sports car formula executed to perfection, and an instant classic. But what that means for would-be Healey buyers, is that you’ll have to fork over considerably more money for one than say, a Triumph Spitfire or an MG A roadster.

In fact, it’ll take around $55,000 to get yourself into a decent Healey 3000, with the majority selling between $60,000 and $80,000. But that’s not even the limit, as rarer examples will fetch over $100,000. Now that’s probably not quite what you had in mind for your small (affordable) British sports car.

Saxon Healey 6

Consider then, this big Healey replica on Craigslist. It was manufactured by a company called Saxon, and it looks very much the part. In fact, I’d imagine that this car would keep an entry-level enthusiast fooled, even through the interior.

The car wears dignified yellow paintwork, and where corners could have been cut with mag wheels and wide rubber, this Saxon sports accurate-looking wire wheels with correctly sized Nexen tires. The trim looks to all be in order, and the seller claims these parts have all been rechromed at a “substantial expense.”

While the interior diverts from the original Healey’s form quite a bit, it’s definitely one of the nicer custom jobs we’ve seen. It presents strongly, and great materials went into its construction, including the solid walnut dash, vintage air-conditioning system and tan leather upholstery. Really the only areas that let the cockpit down a bit, are the shift knob and contemporary stereo head unit. Really, it looks like a pretty comfortable place to spend the day, and surely accurate enough to fool most.

In a Healey replica like this, we’d often expect to see Chevrolet’s dependable 350 ci small-block, and why not, but it’s quite refreshing here to see something completely different. A finely aged straight-six would be really nice as well, but instead this replica is powered by a four-cylinder — but hold your complaints.

Eclipsing the 120 to 150 hp you’d see from the real Healey’s six-cylinder, is the turbocharged 2.3-liter Lima four-cylinder from a 1987 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe. With a new intercooler in ’87, the Turbo Coupe’s driveline matched the Mustang SVO, and provided 190 hp to the rear wheels. And this engine’s just received a fresh rebuild as well, including “new forged pistons.”

With peppy boosted power under the hood, and a freshly rebuilt T5 manual transmission sending power to the rear, this little Healey lookalike could rival the enjoyment of the original on the open road.

Of course, all this work has come at a price, and this Austin-Healey 3000 replica ends up occupying a strange section in the market. Where you may have expected a car like this at an entry-level price, say between $12,000 and $15,000, this Healey replica asks Cobra replica money at $25,800.

Now, this car is likely finished to a higher degree than many of the Cobras we see in that price range, and all the work put in it shows, but it’s nonetheless an interesting price point.

Will someone spring for the spirited Turbo-Coupe performance in this handsome Healey replica? That’s for the market to decide, but it’s definitely a great looking ride, and likely the nicest of its breed.

See the Healey replica here on Baton Rouge Craigslist.