Kurt Tanner was born in the United Kingdom and emigrated to the United States in 1977. At the age of 8 he was interested in and rebuilt Honda 50cc and 70cc mini-bikes. A mechanical hand-eye coordination was cultivated early on in his life. At the age of 12 he purchased his first British sports car, a restoration project 1959 Triumph TR-3A Roadster for the princely sum of $300. This car started his interest in classic European sports cars and eventually led to the purchase of several Austin Healeys and Jaguar E-types.
Growing up in Southern California in the late 1980’s, he remembers searching alleys and backyards for restoration project MGA’s and Triumphs, which could be purchased in those days for as little as $300 to $500. This was the beginning of the export market to Europe and prices started to steadily rise, as the demand from overseas grew.
Kurt found his passion for restoring Austin Healey 3000’s in 1994 when he purchased a 1963 Austin Healey 3000 MKII BJ-7 Sports Convertible. This was Kurt’s first nut and bolt, ground-up restoration and was consigned to the Monterey Rick Cole auction of that year. The car was finished in black with red leather interior and chrome wire wheels. It sold for a then world record price of $38,000. This sale ignited a career as a marque specialist restoring the Austin Healey 3000, suitably named Kurt Tanner Restorations. For the next 20 years Kurt restored approximately 150 Big Healeys. Most all of his cars were offered and sold exclusively at high end classic car auctions. One of Kurt’s cars, a 1967 Austin Healey 3000 MKIII BJ-8 Sports Convertible finished in Metallic Golden Beige with Red Trim and chrome wire wheels was the first Austin Healey to crack the magic $100,000 mark at public auction. Barrett-Jackson achieved this result at their 2006 Scottsdale Arizona sale with a final sale price of $145,750.00 including buyers premium. This world record record stood for almost a decade…
Kurt Tanner Restorations eventually evolved into Kurt Tanner Motorcars, a classic European sports car dealer located here in Southern California. Kurt’s 25 years of restoring sports cars brings an expertise to the market that can accurately identify and assess a car’s condition, from basket case project cars, all the way up to a Concours show winner.