The enlargement of its C-Series six-cylinder engine to 2,912cc and the adoption of Girling front disc brakes differentiated the new-for-1959 Austin-Healey 3000 from the preceding 100/6. In ‘3000’ form the rugged Austin six delivered 124bhp at 4,600rpm, good enough for a top speed in overdrive of 114mph with the optional hardtop in place. Otherwise, the car remained much as the 100/6, though the more-powerful disc brakes were a welcome improvement. Unveiled in March 1961, the MkII version with restyled grille and bonnet intake was the last 3000 available as a two-seater, the 2+2 (BT7) option having been for years the more popular.
Engine improvements in the form of triple SU carburettors and a revised camshaft liberated an extra 8bhp. From November ‘61 the 3000 was equipped with a new gearbox, a development which at last moved the gear lever to the centre of the transmission tunnel. Contemporary road test typically recorded performance figures for the MkII of 114mph top speed and a 0-60mph time of approximately 11 seconds.
In January 1962 the 2+2 only MkII BJ7 Convertible (or MkIIA) appeared, boasting long overdue refinements such as winding windows, swivelling quarter-lights and a fixed foldaway hood. MkII production ceased later in 1962 after 5,095 2+2s and 355 two-seaters had been built, though the Convertible continued until the introduction of the 3000 MkIII in 1963.
That same year The Autocar magazine summed up the works Austin-Healey 3000 as ‘a classic competition car among the all-time greats in motoring history.’ Yet at the time of its arrival in 1959, few would have guessed that the low-slung ‘Big Healey’ would triumph over its apparent shortcomings so effectively that it now rates as one of the most successful rally cars of the 1960s.
Robust and tuneable, the Big Healey was immensely popular with privateers in its time and today, 40 years after the end of production, continues to be extensively campaigned in historic motor sport, both in tarmac events and on the rough stuff. Replicas of the works rally cars are among the most sought-after variants, and an extensive cottage industry of recognised specialists exists to cater for the demand for Austin-Healey parts, servicing and competition preparation.
The left-hand drive triple carburettor example offered here has had just one owner from new and as you would expect, comes with a large history file spanning decades. Delivered new to California, this blue plate car is finished in Old English White with stunning cream piped red leather interior.
The car is in generally excellent condition, having been used by its single gentleman owner as a weekend car, and being so cherished to rarely see a drop of rain! Documentation in the car’s file includes a host of mechanical bills and receipts and the recorded mileage of circa 79,000 miles is believed genuine. Affording the prospect of pleasurable top-down motoring, this classic British sports car offers an opportunity to be the second owner from new.