When Donald Healey built the very first “Healey Hundred” prototype in 1952, he was taking a significant risk. The fate of the Donald Healey Motor Company was riding on Donald’s ability to impress Leonard Lord, the head of the newly formed British Motor Corporation, enough to allow the use of Austin’s A90 running gear for production. Healey’s relationship with the American firm Nash was not as fruitful as anyone had hoped, and supplies of Riley engines for his Tickford and Abbott models were soon to dry up. But Donald Healey was a gifted self-promoter as well as a talented engineer. Healey’s gamble paid off, and Leonard Lord fell in love with the prototype show car, seeing it as the ideal opportunity break into the American market and also to make amends for the failed Austin A90 Atlantic.
Jensen built the bodies for the new Austin-Healey 100, shipping them to Austin’s famed Longbridge plant for final assembly and fitment of their tuned A90 drivetrains. The Austin Healey became a tremendous success, thanks in large part to Donald Healey’s clever marketing in the sports car crazy North American market, and use in Sports Car Club of America competition. For the 1956 model year, the four-cylinder 100 was replaced with the six-cylinder 100-6. For the new car, a tuned version of BMC’s 2.6-liter C-Series inline-six was used, which it shared with the Austin Westminster. With the addition of the torquey and powerful six, the new “Big Healey” became a viable alternative to the exotic and expensive Jaguar XK. In 1959, the Big Healey was upgraded again with a 2.9-liter version of the inline six, given freshened styling and a new name – 3000. The Austin Healey 3000 would continue to be massively popular in the American market, with as many as 90% of the cars built exported in some years.
The Healey 3000 was available in two basic roadster configurations: The two-seat BN7 or the more popular 2+2 BT7. At the end of May 1961 the MkII model was announced, which shared the same basic body as the MkI, but now featured a trio of S.U. HS4 carbs and vastly improved servo-assisted brakes. The MkII was the last pure roadster version of the 3000 before the softer BJ7, and BJ8 models appeared. With its triple carb engine and pretty proportions, the 3000 MkII is one of the best of the breed and a favorite among drivers and collectors alike.
This 1962 Austin Healey 3000 MkII is a desirable triple-carb example that was the subject of a complete, frame-up restoration completed in 2006. According to the accompanying Heritage Certificate, this car is a North American export model, first delivered in early 1962 to a dealer in San Francisco. Options included a heater, wire wheels, overdrive, an adjustable steering column, and Roadspeed tires. The car was part of an East Coast collection for many years, where it had been serviced and maintained by Healey specialists Aventura Motors of Southampton, New York.
Presented in excellent condition, this 3000 is finished in a lovely combination of black over cream body sides. The paint quality is very good, with deep gloss on straight body panels, with just one or two minor paint imperfections apparent on closer inspection. The chrome is in similarly good condition all around, with a mix of restored and original pieces. Bumpers have excellent high-quality plating, while the grille and lamp bezels show some very minor pitting but are otherwise quite attractive. The car is nicely accessorized with a pair of Lucas Flamethrower fog lights, tripod headlamps, and chrome knock-off wire wheels fitted with Vredestein Sprint Classic radials.
The interior is trimmed in correct-style leatherette upholstery that accurately replicates the texture and finish of the original. Black seats piped in white complement the exterior, and the overall fit and finish are excellent. The BT7 retains the classic roadster dash with its simple upholstered fascia and silver-faced instruments. This car keeps the original banjo steering wheel and shift knob for an authentic feel, with the only modern concession being a set of three-point seat belts with period-style chrome latches. The top frame has been restored and is fitted with a correct, taut-fitting black vinyl top. A pair of side screens is included, which stow neatly in the boot when not in use.
Austin’s gutsy 2,912 c.c. inline-six is in its finest form in the 3000 MkII. The engine feels particularly sweet, with its triple carbs, 136 horsepower, and ample torque. The engine in this car has been very well detailed, finished in correct Healey Green and maintained in excellent condition. The engine bay features period correct fabric wiring loom, proper Tudor screen washer bottle, and correct style clamps and fittings. Underbody detailing is also very impressive, showing the level of care that went into the complete restoration and the care it has enjoyed since then.
This Austin Healey 3000 Mk II is a fabulous all-around sports car that combines the robust and raw appeal of the 100-6 with a more comfortable cabin and additional power. This car’s high-quality restoration and attractive presentation make it a very appealing choice for events and club rallies. It presents in excellent order and is sure to bring lots of enjoyment to its next keeper.