The Austin Healey 100 of 1952 was the first of several iconic machines born of a fruitful relationship between engineer/entrepreneur Donald Healey and the Chairman of Austin, Leonard Lord. Austin was looking to save face after the failed A90 Atlantic failed to make a splash in the USA, and Donald Healey was running out of Riley engines for his low-production sports cars and saloons. The timing of the Austin Healey’s arrival couldn’t have been better, as the American market was rapidly developing an insatiable appetite for sports cars. The MG T-series was affordable but rudimentary, while the Jaguar XK120 was fast, exotic, and expensive. Buyers who wanted more performance than an MG offered but couldn’t stretch to the Jaguar found the Austin Healey 100 to be the ideal fit. With their beautiful, quick, and practical 100, Healey and Lord had a hit in the making.
In the quest for more power, the 100 was superseded by the 100-6 in 1956 which gained BMC’s 2.6-liter C-Series inline-six borrowed from the full-size Austin Westminster saloon. By 1959, the 100-6 was renamed “3000” when the C-Series was uprated to three liters. Like the 100-6 before it, the Healey 3000 Mk1 was available in two-seat or four-seat configuration. Of the more than 13,000 Mk1s built between 1959 and 1961, only 3,000 of those left the factory as two-seat BN7 models. Styling tweaks and the addition of two-plus-two seating made the Big Healey a sensation in the North American market. The additional grunt the larger engine, practical and roomy cockpit, and svelte good looks put it at the top of many sports car shopping lists. From weekend hobbyists to serious collectors, today’s enthusiasts continue to embrace the Austin Healey 3000 for the very same reasons.
Finished in a striking two-tone red and black livery, this 1960 Austin Healey 3000 Mk1 BN7 is a fabulous representative of one of the most beloved of all classic British sports cars. It is a rare and highly desirable two-seat model that has been treated to a comprehensive restoration that includes a host of useful upgrades. The accompanying BMHT Certificate shows this car was originally black over red trim, equipped with wire wheels and overdrive and delivered new to Los Angeles in January, 1960. It comes to us via an avid collector and enthusiast, who enjoyed the car regularly and treated it to meticulous care. The quality of the body and paintwork is quite impressive, with precise alignment of the doors and deck lids and outstanding finish work on straight panels. Detailing is exquisite, and the body lines are crisp and well defined. The bold paint scheme is accented with exceptional chrome plating on the bumpers, grille and body trim, and the car sits proudly on a set of chrome wire wheels fitted with period-correct Dunlop Roadspeed tires. With its evocative presentation in alluring colors, this Big Healey ticks all the right boxes.
The distinct two-tone interior complements the exterior livery and is restored to the same high standard as the rest of this beautiful car. The seats are trimmed in red and black leather, and the floors covered in high-quality German square weave carpet, which gives a bit of an upmarket feel to the cabin. Fittings remain true to original, with a correct three-spoke banjo steering wheel, factory shift lever, switch for the factory overdrive, and original Smiths gauges and heater. A brand new top has been fitted, and the upholstery remains taut, fresh, and in excellent condition.
On the mechanical side, the chassis and engine feature several upgrades to improve the handling and performance, without sacrificing the period-correct looks and raw appeal of the Big Healey. Under the bonnet, the original, numbers-matching 3-liter inline six presents in impeccable condition finished in correct light green and topped with a lovely Austin Healey-script polished alloy valve cover and a pair of 1.75-inch S.U. carburetors. Detailing is exquisite, with proper wiring loom, tidy plumbing and period Lucas Sport ignition coil. The most notable change is the addition of a high-capacity, high-efficiency aluminum radiator. Also, an alloy fuel tank sheds weight and eliminates the possibility of corrosion in the fuel system. Like the engine, the undercarriage is highly detailed and exceptionally clean. A set of Bilstein tubular dampers is fitted, transforming the handling with precise wheel control and excellent ride quality. Fuel and brake lines are plumbed using corrosion-resistant Cunifer alloy tubing, and the chassis is finished in hard-wearing gloss black paint.
With its understated but useful upgrades, this 3000 is built for the road. Thanks to its high-quality restoration and meticulous care in the hands of a dedicated enthusiast, it presents in fabulous condition. Counted among the most desirable of the early 3000 models, this two-seat Mk1 is a fantastic example that is ready for duty on rallies or simply for spirited weekend drives on your favorite roads, where the performance and gutsy appeal of the Big Healey is best enjoyed.