Donald Healey is one of the more colorful characters in the history of the British motor industry. He was at various times a successful garage owner, an accomplished rally driver, decorated WWI RAF pilot, and all-around gifted self-promoter. Beginning in 1945, Healey added full-fledged automobile manufacturer to his already impressive resume. Before the war, Healey served as Technical Director of Triumph, before moving to Humber where he spent much of his time working on armored cars. While at Humber, he teamed up with Ben Bowden and Sammy Sampietro to design a new sports car in their off-hours. The chassis and bodies were designed by Bowden and Sampietro, while Healey secured a deal with Riley to supply 2.4-liter, hemi-head four-cylinder engines. With its lightweight coachwork by Elliott of Reading, the new Healey was the fastest four-seater of the day, reaching 110 mph at Jebbeke, Belgium in 1947.
When supplies of Riley engines dwindled, Donald Healey went in search of a new partner; one that could far exceed his previous production numbers. After a brief foray with Nash in America, Healey took a bold move; building a prototype on a bespoke box-section chassis, using standard Austin A90 running gear, which he named the Healey Hundred. Healey showed the car at the London Motor Show in 1952, hoping to impress the top brass at Austin, hoping to land the partnership of a lifetime. Leonard Lord, then head of the newly-formed BMC was impressed, and he saw it as the perfect opportunity to break into the American market after the failure of the Austin Atlantic. A deal was struck to build the new Austin Healey 100 sports car at the famed Longbridge assembly plant alongside the Austin A90, and one of Britain’s most storied sporting marques was born.
The 100 saw incremental improvements in the first few years, with the addition of the 2639 cc 6-cylinder from the Austin A90 Westminster marking the first significant change. The new engine gave a welcome boost in performance, putting the new 100-6 in within striking distance of Jaguar’s exotic, twin-cam XK series and earning it the nickname “Big Healey.” By 1959, the engine was enlarged to 2912 cc, and the model renamed to 3000. The final version of the beautiful Austin Healey 3000 range was officially known as the MkIII, though it is commonly known by its chassis prefix “BJ8.” These models featured the more comfortable interior of the MkII with a wraparound windscreen, wind-up windows, and improved folding roof. Power increased from 130hp to 150hp thanks to larger SU HD8 carburetors and a high-lift camshaft. Two versions of the BJ8 were made, with Phase I built from February-May of 1964, and Phase II from May 1964-onward. Phase II rode on a modified chassis to improve ground clearance, and a few other minor changes were made. The last Phase II models received separate indicator lights from March 1965 to the end of production in 1967. Healey enthusiasts have long cherished the BJ8 series for its additional power and superior refinement while still maintaining the muscular charm that makes the Austin-Healy 3000 such a legendary British sports car.
We are pleased to offer this outstanding Austin-Healey 3000 BJ8 Phase II roadster; a superbly restored and sensibly updated car from the final year of Big Healey production. According to the Heritage Certificate, this is a US-market car, dispatched from the Longbridge works on the 6th of March, 1967. Originally British Racing Green over black upholstery and top, this car came equipped with overdrive, wire wheels, heater, adjustable steering column, Dunlop Roadspeed tires, and a tonneau cover. Recently, this stunning Healey received a ground-up, nut-and-bolt restoration by the respected marque specialists BRC of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A few well-considered upgrades were made along the way to improve performance and drivability while still retaining the classic, hard-edged Big Healey experience. The attention to detail is quite impressive, with exquisite red paint laid down on a beautifully straight and crisp body. The doors open and shut with ease, pointing to a properly restored body shell. Like the gorgeous paint, the brightwork is also superb. Accessories include dual Lucas Flamethrower driving lamps, Lucas H4 headlamps, 72-spoke chrome knock-off wire wheels, and 185 HR15 Michelin XAS radials.
The gorgeous presentation continues when you open the doors, revealing supple tan leather covering the seats, door cards, and center console. The same beautiful leather repeats on the dash top, rear seats and quarter panels, while black carpeting provides a pleasing visual contrast. The front seats show just the slightest signs of creasing from light use, yet overall the interior feels remarkably fresh since the restoration. Correct Smiths dials and original switchgear sit in a glossy burl wood dash. A classic Moto-Lita three-spoke steering wheel sharpens up the steering feel at speed and allows for easier ingress/egress. Finally, a new black canvas hood keeps out the weather on less than perfect days, with a matching tonneau and top boot.
Under the bonnet sits the original, numbers-matching inline-six. The bulky factory four-speed/overdrive assembly was removed in favor of a 5-speed manual box that offers direct, crisp shift feel and reliable operation. Other updates include a high-torque starter motor and stainless steel exhaust system, which enhances the addictive six-cylinder growl. The engine bay is comprehensively detailed to show-quality standards, with correct wiring, plumbing, and hardware. Factory-style decals and labels are present, and the paint quality of the engine and ancillaries is superb.
This is one of the best driving Austin-Healey 3000s we’ve had the pleasure to offer, with a tight and well-sorted feel on the road. The addition of the 5-speed gearbox makes the experience even more enjoyable, and the car feels ready to tackle any rally or road tour with ease. This desirable late-production Healey 3000
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