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Lot 409: Austin Healey 3000 MK III BJ8

True Greats, Coys (4 December 2008)

The Austin Healey 3000 has endeared itself to enthusiasts the world over, not least for those who remember the sight and sound of this muscular British sports car roaring to spectacular success in international rallying. A development of the Austin Healey 100/6, itself born of the four cylinder 100, the 3000 was launched in March 1959.

Like the 100/6, in either two seat BN7 or 2+2 BT7 guise, it used a simple but torsionally strong ladder frame chassis with Austin A90 independent coil spring/wishbone front suspension and a live leaf-sprung rear axle located by Panhard rod. Front disc brakes were fitted for the first time. Under the bonnet the 100/6's 2,639cc engine was enlarged to 2,912cc and, via twin SU carburettors, it produced 124bhp at 4,600rpm with an impressive 162lb.ft torque at 2,700rpm. Mated to a four-speed gearbox and capable of 110mph (116mph with overdrive) and 0-60mph in 11.4 seconds, the 3000 received much praise for effortless performance and fine handling. It wasn't long before the 3000 proved highly competitive in international rallying, displaying both pace and great strength on its 1959 Alpine Rally debut. It was a sign of things to come, Big Healeys scoring numerous successes with great drivers such as the Morley brothers, Pat Moss, Paddy Hopkirk, Peter Riley, Timo Makinen and Rauno Altonen.

May 1961 saw the introduction of the Mk II with new grille and bonnet intake, three carburettors on a semi-downdraught manifold, a new camshaft and 132bhp at 4,750rpm; difficulties with tuning, though, saw a reversion to twin SUs within a year during which the gearlever was finally located centrally. Further improvements came in August 1962 in BJ7 form with standard 2+2 seating, permanently attached hood and wind-up windows.

The final model, the Mk III BJ8, appeared in February 1964. Complete with larger SUs, a new camshaft and rerouted exhaust with four silencers, its 148bhp provided 120mph performance and 0-60mph in just 9.5 seconds. May 1964 saw a last and notable change: rear ground clearance - the lack of it a long-time Big Healey criticism - was increased and the axle better located by twin radius arms rather than Panhard rod. Myriad changes were also incorporated into the Mk III, including a new dashboard design with wood veneer, an electronic tachometer and a vacuum brake servo, while the seats were now covered in real leather and a useful console placed between the front seats.

Built in 1964, this superb Mk III was the subject of a recent comprehensive restoration. This included an engine rebuild incorporating new pistons, an overhauled gearbox with overdrive, an overhauled clutch and pressure plate and a complete re-wire and restoration of all gauges.

The leather seats, finished in black with white piping have been overhauled and the wood dash restored and finished off with a Moto-Lita wood steering wheel. The body work was subject to a bare metal re-spray and is supplied with a new soft top and matching tonneau. Attractively finished in black over white, this Big Healey is described by the vendor as being in perfect mechanical condition.

Lot Details
Auction True Greats
Coys, Royal Horticultural Halls, London
TypeCar
Lot Number409
Estimate£24000-£28000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£23000
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1964
Condition rating1
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis numberHBJ8L25579
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2