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Lot 095: Austin-Healey 3000 MkIII

Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles, Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers (13 July 2011)

Since it was launched in 1959, the 'Big Healey' has gone on to become perhaps the most iconic and sought after of all the hairy-chested British sportscars of the 1960s. Particularly popular on the North American market, the Austin-Healey 3000 (Mk I) introduced a number of improvements to the already successful 100-6. The change of model name heralded the more powerful 2,912cc BMC C-Series engine whose 124bhp propelled the car to a top speed of nearly 120mph. Other improvements included front disc brakes, independent front suspension, wire wheels as standard, and a choice of either 2-seater or 2+2 body styles. Options included a detachable hardtop roof and overdrive transmission. The 3000 Mk I remained in production until the arrival of the triple-carb132bhp MkII in 1961, soon followed by a MkIIA with wind-up windows, a wrap-around windscreen and a convertible hood but just two carbs. The final and ultimate production development of the 3000 range arrived in 1964, the Mk III. With 150bhp and 165lbft of torque now on tap, its 124mph top speed was accessed via a four-speed manual gearbox with optional Laycock overdrive on 3rd and 4th  effectively a six-speed box for effortless cruising at sustained high speeds. Servo-assisted brakes were now fitted as standard, and only 2+2 versions were available with Ambla vinyl seats also standard. The rest of the interior was more luxurious than before with more comfortable seats, a nice wood veneered dashboard and a new centre console/gear surround. In May 1964 the Phase 2 version of the MkIII was released, which benefited from redesigned rear suspension, strengthened splined hubs, improved ground clearance and larger diameter front disc brakes. A sensation right from the start, this really was a case of a good car just getting better and better. Some 42,926 were sold in total before production came to an end in 1967, the vast majority going to the American market. This particular car is a rare UK market model that has had just three owners from new. It was originally delivered to the Evans & Kitchen dealership of Birmingham in April 1966, and was first owned by Michael Fenn of Dudley. He kept the car for 12 years, selling it in 1978 to Melvyn Fellows of Stourbridge who was to keep it for the next 28 years. The current vendor acquired the car in 2006. Originally dark green, it was resprayed Colorado Red quite early in its life and the 79,800 miles on the clock is believed genuine and is backed up by most old MOTs back to 1979 at which point it had covered some 54,819 miles. It has a large history file from 1976 onwards including bills for a respray, new sills and new rear wings in 1977. In May of this year it had a very thorough overhaul by marque specialist Graham Goodall of Redditch including further remedial work to the sills, other localised body repairs, the fitment of an aluminium fuel tank and a full service at a cost of 4,300 (bills on file). The overdrive gearbox was rebuilt in 2007 (about 7,000 miles ago) while other recent improvements include the fitting of electronic ignition, a spin-off oil filter and a rebuilt 3.5:1 differential for more relaxed cruising. A new hood has also recently been fitted and the walnut dash refurbished. The car is currently fitted with painted wire wheels but a set of chrome wire wheels are also available if required. The car now looks very smart with notably good panel fit and is said to drive very well with MOT and tax until January 2012. Altogether a very nice, original right-hand drive, matching numbers example with just three owners and a known history from new.

Lot Details
Auction Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles
Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers, Leominster, Herefordshire
TypeCar
Lot Number095
Estimate£31000-£33000
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1966
Condition rating
Registration numberGOB 225D
Mileage-
Chassis numberHBJ8/35341
Engine number29K/RU/H9998
Engine capacity (cc)2912
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2