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Lot 228: Austin-Healey 3000 MkII BT7 Roadster

Important Collectors' Motorcars & Motorcycles, Bonhams (16 June 2012)

The enlargement of its C-Series six-cylinder engine to 2,912cc and the adoption of Girling front disc brakes differentiated the new-for-1959 Austin-Healey 3000 from the preceding 100/6. In '3000' form the rugged Austin six delivered 124bhp at 4,600rpm, good enough for a top speed in overdrive of 114mph with the optional hardtop in place. Otherwise, the car remained much as the 100/6, though the more-powerful disc brakes were a welcome improvement. Unveiled in March 1961, the MkII version with restyled grille and bonnet intake was the last 3000 available as a two-seater, the 2+2 (BT7) option having been for years the more popular. Engine improvements in the form of triple SU carburettors and a revised camshaft liberated an extra 8bhp. From November '61 the 3000 was equipped with a new gearbox, a development which at last moved the gear lever to the centre of the transmission tunnel. Contemporary road test typically recorded performance figures for the MkII of 114mph top speed and a 0-60mph time of approximately 11 seconds. In January 1962 the 2+2-only MkII BJ7 Convertible (or MkIIA) appeared, boasting long overdue refinements such as winding windows, swivelling quarter-lights and a fixed foldaway hood. MkII production ceased later in 1962 after 5,095 2+2s and 355 two-seaters had been built, though the Convertible continued until the introduction of the 3000 MkIII in 1963. That same year The Autocar magazine summed up the works Austin-Healey 3000 as 'a classic competition car among the all-time greats in motoring history.' Yet at the time of its arrival in 1959, few would have guessed that the low-slung 'Big Healey' would triumph over its apparent shortcomings so effectively that it now rates as one of the most successful rally cars of the 1960s. Robust and tuneable, the Big Healey was immensely popular with privateers in its time and today, 40 years after the end of production, continues to be extensively campaigned in historic motor sport, both in tarmac events and on the rough stuff. Replicas of the works rally cars are among the most sought-after variants, and an extensive cottage industry of recognised specialists exists to cater for the demand for Austin-Healey parts, servicing and competition preparation. The left-hand drive example offered here was the subject of a complete, 'body off' restoration in 1997/1998 (undertaken by the current owner for a friend) and has been virtually unused since the rebuild's completion. Finished in Old English White with cream-piped red leather interior, the car is described by the vendor as in generally excellent condition, though we are advised that a small repair may be required at the front of the chassis. The recorded mileage of circa 25,400 is believed genuine. Affording the prospect of pleasurable top-down summer motoring, this classic British sports car is offered with current road fund licence, Swansea V5 registration document and fresh MoT.

Lot Details
Auction Important Collectors' Motorcars & Motorcycles
Bonhams, Oxford, UK
Lot Number228
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£22000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£25300
Condition rating1
Registration numberOSU 538
Chassis numberHBT7L/18196
Engine number29E RVH/4315
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2