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Austin Healey 3000 Mk III - A Superb Restoration

12.09.07

THE Big Healey - 1967 BJ8




Chassis No. HBJ8L35527
Engine: 6 cyl Austin (BMC)
Pushrod Operated Overhead Valves
4-Speed Manual Transmission
Independent Front Suspension
Disc Front/Drum Rear Brakes

THE MARQUE

The Austin Healey owes its name and heritage to Donald Healey, a remarkable man remembered as much for his engineering skills as his success driving on international race and rally circuits.

In 1931, Healey won the Monte Carlo Rally and was in the top eight in 1932, 1934 and 1936. After the end of the war, Healey established an agreement with Nash Motors to build Nash-engined Healey sports cars. The first series of the 2-seaters were built in 1951 and they were designed by Healey.

But it was at the 1952 London Motor Show, where it overshadowed Triumph's prototype TR2, that the Austin engined Healy came to the forefront. The sensational new Healey Hundred drew admiring crowds and critical praises. Austin boss Leonard Lord recognized the potential and negotiated the rights from Donald Healey on the spot. This alliance was critical, as demand for the car far exceeded Healey's production capacity.

North America had been Healey's intended market from the project's conception, and his new baby duly passed its first tests there with flying colors, winning the Grand Premier Award at the Miami Worlds Fair and being voted international Show Car of the Year at the New York Show in 1953.


BIG HEALEYS

First produced in four-cylinder guise, and later in six-cylinder models, the 100, 100-6 and 3000 models are affectionately known as the "Big Healeys". They achieved notable successes in competition; particularly at Le Mans, and in the Mille Miglia and RAC Rallies, at the hands of such greats as Stirling Moss.

Starting with the dramatically new four-cylinder 100/4 in 1953, Austin-Healeys changed to six-cylinder power in late 1956 with the first 100/6. The 3000 Mk I debuted in 1959, the Mk II in 1961 and the first of the Mk IIIs in 1964.

The Mk IIs differed from the Mk I in the front with a new radiator grille design incorporating vertical bars in place of the previous horizontal theme, and under the hood with three SU HS4 carburetors, which boosted output from 124 to 132 bhp. The MK IIIs reverted to a two-carb setup, while horsepower climbed to 150 thanks to cam, valve and exhaust system tweaks. Styling retained its original look through each generation: softly rounded lines, oval grille and a long hood and short rear deck. Healeys are one of the most attractive of production sports cars, with a style and appearance still pleasing to the eye today.

The Austin Healey 3000 is the most well known of the Big Healeys and is still in active in vintage competition today. Originally to be called the "Mille Miglia" after the infamous race, they are powered by strong 6 cylinder 2912cc overhead cam twin-carb. With front disc brakes as standard and a series of evolutionary development, the ultimate iteration came with the 1966 BJ8, with a genuine walnut dash, wind-up windows as standard and a slight power increase to 150hp.

Production on the Austin Healey 3000 ended in 1967.



THIS CAR

The 1967 Austin Healy 3000 Mark III HBJ8L35527 has just been the subject of a ground-up restoration by renowned Austin Healey specialist Knut Holzer's British Motor Corporation shop in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

This Colorado Red beauty is nothing short of perfect, and many subtle features make it in fact better than new.

The disassembled car has been sandblasted, and every body panel coated in self-etching primer. The frame has been trued, the individual panels fitted and removed 6 times in the process, assuring that every body gap is precisely consistent.

The drive train is completely rebuilt, the bracing perfect. All new hydraulics and braking system are fitted. Especially important to overall driveability is new wiring which incorporates a contemporary electronic ignition (a vast improvement over the original) and employs a new version of the wiring harness.

The engine head and block are decked (or machined) for precise and perfect matching. The hardened valve stems and other updatings create an engine that runs on common nolead fuel. The engine is balanced to the tolerances of a high end racing motor.

The Standox paint system is state of the art German engineering. Costing more than $500 a gallon, the restorer has enclosed every panel, and ever square inch of chassis in a product whose specific formula and color (the precise Colorado Red used by Healey in 1967) will always be available from the coating manufacturer.

The sheet metal, where replaced, is recreated to factory specs. Holzer's shop uses only panels manufactured to original mill thickness, rather than lower quality replacement parts with a 30% thinner thickness.


The factory Healey upholstery was fabricated in Ambla, the British equivalent of high-grade leatherette. Using the original design, the seating surface, door and cockpit leather are vastly improved as Holzer's shop recreates the original using the finest Italian glove leather.

All interior carpeting is Wilton wool, the same as is used by Rolls Royce.

The distinctive rally vents, evoking the rally and racing heritage of the Big Healey, are a beautiful and highly functional element of this car's reconstruction. Working in conjunction with a re-engineered cooling system and additional footwell insulation, they serve to eliminate a chronic Healey drawback, excess cockpit heat.

The internal capacity of the cooling system has been increased some 40%, and the stock 4 blade fan replaced with a 6 blades.

The system appears stock, but the tanks and sides are subtly enlarged, resulting in an operating temperature some 18% lower than in its original state.

The car is fitted with a high output oil pump, and a racing fuel pump (a dual SU providing assured redundancy as in the competition Healeys), and a new Abarth exhaust system.

Fresh chrome, appropriate badge bar, period reproduction Lucas Tripod driving lights, leather top boot, new Hartz fabric top, and 72 spoke Dayton chrome wire wheels (properly re-engineered with 1" of additional width and providing improved handling characteristics) complete the package.

A classic British sports car, the culmination of the marque, brought up to contemporary driveability standards with elegance and precision.



This vehicle was offered for purchase at $85,000 and sold in March of 2008

HBJ8L35527's Spec Sheet





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