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Austin-Healey 3000 Mk 1: Big Healey, big heart

Picture the scene: a summer’s day in the English countryside, the big Healey (roof carefully stowed) wends its way from one pretty village to another. Inside, the carefully groomed young man and woman enjoy the rush of air scented with freshly mown grass and roses...

This is the enduring image of the big-engined Healey.

And, looking at the values of Abingdon’s finest, even in today’s buoyant classic car market, recreating such a scene need not be expensive. An Austin-Healey 3000 looks good, performs adequately (124bhp, tested at 116mph with a 0-60mph of 11.7 seconds in 1960) – at a price well short of the equivalent Jaguar XK or anaemic Mercedes 190SL.

The company had had a six-cylinder sports car in its catalogue since 1956, the 2,639cc Healey 100-Six. In 1959, the introduction of both front disc brakes and a now 3-litre engine gave the car even greater appeal. It also had a new name: ‘Austin-Healey 3000’.

Available as a BN7 two-, or cosy BT7 four-seater, the 3000 was a sales success and the car made a fine long-distance tourer, too. All that was needed was a flat hat, sports jacket and tie for the man and a headscarf for his companion. The world was then their oyster.


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Photos: Marc Vorgers