'A classic competition car among the all-time greats in motoring history,' was how The Autocar magazine summed up the works Austin-Healey 3000 in 1963. 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. However, the Big Healey's first major competition successes did not come on the 'rough stuff' but were gained on Tarmac in one of the most demanding forms of motor sport: endurance racing. Following the Austin-Healey 100's sensational debut at the 1952 Motor Show, the works had entered two mildly modified cars in the 1953 Le Mans 24-Hour Race, which finishing in 12th and 14th places, a highly praiseworthy achievement for what were recognisably production sports cars. From then onwards the factory would continue to prepare and enter cars for the long-distance classics. When the '3000' model came along its first 'baptism of fire' would be the 1960 Sebring 12 Hours where a pair entered by BMC North America finished 2nd and 3rd in their class behind a Ferrari. At national and club level the Big Healey was and still is a popular choice among privateers, forming one of the mainstays of the modern historic and Modsports racing scenes.
This right-hand drive Austin-Healey 3000 MkI was first owned by Martin Brain who used the car extensively in hill climbs. It possesses competition history from new including the 1965 Guards International Trophy 1,000km race at Brands where it was driven by Messrs Westbrook and Crook. Westbrook raced the car extensively from 1964 to '66. 'AOV 319' competed in the first HSCC race at Thruxton and went to Le Mans for the Cinquentenaire event in 1973 with its then owner K Rylands, who held the hill climb record for the Pre-'60 3,000cc class at Prescott for five years with this car. The Healey's next owner was Bugatti racer Charles Dean who in 1998 sold it to Aston Martin company chairman Victor Gauntlett via Nigel Dawes Ltd. It was then sold to Dean Butler (in 2004) and was purchased by the current vendor in 2012.
Much modified and well sorted, 'AOV 319' comes with a substantial quantity of bills from recognised specialists including Denis Welch, Blakeney Motorsport, Hi-Tech Motorsport, etc. Its specification includes a rebuilt Dennis Welch racing engine incorporating an aluminium cylinder head, lightened aluminium flywheel, high-torque starter motor, competition exhaust, MSD rev limiter, etc. Power all 214bhp of it - is delivered via an AP twin-plate racing clutch to the top-change straight-cut gearbox, which features an up-rated competition overdrive on 3rd and top gears, and thence to the limited-slip differential. The chassis has been strengthened and the suspension up-rated with front and rear anti-roll bars and stiffer rear springs. The interior boasts a Spa electronic rev counter and shift light; oil pressure and water temperature warning lights; a 6-point roll cage and adjustable race seats and harnesses, all FIA approved. There is a plumbed-in fire extinguishing system and external ignition and fire system pull switches. Other noteworthy features include an FIA approved fuel cell and a Red Top fuel pump and plumbing.
Recently repainted in British Racing Green with white roof, this fast and reliable racing Healey is offered with the aforementioned bills, old-style logbook, MSA papers, HSCC passport, current MoT/tax and V5C registration document.