✨ “Take it easy driving – the life you save may be mine.”
― James Dean


Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Car of the month April 2015 - 1960 Austin Healey 3000 MK.II 2-seater

In May 2012 I decided to attend the car show ‘Cars in the Park’ in Pietermaritzburg again and I spent a lovely day viewing some beautiful classics, having some interesting chats with the guys, a hot dog or two and a couple of Heinekens.

While I was browsing, I came upon a beautiful Austin Healey which was for sale, got the owner’s details and upon my return home, I phoned the owner and arranged to go and see it.

Upon my arrival, I was told it was rebuilt 10 years ago and it was in amazing condition, clean and unmolested and I was assured that it would go to Cape Town and back with no problems whatsoever.

The owner also advised that the car had been to the Austin Healey Birthday celebration in England in 2002 and pointed out the badge on the dashboard commemorating the 50-Year Anniversary. This is a very prestigious event and not many cars can add this achievement to their history. So after a careful inspection, during which time I fell totally in love, I decided to buy her.

The Motor magazine tested the BN7 in 1960 to top speed of 115mph and acceleration from 0-60mph in 11.7 seconds with a fuel consumption of 21.6mpg.

Arriving home with my new acquisition!

In May of 1961 BMC upgraded their flagship model with three SU HS4 carburetors, modified valve springs and a new camshaft. Called the MKII, it was an alternative to the Triumph TR3A or Jaguar E-Type.

In many ways, the fun of driving a Healey is directly traceable to this transmission and its Laycock de Normanville overdrive. Running fast in third and fourth, using the overdrive switch like another shift lever, can be pure joy. The shift lever's action is stiff but accurate, and declutching to switch the overdrive in and out, though quite unnecessary, results in crisp, fast shifts that are a delight to the ear and the seat of the pants. The ponderous nature of all the controls is a factor which lends a kind of appealing massive masculinity to the car. Again, this is traditional, harking back to those days when sports cars were meat for men only and the ladies rode reluctantly if at all or, better yet, stood timidly and admiringly by the side of the road.

This car has a 2 door convertible/cabriolet type body with a front located engine powering the rear wheels. Its 6 cylinder, overhead valve naturally aspirated engine has 2 valves per cylinder and a capacity of 2.9 litres. It produces power and torque figures of 132 bhp (134 PS/98 kW) at 4750 rpm and 226 Nm (167 lbft/23 kgm) at 3000 rpm respectively. The engine powers the wheels through a 4 speed manual with overdrive transmission. It weighs a stated 1158 kg at the kerb. Maximum quoted speed is 181 km/h (112 mph).

The Austin-Healey 3000 was introduced in 1959, replacing the Austin-Healey 100-6. Production of the MKII BN7 was very limited to only 355 cars. The BT7 4-seat roadster vastly outsold it at 5,096 units. A BT7 with hardtop and overdrive cost £1362 including the hefty British taxes. A total of 11,564 were made: 355 BN7 Mark II, 5,096 BT7 Mark II, and 6,113 BJ7.

Introduced in March 1961 as the BN7 Mark II (2-seat) and BT7 Mark II (2+2), the 3000 Mark II series came with three SU HS4 carburettors and an improved camshaft. However, the triple SUs proved difficult to balance and were replaced with two SU HS6 upon the introduction of the BJ7 (2+2) model in January 1962. With its d├ębut the BN7 Mark II was discontinued in March 1962, and the BT7 Mark II in June 1962. Options on the MKII included 15x4 chromed wire wheels, a brake servo system and a tonneau cover that could be opened for just the driver.

1960 Austin Healey 3000 MK.II 2-seater

1960 Austin Healey 3000 MK.II 2-seater - rear view

1960 Austin Healey 3000 MK.II 2-seater - badge

1960 Austin Healey 3000 MK.II 2-seater front grill

1960 Austin Healey 3000 MK.II 2-seater

1960 Austin Healey 3000 MK.II 2-seater interior

1960 Austin Healey 3000 MK.II 2-seater interior

1960 Austin Healey 3000 MK.II 2-seater Engine bay

Austin Healey 3000's have a long competition history, and raced at most major racing circuits around the world, including Sebring (USA), Le Mans (France), and Mount Panorama Circuit, Bathurst (Australia). The BMC competitions department rallied the 3000 from its introduction, but the development of the works cars effectively ended in 1965, mainly because of the success of the Mini Cooper 'S'.

Ces’t la vie! (Happy motoring!) From the pen of the “Ja Broer” 

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