AUSTIN HEALEY 3000
The Austin-Healey 3000 is a British sports car.
It was built from 1959 to 1967.
It is the best known of the “Big Healey” models.
The car’s bodywork was made by Jensen Motors
The vehicles were assembled at BMC’s Abingdon works, alongside the corporation’s MG models.
During its production life its nature was changed from:
An enthusiast’s open sports car
To a tamer sports convertible.
In 1963, 91.5 per cent of all Austin-Healey 3000 cars were exported
They were sent mostly to North America.
The 3-litre 3000 was a highly successful car
It won its class in many European rallies in its heyday and is still raced in classic car competitions by enthusiasts today.
British Leyland ended manufacture in 1967, intending its place to be filled by a car with essentially the same engine in a more recently designed monocoque MGB body named MGC.
The Austin-Healey 3000 was announced on 1 July 1959.
A 3-litre BMC C-Series engine to replace the smaller 2.6-litre engine of the 100-6
Disc brakes for its front wheels.
It could reach 60 mph in 11 seconds and 100 mph in 31 seconds.
Other changes were minor compared to those between the original 100 and the 100-6.
The wheelbase and body were unchanged as were the body-styles, a 2+2 or BT7 and a two-seater BN7.
The changes included:
A folding plastic roof on a light demountable frame and above the doors detachable side screens holding sliding perspex panels
Adjustable steering column
Detachable hard top for the 2+2
Two-tone paint were available as options.
13,650 Mark Is were made
2,825 BN7 open two-seaters
10,825 BT7 2+2s
The BT7 3000 had:
A top speed of 115 mph (185 km/h).
It could accelerate from 0–60 mph (97 km/h) in 11.7 seconds.
The car did 21.6 miles per gallon
The test car cost £1326.
BN7, BT7 roadsters
The 1962 Mark II BT7 open 2+2 had sidescreens and were fitted with optional wire wheels and hardtop.
The engines were fitted with three SU HS4 carburettors and had an improved camshaft were announced at the end of May 1961.
Other changes included:
A vertical barred front grille
Optional extras were similar to the Mark I.
From August 1961 a brake servo was also available as an optional extra, which greatly improved braking performance.
A 3000 Mark II BT7 was tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1961.
It had a top speed of:
112.9 mph (181.7 km/h)
Accelerate from 0–60 mph (97 km/h) in 10.9 seconds.
It had a fuel consumption of 23.5 miles per imperial gallon.
The test car cost £1362 including taxes.
Last true roadsters
The BN7 Mark II was discontinued in March 1962, and the BT7 Mark II in June 1962
1962 Mark II BJ7 sports convertible
The 3000 sports convertible Mark II was launched at the end of August 1962.
It was a true convertible with saloon car comfort.
The features included:
A new wrap-around windscreen
Wind-up side windows
Swivelling quarter lights
A quick-action folding roof
Twin SU HS6 carburettors replaced the triple SUs.
Austin-Healey claimed it could exceed 115 mph.
91.5 per cent of all 1963 Austin Healey 3000 cars were exported mostly to North America.
11,564 Mark IIs were made and they included:
355 BN7 open two-seaters
5,096 BT7 2+2s
6,113 BJ7 2+2 sports convertibles
BJ8 sports convertible
1966 Mark III BJ8 sports convertible (North America)
The 3000 sports convertible Mark III was announced in February 1964.
Its power increased from 136 bhp to 150 bhp by a new higher lift camshaft.
More Changes included:
SU HD8 carburettors replaced HS6 units increasing the choke size from 1.75 to 2 inches
Power-assisted braking became standard instead of optional
The new car’s fascia displayed its speedometer & tachometer directly in front of the driver.
Upholstery was now in Ambla vinyl
The Mark III BJ8 remained in production until the end of 1967.
Then manufacture of Austin-Healeys ceased.
One further car was built in March 1968.
In May 1964 the Phase II version of the Mark III was released, which gained ground clearance through a modified rear chassis.
In March 1965 the car received separate indicator lights.
17,712 Mark IIIs were manufactured.
Body by Pininfarina
Pininfarina exhibited the 3000 as a closed roof grand tourer at the October 1962 Earls Court Show.
It was the winning design from a competition by Swiss motoring publication Auto-Jahr.
Austin Healey 3000’s have a long competition history, and raced at most major racing circuits around the world, including:
Le Mans (France)
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’.
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