British sports roadster Austin-Healey 3000, or rather “big Healey”, was the brainchild of a talented engineer and designer, former pilot of the Royal Air Force Donald Healey, and multiple champions in many racing competitions.
Source: Beverly Hills Car Club
The golden age of sports cars from Foggy Albion will forever go down in history along with the worldwide fame of the Beatles and the constant spy revelations that inspired several generations of writers and filmmakers (the endless Bond movies are a great example). Interestingly, today, a left-hand drive British sports car from the 1950s and 1960s is much easier to find than a native right-hand drive. No wonder: in those years, British roadsters and convertibles were actively exported, especially to the USA, and often British buyers were simply left with a lack of automobiles.
In 1952, just as Donald Healy was looking to expand his business, Leonard Lord from the British Motor Corporation’s Austin division was looking for a way to improve his line. So the prototype of the Healey vehicle at the London Motor Show was based on the design of the Austin A90 and the history and name of the Austin Healey got its start. This original A90 prototype eventually became the Austin-Healey 100/4, a true sports car. The buyers accepted it favorably. The second place in the 24-hour race at Le Mans contributed to the success. The sporty debut of the Austin-Healey Roadster was in 1953. At the prestigious Le Man’s race, drivers Johnny Lockett and Maurice Gatsonides won a twelfth place in absolute and second place in class. The following evolution of this roadster flew smoothly: it swapped from a four-cylinder engine for a powerful straight-six, and the body update didn’t cause the loss of its characteristics. However, the roadster became significantly heavier than the first automobile which caused performance loss. The Austin-Healey 3000 model appeared in 1959-1967. The automobile combined small size and excellent performance with simplicity and an attractive appearance. In the beginning, it had retractable headlights. To reduce the price, they were abandoned, using headlights built into the hood, for which the vehicle received the nickname “Frog Eye” and “Bug eye”. The front part of the body – the hood, fenders, and radiator lining – rose entirely to access the engine. Open automobiles in the 2 + 2 version and doubles (such were made to order) were equipped with in-line six-cylinder engines with a volume of 3 liters (117–148 hp) and a four-speed gearbox with overdrive. The fastest version of the MK III developed a speed of 195 km/h. A total of 43,926 copies of the model 3000 were made, of which 17,712 were in the MK III version (1963–1967).
Source: Wallpaper Flare
October 1963 was marked with the release of the Austin-Healey 3000 Mark III series, which remained in production until the end of 1967. The 1963 model was the most famous of the “big Healey” models. The body of the roadster was made by Jensen Motors and the cars were assembled at BMC MG’s Abingdon plant, along with the corporation’s MG models. The car was equipped with an engine with a capacity of 150 horsepower. The interior was decorated with walnut wood veneer, there was a brake booster and power windows. This model was especially popular among American buyers. As a result, in 1963, 91.5% of all automobiles of this model were exported mainly to North America. Such popularity was justified: the 3000 was a very successful sports car that won many European rallies in its class and still competes in classic car competition today.
Source: The Mirror
One of the Austin-Healey 3000s belonged to Bruce Reynolds, a notorious member of the gang that robbed a Great Train in the UK in 1963 and stole £2.5 million. It became extremely popular after details about Reynolds were disclosed. Reynolds got his roadster of 1962 release just before the most audacious robbery in 1963. After breaking the Great Train he fled with his share of the amount of £150,000. For five years he was elusive, hiding from the police of several countries, including Canada and France, but in 1968 he was caught and sent to prison for 25 years.
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