Austin-Healey 3000 BJ8 MK III

After leaving Triumph, where his most lasting legacy was the Dolomite, engineer and racer Donald Healey struck out on his own with the low-production specials that characterized British sports cars immediately after World War II. Meanwhile, Austin’s Leonard Lord, like all other British motor industry leaders, was looking for a new product that would earn desperately needed export income. In 1952, Healey created the Hundred two-seater using his own chassis design, the Austin A90 engine and drivetrain, and a brilliant body designed by Gerry Coker. Lord saw it, a deal was quickly struck, and almost overnight it became known as the Austin-Healey, one of the most well-known sports cars of all time.

About 16,000 four-cylinder Austin-Healeys were built over a four-year period. As the British motor industry consolidated, with Austin becoming part of BMC, production of the Austin-Healey 100-Six shifted to the MG factory at Abingdon which, in 1959, introduced the 3000. Powered by an engine enlarged from 2,639 cc to 2,912 cc, and with disc front brakes, the 3000 was an immediate success – both commercially and in competition.

The final version of the 'Big Healey' was the 3000 Mark III (BJ8), which was introduced in 1963 and built through 1967. With its dual two-inch SU carburetors, the well-developed 2,912 cc six-cylinder engine provided acceleration from rest to 60 mph in 9.8 seconds, en route to top speeds exceeding 120 mph. Other improvements included a revised exhaust system, along with a standard vacuum brake booster. In addition, passengers were treated to a more luxurious cockpit with a handsome wood-faced dashboard and a floor console, as well as the roll-up side windows of the prior BJ7.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in January of 2010 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona, in January of 2011 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona and in March of 2012 at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida. Also part of the event in Arizona in January, 2013.

150 bhp, 2,912 cc overhead valve inline six-cylinder engine, dual SU carburetors, four-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension with wishbones and coil springs, rigid rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and hydraulic front disc, rear drum brakes. Wheelbase: 92"

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel; Elliott M Flawes; Teddy Pieper

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