This fine example of a “Big Healey” is presented in ready to enjoy condition. This lovely 2+2 is equipped with the highly desirable overdrive feature for maximum driving pleasure. It also has a fitted tonneau cover and heater to increase top down usability. Finished in the most classic Old English White offset with an eye catching red interior, black top and stainless wire wheels, the car is a smashing good looker.
Not much is known of this car’s history prior to its restoration. Marque specialist Kurt Tanner acquired it in 2006 as a 60,000-mile rust-free California survivor car. It was white with a red interior when found and Tanner wisely maintained the combination. After completing a thorough top to bottom restoration the car was sold. The next owner used the car occasionally and maintained it in ready to go condition. When purchased by the consignor, the car was in need of some service items including a few wiring issues, a bad overdrive solenoid and restoration of the speedometer and tachometer, all of which have been completed.
“The owner of an Austin-Healey 3000 has youthful zest, stamina to outlast the most grueling rallies.... For him the car that displays the same rugged sportsmanship, tireless energy and lithe-limbed speed.”September 21, 1960 advertisement in The Motor
The Austin-Healey 100 debuted in 1953 to instant acclaim. The car filled the void between the entry level MG’s and the upper level Jaguars and Aston Martin’s available at the time. The basic 2-seater roadster powered by a 2,660 cc inline-4 provided sufficient power to reach a top speed just in excess of 100 mph. For 1956, Austin-Healey introduced a new model called the 100-6. The 100-6 used the same basic architecture of the 100 but on a slightly stretched wheelbase fitted with an inline-6 producing 102 hp. This new car had two tiny rear seats suitable only for children, improved all weather kit and revised styling that separated it from the prior 100 model.
In the spring of 1959 the 100-6 was replaced with the 3000, an evolutionary change of the 100-6 styling and engineering now fitted with an inline-6 displacing 2912 cc and produced 112 hp and fitted with front disk brakes. The bigger engine was the reason for the car’s designation as the “Big Healey” especially against the company’s other offering at the time the diminutive Sprite.
Marque specialist Kurt Tanner, who has probably restored more Austin-Healey’s than anyone else today, restored the car. It was a solid, rust free and apparently accident free car prior to the restoration. The car was stripped to the bones and everything refinished including chrome and new stainless steel wire wheels now shod with BF Goodrich blackwall tires. After restoration the car gained approximately another 6,000 miles of use and required some repairs and freshening. The speedometer and tachometer were restored, a faulty overdrive solenoid was replaced, the turn signals and horns were made operable again and some wiring issues were addressed.
After many years of steadily increasing values, Austin-Healey prices took a beating with the economy after the 2008 market crash and stayed relatively flat through 2013. Prices have been rising steadily since 2013 with the best cars now surpassing pre-crash records. The big Healey’s are relatively scarce at auction these days so not many opportunities arise to bid on them, let alone a car that is as nice and ready to enjoy as this one.
This is a great opportunity to acquire a classic example of a British sports car for driving or show. It is difficult to find an example of an Austin-Healey of this vintage that is not in need of work or has had such an over the top restoration that you would be afraid to use it. At current restoration costs it is far wiser to purchase a car in this condition than to undertake a restoration.Jed Rapoport; Life long old car nut, collector, writer, historian, advisor and lover of almost all things automotive.