Wednesday October 23, 2019
‘The public reaction to my Austin-Healey tends to be a selection of the following – “I had one of those in the past but had to because of wedding/divorce/university fees” - or something of the nature – or “I had to stop being silly when I got married and had to buy a practical car”’.
That Steve Everest’s 1960 BN7-series 3000 Mk. I causes a reaction is a given, for it is not only one of the finest examples of the “Big Healey” you are likely to encounter, it is also ‘one of just 157 with right-hand-drive’.
In the late 1950s, BMC and Donald Healey believed that extra power and six-cylinders would allow the 100/6 to maintain a competitive edge over the likes of the Triumph TR3A.
The 3000 made its bow in July 1959 and aside from the enlarged C-Series engine a further talking point were the front disc brakes – a “first” for Austin-Healey. There were even exterior door handles but no winding windows, for such fittings were for those decadent sorts who favoured the Ford Zodiac Mk. II Convertible.
Mr. Everest also remarks that although the AH was equipped with flashing indicators, many owners back in 1959 would still have preferred to hand-signal.
In short, the latest Healey was still the “Jack Hawkins” of British sports cars – a convertible that required the donning of a flat hat and a leather flying jacket for a jaunt along the A23 to Brighton.
The 3000’s top speed was 115 mph, and John Bolster of Autosport found it ‘a wonderfully effortless car’. Across the Atlantic, Road and Track thought ‘dollar for dollar, this is still one of the top sports cars on the market’.
Rather incredibly, the 3000 cost just £10 more than the out-going 100-Six, with the two-seater priced at £1,168 9s. 2d. for the two-seater (less than £100 more expensive than a TR3A and still cheaper than the MGA Twin Cam.
For £1,175 10s. 10d there was also the BT7 2+2, and Steve notes the vestigial rear seat was ‘really for the US market’ – Austin-Healey’s most important sales territory.
222 HAE has been in the Everest family for the past ‘17-18 years’. The original owner specified the optional heater (£22) and 72-spoke wire wheels (£35). The 3000 is also fitted with Laycock-de-Normanville overdrive, a very popular “extra” and one that Steve regards ‘very much an essential part of the car. It is a really useful addition, giving flexibility and another couple of gears’.
The Big Healey attracted further publicity via Jack Sear’s victory in the Oulton Park Gold Cup, a class win for the Morley brothers in the RAC Rally and the Pat Moss/Ann Wisdom 3000 coming second in the German Rally. In 1960 an AH famously won the Liège-Rome-Liège rally outright.
After 13,650 Mk. Is, Austin-Healey introduced the more powerful 3000 Mk. II in spring 1961. Steve remarks of his jaw-droppingly BN7, which recently starred in Classic & Sports Car, ‘you develop fairly good arm muscle strength; parking can result in some fun and games’. The AH was designed for the open road - and Mr. Everest ‘never tires of firing that starter button’.
With Thanks To – Steve Everest