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The Big Healey
Debuted for 1956 as a six-cylinder development of Donald Healey’s ground- breaking Austin-Healey 100 roadster, the 100/6 was comprehensively refined for 1959 with its engine enlarged to 2,912 cc, an improved gearbox, and disc brakes up front. Now designated the Austin-Healey 3000 but lovingly known by enthusiasts as the Big Healey, the upgraded model was an immediate hit on the road and showroom floor.
The final and most refined version of the beloved series was the 3000 Mk III (BJ8), introduced in 1963 and built through the end of production in March 1968. Equipped with twin 2” SU carburetors, the Healey’s well-developed 2,912 cc inline “six” produced 148 hp, delivering brisk acceleration and heady top speeds exceeding 120 mph. Other welcome improvements included standard power-assisted brakes, and a noticeably upgraded cockpit complete with a handsome wood-faced dashboard and floor console, plus the roll-up side windows of the prior BJ7. The “Phase 2” subvariant appeared soon after Mk III production commenced, delivering improved rear-suspension geometry, better ground clearance courtesy of exhaust-system tweaks, and enlarged twin parking and turn- signal lights out in front.
Sports car enthusiasts and magazine editors on both sides of the Atlantic wholeheartedly approved, with Road & Track praising the 3000 Mk III as “...an enthusiast’s sports car that was fun to drive with lots of performance and good handling and braking characteristics.” Prophetically, Britain’s Autocar said, “...it will still have its devotees long after production has ceased.”
Handsomely finished in a striking black exterior, complemented by red leather upholstery and a black top, this very early-production Mk III, Phase 2 from 1964 is a particularly fascinating example, combining all the advancements made to the Austin-Healey 3000 line yet retaining the earlier-design single parking and directional signals at the front of the car. A detailed restoration well preserved with limited use since completion, the Healey features particularly straight body panels, striking bright trim, and a nicely presented engine and underhood area. Other preferred features include a Moto-Lita wood-rimmed steering wheel, chrome wire wheels with black-wall tires, plus overdrive for cruising ease on the highway. Remarkably comfortable and fast, yet retaining their unique character and classic sporting influence, the final-series Mk III Austin-Healey 3000 models continue to epitomize the British sports car concept today. Accordingly, this early “Phase 2” example from 1964 remains particularly attractive and desirable, with robust and enduring collector demand.