1963 • Austin Healey 3000 Mark II
Languages FR, GB
Location of the lot Namur, Belgium
Bullet point A beautiful restoration for one of the most legendary British roadsters
and also An optimized example but respectful of its identity
Engine capacity2912 cc
Number of cylinders6
Number of gears 4 + overdrive
Estimate €55,000 - 70,000
The 'Big' Healey's journey began in 1953 with the 100, but it was the 3000, which appeared six years later, that represented the pinnacle of this archetypal series. Designed under the leadership of the driver and engineer Donald Healey, associated for the occasion with the BMC group - owner of Austin - this roadster presented typical characteristics of a species to which he contributed amply. With its long, suggestive bonnet (essential for housing the in-line six-cylinder engine that has been part of the model since 1956), its cramped interior set back up the rear axle, its rudimentary soft top and its large wire wheels that seem to literally devour the bodywork, the "Big" held as much as it promised, because the seduction of the whole was not limited to its aesthetics. Indeed, if it did not present any particular sophistication, notably in comparison with the Jaguar XK block, the evocative vocals of the engine made you forget its commoner origins as soon as you got on board the machine, which generously dispensed a batch of sensations that are still as delightful today. At the time, few firms associated the resources of a straight six with the joys of driving with the wind in your hair, and more than one sportsman gave in to the charms of this pleasantly rigged car.
The longevity of the model, built for almost fifteen years, has been nourished by a large number of technical evolutions, hidden however under a generally unchanged physiognomy. It takes a specialist's eye to discern the few modifications that have marked the career of the 'Big'. For example, the 3000 Mark II, introduced in the spring of 1961, featured a new grille and an air intake on the bonnet. Originally from California and first registered in 1963, the car offered for sale (one of the last Mark IIs) is currently in the hands of its third owner, who acquired it in March 2013. The car had been immobilised for two decades. The seller then undertook a complete restoration entrusted to various professionals. It lasted from 2014 to 2019 and cost approximately €85,000 - complete file and invoices in support (photos 072 to 103). At the end of the restoration, the odometer was reset to zero and now totals 2130 kilometres. Neither pledged nor guaranteed, the car is registered as a collector's item. It includes on-board documentation and a certificate issued by the British Motor Heritage Trust (photos 066 and 067). The technical inspection is dated July 2019 (photo 071).
The car benefits from the comfort provided by the lowering windows and the easier to handle soft top introduced in 1962. Painted entirely in "Ice Blue" when it left the factory, since its restoration it has had a two-tone livery combining its original shade with the "Old English Ivory" found on its sides. The work was not limited to the paintwork, which was applied over a rustproofing layer: the rear part of the body is new (photo 114) and all the other parts have been sandblasted, as well as the chassis, some corroded parts of which have been replaced. Instead of the four original rims, there are chromed spoked rims with virtually new 185R15 91V Vredestein Sprint Classic tyres. The original spare wheel with a Michelin XAS 180R15 tyre was retained (photo 041). The blue soft top and soft top cover are made of mohair fabric. A blue tonneau cover is also present.
The interior was restored in conformity with its original specifications and many new parts were fitted, including the dashboard trim and carpeting (like that in the trunk). The foams and blue leather upholstery of the front and rear seats were replaced. Heat shields were added to the engine compartment and to the chassis along the beginning of the exhaust line on the driver's side to insulate the notoriously hot interior of the Austin Healey. The same operation was carried out on the gearbox tunnel. Flanked by an elegant Moto-Lita wooden steering wheel, the instrumentation has been refurbished and is therefore fully functional; the water temperature and oil pressure gauge is new (photos 058 and 140).
The car is 'matching numbers'. The 2.9-litre six-cylinder engine and the four-speed gearbox with overdrive have undergone a complete rebuild from 2018 to 2019. The carburettors were completely refurbished and the entire wiring harness was replaced. The mechanics were also optimised in various ways: an electric fan, electronic ignition, servo brake and Bilstein gas dampers were fitted. The braking system was also overhauled. A complete engine oil change and lubrication was carried out in 2020 by the Retro Cars workshop in Temploux (Belgium), which also carried out various finishing works between 2019 and 2021.