1967 Austin-Healey 3000 Mk III (BJ8)
Donald Healey is an icon of the British motor industry. He was born in Perranporth, Cornwall, in the south west of England on the 3rd July 1898. He studied engineering and had a passion for all things mechanical, including aeroplanes and motor vehicles. In 1945 he founded the Donald Healey Motor Company and its mission was to build excellent quality performance cars. In 1946 the company introduced the Healey Westland Roadster and the Healey Elliott Saloon, both built through until 1950. Other subsequent models included the Healey Sportsmobile (1948-1950), Healey Silverstone (1949-1950), Healey Tickford Saloon (1950-1954), Healey Abbott Drophead Coupe (1950-1954) and Healey G-Type Roadster (1951-1953). The most successful car built in this era was the Nash Healey of which just over 500 examples were built from 1950 – 1954. Healey’s cars were good and they enjoyed much success in competition, including class wins in the 1947 and 1948 Alpine rallies as well as the 1949 Mille Miglia. They were also expensive and business was tough going.
The Donald Healey Motor Company struggled and Healey decided that he needed to build a cheaper sports car in far greater numbers to be successful. In 1952 Austin-Healey was formed through a joint venture between the Austin division of the British Motor Corporation (BMC) and the Donald Healey Motor Company (Healey). As they say ‘the rest is history’ and Austin-Healey went on to become one of the world’s most successful sports car manufacturers.
The first Austin-Healey was the Austin-Healey 100 introduced in 1953. These were true sports cars in every sense of the word, an open two seater with minimal weather protection. They were powered by a 2,660cc 4 cylinder engine generating around 90 bhp, enough to propel the car to a top speed of 100 mph, hence, the designation Austin Healey ‘100’. The first series cars were designated BN1 and in 1955 the second series or BN2 was introduced. The BN2 had a four speed manual gearbox (compared to a three speed in the BN1), with overdrive on the top two gears. The BN2 has slightly larger front wheel arches and a different rear axle. Interestingly, the BN2 was the first Austin-Healey to offer optional two-tone paint.
In 1955 Austin-Healey introduced the 100S, which was built for the race track. Featuring light aluminium body work, engine improvements that delivered 135 bhp, a strengthened chassis, disc brakes on all four wheels, suspension upgrades and no bumpers (to keep weight at a minimum) the Austin-Healey 100S was a great success. Only 50 cars were ever built and they are today amongst the world’s most desirable and collectable cars. Hot on the heels of 100S, Austin-Healey introduced the 100M, a high performance road going model that with engine modifications increased power from 90 bhp to 110 bhp. In total 640 Austin-Healey 100Ms were built in 1955/56.
In 1956 Austin-Healey introduced the 100/6 that featured a more powerful 6 cylinder engine and provided occasional rear seats in a 2+2 configuration. These cars were designated as BN4 Healeys. A two seater roadster version, the BN6, was introduced in 1958. In 1959 the last of the ‘big Healeys’, the Austin-Healey 3000 was introduced. The 3000 was powered by a 2,912 cc 6 cylinder engine and introduced front disc brakes to the model range. These Healeys were available as a roadster or as a 2+2. The MkI roadster was designated as BN7 and the MkI 2+2 was designated as BT7. The MkII Austin Healey 3000’s were introduced in 1961 (available as a roadster – BN7 and 2+2 – BT7). In 1962 the BJ7 was introduced which was another big step change for the model. This car was more sophisticated and targeted the expanding American market. It featured a wrap around front windscreen, wind up windows and other creature comforts. In 1964 the final iteration of the Austin-Healey 3000 was introduced, being the MKIII BJ8.
In excess of 70,000 Austin-Healeys were built from 1953 through until 1967 and a large percentage of these cars were left hand drive and sold into North America.
Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale a 1967 Austin Healey 3000 MkIII BJ8.
The Heritage Certificate on file confirms the date of build as 25-26 September 1967 with a date of despatch of 28 September 1967. The car’s original colour scheme was ivory white with black trim and a black soft top. Like most Healeys, this car was a LHD, North American Export car. Interestingly, the destination dealer is noted as ‘Personal Export Delivery, USA’. This means the car was built to US market specifications but delivered in the UK to someone who would eventually export it to the USA. In those days this was not uncommon. A lot of cars sold to US military personnel based in the UK were classified like this. It was also common for someone to pick up his/her new car from the factory, take it for a tour around the UK/Europe before shipping it home. This car was delivered with the following factory fitted options: wire wheels, heater, adjustable steering column, front number plates, black tonneau cover, octagonal wheel nuts, overdrive, a laminated windscreen and Roadspeed tyres. According to the Heritage Certificate this car is a ‘matching numbers’ example, still retaining its original chassis, engine and body.
Little is known about this car’s early history. At some stage prior to 1989, the car found its way to Australia and was converted to RHD.
The car remained in the ownership of a Gold Coast based Austin-Healey enthusiast for many years. He decided to have it restored some 20 years ago. The restoration was completed by Sleeping Beauties who are one of Australia’s leading high end restoration shops. They have restored cars that have been exhibited at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. This Austin Healey’s then owner enjoyed the car for a number of years before ill health prompted him to sell. The car was acquired by its current owner in February 2012 at which time the odometer was 59,392 miles.
Shortly after acquiring the car the current owner had new Dayton 72 spoke chrome wire wheels fitted, installed seat belts installed and fitted a new Moto-Lita steering wheel. Note – the original steering wheel will accompany the car.
The restoration has definitely stood the test of time. Today this car still presents beautifully ass can be seen from the photos. At the time of restoration the cars then owner chose to have it painted in a shade of British Racing Green which is a perfect colour for big Healey. The paint work still presents really well and it has a high gloss finish. Whilst there are a few blemishes and touch ups here and there, you wouldn’t guess the car was repainted about 20 years ago. All of the chrome, lights & lenses and the glass are in very good condition consistent with the overall presentation of the car. The same can be said about the interior. The seats are all in good condition and supply ample support. The door cards, dash, timber work and even the carpets presents really well. The soft top and the tonneau have hardly been used and look like new.
We don’t know definitively how many miles the car has travelled since it was restored. What we do know is that it has only travelled a tick over 2,700 miles in just over 9 years with its current owner. Today the odometer shows just over 62,000 miles.
Out on the road this Austin-Healey is a pleasure to drive. The car is tight on the road with no obvious rattles or squeaks. The engine feels strong, the gear changes are smooth and
importantly the brakes pull the car up well. All the instruments and controls are crisp, clean and in working order, including the overdrive. On our recent test drive on a sunny afternoon in Brisbane, the oil pressure was good and the temperature stayed stable at c170F.
In addition to the Heritage Certificate and original steering wheel, there is a timber wheel spanner, mallet, spare wheel, some recent service receipts, owner’s handbook, workshop manual and Austin-Healey books that will accompany the car.
- A well sorted, matching numbers, Austin-Healey MkIII BJ8.
- An older restoration, by Sleeping Beauties.
- A restoration that has stood the test of time.
- The car has been well cared for by two owners since it was restored some 20 years ago.
- Recently serviced and ready for its next owner to use and enjoy.
- Austin-Healey 3000 MK III BJ8
- 62,092 miles