Earmarked as one of the most popular ‘Big Healeys’ the Austin Healey 3000 still captivates the hearts of automotive enthusiasts. Considered one of the most popular British Race cars of the 1960s, the 3000 was the British Motor Company’s solution to the American market’s demand for an affordable fast, reliable, and styled car. An opportunity loomed between the expensive and beautiful Jaguar XK 120 and the more affordable MG T series that the 3000 pounced on (Willson, 1995). The car was such a hit in America that at one point 80% of all 3000 production went stateside.
From it’s first year of production in 1959 till 1968, the initially rugged race car continued refining with each year and model. The 3000 was the simple and upgraded successor to the smaller bodied Austin Healey 100 (Buckley, 1997). Considered the fastest of the ‘Big Healeys’ the 3000 came with a 2.9 litre version of the C- series six cylinder engine and at its fastest ran at 120mph. With the 2912cc engine arose its 3000 moniker with a little rounding up (Willson, 1995). The 3000 would eventually evolve to have front disk brakes, wind up windows, a wraparound windshield, and the once initially Spartan dash would become increasingly luxurious with locked glove compartment.
The first prototype of the Austin Healey 3000 featured futuristic fins in the taillights but would then switch the design to its classic rump (Willson, 1995). Interesting to ponder what design path future Healeys would have taken if they had continued with the space-age fins. The 3000 along with its predecessors and successors does showcase the notable ‘Healey Grin’ with its chrome grill.
With most of its sales in USA and safety regulations increasing, the Austin Healey 3000 would finally cease its production in 1968. With the less popular MGC following as its predecessor, the 3000 will continue its fame as one of the most popular of the ‘Big Healeys’ and of its time.
The Bad Blonde aka Caitlin Shook has grown up in the mechanic shop world. Shook Enterprises is a south Texas automotive repair shop that focuses on the antique, classic, rare, awesome, and sometimes just plain hard to fix vehicles.
An avid fan of travel and adventure, she’s popped into every car MUSEUM and car SHOW + AUCTION she can along the way.
She began an arduous car restoration of a 1976 Porsche 912e at the age of 14 and she’s not stopped loving difficult cars since. Enjoy the journey with The Bad Blonde!
Buckley, M. (1997). The Encyclopedia of Classic Cars - Celebration of the Motor Car from 1945 - 1975. New York: Hermes House.
Cheetham, C. D. (2003). The Encyclopedia of Classic Cars. San Diego: Thunder Bay Press.
Willson, Q. (1995). The Ultimate Classic Car Book. New York: Dorling Kindersley Publishing.