1961 Austin-Healey 3000 MKII Road / Historic Race Car (BT7)


  • An extraordinary big Healey offering either fast road or historic race use, or both!
  • Thousands spent since 1989 on professional FIA specification race modifications
  • Race preparation work completed by the famous Denis Welch, engine included
  • The vendor has owned this car over the past two decades
  • All aluminium bodywork

The Appeal

Donald Healey built a prototype two-seater sports car for display at the 1952 London Motor Show. It was based on the Austin A90 Atlantic and was dubbed the `Healey Hundred' to reflect the car's ability to reach 100mph. So positive was the response that Healey planned to build the cars in his own Warwickshire factory. Leonard Lord, Managing Director of Austin, had other ideas however. He struck a deal with Healey to mass produce the cars. And so, the Austin Healey 100 was born. The car was developed over time and eventually spawned the 3.0L 3000 cars. The MKII, as seen here, was launched in 1961.
This car is a rare and delightful example of a 3000 MKII that has led a charmed and fascinating life. It spent the first part of its life as a regular 3000 in sunny California. It was subsequently re-imported to the UK and started its journey towards FIA racing specification. Today it is in use as a sublime road car but is thought to be easily accredited by the FIA again if racing use was desired.

The History and Paperwork

  • This 1961 Healey was built in 1961
  • It was destined for sunnier climes, however, and was immediately exported to the USA
  • Not much more is known of the car’s Stateside life until 1989
  • In 1989 the car was re-imported and passed into the hands of Dick Smith
  • Dick Smith is a well-known Fraser Nash racer and enthusiast
  • Initially Dick had the car converted to right hand drive by a local restorer
  • The car was then sent to Healey specialists Murray Scott-Nelson
  • They undertook a full rebuild of the car to a very high standard
  • Dick Smith retained the car for a further 13 years
  • During that time numerous other upgrades were made 
  • Many of these were at the hands of specialists Denis Welch
  • Dick also campaigned the car in a number of races
  • Most notable of these was the Manx Classic race
  • Here it was not just the fastest Healey but was second overall
  • This was to a Ferrari 275GTB and ahead of all others in the 3 Litre class
  • The car was then sold in 2003, enjoyed by two further owners between then and 2005
  • The current owner acquired the car at that point and has enjoyed it hugely since
  • The car comes with plenty of interesting paper-based provenance
  • This includes a good deal of FIA required documents and specifications
  • There are some pictures included documenting Dick Smith’s racing exploits
  • A full specification sheet is included detailing all the modifications made
  • A number of earlier MOT certificates are included
  • There are several, high value workshop invoices on hand from Denis Welch Motorsport

The Interior

  • A pristine and driving focussed cabin is finished predominantly in black
  • Despite its racing credentials the interior remains sympathetically original
  • Remaining surprisingly useable with decent boot and behind seat storage

What appeals so much about this example is that the car has not apparently suffered for its race credentials and capability. It presents as a very nicely prepared and restored Big Healey both inside and out. 

That is certainly true in the focused and minimal cabin. The black finish contrasts really well with the bright red external livery. The bucket seats are trimmed in black leather and stitched into vertical, padded box pleats. These are delineated from the smooth bolsters by red piping which repeats at the edges of the cushions.

The carpet set is finished in black and sits atop modern, foil-backed sound-deadening foam. A useful luggage shelf is situated behind the seats and is easily accessed via the folding backs of the buckets. Door cards are finished in black and feature storage pockets. When the hardtop is fitted the headlining is finished in a light hue and is clean and tightly fitted.

The lightly padded dashboard is finished in black. The instruments sit within a wide, elliptical panel ahead of the driver. It is here that one of the few concessions to motorsport can be found. A white-faced Denis Welch “stack” tachometer is fitted. The remainder of the gauges are original, ivory-coloured Smiths items. Also, notable here is the switch operated overdrive which can be deployed on third and fourth gears when required. These sit behind a large, three-spoked alloy Mota-Lita steering wheel with wooden rim. A good-sized boot is present with an immaculately painted interior. Several tools are in evidence here, including the mallet for the twin eared spinners. 

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The Exterior

  • The Healey 3000 exudes sporting prowess from every swoop and curve
  • Once again, little here betrays the car’s race modified credentials
  • The white hard top and cross spoked wire wheels further add to the appeal

When you hear of successful historic racing cars it is easy to imagine numerous stickers, cut out panels, distracting additions and detractions. Not so in this case. Apart from a couple of subtle signs this Healey looks like a beautifully presented and restored example of the breed.

The bright red colourway of this example suits the Healey’s long bonnet, short cabin design so well. When the white hardtop is fitted it is reminiscent of the works Healey rally cars of the early 1960’s It’s a muscular affair with accentuated rear haunches and long curved front wings. The big open “gills” in the A panels conjure up mental images of sharks or manta-rays. The condition and lustre of the paintwork looks to be exemplary.

The only obviously race orientated features are a non-standard radiator grill, a large and rugged looking sump guard under the front valance and a lack of bumpers. If anything, this just helps accentuate the already sporting demeanour of the Healey 3000. The expected brand and model specific badges are present as are a pair of lovely, chromed teardrop wing mirrors. All cabin glass and light lenses appear to be in an excellent, seemingly original condition

The car sits on a set of silver painted 72 cross-spoked, 15-inch wheels. These are affixed with a set of chromed, twin eared spinners. The wheels are shod in a mixed set of Goodyear Eagle NCT 65 and Toyo Roadpro tyres in 195/65 configuration.

The Mechanics

  • The Healey 3000 has benefitted from a huge manifest of racing upgrades
  • These mostly date from the early 2000’s and are predominantly courtesy of Denis Welch
  • Whilst capable of race success the specification makes for a great fast road car

During its history, this car has been lavished with specialist attention from historic race and motorsport specialists. This has resulted in a significantly modified technical specification and a powerful and characterful road and race car. Space limits us from listing every modification made to this special example, but a full manifest is photographed and is included with the car.

Some highlights include triple Weber DCOE 45 carburettors with 34mm chokes and upswept magnesium manifold set, ram pipes and air filters with heat shields. The engine has been balanced, lightened and a new uprated crank vibration damper fitted. Denis Welch camshaft and followers are fitted with high lift rockers, gas flowed head and big valves. Cosworth forged pistons are in place and a competition diaphragm clutch, lightened flywheel and baffled sump are fitted.

In terms of suspension, competition shock absorbers are fitted with nylon bushes and uprated anti-roll bars are in place. New stub axles and hubs are fitted together with a high-ratio steering box. New brake discs, competition pads and competition rear drum linings are in place. A rebuilt competition overdrive and gear lever drive switch knob is present, and the gearbox and back axle have been rebuilt with a new balanced prop shaft and universal joints fitted. 

Despite all the modifications and upgrades the under-bonnet presentation is excellent, being clean and well resolved. The underside of the car, equally, looks to be in excellent order, fully defying this car’s age. In practical terms we learn from the owner that the Healey has been kept in his private collection in a tiled dehumidified garage where it has been polished every Friday. The car starts on the button and reportedly runs superbly.

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The Healey 3000s were much more than a nice looking and powerful sports car right from the get-go. They were rallied by a works team that wore the same white and red livery that is seen on our example. The 3000s proved rugged and durable competitors and in 1960, the year before this car was built, a 3000 won the Liège - Rome- Liège annual rally competition. Only 13 out of 83 cars finished. Three of those were 3000’s with just one of the four entered failing to finish.

Whilst our example seemingly led a quieter early life in sunny California it went on to earn its own racing plaudits later in life. The beauty of this example is how unmolested appears, outwardly, in order to achieve racing success. As such it can easily and enjoyably be used on the road. However, if the new owner wished to return the car to the track, we are confident it would continue to acquit itself admirably.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 2023
  • Make Healey
  • Model 3000 MKII
  • Colour Red
  • Odometer 97,418 Miles
  • Engine size 2912cc
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Town Bolton, Greater Manc…
  • Location Lancashire
  • Country United Kingdom

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