3000 Mark I BN7
1960 Austin Healey Restored Black on Black 3000 BN7
In the history of motoring, there's one thing that has always been constant: the desire for more power. Perhaps the most powerful of the early British sports cars, the Austin-Healey 3000 combined a powerful six cylinder engine in a relatively light 2-seater roadster body, creating one of the most enduring icons of the era. Known as the Big Healeys, their brawny engines and comfortable, capable chassis make them superb road cars, with respectable reliability compared to their British contemporaries. In 1959, the 3000 Mk I (which only became the Mk I after the Mk II arrived in 1961) was introduced with a larger 2.9 liter engine (up from 2.6), twin SU carburetors, and Girling front disc brakes as standard equipment. In the past decade, values on these once-underrated cars have skyrocketed, and the day is not far off when these will be changing hands for six figures. If you've been hoping to add one to your collection, we might recommend this black-on-black roadster, because they won't be this affordable much longer.
Restored about ten years ago, this big Healey 2-seater is one of only 2825 built between 1959 and 1961, and still looks fresh and show-worthy today, despite being driven and enjoyed as it should. Solid black is a relatively unusual color on Healeys, and making one look this good is no easy task, thanks to their largely hand-built nature. Foregoing the usual two-tone paint treatment, this all-black example is simply stunning in person, with excellent gaps and beautiful fit throughout. The deep finish is surely the result of a lot of time and expensive hand labor, because getting black cars to look right is not a job for the inexperienced or lazy. The finish seems to emphasize the long hood and short deck proportions that make the Healeys so prized, and I can't quite decide which is more remarkable the way it looks or the way it sounds.
Wonderful detailing throughout characterizes the best of the Healeys, with lots of chrome and that trademark oval Austin-Healey grille. With chrome bumpers, the faux hood scoop, and accessory driving lights, the front end is impressive, while out back, a chrome luggage rack on the boot lid adds carrying capacity for true long-distance touring ability. Dual side mirrors, mounted well forward on the front fenders (or wings, as the British call them), are surprisingly well-placed for a complete view of the road behind you. Other bright trim includes the side vents on the fenders and the bright wind lace that runs along the crowns of both the front and rear fenders.
The big news for the MkI was a big upgrade in the power department. The Austin-derived inline-six cylinder engine was enlarged from 2,639cc to 2,912cc, making the 3000 an immediate success, both commercially and in competition. While there was a difference of only a seven horsepower between the earlier 100/6 and the new 3000, the engine gained 18 pounds of torque, a 12 percent increase that was immediately apparent in the drivers back when he steps on the throttle and opens the big SU carburetors. Dressed in correct Austin metallic green paint, the engine is highly detailed and correct, despite a decade since it was restored. The SU carburetors are easy to tune, even for those not familiar with the intricacies of these vehicles, and make the most wonderful intake howl at full throttle. Intake and exhaust manifolds have been coated for long-lasting durability, and the bright polished carburetors are a brilliant accent. Other correct details include the gold Lucas coil, red fan shroud, and proper red rubber heater hoses. The combination of American-style torque, a lightweight body, and a longer wheelbase make these Healeys the ones to own if you're a fan of driving your hardware.
Underneath, this one has been restored to drive, not just to show, and the rugged mechanicals are all in order. The transmission is a 4-speed manual with electric overdrive actuated using a dash-mounted switch, giving the big Healey the ability to cover great distances in relative comfort. Those Girling front disc brakes dramatically improved stopping power and by retaining the less-efficient rear drums, Healey delivered highly effective brake bias for better control. In back, the Healey retained a leaf-sprung live axle, but ride quality is surprisingly good thanks to relatively supple 165R15 radial tires on a set of stunning chrome wire wheels with knock-offs.
The interior is fitted with matching black leather and seats that offer contrasting white piping for a dramatic effect. Wearing the same dramatic 2-seater body on a longer wheelbase meant that passenger comfort was vastly improved for the Mk I. English wool carpets cover the floors, and the leather-faced dash is full of beautiful Smiths gauges visible through the restored banjo-style steering wheel. Weather equipment is basic, with a new folding soft top that stows neatly behind the seats and removable side curtains that are surprisingly easy to install. The big Healeys level of sophistication is evident in the inclusion of a heater and radio as standard equipment, suggesting that the car was intended for a broader audience than just hard-core sports car aficionados. The trunk is finished with a rubber mat and a matching full-sized spare still held in place with a leather belt this is a proper English sports car after all.
Documentation includes a Drivers Handbook, a letter from the Austin-Healey Club of America celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Mk I, and a pile of receipts for much of the recent restoration work.
This lovely black MK I BN7 is a very presentable restored automobile, with very little wear apparent anywhere. Delightfully agile and powerful on the road, their compact size is deceiving, because they're quite comfortable and spacious for two passengers. Well-sorted Healeys are starting to command prices that until recently were reserved for marques like Jaguar, and as admiration for these cars grows, there's little question that the best cars will continue to appreciate. This is an outstanding and rare two-seat big Healey that would serve as a wonderful tour car or with just a little preparation, a spectacular show car. Call today!
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