Lot 172 - 1960 Austin-Healey 3000 Mk. I BT7 Competition
|Result||Sold - £39,200|
There is little doubt that the Big Healey occupies a significant chapter in the annuls of historic rallying. Few cars can compete with the elegant lines and formidable three litre engine that took so many of these to victory at stages all over the world. The BMC competitions department rallied the 3000 from its introduction but the development of the works cars effectively ended in 1965 mainly because of the success of the Mini Cooper 'S'.
Such luminaries as Pat Moss and Tommy Wisdom, Nancy Mitchell, John Gott and Peter Riley took these cars into the public eye where they remain just as competitive with modern day warriors such as David Grace Simon Kidstone. Chassis number H-BT-H/12122 was built in March 1960 and dispatched to Imperial Motors in Bournemouth. The equipment specified at the factory included a black hardtop, roadspeed tyres, a laminated windscreen, disc wheels all round, adjustable steering column and over drive. No heater was requested.
Whilst the first owner is unknown, a paper-trail does exist detailing its history with the second owner from 1968. A change of ownership took place at that point to Brian Turner of West London with another change in 1972 to John Seymour in Essex.
He took the original registration number, OTK 76, off the car replacing it with the current number, APU 122A although still raced with OTK 76 right through to 1989. It is believed that the original number was not sold but attributed to his tow-vehicle while he raced the Healey. In 1972/73, it was fully converted to its current racing specification before selling to Roger Byford in the early 1980's. It is thought that during John Seymour's ownership, the car was taken back to Donald Healey in Warwickshire to be converted to a race car.
To the trained eye, there are also another few details that stand out; primarily, all the body panels are aluminium, including all four wings and doors, normally the preserve of the works team cars, including the dished rear lid, so shaped to take a spare wheel. Additionally the throttle assemblies and rocker cover are also of the works type.
The shock absorbers are Armstrong adjustable units to the rear and Armstrong up-rated to the front. The gearbox contains straight cut, close ratio gearing of the type used at Sebring, Donald Healey's most successful circuit, mated to a 2912cc engine with oversize valves, a racing camshaft by Rees and a Tuftrided drilled crankshaft fitted to a lightened and balanced flywheel. The competition distributer keeps things in time and the triple DCOE's ensure the fuel is flowing correctly. The brakes are servo-assisted by Bob Green with a limited slip differential and new crown wheel and pinion with a 4.1:1 ratio. There appears to be much on this car that speaks of more than the sum of its parts.
In 1982, the car was sold to a German owner where it was raced on the continent until 1989 when the vehicle was parked up and for the past 25 years it has been dry stored. Recently recommisioned, it now has excellent oil pressure and runs well. It has just been through a UK MoT test; albeit with a borrowed set of wheels and tyres.
Indeed, reading between the lines, it may be argued that this car has enjoyed a career in racing that is not fully documented here or understood. A little more research may open a few pleasant surprises or form the basis of an easy rebirth to rallying. Furthermore, it is supplied with FiA papers dated July, 1988 as well as a British Motor Industry Heritage Certificate.
The future of this Healey is still to be written and could easily be as interesting as its past.
Previous lotLot 171 - 1955 Jaguar XK140 Drophead Coupé
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