2020 Shannons Melbourne Autumn Classic Auction
1964 Austin-Healey BJ8 3000 MKIII Convertible
Result: PASSED IN
|Engine||2912cc in-line six cylinder|
|Gearbox||Four-speed manual with overdrive|
This lot is no longer available
The Big Healey was - and still is - one of the best looking sports cars to come out of post-war Britain, with a macho image due in part to the relatively unsophisticated nature of the car (with its live rear axle, separate chassis and basic steering) but also thanks to its mechanical toughness. However, it was the Big Healey's competition successes that really carved out its reputation, taking numerous wins in many important events as BMC's frontline rally weapon, with the likes of Pat Moss, Paddy Hopkirk, Runo Aaltonen and Timo Makinen at the wheel. Originally marketed in 100/4 guise, from 1956 the C-Series six-cylinder engine from the Austin Westminster was installed to create the 100/6 but it wasn't until the 3000 arrived in 1959 that performance was restored to earlier levels and new front disc brakes were also a big advantage. A more luxurious convertible body was introduced in 1962 with the BJ7 and this carried on into Mark III production as the BJ8, with wind-up windows replacing the old side screens, swivelling quarter lights and a wraparound windscreen. The Mark III also benefited from a luxurious new wooden dashboard, along with servo-assisted brakes, more powerful engine and twin exhaust system. The 3-litre six, fed by twin SU HD8 carburettors, now pushed out 148bhp at 5250rpm with a 9:1 compression ratio to give the Big Healey true 120mph performance. As always, overdrive was an option on the four-speed box along with wire wheels. The 3000 was further refined in May 1964 as the Phase II, with re-shaped chassis side members and new rear suspension to improve ground clearance. The Big Healey remains a most sought-after sports car, a sound investment and a source of great pleasure for the fortunate owner.