The Austin-Healey 3000 MkIII is among the most iconic British cars of all time. One of the legendary 'big Healeys', it was built in the Midlands, England. Bodies were built by Jensen - in West Bromwich. Final assembly took place in the MG factory - at Abingdon. First of the breed was the Healey 100 - which used the 4-cylinder engine from the Austin Atlantic. But, it was when a 6-pot motor was lowered into the 3000 version, that the Healey range really sprang into life.
The 3000 MkI arrived in '59. Looks-wise - as a sizeable, stylish 2-seater - it was not vastly different from what had gone before. But, it was what had occurred beneath the bonnet that changed the game. The 'six' kicked out 124bhp. Top speed was 114mph. To cope with all that, robust front disc brakes had been fitted. Come the the 3000 MkII - and output had been upped to 132bhp. That was largely courtesy of triple SU carburettors. '64's MkIII model racheted power up yet further - to 148bhp. The needle now flickered at over 120mph. Suddenly, the motorsport world sat up and took note. Before long, the Healey had been turned into a works rally car - and a competitive one, at that.
Styling-wise, the 3000 was definitively low-slung. Whilst that certainly looked cool, it did not help the car's rallying cause. On the stages, ground clearance was suspect. In design terms, though, the 3000 was a triumph. The dramatic grille - and subtly sloping lines - were a joy to behold. Wire wheels were a web-like work of art. The curved windscreen - and neatly-folding hood - were gentle embellishments. The 3000's rear-end was nothing if not shapely. Distinctly British though it was, the car was built primarily for the American market. Ironically, it was Stateside safety regulations which caused its demise. Production stopped in '67. By then, though, the 3000 was well and truly woven into the fabric of moody, muscular sports cars. With a bit of finesse thrown in for good measure!