3000 1959- 67

Classics Monthly - - Marque Guide -

The Healey MkI 3000 was launched in 1959 sport­ing a new, 2912cc six-cylin­der en­gine and front disc brakes. Two-seat cars were still avail­able, now des­ig­nated the BN7 series, while two-plus-two ver­sions be­came the BT7. Power out­put from the larger en­gine had been in­creased to 130bhp at 4700rpm and torque was up again, this time to 167lbf.ft at 2700rpm. A stronger gear­box han­dled the in­crease in power and al­though top speed was up to 116 mph, the 0- 60 time re­mained firmly stuck at 11 sec­onds.

1961 saw the launch of the MkII 3000 and de­spite a third SU car­bu­ret­tor and a re-pro­filed camshaft hik­ing the six-pot’s power out­put up to 132bhp, big Healey sales took a hefty tum­ble due to a sig­nif­i­cant world­wide down­turn in trade. The fit­ting of the trou­ble­some third SU carb was for mar­ket­ing and ho­molo­ga­tion pur­poses and only lasted a year. Two-seat BN7 pro­duc­tion came to an end in March 1962, while the BN7 two-plus-two cars sol­diered on to June. To help boost sales, Au­gust 1962 saw the launch of the Austin-Healey 3000 Sports Con­vert­ible, the first big Healey with wind-up win­dows and front quar­ter lights – the hairy chested beast was be­ing tamed.

The BJ7 series, of­ten un­of­fi­cially re­ferred to as the MkIIA , had re­verted back to twin SU carbs and power was main­tained at 130bhp by a camshaft change. Al­though this model only had an 18-month life­span, the camshaft was changed again in an at­tempt to pep up per­for­mance. MkII pro­duc­tion came to an end in late Oc­to­ber 1963 when the Austin Healey 3000 MkIII BJ8 series was un­veiled for the 1964 model year.

In­te­rior im­prove­ments now in­cluded a cen­tral tunnel linked to a re­designed wal­nut-ve­neered fa­cia com­plete with a lock­able glove box. Un­der the bon­net an­other camshaft change and a pair of 2-inch SU HD8 car­bu­ret­tors boosted power to 148bhp at 5250rpm and in 1965 the BJ8 Healey re­ceived sep­a­rate am­ber rear in­di­ca­tor lenses, one of the 3000’s fi­nal changes.

Im­pend­ing US Fed­eral leg­is­la­tion proved the death knell for the Austin Healey 3000 and pro­duc­tion fi­nally came to an end in De­cem­ber 1967. How­ever, this wasn’t the end of the story, as there were plans to pro­duce a re­vised fixed head ver­sion and the Healey fam­ily even built a slightly wider pro­to­type Healey 4000 fit­ted with a 3909cc en­gine from a BMC Princess R, but sadly nei­ther was put into pro­duc­tion.

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