Me and my mo­tor

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE - Mark Hinch­liffe

WHAT bet­ter way to cel­e­brate your 73rd birth­day than a drive in a 1962 Austin Healey 3000 MkII BT7 through the fa­mous twists and turns of Mt Glo­ri­ous.

This is how for­mer en­gi­neer Keith Bai­ley chose to mark the oc­ca­sion.

Bai­ley came to Aus­tralia in 1964 and worked at the South Aus­tralian Woomera rocket range, which is the largest land-based de­fence and aero­space range in the world and roughly the size of Bai­ley’s home coun­try of Eng­land.

‘‘I was an en­gi­neer for Rolls-Royce on gas tur­bine en­gines un­til 1972,’’ Bai­ley says.

De­spite liv­ing in Aus­tralia ever since, Bai­ley has a keen eye for English beauty such as this model.

It fea­tures a 2912cc, straight-six en­gine and the car has a top speed of 181.7km/h (112.9 mph), ac­cel­er­at­ing from 0-100km/h in 10.9sec with fuel con­sump­tion of 12L/100km (23.5mpg).

It is the only Austin Healey 3000 with triple SU HS4 car­bu­ret­tors.

The Bri­tish sports car had body­work by Jensen Motors while the ve­hi­cles were as­sem­bled at the Bri­tish Mo­tor Cor­po­ra­tion Abing­don works.

They made 11,564 MkII mod­els of which 5096 were the BT7 MkII. Many were raced around the world and even com­peted at Bathurst.

They cost £1362 when new, but Bai­ley bought his in 1994 for $17,500.

The car had been im­ported from the US along with two oth­ers by a Bris­bane col­lec­tor.

‘‘The US is the best place to buy them from be­cause a large pro­por­tion went over there,’’ Bai­ley says. ‘‘It was in a right state. It was in left­hand drive and I had to con­vert it which wasn’t too dif­fi­cult. It’s all bolton stuff.

‘‘Be­cause it’s English all the holes and fit­tings are al­ready there for right­hand drive, but you do have to change the dash­board.’’

Bai­ley boasts he did most of the work him­self. How­ever, the gor­geous two-tone paint job and panel work was done by Bris­bane ren­o­va­tion spe­cial­ists Sleep­ing Beauty.

The restora­tion is faith­ful right down to the orig­i­nal Lu­cas dis­trib­u­tor, wind­screen wipers, horn, lighting and gen­er­a­tor. Joseph Lu­cas and Com­pany, the Birm­ing­ham mo­tor elec­tri­cal man­u­fac­turer, was of­ten known as ‘‘Joe Lu­cas, the Prince of Dark­ness’’ be­cause of its high fail­ure how­ever Bai­ley keeps the faith. ‘‘It’s not failed me so far,’’ he says. ‘‘Peo­ple tend to rub­bish Lu­cas – for good rea­son I sup­pose – but a lot of jets used to use them.

‘‘I’m not sure about th­ese days.’’

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HEALEY HER­ITAGE:

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