's Great British Cars – Austin Healey 3000

Sat 22nd Sep 2018

Great Britain, great cars. The UK motor industry is respected the world over, and though many of the vehicles are actually owned by foreign manufacturers, there can be no doubting of the fantastic heritage of the British motor.

To celebrate Britain’s famous history is launching a series looking back on some of the most famous vehicles the UK has ever seen.

Austin-Healey 3000
As with the current vogue for SUVs, there was a time when the car that everyone wanted was a sports car and believe it or not, British sports cars were the fashion.

An era that spawned the classic Jaguars and Aston Martin’s was a halcyon period for British sports car design. The austerity of the Second World War was over and the British began building and spending on stylish, classy and most important fast cars.

Between 1959 and and 1968, the British Motor Company created their own chapter in the history of British sports classics when they produced the Austin-Healey 3000, a two-door sports car that was craved, both at home and abroad.

The 3000’s classic bodywork was designed by Jensen Motors, a company with a long reputation for creating some distinctive designs for sports cars since Alan and Richard Jensen had formed the company in 1922. The engine was put together at BMC’s MG Works in Abingdon.

While the Austin-Healey 3000 was a favourite amongst British drivers, it was abroad that it’s soft-top design was truly appreciated, in fact more than 80,000 of the cars produced in the UK were actually exported, mainly to the United States.

As expected, the Austin-Healey 3000 was a strong performer on race tracks as well as on roads, it featured at some of the world’s most famous circuits, including Sebring in the US, Le Mans in France and Mount Panorama Circuit, Bathurst in Australia. However, development of the production models for racing purposes was brought to a close as the BMC team opted to focus on the tiny but powerful Mini Cooper S, which was a beast amongst the rallying circuit.

The success of the Austin-Healey 3000 came to an end in 1967 when British Leyland called time on the manufacturing as the company had designed and developed its successor, the MG MGC.

Years of manufacture: 1959-1968 
Price when new: £1,257
Price now: £20,000-£70,000
Engine: 2,912cc 6cyl petrol, 124bhp
Top speed: 113mph