Arguably Britain’s finest post-war ‘classic’ sports car, the ‘Big Healey’ has everything going for it; looks, power and motorsport pedigree. The first Austin-Healey 100 came about after a deal was struck between Austin boss Leonard Lord and Donald Healey – the latter then a small volume sports car maker based in Warwick. The deal saw the new Healey 100 (name referenced its top speed) being produced at BMC’s then newly created Longbridge plant. Production of subsequent models would move to MG’s Abingdon factory.
The Big Healey recipe found its stride in 1956 when BMC’s 2639cc ‘C-series’ six-cylinder engine was shoehorned into the Healey’s semi-unitary chassis. Initially, power was barely any more than the preceding four-cylinder unit, but there was plenty more potential for tuning. A hike of 15bhp came a year later, with a capacity increase to 2912cc boosted horsepower still further in 1959. By 1963 a pair of SU HD8 carburettors had been fitted, allowing 148bhp in the ultimate Healey 3000, the MkIII (BJ8). This final model would see out 3000 production in 1967.