Austin-Healey 3000 (1959 – 1968) Review

Austin-Healey 3000 (1959 – 1968) At A Glance


+More power improves the Austin-Healey 3000 considerably, roomy and fun for two, a timeless classic sports car

-Many changes throughout production, you need to know exactly what you're buying, make sure it's been properly looked after by a specialist

The Austin-Healey 3000 was BMC's sporting flagship for almost a decade, and many detail changes were made along the way. The 3000 name was first used in 1959 when the C-Series engine from the 100/6 was upgraded to 2.9-litres (and a nominal for marketing 3-litres), for use in the uprated Farina bodied Westminsters.

The 3000 boasted more power, an improved gearbox and disc brakes on the front. There was the return of a 2+2 format, available alongside the two-seat roadster.

In 1961, the more user-friendly Mk2 was introduced. It had a troublesome triple carburettor set-up initially, but was dropped after a year, when the 3000 Mk2a Convertible went back to just two carburettors plus featured a curved front windscreen, wind-up windows, a more user-friendly hood and 2+2 seating as standard.

The best was saved 'til last though, with the Austin-Healey Mk3, launched in 1964. Although the looks remained largely the same this was the most powerful Austin-Healey with 148bhp for a maximum speed of 121mph. The Phase 2 versions had revised rear suspension which improved handling. Tinal car was built in March 1968 in a long and successful career - it was replaced by the MGC, a very different animal.

Ask Honest John

My insurer are expecting me to contribute £1000 towards fixing my classic car after someone drove into it - what action should I take?

"Sadly, someone drove into my 1967 Austin Healey 3000. It was entirely their fault, he was very embarrassed and apologetic. My insurer, Trinity, have approved a repair estimate but are expecting me to contribute £1000 betterment towards the cost of a new wiring loom, plus fitting. In the collision, the loom must have shorted in some way and smoke started to appear. Thankfully the smoke ceased when I turned off the ignition. I am advised that looms do not deteriorate in use, but it worked perfectly until the accident. The repairer does not consider it realistic to repair the existing loom and guarantee it. I have also been advised that a replacement loom will not add significantly to the value of the car. I feel hard done by. Am I being unreasonable? What action should I take?"
Advise Trinity that the loom has been damaged as part of the incident. It's a "consequential" loss. The incident is not your fault and you're lawful entitlement is here: If the loom cannot be sectioned in the damaged area and has to be replaced in full, then this is down to them as part of the claim. It is not down to you because it's not your fault that it cannot be sectioned. However, I can see no reason why the loom cannot be repaired as they are very simplistic on an Austin Healey. There should be no reason a good auto electrician could not do this and guarantee it. Looms do deteriorate, especially on a car 50-odd years old, as the insulation goes hard and brittle. It may well be a perfect opportunity to get it replaced and updated. What I would do is make a claim for "diminution in loss in value " on your vehicle on top of repair cost.
Answered by Tim Kelly

Why couldn't Halfords help with the battery on my 1959 Austin Healey?

"As the cranking speed of my 1959 Austin Healey's starter was getting very low, I drove round to Halfords and asked them to test the battery. Their meter said ‘battery unserviceable', so I shelled out £75 for a new one. This made no difference, so I replaced the starter motor with a spare I had in the garage. Starting was now instant. Meanwhile (while I was restoring the spare starter motor), the old battery sat uncharged in the garage for a month, and never dropped below 12.56v. I took it back to Halfords and asked them to test it again. It still came up ‘unserviceable', which was not true because the problem was the starter motor. The staff declined to offer any compensation. I asked them what the meter was actually testing, but they had no idea. One of them said it tested each cell, which it could not do as the cells are connected in series. So I put the old battery back in the car and checked the voltage drop on cranking. It dropped to 10.6v, when an acceptable figure would be 9.6v. Obviously it was in rude health. So I emailed Halfords' customer services with the story, including the magic words ‘Trading Standards'. Within 24 hours they had refunded the £75 and given me a £10 voucher for my trouble. The engine continues to start instantly on the old battery. As usual, the moral of the story is ‘caveat emptor'."
Very, very strange. Basically, a good battery should charge to 13.5 volts. Your old battery's drop to 12.56 volts meant it was okay. So either the testing kit at Halfords was up the creek or the boys there did not know how to use it. You called their bluff. And you won. These days you cannot trust anyone that you don't know very well indeed.
Answered by Honest John

Is there a German-made sports car that looks like a Healey 3000 and has a BMW M Sport engine?

"I'm trying to think of a sports car that is similar to a Healey 3000 in looks (may only come as a coupe though) and I believe it's German with a large BMW 'M' Sport engine. It has large low profile tyres but actually rides and handles quite well. I have seen them at motor shows in the past but can't recall the brand/model. Can you help?"
We've had a think and aren't quite sure which car it is you're thinking of. Could be a Wiesmann. There was talk of a revival of Austin Healey (back in 2006) but it hasn't come to fruition yet and doesn't look like it will. Details are here:
Answered by David Ross
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