After more than four decades, my great-uncle’s Austin-Healey 3000 is finally on the road again

Wayde Kirvida’s Austin-Healey 3000 has been a member of his family since 1963. Courtesy Wayde Kirvida

This article first appeared in Hagerty Drivers Club magazine. Click here to subscribe and join the club.

This Austin-Healey was purchased new in 1963 by my great-uncle, who flew from Minnesota to the U.K. specifically to order the car in person. In 1966, my 18-year-old father bought the car after his father denied him the ability to put his summer work savings toward a Hemi Mopar. The Healey went on to accommodate my dating parents, then took them through college in St. Cloud, MN, through their wedding, and it eventually carried me as an infant.

Wayde Kirvida Austin-Healey 3000 restoration family just married
Courtesy Wayde Kirvida

Years of fairly heavy year-round use in Minnesota took their toll, and the car was stuck in a hangar, then a barn, then a series of barns and storage units as it awaited its ultimate fate.

The car was “given” to me at a young age and sat idle until my college break in 1992, when the grand delusion of restoration directed my evenings and weekends into a rather well-labeled but extensive tear-down. That endeavor was short-lived, and the carcass and appendages returned to their series of revolving storage options.

In 2019, I was somewhat challenged by a friend to see the restoration through. Twenty-plus years older, with deeper pockets and a supportive wife, I dug back in and enlisted the help of an engine builder, Midwest Vee of Saint Paul, and a body man, Metal Dance of Shafer, MN, to do the heavy lifting.

Wayde Kirvida Austin-Healey 3000 restoration
Courtesy Wayde Kirvida

Eighteen months later, I was driving a car that had been torn down as far as possible and rebuilt using as many original parts as possible. The only replacement metal is the trunk floor and the inner doorsills. It’s painted Porsche 356 Aquamarine, and personal touches include loop carpets, the gray-stained flame maple dash, an oil cooler inlet, front tie-downs, side exhaust, a Le Mans–style fuel cap, and a steering wheel that I personally designed and made.

The car drives better than I expected, and the original interior, with its musty smell, evokes so many memories. It’s like wearing a hand-me-down jacket with a new zipper.




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    Big Healeys are terrific cars, and beautiful, honest lines as anything ever styled. Have known several old domestic (US) car owners/mechanics who all at one point owned a 100-6 or 3000, remarking a big Healey was the only reliable English car ever made and the only they freely enjoyed, the sole drawback as you know being to always, a l w a y s keep an eye open for potholes and to always enter steep driveways s l o w l y at an angle.

    Well, your feet can get hot, too, but that wonderful burble. Some of us think them as lovely and more “genuine” looking than an XK-120/140. Good going, Wayde, and a gorgeous, elegant, understated color!

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