Big Healeys were born to race

Petrolicious Austin Healey Petrolicious

The Donald Healey Motor Company was born out of its founder’s enthusiasm for racing and aviation. By the time the Austin-Healey 3000s came out in 1959, fast pace was standard. Bodied by Jensen and assembled by MG, these “Big Healeys” came with triple SU carburetors on their 3.0-liter straight-six engines before getting a more efficient twin HS6 setup for 1962’s Mk IIs. The following year, over 90 percent of Austin-Healeys were exported to the United States, so even today, you have a very good chance of finding a nice one.

Back in period, most of the straight-six Healeys found their way into rallies, speed trials, and circuit racing, but to further cement its reputation overseas, the Donald Healey Motor Company also prepared five blue-and-white factory specials for Sebring.

Austin Healey 3000 MkII
Flickr / Lav Ulv

These cars featured triple Weber carburetors and a Westlake head, a high-lift camshaft, four-wheel disc brakes, dual-circuit wiring, straight-cut gears, and an endurance fuel tank, as well as an aluminum body and a half cage under the hardtop.

Finding one of these works cars was a lifelong dream come true for Healey fan Tony Parkinson, who explained to Petrolicious why a straight-cut race car from 1963 is also his perfect road car, despite its “purposeful stance.”

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