Big Healeys were born to race

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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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