The classically British Austin-Healey 3000 sports car was launched in 1959 by BMC (British Motor Corporation).  During the car’s 8-year production run, in which 42,926 cars were built, it evolved from an open sports car into a sports convertible.  Production ceased in 1967 once BMC had been taken over by the British Leyland Motor Corporation.

Austin-Healey 3000
Austin-Healey 3000

The Austin-Healey 3000 is the best known of the ‘big Healey’ models with the 3-litre 3000 proving to be exceptionally popular, especially in North America, which was the destination of 91.5% of cars built in 1963.  It had a racing pedigree, competing at most major racing circuits around the world including Sebring (USA) and Le Mans (France) as part of the Donald Healy Motor Company.

The Austin-Healey 3000 History

The Mark 1 Austin-Healey 3000, launched in 1959, is otherwise known as the BN7 (two-seater) and BT7 (2+2) roadsters.  The Mark II BN7 and BT7 roadsters were launched in May 1961, followed by the BJ7 in August 1962.  The BJ7 was the first true convertible with a wrap-around windscreen, wind-up side windows and a quick-action folding roof.

In February 1964, the Mark III BJ8 sports convertible was launched with a 10% increase in engine power to 150 bhp.  The SMITHS instrumentation was repositioned in a new dashboard, now mounted directly in front of the driver.  The SMITHS instrumentation for the Austin-Healey 3000 was very distinctive and featured throughout the life of the 3000.  The main four gauges included:

  • Speedometer
  • Tachometer
  • Fuel gauge
  • Dual water temperature and oil pressure gauge

The speedometer and tachometer featured a cream gauge face background with a black central hub.

Austin-Healey 3000
Austin-Healey 3000

Stricter emissions and safety regulations nearly led to the 4000 Mark IV.  The prototypes of 1966 and 1967 never reached production.

The Austin-Healey 3000 TV and Film Stardom

The Austin-Healey 3000 has appeared in many television series films including Mad Men (April 2014) and films including The Father of the Bride (1991) and The Father of the Bride II (1995), where Steve Martin drove a MKIII, .  It has even featured in modern pop culture with the band Tears for Fears driving a British racing green Austin-Healey 3000 around Southern California in the video for their hit Everybody Wants to Rule the World.

The Austin-Healey 3000 remains popular with classic car enthusiasts today and is raced in classic car events including Le Mans Classic and Goodwood Revival.

Austin-Healey 3000
Austin-Healey 3000

Related Blogposts

CAI is working with A H Spares of Southam in Warwickshire, UK on a reintroduction programme of SMITHS Austin-Healey instruments using the original designs and drawings.  Further information on SMITHS instrumentation for classic cars and motorcycles is available on our website, or to discuss a specific requirement please contact us on:

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