Why the Austin-Healey 3000 MkIII is Collectable
The Collector is a weekly series produced in association with Gear Patrol, where we discuss the car, and Gear Patrol discusses the essential gear inspired by the car. (Click here to see the rest of The Collector Series on Petrolicious.)
The Austin-Healey 3000 was the last of the 'big' Healeys, so-called to distinguish them from the later, more diminutive Sprites. It was equipped with a big 2.9L straight-6 that produced 150hp, not bad for a car that weighed under 2600lbs. It was preceded in the Healey line-up by the 100-6 that, despite the different name, was rather similar both in appearance and mechanical construction. However, that car and the the two Marks leading up to the III were more basic and less luxurious in comparison.
The Mk I had front disc brakes (drums out back), a laminated windshield, and was available as pure two-seater or as a 2+2. The Mk II was introduced after two years with much improved braking performance and improved acceleration (nearly one second quicker than the MkI to sixty mph). Some exterior touches were modified over the generations including the design of the grille and the shape of the windshield.
But the MkIII raised the bar even further, both in terms of luxury and power. Roll-up windows became standard and the interior was updated thoroughly. As mentioned, power went to 150hp (from 134 in the MkII). And while all Austin-Healey 3000s are very good looking and engaging to drive, the MkIII has always been the most desirable. Mr. Brian Rabold, Hagerty’s Valuation Services Senior Manager, explains:
"The MkIII addressed many of the streetability issues of the earlier big Healeys and by 1965 the phase 2 had gone even further—namely with a modified suspension and an increased ride height. Phase 2s were long favored by enthusiasts, but the price gap between the two iterations now is not as dramatic: ten years ago the later cars were worth approximately 30% more while today they trade for less than a 10% premium. This might represent a buying opportunity as usability becomes increasingly important for owners."
And, as if gorgeous British Roadster-good looks aren't enough, the 3000 has a racing pedigree, competing at famous tracks all over the world such as Sebring, Le Mans, and Bathurst. Not only was the Austin-Healey raced on tracks but it enjoyed some success as a rally car until the Mini Cooper supplanted it at the British Motor Corp.
Special thanks to Mr. Jeff Taw at British European Auto in San Pedro, CA, Mr. Brian Rabold and Hagerty for their contribution. If you'd like to check current values on Austin-Healey 3000s, or other cars, click here.
It's a matter of dollars and driving style. Both were produced during the same period, though the E-Type lasted longer, and for good reason. It was stunning, better on the road, easier to drive and less finicky when it came to maintenance (relatively speaking). The AH 3000 MkIII, however carries its own weight in British style, despite less refined road manners. A solid E-Type V12 roadster will cost you substantially more than an Austin-Healey, but no one will fault you if you go the less expensive route. You'll still be the coolest guy in the neighborhood.