The Austin-Healey was known as “The Sports-Car of Sportsmen,” and my late father, Lee Simmons, loved his Austin-Healey. He used to take me and my late brother Mario on rides into the Santa Ynez Mountains, en route to Lake Cachuma, Santa Ynez and/or Solvang. It was the happiest time of our lives together.
I cannot remember the model my Dad had with assured accuracy, but I believe it was a 3000 MK1. In fact, it was similar to this Healey that I had the pleasure of viewing at the 2012 Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance, although I believe my Dad’s was an earlier model.
This 1961 Austin-Healey 3000 Mk 1 at Hillsborough is a real beauty. The Healeys were popular with Americans because in the United States there were not that many sports cars.
Austin-Healey was a joint venture between the Austin division of British Motor Corp.'s Austin Division and Donald Healey.
“Its objective was to offer and affordable sports car capable of 100 mph," according to the car's owner's summary at Hillsborough. “The first, 100 4-models had a 4-cylinder engine. The chassis was enlarged and the engine changed to an inline 6-cylinder in the second, 100 6-Series.
"The 3000 was its third major series. Other than enlarging the engine displacement to 3 liters and adding front disc brakes, not much changed in the 'Mark 1' (a retronym ~ it was simply the 3000 until the Mark II came along).”
The model I photographed at Hillsborough is distinguishable from later models by its horizontal front grille, retained from the 100-6.
“In production 1959-61, this model has an inline six-cylinder undersquare 2912cc engine with twin 1.75” SU carburetors mated to 4-speed gearbox with an optional Leycock de Normanville electric overdrive available on the top two gears,” the owner’s summary stated. “There were 13,650 made: 10,825 BT7-Series (like this example) with occasional four seating and 2,825 BN7 twin-seaters.”
Keywords:1961 Austin-Healey, Austin, Austin-Healey, English cars, Glenn Franco Simmons, Healey, Hillsborough, Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance, Sports cars, cars, classic cars, vintage cars
© Glenn Thomas Franco Simmons' Photography