In preparation for the 1960 Sebring 12-Hours World Championship-qualifying race, the Donald Healey Motor Car Company's experimental workshop at The Cape, Warwick, transported the 3000 competition coupe to the team's Sebring base at Murphy's Garage, Avon Park, Florida. The car offered here, UJB141, carried race number 19 and to aid in the identification from the pits, 141 was painted with a single white racing stripe. On March 26, 1960 John Colgate took the start at 10:00 a.m. in 141 and by 1:00 p.m., lay third in class trailing its sister car 143 and the winning Ferrari. Around 1:40 p.m., Colgate brought the car in to hand it over to Fred Spross, who within a few laps struck a buried tire marker with his right rear wheel, by going too far wide in the Esses and rolled the car sideways in soft sand. The outer panels were dented and slight damage was done to the inner body. All of the lamps were untouched. It marked 141's end to its competitive run.
After the race, Hambros, the BMC distributor for North America purchased the car and then sold it to Dave Martin, who raced it at the Watkins Glen circuit. It ran in many of the Sports Car Club of America meetings until the mid-1960s. UJB141 was entered into a period of restoration by its new owner to the original specifications as prepared to race at Sebring. This restoration was done with the active and significant help of Geoffrey Healey. The Healey Automobile Consultants, a firm owned by the late Donald Healey and the late Geoffrey Healey, have issued a special certificate of authenticity that will come with the car.
The car runs well and the current owner has never had to disassemble the engine nor repair it in any way. It has been featured in North America Austin-Healey Club events during his ownership, often being driven to distant meetings. All competition Austin-Healey 3000s are highly sought after. Original early works team cars like this one warrant special interest and inspection.
|Vehicle:||1960 Austin-Healey 3000 Competition|
|Original List Price:||*replicas of the works cars: $5,000|
|Tune Up Cost:||$200|
|Chassis Number Location:||BMC number plate screwed to firewall near regulator|
|Engine Number Location:||aluminum plate on step on left-hand side of engine block|
|Club Info:||Austin-Healey Club of America, PO Box 3220, Monroe, NC 28111-3220|
|Alternatives:||Most 1960's British cars, including: MGA, Triumph Spitfire, Austin-Healey Sprite, Mini Cooper S|
This car sold without reserve for $55,200 including buyer’s commission at Brooks Auction at Quail Lodge in Carmel, California, on August 28, 1999. The 12-Hours of Sebring in 1960 was not actually a backwater of motor racing, but it certainly didn’t have the significance of Le Mans or European rallies like Monte Carlo or Spa-Sofia in the marketing of sports cars. Nevertheless, an endurance race like Sebring was a good venue for the sturdy but never lightning-fast Healeys. In 1960, BMC chose to send four of the new “3000s” to the event in the company of several twin-cam MGAs. The objective was to bring some US market attention to the Healeys which finally, three years after the introduction of the six-cylinder engine, were being built with the displacement, carburetion and brakes needed to realize their potential.
The hammer price for UJB 141 was a disappointing surprise, coming well below the Brooks’ estimate of $75K-$85K.
In the superheated markets of the late eighties, works-prepared race cars with impeccable provenance and competition history such as this one were attracting bids ten or more times the value of a production version of the same model. At that time, this car might have sold for a low six-digit price at a good auction-but the nineties are not the eighties. Markets then were driven by speculators, trying to guess which car’s price would rise the most before it was sold on. Then, the rarity and history of a particular car had more to do with determining its price than its potential use. Unfortunately for many of these quick-turn artists, it turned out that there were fewer real collectors that might serve as ultimate buyers than there were cars with interesting and verifiable histories.
Today, the few collectors that are still buying cars look for absolute top-end cars, which continue to rise in price. Left in their wake are any number of rare and interesting versions of more commonplace cars. Nevertheless, for this car in this condition, $55K was a low number. It has the potential to provide a lot of fun and excitement for very little additional investment. UJB 141 is in almost exactly the same condition as when it ran at Sebring. Accessories such as seats, lights, and instruments are the very same. The car deserves a new paint job, but it won’t take much more than the discrete installation of a roll cage and a little engine conditioning to put it into shape for vintage racing where it can be appreciated and admired again. Its well-documented works racing history and originality should give it easy access to any event. This isn’t a bad destiny for a car that still presents itself almost exactly as it looked on its penultimate lap at Sebring in 1960.
(Photo and data courtesy of auction company.)