1960 Austin-Healey 3000 Mk II

There is no mistaking the lines of an Austin-Healey. Perhaps second only to the seductive curves of the Jaguar E-type, the long flowing lines of the front shroud and powerful haunches of the short rear fenders make this car an icon of the golden decades of sports cars. Remarkable is the fact that the lines of the Healey were penned by a 24-year-old designer named Gerry Coker, who had never designed a car before in his career. More remarkable is the fact that the design was so inspired that its essence was unchanged from the first prototypes in 1952 to the last car assembled in 1968. The grille was changed twice, a small scoop was added to the hood, the shroud was modified slightly to accommodate two back seats for occasional use and, in the last version, a curved windshield, roll-up windows and a convertible top were added. The changes were so subtle that only aficionados of the marque can identify the slight variations among the models.
The combination of inspiration of styling and consistency of design means that all Healeys are almost equally desirable. Among the rarest of the cars is the two-seat roadster with the six-cylinder engine, usually called a “BN7” from the body style prefix of its serial number.
Produced alongside the two-plus-two body style introduced in 1957 (the “BT7”), less than 3,000 of the two-seat six-cylinder cars were built (including 355 built with the triple-carburetor engine), compared to 15,000 of the two-plus-twos. They shared the simpler rear shroud of the original Healey Hundred but had the smoother and potentially more powerful six-cylinder “3000” engine. The straight-six put out 124 bhp as new, but could easily be tuned to much higher horsepower levels. Weather-proofing still left something to be desired, however. Even with the side-curtains installed and the soft-top pulled from behind the seats and erected-a two-person job taking at least five minutes-driver and passenger could count on getting more than a little damp in a driving rain. Nevertheless, the sleek lines today are preferred by many to the successor convertibles that entered production in 1962.
However, when these cars were new it seemed as if nearly everyone wanted the model with the extra rear seats, even though they were only practical for children under the age of ten. So when the nifty new convertible model was introduced to replace the roadster in 1962 in response to competition from the Sunbeam Alpine, Triumph TR4 and MGB, the two-seat body style was dumped as well.