Few race cars have made such a serious strike for female equality-Pat Moss and Ann Wisdom took an overall victory in the most difficult rally of the time in this Healey


British Motor Corporation's Austin-Healey marque introduced the new 3000 model in 1959 as an improved version of the 100-Six, with the well-proven, pushrod six-cylinder bored out to nearly 3 liters, and an uprated suspension and disc brakes fitted.
From the beginning, the 3000 achieved numerous competition successes both in the hands of private entrants and from works-supported entries alike. The first rally outings for a "Big Healey" in 1959 resulted in a second place overall in the Deutschland Rally, and a second in class in the Coupe des Alpes. In 1960, BMC's competition department prepared a team of special cars to participate in all the major European rallies.
The new team cars were ready for action early in the season, with Pat Moss and co-driver Ann Wisdom winning the Coupe des Dames in the Geneva Rally. Their first major international event with the new car was in the Tulip Rally in May, wherein this experienced and skillful combination finished a remarkable eighth overall and first in class.
Only a month later, the women competed in the Coupe des Alpes, where driving almost faultlessly in this demanding event resulted in a second overall place, again taking the class win. Amazingly, this result was to be eclipsed some three months later in September, when Moss and Wisdom competed in and won the most grueling of all the European rallies, the Liège-Rome-Liège event.
At the end of the 1960 season, the 3000 was sold to Moss, who planned to use it in other events. It was entered into the Mille Miglia in 1961, but for some reason did not start. Moss sold the car to David Friswell of Solihull, England, the following year. The car changed hands a few more times, until it found a long-term home in 1974.
When that owner acquired the car, it was still in remarkably original condition, and as a result of his sympathetic restoration, it is considered to be one of the most original of the Austin-Healey works team cars. Sparingly used, recent work has included a complete mechanical rebuild of the engine and gearbox and preparation for use in historic rallying events. An exemplary car with superb provenance and a wonderful competition record, it now awaits a new custodian.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1960 Austin-Healey 3000 Sports Works
Years Produced:1959-1964
Number Produced:24 (5 were written off, 19 remain)
SCM Valuation:$250,000 - $300,000
Tune Up Cost:$400
Distributor Caps:$35
Chassis Number Location:tag riveted in left door jamb
Engine Number Location:aluminum tag riveted to left front of block
Club Info:Austin-Healey Club USA, 8002 NE Hwy 99, Ste B PMB 424, Vancouver, WA 98665-8813
Alternatives:1962 Mini Cooper S works rally car, 1961-1967 Jaguar E-type vintage racer (not factory lightweight), rally-spec 1965-1967 Sunbeam Tiger
Investment Grade:A-

This 1960 3000 Sports Works Rally Car sold for $323,380, including buyer’s commission, at Christie’s London auction, held June 7, 2004.
The works competition Big Healeys came in two distinct flavors: track and rally. The track cars were built for speed, endurance and handling, while the rally cars were built for strength, endurance and more endurance. Understand that rallies of that era were different than the “flat-out through the trees for a special stage, and then let the mechanics go through it and rebuild everything” approach we see in professional rallying these days.
Liège-Rome-Liège, the event that made this car famous, was a 3,300-mile, 96-hour marathon with a single one-hour break. It ran over some of the nastiest mountain roads in France, Italy and what was then Yugoslavia, and a few boring autobahns in Germany. In 1960, the attrition rate was American Civil War-brutal: Only 15 of 83 starters made it to the finish. This rally was about survival as much as it was about speed, and the cars were built appropriately.
As such, the works-prepared Healey rally cars were about as similar to the street BN7s of the era as the 275 GTB/C Ferrari I discussed last month is to a street GTB. To the uninitiated and the marketing department they looked the same, but that’s about it.
These cars started as a bare frame that was specially reinforced before a single mechanic who oversaw the complete assembly. The body panels were all aluminum, bulged in the back to clear the larger fuel tank and twin spare tires, and louvered and vented in front to dump engine heat.
The engine was a 150-hp unit using triple two-inch SUs, the transmission used special close-ratio gear sets, and the differential could take some amazing ratios. For Liège-Rome-Liège, Pat Moss chose a London taxi set that gave her a 70-mph redline in fourth, and just 80 mph in overdrive. Though this was not what you’d call long-legged, it was just the ticket for climbing a steep mountain pass on a lousy road.
With the leaf spring rear suspension, axle hop was a huge problem in these cars, so the mechanics added “overriding traction bars” (ask your drag racing buddies) to help keep the wheels on the road. The lever-type shock mounts were reinforced and the rear frame modified to allow an extra inch of axle travel.
There was even a cutout in the bell housing so they could see the clutch-a good idea as it turned out. At one point during Liêge-Rome-Liêge, a rear main engine seal quit, so the women sprayed the clutch with a fire extinguisher to clear the oil and keep going.
The completed race car package was a very special piece of kit, and for the intended purpose it was very successful. For years the operating assumption has been that works Healeys were worth about $150,000 when you could find someone willing to sell one, as they just don’t become available very often. We last saw this car sell in 2002 at the Barrett-Jackson/Coys sale in Monaco for $157,708. That it now sold for over twice that price is evidence that the market has come up some, but that’s not entirely it.
I think the price here mostly reflects the provenance of this specific Works Rally Car-there is arguably no more important Big Healey extant. It’s clear that whoever bought this 3000 knew what they were buying and why they wanted it long before the actual auction. Consider too, that few race cars have made such a serious strike for female equality-Pat Moss and Ann Wisdom took an overall victory in the most difficult rally of the time. (At the awards ceremony, the organizer quipped “Next year, gentlemen, we shall offer a Coupe des Hommes,” a reference to the traditional prize given to the top-placing female team at events, the Coupe des Dames.)
In today’s market it seems that truly special cars often make half again to twice what rational analysis would expect. This was a case of the right car, right place, right time, for the right buyer and a very happy seller.
(Historical and descriptive information courtesy of the auction company.)u

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