The last surviving 1962 team car has rally provenance in abundance, but it doesn’t have an original chassis
The Big Healey’s first major success was in 1960, when Pat Moss and Ann Wisdom made history by winning the grueling Liège-Rome-Liège (Marathon de la Route) event outright. It was the first occasion that a woman had won a major international rally. The following year the Morley twins—Don and Erle—won the Austrian Alpine Rally, a feat they repeated in 1962. The model’s final outright victories came in 1964, when Paddy Hopkirk won the Austrian Alpine Rally and Rauno Aaltonen the last Marathon de la Route held on public roads, following a Spa-Sofia-Liège route.
This ex-works BMC rally team Big Healey is understood to be the sole surviving 1962 team car, one of a series of five built by the works in 1962 with registration numbers respectively 37, 47, 57, 67 and 77 ARX. Three (37, 57 and 77) were written off in 1963, and one, 47 ARX, in 1964. This car, 67 ARX, made its international debut in the 1962 Alpine Rally, crewed by David Seigle-Morris and Tony Ambrose, placing 8th and contributing to BMC’s Team Prize. Seigle-Morris then took it on the Liège-Sofia-Liège Rally—a notoriously punishing, virtual road race in which the organizers’ declared aim was “No Finishers.” He led in this car until it sustained chassis damage, but he nevertheless nursed it to the finish.
67 ARX next ran in the RAC Rally, crewed by Paddy Hopkirk and Jack Scott to win its class and finish second overall, then its next outing was the Swedish “Midnight Sun” Rally in the hands of the legendary Flying Finn, Timo Mäkinen.
At the end of the 1963 season, with a new batch of cars under construction for 1964, it was sold to Tony Ambrose, and it later passed to Healey enthusiast Ted Worswick who continued rallying it. In 1969 he sold it on, and the car was dismantled. Its rebuild did not commence until the next owner, Nick Howell, purchased it in the early 1980s. The car was sympathetically restored throughout by Barry Simpson Restorations Ltd, using a “repair rather than replace” policy. It made several appearances at historic meetings before being sold to Aston Martin chairman, Victor Gauntlett, who used the car on such retrospective events as the Coppa d’Italia.
In 1998 it was purchased by the consignor and was used on historic events such as the Monte Carlo Challenge (1999) and Classic Malts Rally (2000). After an accident in the Rally of Portugal in 2000, the chassis was found to be beyond saving, so a new frame was fabricated to works pattern and the car rebuilt around that—while retaining as many of the original parts as possible. On completion, 67 ARX was returned to the vendor together with its original chassis frame.
The car has not been used for rallying since the rebuild. But it has been taken to various shows and meetings including the 50th Anniversary of Austin-Healey at Thruxton in 2002.