(This image is cropped for display on the main gallery page, where narrow horizontals allow for a better display of photos in the gallery on computers, but not really on phones or tablets.)
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.
We would zoom along the mountain roads without a care in the world, with what hair we had blowing in the breeze that seemed to grow stronger as we would come out of corners.
My Dad's driving would produce huge smiles and much laughter as he would speed up and zoom along the straight stretches.
I cannot remember the model my Dad with assured accuracy, but I believe it was a 3000 MK 1.
In fact, it was similar to one I had the pleasure of viewing at the 2012 Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance, although I believe my Dad’s was an earlier model.
The 1961 Austin-Healey 3000 Mk 1 at Hillsborough was a real beauty.
The Healeys were available to Americans at a time when there weren’t that many American sports cars.
“The … Austin-Healey was the joint venture of the Austin division of British Motor Corporation and Donald Healey,” stated the car owner’s summary at Hillsborough.
“Its objective was to offer and affordable sports car capable of 100 mph.”
Although my Dad was a very steady fellow, I’d wager a few pennies that he pushed it to 100 mph at least once, although Mario and I were probably not in the car.
“The first, 100 4-models had a 4-cylinder engine,” the owner’s summary continued. “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