1959 Austin-Healey 100/6 BN6 3.0-Litre Lightweight Works Replica Rally Car Registration no. VFH 600 Chassis no. BN6/4334 (see text) Engine no. 290/U/H18342
'A classic competition car among the all-time greats in motoring history,' was how The Autocar magazine summed up the works Austin-Healey 3000 in 1963. Yet at the time of its arrival in 1959, few would have guessed that the low-slung 'Big Healey' would triumph over its apparent shortcomings so effectively that it now rates as one of the most successful rally cars of the 1960s. In the late 1950s, 100/6s were employed by the Abingdon and Warwick workshops to produce the first competition 3000Mk1s.
Robust and tuneable, the Big Healey was immensely popular with privateers in its time, and today, more than 40 years after the end of production, continues to be extensively campaigned in historic motor sport, both in tarmac events and on the rough stuff. Replicas of the works rally cars are among the most sought-after variants, and an extensive cottage industry of recognised specialists exists to cater for the demand for Big Healey parts, servicing and competition preparation.
A BMIHT Factory Record Certificate confirms this particular 100/6 BN6 with more desirable two-seater cockpit rather than more usual 2+2 configuration - was built as a right-hand drive model for the UK market and first registered 'VFH 600' in January 1959. Subsequent known history commences in 1972 when the Healey was converted to rally specification by David Broadhurst of DNR Developments after he wrote off another car, 'UBU 6' (see Rallysport, January 1974 article in file). David Broadhurst rallied 'VFH 600' for a short time before ownership passed to well-known marque specialist John Chatham in 1972.
The immediately preceding owner (Chris Naylor) purchased the car in May 1995 from Capital & General Classic Cars (advertisement in file). Revival-ready when acquired, as evidenced by accompanying photographs, the car was completely rebuilt over a three-year period. The recorded mileage at time of purchase by Chris Naylor was 37,566, which had risen to 37,978 by the time the current owner purchased the car early in 2010, an increase of only 412 miles.
The complete 'last nut and bolt' rebuild included all new alloy panels (on the original body underpinnings), refurbished hardtop, and new electrics, wiring harness, carpets, competition leather seats and safety harnesses. The chassis was jigged, sandblasted and repainted, and the engine and gearbox rebuilt. The cost of new parts and services came to over £35,000. Full details, an invoice summary and photographs of the rebuild are in the history file. Since acquiring the car in 2010, the vendor has continued to upgrade it. A total of 42,122 miles is currently displayed on the odometer.
The now lightweight 3000's specification includes a MkIII 2,996cc engine complete with Sid Segal cylinder head and camshaft; lightened and balanced crankshaft; high-capacity oil pump; triple Weber carburettors, six-branch side-exit exhaust system; high-ratio starter motor; 'works' sump with alloy sump guard; and a 19-row oil cooler. The transmission consists of a MkIII overdrive gearbox with 'Tulip' ratios, and a low-ratio (4.1:1) differential. Improvements to the running gear include disc brakes for all four-wheels; a high-ratio steering rack; and adjustable lever shock absorbers at the rear. Period-correct 4½ ins wire spoked wheels are shod with sticky ZZ Avons while the spare has a new Vredestein M & S fitted. Other noteworthy features include an alloy fuel tank with twin-pumps, fuel lines inside the car and firewall in boot; an interior roll cage; spotlights; boot-mounted reversing light; high-output alternator; and 'works' type hardtop in grp and twin spares accommodating boot lid in aluminium. Only a little over 4,000 miles have been covered since the comprehensive rebuild, including two pilgrimages to the last two Le Mans Classics. The car presents very well indeed and is claimed to be in good mechanical order, the only notified fault being a tendency to occasionally jump out of 4th gear on the over-run.
Representing a potentially competitive entry into historic rallying, particularly road events, and a most suitable candidate for more serious special stage work or Healey racing, this extensively upgraded Austin-Healey 100/6 is also road-friendly and would be hugely entertaining on touring events. It is offered with aforementioned restoration records, BMIHT certificate, old-style green logbook confirming original registration, current road fund licence, MoT valid to October 2014 and current V5C registration document, recording the VIN number as 'BN6433430083829'; the first four digits being the 100/6 chassis number and the last four digits the original body number. Build plates attached to the bulkhead also record the chassis number as '4334' and the body number as '3829'.