The Austin Healey 3000 as a Rally Car

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100

Sir,

On page 189 of the March issue I was surprised to see this comment captioning a photograph of an Austin Healey 100/6: “The bigger Austin Healeys have never been considered good rally cars because of poor ground clearance.”

This poses the interesting question of what a car must do to be considered as a “good” rally car. Presumably you do not feel that consistent success against the top opposition in Continental Rally Championship events makes a car a “good” rally car.

The Austin Healey 100/6 3000 was introduced early in 1959 and its first International Rally was that year’s Alpine, in which it finished fifth in G.T. Category and second in class, incidentally defeating the works Mercedes 300SL, driven by Walter Schock.

Since that date, Healey 3000s have scored the following International rally successes, on the Continent:

1960 Liege-Rome-Liege. Outright win. -1st, 2nd and 3rd in class. All team prizes.

1960 “Alpine.” 2nd in General Classification. 1st, 2nd and 3rd in class. All team prizes.

1959 Deutschland. 2nd in General Classification. 1st in class.

1960 Deutschland. 8th in General Classification. 1st, 2nd and 3rd in class.

1960 Tulip. 8th in General Classification. 1st in class.

1960 Geneva. 8th in General Classification. 1st in class.

1959 Liege-Rome-Liege. 7th in G.T. Category. 1st in class.

In most of these events the Coupe des Dames and Best British Performance were taken as a matter of course.

In British events, Austin Healey 3000s finished fourth in the 1959 R.A.C. Rally and third in the 1960 version, on both occasions scoring class wins and in 1960 taking the marque team prize as well.

In lesser British events, the name of G. H. F. Parkes (Austin Healey 3000) usually seems to figure amongst the awards list and, to quote only a few recent events, an Austin Healey 3000 won the Welsh Rally outright and one was runner-up in the Chiltern C.C.’s Regent Rally.

Whether it is a “good ” rally car or not, the Austin Healey 3000 has certainly been the most consistently successful British car in last season’s International rallies and the only British car which has successfully proved, during the last nine years, that it has the performance and reliability to win the toughest, fastest and most difficult of all Continental rallies outright.

If successes don’t make a good rally car—what does?

I am, Yours, etc., John Gott.  Westone

[The fact remains that privately-owned Austin Healeys have been put out of rallies many times with damaged sumps.—Ed.]