Racing cars that simply won’t stop
1961 Austin Healey 3000 Registration number: 6200 NO
One of the most successful racing Austin Healey 3000s started life as a road car. Rumour suggests that it was first owned by a ballerina in London.
When Denis Welch found it in 1979. it was semi-derelict, with cutaway wings and wide wheels. “In fact, it was a very tatty boy-racer car!” he admits.
Welch fulfilled a long-held ambition to race a Healey after completing a total restoration of the car. “It had the usual Healey rot in it. but I didn’t put a new chassis in. I repaired the old one where possible.” he recalls. Later it was repanelled with aluminium wings rather than the original steel.”
At the time he restored the car, no one else was actively supplying Healey parts and the project led to Welch starting a business, which has since become the world’s largest supplier of competition parts for Healeys.
Welch raced the car extensively during the 1980s and ’90s. winning countless races and several titles. It also won the Eifel Classic on the Nürburgring Nordschleife three times.
Twice it has been badly damaged in racing accidents: at Oulton Park in 1984. Welch crashed on oil at Old Hall, which shortened the wheelbase by about 6in. That meant the front half of the chassis had to be replaced: two years later the work had to be carried out again after a shunt at Brands.
In 1998, Welch took the car Down Under to Bathurst for a pair of support races to the 24-hour event. He won both. But in ’99 the car was damaged at the ‘Ring and a slow rebuild followed.
It finally returned to racing at Oulton Park in August 2004.